TRAVELBUCKET

South Africa

ABOUT SMALL TOWNS AND CHURCHES

Every small town has a certain ambiance when you visit it.    Some of them immediately speak to me and others, well they do not actually speak to me … and I just observe and pass by. However, there are small towns with tons of history dating back hundreds of years.  And then there are churches with unique architecture and some interesting history on the why, what and how it came about.  With its rich history and influences from the Dutch, French and English, who all reigned South Africa at some period in the early years, you can just imagine the different church styles that came about.   Each church structure tells a story.  One can feast on some fascinating stories that at times can be humorous or a bit shocking, this includes that has been set alight by deranged persons and destroyed by fire, and steeples collapsing.  Looking up the history… Read more >

OUDTSHOORN – MORE THAN FEATHERS AND CAVES

CATCH UP ON HISTORY Did you know that the town of Oudtshoorn once had the biggest Jewish (originating from Lithuania) community in South Africa?  About 100 immigrant families arrived in Oudsthoorn between 1881 and 1890, after fleeing persecution in their country, as the town held many business propositions due to the feather boom. In Baron van Reede street, tucked away behind some trees and almost unseen, are a beautiful sandstone synagogue. SWARTBERG CIRCLE ROUTE Take your time and drive over the famous Swartberg Mountains, lying just to the North of Oudtshoorn,  to Prince Albert in the Groot Karoo while marvelling at all the different cliff formations and the Cango valley down below.  Return via the spectacular Meringspoort and De Rust.  Allow a whole morning to complete this route.  You can either have some morning tea or lunch in Prince Albert or you can pack a picnic basket and enjoy it… Read more >

KEEP CALM AND TRAVEL SOUTH AFRICA!

South Africa is a beautiful country and there are many reasons to visit our Rainbow Nation as there is something to see for everybody – whether you like luxury accommodation and pampering, have your first encounter with wild animals in their natural habitat or even if you are an adrenaline junky.  There is something for everyone,   come and experience it! This being said, it does not mean that nothing will happen to you.  South Africa is as safe as any other tourist travel destination in the world as long as you use your travel savvy.  Crime does happen anywhere in the world if you do not take care. Being a local myself, and having travelled quite a bit in my own country and abroad, I am going to share some tips and tricks with you. When travelling by car Keep all doors locked while travelling in cities and even passing… Read more >

ADDO ELEPHANT PARK

This is one of SANPARKS’ 19 national parks and situated in the adventure province of  the Eastern Cape.  At the moment Addo Elephant Park ranks third in size following on the famous Kruger National Park and Kgalagadi in the Northern Cape Province. It is not as big as Kruger and as crowded as Kruger, but still give you a wildlife experience like none other.  Here you can not only see the Big Five but also, hyena, warthogs, various buck species, zebra, smaller creatures and birds (more than 417 species have been listed).  Remember that you will see lots and lots of elephants – it is after all Addo Elephant Park – and do not forget the smaller creatures and birds. The park is within easy reach for a day drive from Port Elizabeth.  Pack a picnic basket and leave early as the gates open at 06:00 during summer and closes… Read more >

KOUGA DAM, BAVIAANSKLOOF

On our recent trip to the Baviaanskloof – another World Heritage Site ticked – we made a slight detour to visit the Kouga Dam. The dam is situated about 21 kilometres outside the village of Patensie on the R330 in the beautiful citrus growing area of the Gamtoos Valley in the Eastern Cape. Although the end of the citrus season was near the air was still heavy with the smell of oranges as we took the gravel road of about 7 kilometres to the dam wall. Some of you will know the dam by its former name of Paul Sauer who was a prominent politician on the South African scene. However, after 1995 the name of the dam was changed to the Kouga Dam. The dam was built in 1957 for irrigation purposes in the valley and to supply drinking water to the greater Port Elizabeth area. Something that I… Read more >

THE GARDEN ROUTE WILD FIRES

The past two weeks towards the end of October 2018 we saw some hectic raging wild fires in the Garden Route.  The once green belt of South Africa, known as the luscious Garden Route, was turned into a black belt – no, that is not a karate black belt, but burnt black by a fire monster. The raging fires did not leave a green inkling in its wake.  Everything was devoured by flames and hot air.  Now they say it is good for fynbos to burn once in a while, and I agree to that, but not like the wild fires that devoured thousands of hectares of plantation and indigenous forests which were home to century old Yellowwoods.. Our region, renowned for crisp mountain air and clean beaches was covered in a haze of smothering smoke.  The smoke followed you everyone – in your house, in your bed, in your… Read more >

THE BIG HOLE @ KIMBERLEY, SOUTH AFRICA

by Inge Triegaardt Upon entering Kimberley, one might find that the capital of the Northern Cape Province of South Africa, is just another dull, dusty town with heat waves in summer and cold, winter nights with temperatures below zero degrees Celsius.  The impression one gets when driving down the streets of this once “rich” town, is definitely not one of glamour and shiny diamonds.  Being the host city of the De Beers Mining Company HQ, Kimberley still preserves the rich history that made this town one of the most sought after places to be during the early 1900’s. One might think that visiting a big hole in the ground should be nothing spectacular these days, given that we have seen comets create big craters all over the world.  So what makes the Big Hole in Kimberley so special that one will pay to take a selfie in front of a… Read more >

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