THE SPICE BOWL
This has to be the coolest food invention in history. Imana Foods (Brand name Top Class) makes these wonderful spice bowls available at good grocery stores all over South Africa. You select one of the varieties, open up the container and you will find a pack of spice. Open it up and place back inside the container. Now put meat, vegetables, anything in, close and shake! You now have some great tasting spices on everything. The container is rock hard and seals perfectly for transport. You can also add more spice to water to make stews and soups. This is a fantastic invention. Don’t forget to take some home with you!
Well done Imana Food people!Related to:
- Budget Travel
- Family Travel
- Food and Dining
Pilanesberg Game Reserve was an ambitious economic decision to benefit the area locals and to also compliment the Sun City Resort. The reserve lies in a prehistoric volcanic crater which attributes to the perfect circular layout.
The reserve had to be "re-stocked" due to the overgrazed farmlands that occupied this area and 6,000 mammals of about 19 different species were re-introduced as well as a large variety of birds within the reserve. All foreign or alien plants were removed and replaced with indigenous ones. Any trace of human occupancy was removed. It definitely was an ambitious undertaking aptly named "Operation Genesis."
I had a few days in Jo'berg before my return home and since I wanted to see and photograph as many of South Africa's animals as possible, I decided to do a day trip to Pilanesberg Game Reserve. I was happy I decided to visit this reserve as it afforded me the possibility of seeing a large variety of birds that I did not see in Kruger.
Although there aren't any guarantees that you'll see all of the animals in the reserve, you are sure many. The "Big 5" (Elephant, Rhino, Buffalo, Lions and Leopards) can also be found here, although during my visit I only saw two of the Big 5, elephants and rhino.
We spotted rhino on 5 different occasions, which the driver stated was rare. We saw many zebra, a herd of elephants, wildebeest, many different antelopes, warthogs, giraffe, and many species of birds.Related to:
- National/State Park
Santa Lucia - Cape Vidal
Fascinating location in KwaZulu-Natal province, Cape Vidal (near Santa Lucia) is in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park and has a long and wide beach.
Picture taken at low tide when the vast sand area is criss-crossed by streams of receding seawater.Related to:
- National/State Park
Visit Camdeboo National Park
The Camdeboo National Park is located in the Karoo - and almost surrounds the town of Graaff-Reinet. Home to some rare Cape Mountain zebras and spectacular views over the plains, there is accommodation available or the Park is a very short, easy drive from Graaf-Reinet. The dolerite peaks of the Valley of Desolation provide an excellent lookout and are spectacular themselves.
To enter the Park there is a daily conservation fee to be paid: for foreign visitors it is R80 per day for adults and R40 per day for children. Accommodation availability can be checked and booked on the Sanparks website to stay in the park, or there is accommodation available in Graaff-Reinet.
Car hire is available in Graaff-Reinet and the town is accessible by bus.Related to:
- National/State Park
Bourke's Luck Potholes
These potholes were formed over millions of years and mark the beginning of the Blyde River Canyon. They were named for a miner who thought there was gold there. It is fun to explore and the visitor center has a lot of good info on the geography and ecology of the area.
This was a gold rush town in the Mpumalanga province near Graskop, starting in 1873. Mining shut down and the town became a national monument. It has been restored with a famous hotel (The Royal Hotel) but I found it hard to explore with little guidance and lots of aggressive touts. Still, if you're in the area, it is worth a quick stop. I understand you can pan for gold here but did not look into it while I was there.Related to:
- Historical Travel
This is a nice viewpoint along the Panorama Route in northeastern South Africa. When I was there, a heavy haze affected the view and though I waited it out it never cleared much. There was also a rainforest area, reached after a pretty good climb.Related to:
- Jungle and Rain Forest
Three Pools Hike
This is a short hike I was told about at my B&B, The Old Hatchery, near Underberg. The trail just follows 4 X 4 tracks to the stream. I had the trail to myself and it was the perfect way to get out and enjoy the mountains. Hike farther and you can see Bushman's Rock but I didn't have time to go that far.
You get your hiking pass at the leasing office of Lake Naverone for a small fee (I think it was around $3).Related to:
- Hiking and Walking
Phezulu Safari Park
This is about 20 miles from Durban and, while certainly touristy, gives a little taste of Zulu culture for those of us who have been little exposed to it. They offer a half hour dance show in a Zulu village as well as a decent crocodile and snake park. It also has very nice views of the Valley of 1000 Hills. They also have a really good gift shop and a nice restaurant where you can enjoy those views.
I had read about this but really stumbled on to it while I was in the Winelands. The views are just incredible with plenty of opportunities to pull over and take pictures. You have to dodge the baboons a bit and there were long waits for construction when I was there but it was well worth it.
La Motte Winery
I just had the chance to go to one winery during my visit to the Winelands. This was recommended and the location was right so I went to it. The estate was beautiful, the wines in the tasting were really good and generously served (though they are not available in the U.S.), and they give an informative 30 minute tour.Related to:
- Wine Tasting
This is at a the tip of the Cape Peninsula, a mile or so from the Cape of Good Hope. It offers more than the latter, including its famous lighthouse, a good restaurant, a gift store, and a cable car ride up. And the views are amazing. Baboons apparently hang out in the parking lot but I saw none when I was there. It is part of the Table Mountain National Park.
Just outside Cape Town, this winery started more than 300 years ago. It is in a beautiful spot and I loved the Cape Dutch architecture. They have a tasting room and also a good restaurant.
The Hop-On, Hop-Off bus has a special line for this and two other wineries near Cape Town.Related to:
- Wine Tasting
No first visit to Cape Town is complete without a trip to Table Mountain. I made two in one day. I headed there early in the morning although it was very misty with the "Table Cloth" covering the plateau. But the weather forecast was not promising so I went anyway. I actually the eerie feeling of it up there as I hiked the length of the plateau with the place almost to myself but missed the views. I left around noon and then noticed a few hours later that the day had turned out to be gorgeous. So I made my way back and was even allowed to go up in the cable car for free after I explained that I had been there that morning. And the views were spectacular. I was glad I got to see this great site both ways.
The attached photos are from the morning walk. The pics from the afternoon are in my travelogue.
This is a beautiful area with a big shopping mall and many other shops and restaurants. It is a perfect spot to grab a bite or a drink while people watching in a picture perfect setting. It is also the starting place for a lot of tours and the home of Nobel Square, where South Africa's fourth Nobel Peace Prize winners (Luthuli, Tutu, DeKlerk and Mandela) are commemorated.
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