Perhaps this isn't off the beaten path for the locals. Tourists who love hiking and rock climbing are also likely to have this on their radar.
The Cederberg Wilderness Area is an area of outstanding natural beauty and is around 200 kms or 2 hours of driving north of Cape Town.
The Cederberg region is served by two main towns being Citrusdal in the south to Clanwilliam in the north. I think the towns are similar in terms of facilities, however we stayed at Clanwilliam and certainly found that to be a good base to explore the area.
The Wilderness region goes from the Middelberg Pass (near Citrusdal) to north of the Pakhuis Pass (near Clanwilliam), and comprises 71 000 ha of rugged, mountainous terrain. We drove a large road loop that took around 6 hours of driving time.
The Cederberg is renowned for its spectacular landscapes and rock formations, as well as its namesake, the increasingly rare Clanwilliam cedar tree. Weathered sandstone formations, most notably the Wolfberg Arch and the Maltese Cross, are typical of the Cederberg and can be found down various hiking routes. A number of SANS rock art can be found at various caves and ricky overhangs and adds to the atmosphere of the place.
which led me to
Soweto's SS Poppis 'n Poppiand
Collector's treasury in Joeys
When visiting South Africa, I felt it was a MUST DO for myself to not only visit the absolutely bright sides of this country, but also find out a little bit about the social and cultural difficulties. When browsing the internet I found quite a few companies that offered "Township Tours" in or near Cape Town. But the idea of sitting in a bus and driving through a township, taking pictures of the people there as if they were objects in a museum or animals in the zoo, was not what I wanted!
Friends recommended to get in touch with Selwyn Davidowitz - and he was the perfect "partner" for this venture! The statement that impressed me most was; "I do not do Township TOURS - I visit townships and I will be happy to take you along to one of these visits". And that was exactly what I had been looking for!
There were just the 3 of us: Selwyn, my husband and I and before visiting Kayamandi, Selwyn took us to the Language Monument and gave us some background on the South African history!
Our visit to Kayamandi was unbelievable. As Selwyn had pointed out, there was no time frame to the visit, depending on many things it could last only 1 1/2 hours or 6 hours - and believe it or not, we had to stop after 6 hours, because we needed to get home!!! We could have stayed even longer!
What we experienced there really had a strong impact on me - we met lovely, warm-hearted people, kids with big smiles on their faces, but also young people with little perspective on life - an experience I will never ever forget. Here is a short summary of our day with Selwyn
Okay, the "cultural tour" was not cheap, but there were two reasons why every penny is well spent: the most sensitive guidance and information, the chances to get to talk to people, the tailormade emphasis on things you want to know was fantastic and then most of the money you pay will go back to projects in this very township, so the people there actually benefit from it!
John Kani is one of South Africa's great actors.
Born in New Brighton, a black township in Port Elizabeth, in 1943, he used the stage as a platform for political activism. In 1985 this nearly cost him his life. New Brighton is off the beaten path for tourists. Even Port Elizabeth tends to be off the beaten path for tourists, yet many great political activists came from Port Elizabeth.
Working with Sandra Prinsloo at The Baxter Theatre in Cape Town in a production, “Miss Julie” in 1985, the thespian pair had the first interracial stage kiss in the official history of South Africa. John Kani was stabbed eleven times by someone who didn't approve. Fortunately he survived.
In 1988, in a production of Othello at The Market Theatre (which production I saw) he became the first black Othello to be paired with a white Desdamona (Joanne Weinberg) by director Janet Suzman (niece to the legendary Helen Suzman). During that production I kept expecting the apartheid police to burst in and arrest everyone, or at least Kani and Weinberg.
What made me think about this was that I have just discovered that that production was captured on film and is available through Naxos on DVD. No, not suggesting anyone buy it, but it is an interesting snippet of South African history.
John Kani is currently the Artistic Director of The Market Theatre. He has written, directed and acted in various plays and the photograph is of him performing in one of the most famous of them, Nothing But The Truth.
These are deserving performing and visual artists who are under forty years old. They are given a boost by Standard Bank, which, amongst other things, commissions work from them for the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown in July each year.
Keep your eyes open on local arts pages (a good one is www.artslink.co.za) for these young artists.
Kelebogile Boikanyo for music (she is an opera singer, a soprano and only 24 years old); Mikhael Subotzky for visual art (photographer); Princess Zinzi Mhlongo for theatre (director); Bailey Snyman for dance (he is a choreographer) and Africa Mkhize for jazz (he is a wonderful pianist).
It is not always easy to access where these artists can be seen as they don't, obviously, have public work on display at all times, but if you are planning to attend the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown in July they will definitely be there.
Because their great talent will linger on in future years too this tip won't date in respect of being assured of an interesting arts experience down the line.
Claudia Henkel was crowned Miss South Africa for 2004.
The Miss South Africa Pagent will take place later this year. She will also be part-taking in the Miss World Competition later this year.
Well if you wanna get a glimpse of the Babes from South Africa take a look at the website :0)
Wilderness National Park is an beautiful estuary system that combines, wetlands, rivers, ocean, waterfalls, and hills. The park includes a strech from the Touw River mouth which opens to the Indian ocean a gorgous beaches to the Swartvlei estuary and beyond. It is rich in birdlife with over 250 species of birds recorded with the Knysna lourie and the various kingfishers. There is plenty of good accomodation including facilities at the main rest camp that is right in the middle of the lake system and Fairy Knowe which is nearby on a beautiful old farm. There is plenty of hiking in the park with well marked paths.
The ocean is nearby with a large beautiful beach and the small village of Wilderness nearby has some small food stores and restaurants as well as a petrol station.
The park is very accessible and a vehicle is not at all needed.
a dreaded word - means Legislated Racial Discrimination
especially for those who experienced it from the wrong side
in it's various intensities.
a sweet sour aspect of South Africa 1652-1994
ten years after SuidAfrika's Uhuru
too many have left,
but their hearts remain in their Fatherland
braais, wyn, putu, mampoer, maheu and njama
are familiar items that remind us -
SuidAfrikaanse Diasporian our origins
both good, bad
dis nog a lekkah land
challenged and moving ahead
I didn't take the time to hike these mountains but the friends of mine who did really enjoyed it. We did drive through the area and took some lovely photo's like the one I've attached. We stopped and had brunch at a little hotel in the area called Little Switzerland and soaked in the view. I have a restaurant tip for it if you'd like to find the contact information for it.
The hiking is supposed to be amazing as well as the bird-watching if you're into that. I will definitely try to spend more time there my next time around. The following excerpt comes from the very detailed and helpful website I gave the link for below...
"The Drakensberg mountains of South Africa or uKhahlamba (the Barrier of Spears) is a 200-kilometre-long mountainous wonderland and world heritage site. The largest proportion of the South African component of this area falls in the kingdom of KwaZulu-Natal."
It's this beautiful place with crazy rocks jutting out over nothing and waterfalls, and abseiling. Many of my friends did the jump. It looked awesome though! On the drive around the gorge, Ron threw on the brakes and jumped out to watch a Puff Adder slither across the road. It was rather small, but they're supposed to be very poisonous. I couldn't get quite as comforatable walking through the weeds after that. Where there's one, there's more. That's my motto.
There was one ledge we were all standing on and someone walked over to another vantage point and said, "wait till you see what you're standing on." We eventually made it to where he was and saw that there was nothing under us at all!
..."Take the Harding road from Port Shepstone, turn right to the Oribi Gorge (only 12 kilometers from Port Shepstone) and prepare for some breathtaking scenery and high adventure. The Oribi Gorge was formed over millions of years as the Mzimkulwana river flowed over the flat land surface and picked out fractures in the rock, gradually eroding them away and cutting deep into the earth's crust.
At the base of the cliffs there are rocks over 1000 million years old while the cliffs themselves are formed from sandstone deposited about 365 million years ago. The nature reserve is situated in the gorge, which is approximately 27 kilometers long and up to one kilometer at its widest point, and is administered by the KwaZulu-Natal Nature Conservation Service.
Due to its inaccessibility, the gorge has remained virtually untouched by man and has more than 500 plant species. It contains a wealth of semi-deciduous forests criss-crossed with antelope paths, and is home to 255 bird species and numerous small mammals including vervet and the rare samango monkeys.
For the more extreme adventures, the gorge offers the world's highest abseiling site, and in the rainy season (November to April) the river provides whitewater rafters with an adrenalin rush second to none."
We visited this tiny B&B (self-described as the smallest hotel in Africa) in the township of Khayelitsha but I didn't believe it when she told me that Vicky's B&B was in the Lonely Planet so I looked it up and Vicky Ntozini deserves the dynamic review they gave her. It's definitely not going to be found on any luxury tour but I highly recommend a township visit and if visit Vicky's, a visit to the shebeen across the street.
The Bo-Kaap district is located west of Long Street - the main avenue is De Waal Straat.
It's a muslim neighbourhood inhabited by the descendants of Malay slaves from today's Indonesia who were brought here by the Dutch colonists. They have retained their colourful Asian culture giving Kaapstad this Oriental flavour ( they are also the ones who brought curry with them among other things).
Bo-Kaap has cute little houses painted pink, yellow, blue and plenty of mosques. It's also a great place for shopping if you're a curry lover - we found this store on De Waal Straat full of spices, Middle-Eastern books.
Bo-Kaap Museum has a display of typical Bo-Kaap houses with a brief history of segregation in South Africa. We were quite shocked when looking at the photos with signs " Beach for Whites only", et.c. My sister-in-law is originally from Afghanistan - she realised that she would be discriminated against under apartheid for her Muslim roots.
Fortunately, that horrible period in S.A.'s history is over and people can fully enjoy their cultural heritage.
For me almost every place I visited here was Off The Beaten Path! I did not care less for any city or shopping mall, not even any interesting piece of architecture, but I was here for off the beaten places, even if crowded, those were all new for me, the forest, the savannah, the sea and the mountains. But if I have to name one place is it surely the Drakensberg mountains, it cannot get any better then that.
I would highly recommend this tour of the caves. The caves are situated near the Swartzberg Mountains about 30 km from Oudtschoorn.
The cost is:
I think this is an amazing site that I hope anyone going to Oudschoorn would take the time to visit.
There is something for everyone in South Africa, and wherever you are, you are never too far from nature.
Lakes, rivers, mountains, caves, beaches, winelands etc.
South Africa has an abundant and rich vegetation and exploration always brings one into contact with something new, even if you've done that route before.
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