Zulu reed dance

The Royal Reed Dance celebrates Zulu culture in Zululand

In celebration of Zulu culture, traditional reed dancing is all about teaching morals and good behaviour to young girls. The local tourism industry in Zululand reaps rewards as thousands of visitors flood to eNyokeni Palace in Nongoma to the witness the centuries old event that is held over several days.

Mkhosi woMhlanga, as named in Zulu, is the colourful reed dancing ceremony – an annual event held every year at the beginning of September. The celebrations include young girls collecting and presenting their king with cut reeds from the riverbed in honour to their Zulu traditions.
In recent years this symbolic event has also been a draw card for the local hospitality industry in the province. Nongoma sees a massive economic boost with visitors congregating to the area and accommodation is fully booked out, even in the surrounding areas of Ulundi and Vryheid. This year alone saw the reed dance festivities attract a staggering 100 000 visitors.

This colourful cultural festival is an important rite of passage for young Zulu girls, includes singing and dancing; and is used to introduce the girls to their rich culture steeped in tradition. The young girls, who have to be virgins in order to participate, are schooled by older Zulu woman in the art of womanhood and in respecting their bodies. Celibacy until marriage is greatly encouraged. The opportunity is also used to highlight serious social issues that affect young woman including teenage pregnancy and HIV.

The ceremony sees the mass gathering of young girls from all over Zululand and from as far as Swaziland and Botswana attend the festivities of the traditional royal reed dance. Anklets, bracelets and necklaces worn by the girls exquisitely showcase the traditional beadwork of the Zulu culture. The girls also wear sashes with an assortment of colours that denote whether the girl is engaged to be married.

Central to the event’s festivities is the reed-giving ceremony. Zulu princesses lead the colourful graceful procession of young girls dressed in intricately-beaded attire who present to the king the longest and strongest cut reeds. Laying the reeds at the king’s feet is a symbol of respect and honouring the Zulu culture. The ceremony has Zulu men participating too by singing and engaging in mock fighting.

Visitors are welcome to bear witness to the reed dance ceremony. Having a guide on hand to indicate the symbols of the rituals is useful and also helps the visitor understand cultural sensitivities.

While the reed dance ceremony showcases the rich deep heritage of the Zulu culture, it is not all the kingdom has to offer tourists. Zululand houses renowned national parks and nature reserves (private and state-controlled) and is celebrated for its majestic unspoilt beauty as well as historic, cultural and coastal attractions.

A mild subtropical climate welcomes the visitor all year round. Golf, fishing and game viewing are among the popular activities visitors enjoy. For bird lovers there is an incredible diversity of over 650 species of birds on the Zululand Birding Route to be viewed.

Take in the glory and the glamour of gorgeous George on the Garden Route

The gorgeous town of George is found in the centre of the Garden Route along the eastern coastline of South Africa. This charming landmark of abundant natural beauty comprising of fertile valleys, forests and rivers is exquisitely framed by the majestic Outeniqua Mountains and lay on the doorstep of the Indian Ocean is unfailing in its attractions to both local and foreign visitors.

A holidaymaker’s staple of sun, sea and sand is found in abundance in the coastal tourist paradise of George. The town’s humble origins, which began in 1811 as a settlement and labelled by the local inhabitants as the ‘land of milk and honey’, transformed itself into a present-day colossal tourist haven, housing not one, but two of the top ten golf courses in South Africa – Fancourt Golf Estate and the George Golf Course.

The temperate weather conditions enjoyed by the locals establish George as the perfect holiday spot for outdoor adventures to be had all year long. The many adventure activities hosted by this tourist hub in the Southern Cape Region holidaymaker’s paradise include: fishing, hang-gliding, diving, water skiing, hiking, cycling, mountain biking, horseback riding, canoeing, climbing, sailing, windsurfing and surfing.

For the more laid back nature lovers, George provides excellent opportunities for bird and whale watching.

The town is within an easy 420 km from the city of Cape Town and just 320 km from Port Elizabeth. It has a few historic claims to fame too. George is the sixth oldest town in South Africa and named after the British monarch, King George the Third. This nature-rich hotspot is also regarded as the administrative capital city of the southern Cape region.

One of the highlights on a trip to George is a visit to The Outeniqua Transport Museum. Take a step back in time to the splendid steam age and appreciate the extensive cool collection of steam locomotives and carriages conserved in the museum. The Outeniqua Power Van, which comes in the form of a motorized trolley, conveys visitors from the museum to the Outeniqua Mountains where the most spectacular views of the Garden Route can be viewed, and back to the museum again.

A leisurely exploration of the Outeniqua Country Hop Route presents many country pleasures. Family friendly strawberry and herb farms provide plenty of fun; both children and adults can enjoy the wonders of cheese and candle making and there is horseback riding and mountain biking for the more adrenaline-driven adventurists. The Outeniqua Hop Route welcomes visitors with excellent accommodation facilities and restaurants.

The popular Victoria Bay, located about 9 km from George offer a superb surfing spot, especially during the months between June and August. Herold’s Bay is more celebrated for its opportunities of safe tidal pool swimming and fishing. The vast stretches of pretty pristine coastline along Wilderness with its lakes and estuaries favour the perfect place for bird watching.

Facilitated by its sophisticated infrastructure, it is easy to see why this coastal city is a notable stop on a tourist’s itinerary. Why not take in the glory and the glamour of gorgeous George on the Garden Route for your next holiday destination?

Picture Credit: easytobook.com

Wale watching

Be enthralled by the whale-watching extravaganza along South Africa’s coastline

Whale-watching enthusiasts are in for a spectacular treat when choosing South Africa as their whale-watching destination for both land and sea based viewing. As many as 37 species of whales and dolphins can be clearly seen along South African waters.

South Africa can be regarded as the premier whale-watching destination in the world with plenty of opportunities to be enthralled by the elegant water acrobatics and mesmerising displays of raw power of the whales. The whale-watching route extends from Doringbaai, in the south of Cape Town right up to Durban on the east coast; presenting a staggering 1 200 miles of golden opportunities to see the magnificent mammals in action. This route incorporates the conservation areas of the Garden Route, Tsitsikamma National Park, and the Transkei.

Any high vantage point such as cliffs and the beaches in Cape Town presents excellent whale-watching opportunities. Many established licensed boat tour operators provide services to visitors wishing for that magical special close encounter. Boating expeditions can last up to three hours long and get to within the legal 300 metres (a permit is first required) of the whales. The southern right whale in particular display natural curiosity tendencies and are known to at times venture within close proximity to the boats.

The whale-watching industry is tightly regulated with only 16 permits been granted. This much needed precaution guarantees the least disturbance to the whales. Boat operators approach the whales in a quiet manner, with motors switched off and a ‘no wake speed’.

Between June and November is the optimal whale watching time in South Africa when the southern right whales are highly visible along the Cape south coast. Migrant humpback whales put in a brief appearance in May and June; and then again in November to January in the Plettenberg and Garden Route area. This area also attracts Bryde’s whales which can be seen all-year round.

During July and August is peak calving season when the whales are found in abundance, mating and rearing their calves. The southern right whale prefers the protected bays off the southern western coast as its breeding hub, spending up to five months of a year here engaging in courtship rituals as close to 50 metres from the shoreline.

Regarded as the whale-watching capital of the world, the town of Hermanus found on the Cape south coast, has the most opportune scenic land-based views for whale-watching. A leisurely cliff-top walk grants crystal clear sightings of the marine mammals. Southern right whales can appear as close to mere metres from the beach. The arrival of the whales in September is celebrated by the popular annual whale festival.

Clear and windless conditions promote the best whale spotting experiences. The whale’s blow is the first indication of its presence. Other typical whale behaviour is resting head down in the water with tails held out in the air, known as sailing or headstanding.
Pair of binoculars, a hat and adequate sunscreen is additional requirements for optimal land-based whale-watching expeditions.

Ratanga Junction

South Africa’s top five theme parks promises plenty of fun

Amusement or theme parks in South Africa go beyond offering just fantastical and frivolous fun; they incorporate educational and historical attractions to provide a more holistic experience the whole family can enjoy. South Africa’s top five theme parks can be found throughout the country and rank highly on the visitor’s list of must-dos.

Fun and learning go well together at South African styled theme parks. Carnival rides including looping rollercoaster rides, bumper cars and big wheels; exhilarating wildlife centred shows to historical attractions form the centrepiece around which these amusement parks revolve, catering for a wide variety of entertainment activities for all ages to enjoy.

1. Gold Reef City
Gold Reef City forms a comfortable combination of a multitude of exhilarating adrenaline-pumping gut-wrenching rides to a farmyard of animals, kiddie’s corner and an amphitheatre showcasing tribal dancing. Located in the heart of Johannesburg, this top rated theme park houses a museum offering a peak into 19th century life in Johannesburg that tells the golden tale of this metropolis’ beginnings, 30 thrilling adventure rides, underground tours of the still operational mine and gold-pouring demonstrations. Aptly named rides such as the Tower of Terror, the Anaconda, the Miner’s Revenge and the Golden Loop is just a sample of the breathtaking escapades available; although not for the faint-hearted.

2. Sun City theme park
This highly popular tourist attraction is situated in the North West province and is attached to the Sun City resort complex. The overwhelming number of family-oriented leisure and entertainment options is why this iconic theme park reserves its popular reputation with both local and foreign visitors. Entertainment options on offer are a variety of adventure sporting activities, safari tours, Valley of the Waves (a water park with a 6500m² wave pool, plunge pool) and Kamp Kwena (a children’s activity park with trampolines, mini-cars and adventure golf).

3. Ratanga Junction
Ratanga Junction is Cape Town’s offer to South Africa’s theme park contingent characterised by subtropical plants and winding waterways. Boasting over 30 attractions, 24 of which are scintillating heart stopping gravity-defying rides with names such as the Slingshot, The Cobra, The Diamond Devil Run, Congo Queen, Crocodile Gorge, Bushwhacker, and Monkey Falls; it comes as no surprise that this entertainment world ranks highly on the city’s list of tourist attractions. Shopping and leisure options presented by this theme park include snake and exotic bird exhibitions as well as live music shows.

4. uShaka Marine World
Located in the sun-kissed city of Durban is the world renowned uShaka Marine World. This visionary family-oriented entertainment complex is hard to beat for those wanting some fun in the sun. An underground aquarium, a water park complete with slides, splash and palm-lined swimming pools, recreation of a wreck of an old 1920 cargo ship, dolphin and seal stadium showcasing award-winning dolphin shows. For shopping enthusiasts there is Village Walk enclosed within the complex with over 11 250m2 of retail speciality stores, restaurants and other indigenous and tourist-focused goods and services.

5. Plett Puzzle Park
Fun-infused entertainment activities at the Plet Puzzle Park in Plettenberg Bay are a work out for both the mind and body. Attractions include the life-size 3D maze, the first of its kind in South Africa; a Rope Maze, jungle gym, coffee and gift shop. Navigate your way through the Forest Puzzle Walk with word, shape and general knowledge challenges.

Adventure travel

Accelerate your sense of excitement through adventure travel

How do you pursue adventure whilst travelling on holiday? Accelerate your sense of excitement through adventure travel. A definitive holiday experience can be had, creating unforgettable memories.

Revitalize and invigorate your next holiday by engaging in exciting activities available on location. Transform yourself and your holiday. Resist being a mere passive spectator sightseeing by welcoming a myriad of thrill inducing activities such as surfing, canoeing, hiking, white-water rafting, caving, water-skiing, diving, windsurfing, kayaking, paragliding, ballooning, rock climbing, micro lighting, mountain biking or archeological expeditions, all of which provide spectacular fun.

Be an active participant on your holiday as adventure travel invites you to see the world in a new light and you get to meet new people in exotic foreign locations. Apart from providing heaps of excitement, you are also challenged to leap out of your comfort zone and learn new skills.

The very nature of adventure travel makes it difficult to pin down a precise definition as adventure is a relative term. In a broad sense adventure tourism refers to any domestic or international trip that features a minimum of two characteristics: physical activity, engaging with nature or a cultural learning experience.

Holidaymakers with the penchant for travel often seek unique travel destinations offering activities and unique experiences that are mostly adrenaline driven. Adventure travel in the tourism industry is a popular trend and an important, growing tourism segment. Latest statistics put the global adventure market at $89 billion according to xolaconsulting.com.

Tourists seeking exciting escapades represent a significant, growing market. Adventure travel in the current tourism industry is said to be 50% of all reasons why travel is undertaken by 2050. Dr Philippe Durverger conducted research which revealed that adventure travel has a stunning growth rate of 17% in relation to mass travel that has a consistent growth rate of 4%.

Adventure travelers are not defined by gender or age but by incorporating a superior interest in leading a stimulating life. A higher importance is placed on exploring new places, time spent in nature; meeting and engaging with local cultures and pushing through your physical limits.

Making the most out of your holiday requires much thought and proper planning. When trying to decide what would set your holiday apart from the ordinary, the following helpful points should be borne in mind:

• As most activities require some level of fitness, you should be realistic about which activities you would be comfortable to engage in.
• Allow some room for flexibility; put back–up plans in place should the weather not be conducive to outside activities.
• Choose reputable tour companies with experienced and trained staff.
• Make certain to protect yourself by reading all waivers carefully before signing.

Picture credit: Forbes.com

Hiking in Spain

Adventure activity holidays in Spain

Holiday travel has become much more than just exciting exotic locations and soaking up the local culture as holidaymakers demand much more out of their travel experiences. Adventure activity holidays are becoming increasingly popular with more and more requests being made for sightseeing tours coupled with adrenaline-driven activities such as horseback riding, safaris, white water rafting, hiking, rock climbing, camping and zip lining in the hope for the more definitive holiday experience.

Adventure activity holidays in Spain can provide ultimate thrilling experiences with the added magic of picturesque landscapes. If you thought that all Spain had to offer was bullfighting and Flamenco dancing, then be prepared to be wonderfully surprised. Exquisite mountain ranges, miles and miles of coastline, olive groves, rivers and caves all showcase the natural marvels of Spain and sets the scene for all sorts of action-packed adventures.

Hiking is a popular adventure activity that is suited to the whole family and reveals Spain’s history and natural beauty in all its glory. Soak up the essence of Spain on a hiking expedition. There are plenty of footpaths, country lanes and forest tracks to meander along. There are hiking tours that cater for all levels and pace. The Circular Route Togores in Catalunya, rich in history, is perfect for the moderate hiking enthusiast. Collserola National park is also known as the ‘green lung’ of Spain and has enough wooded hills to delight the adventure seeker.

Traverse carefully designed horse trails on mild mannered horses on a number of horseback riding tours deep into beech forests, medieval fishing villages; circumvent extinct volcanoes or Spain’s charming coastline. Spain’s gorgeous geographic diversity from the towering Pyrenees in the north to the sun-kissed Mediterranean in southern Spain makes for riveting horseback riding adventures whilst exploring the deep cultural and historical roots of Spain.

A recent addition to the action-packed activities on offer on a visit to Spain is the growing popularity of zip lining adventures. The thrill unique to zip lining while whizzing through the air along the tree tops or inside canyons definitely contributes to the definitive holiday adventure. Zip lining circuits can be found at adventure parks too which provide rides that are family friendly as well as catering for the more intrepid adult adventurer.
A novel aerial adventure is gliding through the air 3 000 feet high on a hot air balloon ride. Admire panoramic views as only a hot air balloon ride can provide. Early morning rides make for the best experiences. Rides last anything from an hour to three hours long across diverse spectacular landscapes and unique points of interest.

Adrenaline addicted adventurers will be happy to note that white water rafting is growing in popularity in Spain. The surging Noguera Pallasera River provides 28 miles of foaming water on which to canoe, kayak or raft. An alternative aquatic activity is to ride the roaring river on a hydrospeed (a version of a boogie board for water). The best times to test your skills against the river would be in May or June with the swollen river fed by the snowmelt from the mountains.

No matter your choice of adventure activity, be it by air, water or on horseback, your holiday in Spain is sure to be unforgettable, packed with plenty of fun.

Picture credit: Stefano Buonamici

Little Karoo

Destination Little Karoo: a tourist’s introduction

At first glance the appearance of the arid, dry bleak landscape of the Little Karoo in the Western Cape is quickly dispelled by majestic mountains, crystal streams, mystical caves and a unique biome studded with aloe and miniature baobab trees characterised by their yellow peeling bark and red tubular flowers. A tourist’s introduction to the Little Karoo (Klein Karoo) is met with the warmth and honest hospitality of the locals coupled by distinctive, unrivalled landscape beauty.

The Little Karoo is comfortably placed between the magnificent Outeniqua, Langeberg and Swartberg Mountain Ranges. For both local and international tourists, the region’s magnetic pull are its desert landscapes and wide-open skies which promise unforgettable stunning sunsets.

The word ‘little’ included in the name of this picturesque area bears no significance to the number of attractions available for any visitor to the region. Quite the opposite in fact. Little Karoo welcomes all visitors with a wealth of natural and man-made attractions guaranteed to delight all of the senses.

In the spring time, the Little Karoo showcases its colourful tapestry of flower fusion to visitors who descend on the area from around the globe in droves to witness the magic of desert sand converted into a profusion of colourful splendour.

Among its many claims to fame, the Little Karoo boasts being home to possibly the world’s longest wine route and most diverse wine producing region in South Africa – Route 62. Thanks to its semi-arid climate and winter rainfall, the region’s winemakers are adequately equipped to producing an extensive range of good quality wines. This ability may be attributed to the vines grown in the fertile alluvial soil found along the river banks.

On the calendar of top attractions is one of the country’s favourite events – the Little Karoo Arts Festival. South Africa’s blend of talent, from artists to musicians to craftsmen, all come together to display and celebrate their spectacular God-given gifts. Hosted by the town of Oudtshoorn, the festival flaunts a fabulous array of music, fine art, poetry, drama and food that would satisfactorily satisfy any festival-going fan.

Another major inducement to including a visit to this incredibly fascinating area is the Cango Caves. Located about 30 km out of Oudtshoorn, the Cango Caves houses some of the largest stalagmite formations to be found in the world. These spectacular limestone structures were set about many millions of years ago. Some names include: ‘the bridal couple’, ‘glass flower fantasy’, ‘weird cango candle’ and ‘the hanging shawl’.

The towns of Little Karoo mirror the history and unique culture of this expanse of South Africa. Oudtshoorn, the main town is regarded as the ostrich feather capital of the world owing to its ostrich rich farming industry.

Calitzdorp prides itself on housing four wine estates. The nearby Gamka Mountain Reserve is where the endangered Cape mountain zebra can be found.

It is not just scintillating scenery that captures the heart of the visitor to Little Karoo. The quaint Victorian village, De Rust, makes adventure activities available to tourists. These are in the form of hiking trails, horse rides and 4×4 drives.

The quiet rural atmosphere and breathtaking views of Little Karoo makes it a perfect place to be at one with the natural world and should be on every travel itinerary to South Africa.

Top 10 National Parks of South Africa

Top 10 national parks of South Africa

South Africa is the ultimate in wildlife viewing destinations. Two of the world’s most widely acclaimed wildlife reservation areas and more than 20 National Parks dedicated to the protection of its precious natural assets, South Africa is unrivalled in its ability to provide spectacular opportunities to experience the majestic beauty of the natural world in this part of Africa.
The incredible range of protected wildlife regions encompasses diverse landscapes. Deserts, forests, open savannahs, mountains and coastal areas showcase both animal and plant worlds to their advantage.

1. The Kruger National Park
The flagstone and forerunner of national parks in South Africa, the Kruger National Park draws in millions of international tourists and local visitors annually. Representing the largest of all parks in South Africa, there are a multitude of activities to enjoy in almost two million hectares of diverse terrain. Impressive statistics speak of 336 trees, 49 fish, 34 amphibians, 114 reptiles, 507 birds and 147 mammals. Walking safaris and game drives provide an unforgettable personal experience of life in the bush.

2. Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (Northern Cape)
The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is the second world renowned of South African parks. Its unique characteristic is being a sizable ecosystem without man-made barriers and comprises two adjoining national parks straddling the South African and Botswana borders. An abundance of wildlife including 200 species of birds can be observed in habitat of red sand dunes, dry river beds and occasional trees.

3. Mapungubwe National Park (Limpopo)
A World Heritage Site, the great ruins at Mapungubwe talk of human civilization in existence around 850 AD. Rich fossil deposits, Bushman rock art, giant baobab trees and riverine forests are just some of the secrets this transfrontier National Park wishes to share.

4. Greater St. Lucia Wetlands Park (Kwazulu Natal)
The third largest park in South Africa and a World Heritage Site, Greater St Lucia Wetlands Park has 328 000 hectares of scintillating scenery. The coastline boundary consists of 280km of coral reefs and pristine beaches. Other habitats contained within the park are coastal forests, lush coastal plains and woodland areas.

5. Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game Park (Kwazulu Natal)
The oldest game reserve, Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game Park prides itself in being home to Africa’s ‘Big Five’. The park has facilitated optimal viewing pleasure of lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard and rhinos which remain the prime attractions.

6. Addo Elephant Park (Eastern Cape)
This magnificently diverse national park showcases a wide variety of wildlife including the Black Rhino, species of antelope and Cape Buffalo. The park’s name takes its cue from the main attraction – the African Elephants that call the park home, numbering over 350. Apart from game viewing, visitors can also expect outdoor adventure and cultural experiences.

7. Table Mountain National Park (Cape Town and Cape Peninsula, Western Cape)
Table Mountain takes on a legendary status around the world. This natural wonder of picturesque mountains, crystal seas and bleached white sands has taken on the latest mantle of New 7 Wonders of Nature. Included in the park’s protected areas is an indigenous forest and The Cape Floristic Region which is the world’s smallest diverse floral kingdom.

8. De Hoop Nature Reserve (Whale Coast, Western Cape)
This wetland reserve located on the western Cape coastline boasts over 200 bird species, deserted beaches, rock pools and beautiful unique shrub lands (fynbos). It is also highly rated as providing the world’s best land-based whale-watching opportunities.

9. Pilanesberg Game Reserve (North West Province)
Sitting on the remnants of an alkaline volcanic crater, this national park offers a unique mosaic of mammals, birds and vegetation across 55 000 hectares which is attributed to the reserve’s location traversing the dry Kalahari and wetter Lowveld vegetation.

10. Garden Route National Park
A jewel in South Africa’s crown of wildlife conservation areas, Garden Route National Park, situated on the southern coastline, harmoniously blends a diversity of landscapes, seascapes, forests and mountains into a picture perfect natural and cultural heritage.

Picture credit: addoadventure.com

Walking Safari

Safari walking tours: the ultimate bush adventure

Safari walking tours not only provides the ultimate bush adventure activity for the discerning tourist, but allows for an invaluable intimate experience with nature that can be enjoyed by all ages. Take delight in discovering diverse landscapes and terrains, ancient secrets of Mother Nature in the wilderness and get up close and personal with the fascinating flora and flora of the African bush.

Superb guided walking safaris excursions are offered throughout South Africa’s comprehensive network of abundant National Parks and game reserves. Numerous options of walking safaris are available to choose from. The choices range from guided night walks, single day tours to multi-day walking trails. More in depth information on types, duration and accommodation is available from individual safari walking tour companies, National Parks or safari lodges.

The unique features of walking safari tours are what make this type of adventure highly popular with international visitors. On a walking safari through a game reserve or national park, you get to identify animal tracks, track game and bird watch while at the same time learning about the habitats and natural balance of nature. Of the multitude of animals to be spotted, the popular are lions, elephant herds, rhinos, giraffe, antelope, zebra, wild pigs, crocodiles, hippos and a diverse variety of birds.

In the interests of safety and in experiencing the ultimate bush experience, it is strongly suggested that tourists opt for guided walking safari tours. This segment of the tourist industry has been revolutionized of late and rangers and field guides have undergone extensive training to provide superior service. Take advantage of experienced and expert field guides and their intimate knowledge of the area, indigenous vegetation, wildlife that can be observed and the accompanying history and legends that came before. Guides instruct visitors on the appropriate etiquette to observe whilst in the bush, and what to do upon sighting animals in the wild. Rule number one is never to approach any of the animals you encounter and to keep a safe distance away.

Perfect for the adventurous tourist, walking safaris bring you within feet of Africa’s great wildlife.
The sights and sounds of the African bushveld are open to any able bodied tourist with a moderate fitness level. Depending on the length and duration of your guided walking safari tour, trails can either provide leisurely walks at a relaxed pace or exhilarating walks through the bushveld that gets the adrenaline pumping. Walking safaris can be complemented perfectly with game drives or horseback riding safaris for comprehensive game viewing pleasure.

Essential items to pack for a walking safari should include comfortable, long socks with a good quality pair of walking or hiking shoes, a hat that protects the head and neck, sunscreen lotion, sunglasses, pair of binoculars, powerful torch and a camera is highly recommended too. Light coloured clothing with long sleeved shirts and trousers are more favourable while trekking through the bush under the hot African sun. Digitally record your authentic bush experience, and relive the magic again and again when sharing with family and friends.

While South Africa is fortunate to be blessed with wonderful welcoming weather all year round, the most opportune wildlife watching season is during the winter months (April to December) when animals tend to populate rivers and waterholes, and when foliage is sparse. Officials advise international visitors to plan walking safari tours well in advance to be able to select from the best camps and tours available.

Picture credit: safari.co.uk

Durban South Africa

Durban’s top six tourist delights for the international visitor

The tropical coastal city of Durban, nestled comfortably on the Indian Ocean, has many world class attractions to offer the international visitor. Lovingly labelled by the locals as ‘South Africa’s playground’, Durban is famed for its fantastic warm weather that is enjoyed all year round.
This melting pot of cultures from African, European to Indian showcases a wide variety of tantalising delights to attract, amuse and amaze international and local visitors alike. A list of the top six must-sees:

1. uShaka Marine World
uShaka Marine World constitutes Africa’s largest marine theme park. This must-see attraction provides plenty of fun for all ages. Daring rides, aquatic pools, spectacular dolphin shows and a variety of fast food establishments serving great food promise an invitation to non-stop unrivalled entertainment. The extensive collection of ocean life on display attribute to uShaka being the fifth largest aquarium in the world.

2. Moses Mabida Stadium
Head out to the Moses Mabida Stadium for daring adventure activities. This world class sports stadium is one of the latest additions to iconic buildings in Durban. What can be more fun than the gravity challenging SkyCar ride to the Arch of Triumph summit (over 100 metres high) or opt for the Adventure Walk and walk 500 steps to the sky platform for awesome aerial views of the city and coastline.

3. Wilson’s Wharf
Whether during the day or at night, Wilson’s Wharf showcases Durban’s trendiest fusion of fun, food and craft markets on the edge of a boating marina. Situated on the Victoria Embankment, comfortably cushioned between the Yacht Mole and Sugar Terminal, Wilson’s Wharf is the perfect place to enjoy a musical and theatrical festival, spend quality time with loved ones, bask in glorious sunshine or admire the splendor of city lights glimmering on the harbor waters at night time.

4. The Botanical Gardens
The Botanical Gardens feature over 475 species of trees as well as the largest cycad and palm exhibits. Also housed within the stunning gardens is the herbarium, a tea garden and the Braille trail. South Africa’s oldest Jacaranda tree calls the Botanical Gardens home. Another claim to fame is the Encephalartos Woodii cycad which is showcased here. Its history began almost a hundred years ago when it was transported from the Ngoye forest. This particular cycad is regarded as the rarest plant in the world.

5. The Umgeni River Bird Park
The Umgeni River Bird Park, enclosed within 4 hectares is home to more than 3 000 indigenous and exotic birds, in addition to a multitude of endangered species. Abundant tropical plant life, waterfalls and palm trees contribute to the aesthetics of this whole family attraction.

6. Umhlanga Rocks Beachfront
KwaZulu Natal’s very own ‘Beverly Hills’ by the sea, Umhlanga Rocks is a popular top tourist destination. This up market and sophisticated holiday resort sports first world accommodation and shopping centres. Over 200 km of glorious golden beaches, surfing, deep sea fishing, whale watching, scuba diving, microlight flips, kite boarding as well as a game of golf at a nearby top golf course are just some of the activities that international visitors may delight in.