New Zealand

South African visa free destination of the month: New Zealand

The many star attractions of this island nation place it on the holiday map of many South Africans wanting a unique and fun travel experience. The fact that South African passport holders do not need a visa to enter New Zealand is also a contributing factor to this country being a holiday destination of choice. This month we shine the spotlight on New Zealand being the visa free destination of the month.

New Zealand, also referred to as “Paradise of the Pacific”, proudly boasts of picturesque natural beauty and wildlife unique to this part of the world. This holidaymaker’s playground offers adventure and fun of all kinds from extreme sport to wildlife viewing to cultural landmarks that tell stories of local history and culture.

The beauty of New Zealand and its boundless natural wonders looms large; after having being captured on celluloid a wave of tourists have been rushing into the country for a tour of film locations. Thanks to movies filmed there like the Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Hobbit, Whale Rider and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe which celebrate the stunning diverse landscapes that shape this island nation; tourism has been given a major boost.

Stunning diverse natural landscapes that stretch across both islands that comprise New Zealand include glaciers, white-sand beaches, fjords, rain forests, alpine lakes, agricultural plains, and volcanic craters and cones that form the perfect backdrop for many of the adventure activities that can be enjoyed in this part of the world.

Widely regarded as a backpacker’s paradise, a visit to New Zealand can accommodate the tastes and comforts of all visitors. Whether you’re inclined to luxurious comfort, or eco-lodges, farm-stays or even comfortable bed and breakfasts; New Zealand has the proper infrastructure to facilitate an enjoyable travel experience.

Some of the star attractions that are highly recommended for holidaymakers to experience the wonders of New Zealand are:
• Hike the Tongariro Crossing which is said to be the world’s greatest one day walk or do the Tongariro Alpine Crossing on North Island;
• Spot glow worms in the Waitomo caves;
• Sample a traditional Hangi feast in Rotorua;
• Enjoy a game of golf. New Zealand is home to three of the ‘Top 100 Golf Courses in the World’;
• View rare species of wildlife such as the Hooker Sea Lions, the nearly extinct Yellow Eyed Penguins and a 160 million year old fossilized forest in the Catlins region;
• The Bay of Islands is a 100-island maze which is a haven for sailing, boating, and big-game fishing;
• Queenstown has the reputation of being the ‘Adventure Capital of the World’. Hiking, skiing, paragliding, white-water rafting and kayaking opportunities abound in the surrounding landscapes of ski slopes, rivers, and alpine areas.

Family-friendly New Zealand offers a wide variety of entertainment activities that encompass a fun holiday experience for South African travellers. Why not mark this visa free destination for your next holiday adventure?

Pretoria Union Buildings

16 Free Things to do in South Africa

The best part of a visit to South Africa is the plenty of family-friendly free things to do both locals and visitors can enjoy. Every major city in South Africa boasts of free activities a visitor can do. Here are some of our top picks:


1. Visit the largest transport museum in the country – the James Hall Museum of Transport.
2. Johannesburg houses world class art galleries such as the Johannesburg Art Gallery and the Goodman Gallery in Rosebank where illustrious names such as William Kentridge, Picasso, Monet and Degas adorn the walls.
3. Spend a wonderful afternoon with the entire family at Museum Afrika in the Newtown precinct.
4. Slow down the pace at Zoo Lake. The serenity offers a welcome getaway from the energetic pulse of the city.
5. Johannesburg’s botanical gardens and nature reserves are a tribute to the glorious beauty of Mother Nature. They provide the perfect spot for a picnic or photo opportunities with loved ones.

Cape Town:

6. The South African Astronomical Observatory hosts 45 minute presentations on Open Nights (held every second and fourth Saturday of the month in the evenings). Topics are announced before hand and the public are welcome to join the tour of the site and be amazed by star gazing opportunities.
7. A free tour that provides a fascinating and behind the scenes look into the creation of diamonds is the Diamond tours at Shimansky located at Clock Tower, V & A Waterfront.
8. A leisurely stroll along one of Cape Town’s many beautiful beaches offers wonderful scenic views.
9. Green Point Park is a stunning landscaped garden that features more than 300 indigenous plant species. Visitors of all ages will enjoy this cleverly designed greenway.


10. Durban flea markets are popular with both locals and visitors. Notable among the many markets in the city is the Essenwood Street Market which is open every Saturday morning.
11. Visit the most famous building in Durban designed in modern renaissance style – the Durban City Hall. Also on site are the eThekeini Art Gallery and the Natural Science Museum which features a unique range of stuffed animals, a dodo skeleton and the only ancient Egyptian mummy in the country.
12. The Durban Cultural and Documentation Centre has on show cultural artefacts, paintings, traditional clothing and jewellery of the Indian culture.
13. The Japanese Garden is a quaint landscaped garden characterized by oriental gardens, koi ponds and temples that provide unrivalled photographic opportunities.


14. Austin Roberts Bird Sanctuary is a beautiful nature reserve with no entrance fee situated in central Pretoria where visitors can view fauna such as cranes and other birdlife, small sized deer and tortoises.
15. The terraced gardens, statues and monuments on the grounds of the Union Buildings are well worth a visit.
16. For architectural buffs, Church Square in the centre of the city displays a number of examples of 19th and 20th century designed buildings.

South Africa has a wide variety of entertainment activities that are free for international and local visitors to indulge in. The culturally inclined tourists and wildlife enthusiasts will find ample opportunities to take delight in and which showcase the extraordinary attractions the country has to offer.

Cape Town

10 reasons to visit South Africa

South Africa is a land of diverse beauty; bursting at the seams with cultural and historical treasures that do not fail to amaze holidaymakers. The breathtaking varied natural landscapes, ancient historical roots, incomparable opportunities to appreciate wildlife and a rainbow of colourful cultural traditions, all make for a memorable holiday experience.

Whether you’d like to soak up some history or encounter amazing wildlife or enjoy an adrenaline-packed adventure, this is a favourite destination of choice. Top ten reasons to put South Africa on your travel map are:

1. The thrill seekers paradise
South Africa has ample adrenaline-driven adventures to offer thrill seeking holidaymakers. The coastal city of Durban, situated along the Indian Ocean, is famed for its Shark Cage Diving expeditions. The Bloukrans River Bridge in the Western Cape is the world’s highest bridge for bungee jumping opportunities.

2. Sun, surf and sand
Blessed with holiday-friendly weather, South Africa’s beaches are highly sought after. The southern city of Cape Town is the country’s top holiday beach destination with plenty of Blue Flag labelled beaches for safe and clean fun.

3. Unrivalled places of interest
For a unique and exciting line up of attractions, South Africa is hard to beat. Johannesburg, Africa’s iconic city, has ample cultural and historical landmarks to satisfy any tourist. World renowned art galleries, tributes to Nobel Laureates, spectacular landscaped gardens and the Cradle of Humankind all vie for the attentions of the holidaymaker.

4. Natural wonders
A wealth of natural wonders throughout the country waits to be explored by the imaginative traveller. World Heritage sites, mountains, waterfalls, brunt crater, caves, canyons and beaches create an overwhelming number of activities for the visitor to choose from.

5. Wildlife
South Africa is home to one of the largest game reserves in the world. The iconic Kruger National Park is a firm favourite with both locals and international visitors. The Elephant Sanctuary in Hartbeestpoort Dam, easily accessible from Johannesburg, provide an unforgettable experience with their walk with the elephants tour.

6. The Rainbow Nation
The friendly locals form part of the attractions of a holiday to South Africa. Dubbed the Rainbow Nation by the legendary face of freedom and democracy, Nelson Mandela; the country is home to diverse vibrant colourful cultures.

7. Value for money
South Africa makes for an affordable holiday destination. The weak Rand when compared to the stronger currencies such as the US dollar, Pound or Euro presents ideal opportunities to take advantage of world class attractions.

8. No language barriers
English is the dominant of the 11 official languages South Africa is blessed with. Engaging with the friendly locals, ordering at a restaurant or booking a city tour is hassle-free.

9. Excellent infrastructure
On a visit to South Africa a visitor may easily forget he or she is in Africa. The country boasts an excellent infrastructure that facilitates great self-drive adventures; and a developed telecommunication system to keep you in touch with your loved ones.

10. Food, Food, Food
South Africa’s local cuisine is influenced by its multicultural heritage. Traditional African, European and Asian influences mark the variety of dishes available. South African wine estates produce some of the world’s most favoured wines.

Tortue museum

7 Weird museums around the globe

The list of the world’s most weird and strange extends to include museums around the globe that have become tourist attractions noted for the bizarre collections housed within their walls. If ever you’re in one of the destinations listed below and find yourself wanting a taste of something different, a visit to one of these weird museums will definitely provide something out of the ordinary.

Dog Collar Museum – Leeds, UK

Leeds Castle, stretching across 500 acres of land, showcases a ‘unique collection of historic and fascinating dog collars’. The collection, which has more than 100 dog collars and other related items, tells a canine cuff tale which spans five centuries. Visitors can marvel at hunting dogs’ strong collars to 21st-century fashion bling collars. Also exhibited at the castle is a more conventional display of Henry VIII memorabilia.

The Museum of Bad Art – Boston, USA

The Museum of Bad Art is the only museum in the world devoted to the collection, preservation, exhibition and celebration of bad art in all its forms. The museum has in its collection over 400 of terrible art pieces. Only 40 pieces can be exhibited at a time due to space constrictions. Specific themes on display include ‘blue people’, ‘poor traits’ and ‘unlikely landscapes, seascapes and still lifes’. Art pieces depict conflicting colours, disproportionate figures and a general lack of talent that do not fail to amuse visitors to the museum.

Museum of Medieval Torture Instruments – Prague, Czech Republic

Ever wondered how confessions were extracted in the Middle Ages? The Museum of Medieval Torture Instruments has on display more than 60 torture devices used to forcibly gain confessions from alleged heretics; one such instrument is the Head Crusher. Also on hand are tutorials which helpfully explain how each device is used.

Leila’s Hair Museum – Missouri, USA

The strange artifacts found in Leila’s Hair Museum consist of human hair. Wreaths, bracelets, pictures and other fascinating objects d’art have been fashioned out of beards, fringes and other human hair cut offs. More than 2 000 items are exhibited.

Parasite Museum – Tokyo, Japan

Where would you find 300 different varieties of parasites all in one place? The parasite museum in Tokyo, founded by four scientists specialising in parasites, also doubles as a research facility. Pride of place is given to a 30 foot tapeworm that was pulled out of a woman.

Museum of Funeral Carriages – Barcelona, Spain

Macabre it may be but the Museum of Funeral Carriages is a top attraction for visitors to Barcelona. Anyone wanting to have a look at 18th century flamboyant funeral carriages need to first report to the Municipal’s Funeral Services. They will then be directed to the basement by a security guard where the exhibition is under lock and key.

Currywurst Museum – Berlin, Germany

The city of Berlin boasts plenty of world class attractions. The existence of the Currywurst museum, in all its ketchup red splendor, may raise a few eyebrows but the currywurst is the national favourite dish in Germany. Learn all there is to know about this spicy sausage delight, experience a sensory explosion or be a pretend cart owner behind a mock currywurst stand.


5 Things to do on holiday in the Maldives – the world’s best tropical beach destination

The sun-kissed islands of Maldives have long been held as a favourite destination for holidaymakers. This tourist hotspot comprise of 1 190 islands stretched across 35 000 miles in the Indian Ocean and is regarded to be the world’s best tropical beach destination. While the Maldives islands presents a haven for water sports lovers, there are a variety of other ways in which to enjoy a holiday here island-style.

1. Take in a spa treatment
The secluded setting of tropical islands and the soothing sound of the waves, soft sand beneath your feet and dazzling blue skies above will envelope you in a cocoon of relaxation and serenity. Indulge yourself in world class spa treatments every resort in the Maldives offers. Luxury treatments and packages vary depending on which resort you choose.

2. An aerial Seaplane Photo Flight tour for the perfect view of the islands
The spectacular panoramic views of the Maldives islands offered by Seaplane photo flight tours are magical and definitely worth an experience. Fly over crystal clear pristine waters, unspoilt islands, lagoons, and be mesmerised by sightings of schools of fish and dolphins, manta and sting rays from above. This experience is one of the most memorable highlights on a visitor’s itinerary list.

3. Night fishing reef adventures
Seeing that the Maldives are an island nation, it comes as no surprise that fishing is interlaced in Maldivian culture from daily activities to cuisine. On a night fishing experience (which many resorts offer) you get to experience authentic island life. The boat departs just before sundown to settle at a perfect fishing spot. You will be instructed on how to use lines, hooks and sinkers; and with bait provided even the inexperienced in fishing stand a great chance of catching a fish.

4. Sightseeing around the capital
The city of Male’ is not only the capital of the Maldives, but the smallest capital city of all capital cities. The diminutive size does not impact on the number of attractions offered to tourists. The foremost among which is the National Museum located in the former Sultan’s Palace. The museum boasts valuable relics, regal objects and artefacts dated from the pre-Islamic era.

5. Scuba dive at the Maldives Victory
The Maldives Victory vessel makes for an extraordinary scuba diving experience. The ship which sunk in 1981 is nestled below the waves on the Hulhule House Reef. What makes scuba diving here extra special and a favourite with enthusiasts of the sport is navigating through the tricky currents, the abundance in picturesque fresh coral and dazzlingly colourful schools of fish. For those novice scuba divers wanting the experience, expert guides are available.

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.

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

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.

Paris, France

12 things not to miss in Paris

Lovingly referred to as the ‘City of Love’ or the ‘City of Light’, Paris has become a leading centre in the worlds of fashion, art and entertainment. With a history going back thousands of years, the city holds plenty of treasures no tourist should miss out on. Here is our list of 12:

1. The Musee d’Orsay
This grand museum showcases the world’s foremost collected works of impressionist paintings. Several rooms are dedicated to art work by masters like Monet, Van Gogh, Renoir Dega and Cezanne during the mid 1800s and first half of the 1900s where they can be viewed and appreciated.

2. The Luxembourg Gardens
Paris’ second largest public park, The Luxembourg Gardens as it is known in English, delights the senses of sight and smell. Exquisite lawns, landscaped gardens, fruit orchards displaying characteristic features of statues and fountains. Apart from its aesthetic value, housed within the gardens is a playground which promises loads of fun for children; tennis courts and jogging paths.

3. Cruise down the Seine River
An unforgettable experience with an amazing view of Paris from the river Seine can be had on one of the many river cruises on offer. There is the choice of hop-on and hop-off tours which provide a different take on the city. Choose a night tour to make the experience all the more special.

4. The Sacre Coeur
The Sacre Coeur basilica is favourably placed at the highest point of Paris to provide unbeatable panoramic views of the City of Light for which it is famous. Other incentives to visit this basilica, sanctified in 1909, are to see its stained glass windows and gold mosaics.

5. Place de la Concorde
One of the symbols of reconciliation in post-revolutionary France is Place de la Concorde, boasting an area of 86,400 metres; it is the largest square in Paris.

6. The Sorbonne and the Latin Quarter
A visit to one of Europe’s oldest and flourishing universities, Sorbonne University is a real treat for tourists. Founded in 1257 the university has schooled renowned names like Rene Descartes, Jean-Paul Sarte and Simone de Beauvoir.

7. Centre Georges Pompidou
The locals lovingly refer to this art museum and cultural centre as Paris’ ‘cultural pulse’. The museum was opened in 1977 in honour of president Georges Pompidou. The museum’s unique skeletal design draws many visitors who are either mesmerized or appalled by the design.

8. The Louvre Museum
No tourist can visit Paris without paying homage to the world’s most famous art works housed within the Louvre Museum. Its signature glass pyramid is one of the city’s more famous landmarks. An art collection in excess of 1 million is proudly showcased here including Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Mona Lisa’ and works by Michelangelo.

9. The Eiffel Tower
Constructed in 1889 and at a staggering 1 000 feet high in the Champs de Mars park, the Eiffel Tower remains one of the most popular attractions for tourists the world over. Incredible views and photographic opportunities of the city is afforded by it enormous height advantage.

10. Notre Dame Cathedral
Featuring two elevated towers, a spire and soaring 400 feet high, the Notre Dame church is a perfect example of French Gothic architecture of the 13th century. Visitors await an awe-inspiring glimpse of rose windows, Gothic carvings and sculptures.

11. The Arc de Triomphe
Built in 1806 in tribute to Napoleon Bonaparte’s triumphant battles, the Arc de Triomphe is one of Paris’ most popular attractions. Intricate reliefs which tell of the victorious battles as well as the names of the brave soldiers who gave their lives for their country are engraved on the arch.

12. Champs–Elysees
The city of Paris holds its major celebrations on this world-famous avenue from New Year’s Eve to military parades on the 14th of July. Situated along the avenue are cinemas, cafes and shops for the indulgent. Fabulous landscaped gardens and fountains can be found near Place de la Concorde.

New York City

7 Essential things to see in New York City

Few cities can compare with the wealth of attractions that New York has to offer a visitor. It can be overwhelming for the first-time tourist to New York to decide what to see as the list of top attractions is extensive. Whilst there can be no definitive list, our top 7 of must-sees appear below:

1. The unbeatable skyline of New York City
New York’s skyline is one of the most instantly recognizable in the world and that leaves most that look upon it, awe-struck. Iconic high rise buildings, monuments and bridges create a spectacular feast for the eyes. The aerial view provided 86th floor observation deck, 1 050 feet high, of the Empire State building is second to none.

2. Times Square
Time Square is one the classic attraction for both local and international visitors. Its characteristic gigantic digital billboards’ bright lights, art and jewelry peddlers, Broadway shows, restaurants and big brands’ flagship stores offer a colourful eclectic mix that tantalizes all the senses.

3. Central Park
Located in the pulsing heart of Manhattan, is a manmade modern masterpiece – Central Park. Traversing 843 acres, this urban oases comprises of rolling fields, walking trails and suitably placed lakes and reservoirs. Central Park on its own showcases plenty of attractions for the visitor to delight in: Cantral Park Zoo, the Great Lawn, Wollman Rink, Rumsey Playfield, Belverdere Castle are just some of the highlights to experience here.

4. Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
One of the most instantly recognizable landmark is the Statue of Liberty. This iconic Lady symbolizes a beacon of hope and freedom to millions who set eyes on her. The 125-year old statue can be accessed easily via a short ferry ride to Liberty Island.

5. Bronx Zoo
The Bronx Zoo is considered the largest urban wildlife preserve housed within the United States. More than 5 000 animals call the 265 acre Bronx Zoo home. Zebras, lions, giraffes, baboons, lemurs, crocodiles, sea lions, penguins, tigers, antelope are just some of the wildlife that can be viewed. Visitors are invited to excite the senses on the Wild Asia Monorail, or gaze in awe at the World of Birds or World of Reptiles.

6. National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center
It is well worth a visit to stop by the National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center. The eight acre memorial is in tribute to the 3 000 victims who lost their lives due to the terrorist attacks on February 26, 1993, and September 11, 2001. A sanctuary featuring more than 400 trees offer visitors a space of quiet reflection to think of the lives that were lost. Two large reflecting pools fed from waterfalls have the names of the men, women and children inscribed in its bronze walls. A short distance away lays the 9/11 Tribute Center where photos are displayed and where visitors are invited on walking tours that remember what took place during those horrific events.

7. Staten Island Ferry
A glorious view of the New York Harbor and the Manhattan skyline can be had on a free short 25 minute ferry ride from Lower Manhattan to Staten Island. The ferry service is offered 24 hours a day with stops at St. George Ferry Terminal. Attractions which are fed by the ferry service include: the Staten Island Museum, St George Theater, Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden.