cradle of humankind

Add these experiences to your bucket list

Is your New Year’s resolution to finally tick a South African safari off your bucket list in 2015? But did you know, there’s so much more South Africa has to offer? Here’s our selection of ten hidden gems we think are bucket list worthy!

One – The Garden Route

If you enjoy coastal drives and wine, you will not want to miss the Garden Route, a popular driving route and one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world. Bramon Wine Estate is the only Wine Estate located in the middle of The Garden Route. The restaurant is set in the vineyards and overlooks the Tsitsikamma Mountains and The Elephant Sanctuary. The wine menu compliments the menu of tapas, local cheeses, oysters, meat and freshly baked homemade bread. If you’re looking for a relaxed, long lunch after driving along the Garden Route – the atmosphere at Bramon Wine Estate is sure to help you unwind.

Bramon Wine Estate

Image source: Silke Marshall Marketing

Two – Matjiesfontein

Do you consider yourself a history buff and nostalgic for years gone by? Matjiesfontein is a tiny Victorian town in the Little Karoo that has been designated a national monument. Take a stroll through the main street and admire the white-washed houses or head to the Lord Milner Hotel for a drink. Rumour has it that the hotel is haunted! The town of Matjiesfontein offers travellers a unique experience and is a well-kept secret, but we predict for not much longer.

Lord_Milner_Hotel_at_Matjiesfontein (1)

Three – Balloon Safari

When you think of Safari, you think of South Africa. But, what if you could experience the magic of safari above the treetops? Bill Harrop’s “Original” Balloon Safaris has been in operation for over 30 years and gives visitors a unique vantage point where they can spot the big five while gliding over Cradle of Humankind and Magaliesberg Mountain range. After the safari, there is an English breakfast in the clubhouse for guests to share stories. The safari is a 45 minute drive from Johannesburg and well worth the journey.

Web-Top-Pic3-080126-088
Image source: Bill Harrop’s “Original” Balloon Safaris

Four – The Otter Trail

South African landscape is truly breathtaking. The Otter Trail in the Garden Route is a must see for anyone who loves hiking or adventure activities. This is a 5 day adventure, spanning 42km of trails on cliff tops along the shorelines; the diverse scenery along the way makes the journey somewhat more bearable. Tip: Take a camera and capture the beauty for your holiday album!

Otter_Trail01

Five – Nature’s Valley

Nature’s Valley in the Western Cape is at the end of the famous five-day Otter Trail, but hikers first have to cross the mouth of the lagoon, which is the dominant feature of this secluded coastal village, before they can call it a day. The town is aptly named as it is completely surrounded by indigenous forest and the Garden Route National Park. A great outing is the coastal walk to the nearby Salt River mouth, where you can enjoy complete privacy and seclusion.

Nature's_Valley_(S._Africa)_2

Six – The Big Five Marathon

The Big Five Marathon is a must if your New Year’s resolution is to get fit and travel more. Highlighted by Forbes Magazine as one the Top 10 marathons worth travelling for, there will be nothing separating you from running alongside the African wildlife. The next Big Five Marathon will take place on 20 June 2015. The 42Km marathon starts and finishes at Lakeside Lodge located on the Garden Route.

SouthAfrica_BigFiveMarathon_RunnersDownHill_039

Seven – Sardine Run

Around June each year, word gets out along the KwaZulu-Natal coast that the sardines have arrived. They’ve swum for more than 30 days from their spawning ground in the Cape to reach South Africa’s east coast. The annual sardine run sees massive shoals of the little silver fish journey from the cold waters of the Cape to the warmer tides of KwaZulu-Natal. The fish attract the attention of whales, dolphins, sharks and sea birds, leading to well-documented feeding frenzies.

Sardines_-_鰯(いわし) (1)

Eight – Zip lining in Drakensberg

Have you ever wanted to experience what it feels like to get a bird’s eye view of the greenest forest? The Drakensberg Canopy Tours runs zip line tours rain, hail or shine in the Blue Grotto Forest. The location is home to over 150 species of birds including the rare Bush Blackcap.

48bf697f444dc7a22c1461431c072268

Image source: Drakensberg Canopy Tours

Nine – The Test Kitchen

The Test Kitchen in Woodstock, Cape Town has taken out first place for the prestigious Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant awards held in November 2014. It is also featured on the list of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants

This dining hot spot is a hit amongst local and international travellers. The menu is South African inspired with a sprinkling of Asian flair. Dishes range from grilled scallop with miso and shiitake to seared springbok in turnip milk and fermented red cabbage. The Test Kitchen has taken out the Eat Out award for the third year in a row. Needless to say, if you want to book a table at this award winning restaurant, be sure to allow for a month’s waiting list.

large31

Ten – Soweto Township

The township of Soweto in Johannesburg was a key point during the struggle against apartheid. Former president Nelson Mandela and Emeritus Archbishop Desmond Tutu both lived in Vilakazi Street in Orlando, making it the only street in the world that was home to two Nobel Peace laureates. The Mandela home is a now museum open to the public. Visitors to Soweto can also go to the Hector Pieterson Museum, a memorial erected to pay homage to students who died during the struggle.

orlando__620_400_80_s
For more travel inspiration and the latest news and tools to plan your perfect South African holiday, join the conversation on our Australian or New Zealand Facebook page.

Add these experiences to your bucket list

Is your New Year’s resolution to finally tick a South African safari off your bucket list in 2015? But did you know, there’s so much more South Africa has to offer? Here’s our selection of ten hidden gems we think are bucket list worthy!

One – The Garden Route

If you enjoy coastal drives and wine, you will not want to miss the Garden Route, a popular driving route and one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world. Bramon Wine Estate is the only Wine Estate located in the middle of The Garden Route. The restaurant is set in the vineyards and overlooks the Tsitsikamma Mountains and The Elephant Sanctuary. The wine menu compliments the menu of tapas, local cheeses, oysters, meat and freshly baked homemade bread. If you’re looking for a relaxed, long lunch after driving along the Garden Route – the atmosphere at Bramon Wine Estate is sure to help you unwind.

Bramon Wine Estate

Image source: Silke Marshall Marketing

Two – Matjiesfontein

Do you consider yourself a history buff and nostalgic for years gone by? Matjiesfontein is a tiny Victorian town in the Little Karoo that has been designated a national monument. Take a stroll through the main street and admire the white-washed houses or head to the Lord Milner Hotel for a drink. Rumour has it that the hotel is haunted! The town of Matjiesfontein offers travellers a unique experience and is a well-kept secret, but we predict for not much longer.

Lord_Milner_Hotel_at_Matjiesfontein (1)

Three – Balloon Safari

When you think of Safari, you think of South Africa. But, what if you could experience the magic of safari above the treetops? Bill Harrop’s “Original” Balloon Safaris has been in operation for over 30 years and gives visitors a unique vantage point where they can spot the big five while gliding over Cradle of Humankind and Magaliesberg Mountain range. After the safari, there is an English breakfast in the clubhouse for guests to share stories. The safari is a 45 minute drive from Johannesburg and well worth the journey.

Web-Top-Pic3-080126-088
Image source: Bill Harrop’s “Original” Balloon Safaris

Four – The Otter Trail

South African landscape is truly breathtaking. The Otter Trail in the Garden Route is a must see for anyone who loves hiking or adventure activities. This is a 5 day adventure, spanning 42km of trails on cliff tops along the shorelines; the diverse scenery along the way makes the journey somewhat more bearable. Tip: Take a camera and capture the beauty for your holiday album!

Otter_Trail01

Five – Nature’s Valley

Nature’s Valley in the Western Cape is at the end of the famous five-day Otter Trail, but hikers first have to cross the mouth of the lagoon, which is the dominant feature of this secluded coastal village, before they can call it a day. The town is aptly named as it is completely surrounded by indigenous forest and the Garden Route National Park. A great outing is the coastal walk to the nearby Salt River mouth, where you can enjoy complete privacy and seclusion.

Nature's_Valley_(S._Africa)_2

Six – The Big Five Marathon

The Big Five Marathon is a must if your New Year’s resolution is to get fit and travel more. Highlighted by Forbes Magazine as one the Top 10 marathons worth travelling for, there will be nothing separating you from running alongside the African wildlife. The next Big Five Marathon will take place on 20 June 2015. The 42Km marathon starts and finishes at Lakeside Lodge located on the Garden Route.

SouthAfrica_BigFiveMarathon_RunnersDownHill_039

Seven – Sardine Run

Around June each year, word gets out along the KwaZulu-Natal coast that the sardines have arrived. They’ve swum for more than 30 days from their spawning ground in the Cape to reach South Africa’s east coast. The annual sardine run sees massive shoals of the little silver fish journey from the cold waters of the Cape to the warmer tides of KwaZulu-Natal. The fish attract the attention of whales, dolphins, sharks and sea birds, leading to well-documented feeding frenzies.

Sardines_-_鰯(いわし) (1)

Eight – Zip lining in Drakensberg

Have you ever wanted to experience what it feels like to get a bird’s eye view of the greenest forest? The Drakensberg Canopy Tours runs zip line tours rain, hail or shine in the Blue Grotto Forest. The location is home to over 150 species of birds including the rare Bush Blackcap.

48bf697f444dc7a22c1461431c072268

Image source: Drakensberg Canopy Tours

Nine – The Test Kitchen

The Test Kitchen in Woodstock, Cape Town has taken out first place for the prestigious Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant awards held in November 2014. It is also featured on the list of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants

This dining hot spot is a hit amongst local and international travellers. The menu is South African inspired with a sprinkling of Asian flair. Dishes range from grilled scallop with miso and shiitake to seared springbok in turnip milk and fermented red cabbage. The Test Kitchen has taken out the Eat Out award for the third year in a row. Needless to say, if you want to book a table at this award winning restaurant, be sure to allow for a month’s waiting list.

large31

Ten – Soweto Township

The township of Soweto in Johannesburg was a key point during the struggle against apartheid. Former president Nelson Mandela and Emeritus Archbishop Desmond Tutu both lived in Vilakazi Street in Orlando, making it the only street in the world that was home to two Nobel Peace laureates. The Mandela home is a now museum open to the public. Visitors to Soweto can also go to the Hector Pieterson Museum, a memorial erected to pay homage to students who died during the struggle.

orlando__620_400_80_s
For more travel inspiration and the latest news and tools to plan your perfect South African holiday, join the conversation on our Australian or New Zealand Facebook page.

Romantic South Africa

Whether you and your significant other enjoy sipping wine together at sunset or adventure activities, we’ve compiled a list of romantic experiences to suit all couples.

Hot air ballooning through the Pilanesberg National Park, is the most scenic and relaxing method of experiencing the game reserve which is home to the Big Five.

Mankwe Gametrackers Balloon Safaris is the only Hot Air Balloon Company which launches from within a national park, offering a truly unique experience. Tours depart early morning and offer a 4-5 hour experience including hotel pick-up, 45-minute ride, a sparkling wine celebration on landing and full English breakfast.

The Bachelor Australia embarked on this breathtaking journey over the National Park, drifting over the lush terrain with one lucky lady during his time in South Africa.

Mankwe Gametrackers Balloon Safari’s

Image source: Mankwe Gametrackers Balloon Safaris

A helicopter trip with your partner in South Africa is guaranteed to be a spectacular experience, the only difficulty is choosing a region! The Bachelor Australia treated one lucky lady to this 5-star experience at The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa in Cape Town which offers a luxurious package including private helicopter ride, lunch and wine tasting at an award winning restaurant.

Helicopter Ride - 12 Apostles

Image source: The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa

If you and your partner are into adventure activities, South Africa is one the few countries in the world which allow cage-free diving tours with Tiger sharks in Protea Banks. Participants will need to have completed a diving course before the dive. This is a unique experience, which will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.

SharkExplorers in Cape Town offer a range of cage diving experiences as seen on The Bachelor Australia. The White Shark adventures which take place in False Bay, which is a 30-minute drive from Cape Town is a Great White Shark hotspot. The tour starts out before dawn and you’ll be able to experience the strength of the Great White Sharks launching out of the water to catch its seal prey safely from the boat.

Tiger Shark Diving

Cape Winelands which are located in the Western Cape gives you and your partner the opportunity to sit back and relax with a wine in hand and watch the sun set in this picturesque region of South Africa.

Whether you’re in a couple or travelling with friends and family, the Cape has 18 official wine routes and 2 brandy routes which offer the 3 S’s; Scenery, Serenity and Splendid wines.

Wine tasting, wine making tours, excellent cuisine and magnificent scenery collectively create an irresistible attraction for international and local travellers alike.

Cape Winelands

This region was featured on The Bachelor Australia when Blake romanced one of the final three lucky ladies taking her to the stunning Delaire Graff Estate.

If you’re overcome with the beauty of the Cape and find yourself on one knee proposing to the love of your life, you’ll be glad to know the Cape is a popular location to celebrate your nuptials. Cape Winelands offer breathtaking backdrops, world class food & wine, accommodation, all in a romantic and historical setting.

After a big day of activities, whether it be hot air ballooning, diving with sharks or enjoying a glass of red while the sun sets over the Cape Winelands, there are plenty of luxurious hotels for you to lay your head down…in style!

Pilanesberg National Park is a fascinating location, born out of a crater of a long extinct volcano. The Ivory Tree Game Lodge as featured on The Bachelor Australia is located in the heart of Pilanesberg and offers excellent service, range of amenities and stylish interiors for a night of rest and relaxation. The lodge has a range of activities for you to take advantage of during the day including archery, quad biking and of course, safari.

Ivory Tree Lodge

Image source: Ivory Tree Game Lodge

The Tsala Treetop Lodge is a unique Garden Route boutique resort which can be found in the treetops, as the name suggests. This five-star luxury resort offers unique lodges in the remote wilderness, wrap around decking and private infinity pools which offer birds eye views of the forest.

Tsala Treetop Lodge

Image source: Tsala Treetop Lodge

If you’re looking for a luxury safari lodge, Singita Ebony located in the Kruger National Park has incredible views of the river where wildlife bathe and drink with all the features of a five star lodge. Each room at Singita Ebony has a private pool, open fireplace, indoor/outdoor shower and game-viewing deck.

Singita Ebony

Image source: Singita Ebony

Follow the links below to book your romantic experience in South Africa.

Hot Air Ballooning

Mankwe GAMETRACKERS
Tel: +27 14 552 5020
Email: suncity@mankwegametrackers.co.za

Helicopter Ride

The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa
Tel: +27 (0) 21 437 9000
Email: horst@12apostles.co.za

Shark Diving

SHARKEXPLORERS
Telephone: +27 82 564 1904
Email: info@sharkexplorers.com

African Dive Adventures (include Tiger Shark Diving adventures)
Tel: +27 (0)39 317 1483
Email: afridive@venturenet.co.za

 Accommodation

Ivory Tree Game Lodge
Tel: +27 11 781 1661
Email: res3@anthology.co.za

The Tsala Treetop Lodge
T : +27 (0) 44 501 1111
F : +27 (0) 44 501 1100
res@hunterhotels.com
www.hunterhotels.com

Singita Ebony
Tel: +27 (0)21 683 3424
Fax: +27 (0)21 671 6776
Email: enquiries@singita.com
http://singita.com/

Romantic South Africa

Whether you and your significant other enjoy sipping wine together at sunset or adventure activities, we’ve compiled a list of romantic experiences to suit all couples.

Hot air ballooning through the Pilanesberg National Park, is the most scenic and relaxing method of experiencing the game reserve which is home to the Big Five.

Mankwe Gametrackers Balloon Safaris is the only Hot Air Balloon Company which launches from within a national park, offering a truly unique experience. Tours depart early morning and offer a 4-5 hour experience including hotel pick-up, 45-minute ride, a sparkling wine celebration on landing and full English breakfast.

The Bachelor Australia embarked on this breathtaking journey over the National Park, drifting over the lush terrain with one lucky lady during his time in South Africa.

Mankwe Gametrackers Balloon Safari’s

Image source: Mankwe Gametrackers Balloon Safaris

A helicopter trip with your partner in South Africa is guaranteed to be a spectacular experience, the only difficulty is choosing a region! The Bachelor Australia treated one lucky lady to this 5-star experience at The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa in Cape Town which offers a luxurious package including private helicopter ride, lunch and wine tasting at an award winning restaurant.

Helicopter Ride - 12 Apostles

Image source: The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa

If you and your partner are into adventure activities, South Africa is one the few countries in the world which allow cage-free diving tours with Tiger sharks in Protea Banks. Participants will need to have completed a diving course before the dive. This is a unique experience, which will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.

SharkExplorers in Cape Town offer a range of cage diving experiences as seen on The Bachelor Australia. The White Shark adventures which take place in False Bay, which is a 30-minute drive from Cape Town is a Great White Shark hotspot. The tour starts out before dawn and you’ll be able to experience the strength of the Great White Sharks launching out of the water to catch its seal prey safely from the boat.

Tiger Shark Diving

Cape Winelands which are located in the Western Cape gives you and your partner the opportunity to sit back and relax with a wine in hand and watch the sun set in this picturesque region of South Africa.

Whether you’re in a couple or travelling with friends and family, the Cape has 18 official wine routes and 2 brandy routes which offer the 3 S’s; Scenery, Serenity and Splendid wines.

Wine tasting, wine making tours, excellent cuisine and magnificent scenery collectively create an irresistible attraction for international and local travellers alike.

Cape Winelands

This region was featured on The Bachelor Australia when Blake romanced one of the final three lucky ladies taking her to the stunning Delaire Graff Estate.

If you’re overcome with the beauty of the Cape and find yourself on one knee proposing to the love of your life, you’ll be glad to know the Cape is a popular location to celebrate your nuptials. Cape Winelands offer breathtaking backdrops, world class food & wine, accommodation, all in a romantic and historical setting.

After a big day of activities, whether it be hot air ballooning, diving with sharks or enjoying a glass of red while the sun sets over the Cape Winelands, there are plenty of luxurious hotels for you to lay your head down…in style!

Pilanesberg National Park is a fascinating location, born out of a crater of a long extinct volcano. The Ivory Tree Game Lodge as featured on The Bachelor Australia is located in the heart of Pilanesberg and offers excellent service, range of amenities and stylish interiors for a night of rest and relaxation. The lodge has a range of activities for you to take advantage of during the day including archery, quad biking and of course, safari.

Ivory Tree Lodge

Image source: Ivory Tree Game Lodge

The Tsala Treetop Lodge is a unique Garden Route boutique resort which can be found in the treetops, as the name suggests. This five-star luxury resort offers unique lodges in the remote wilderness, wrap around decking and private infinity pools which offer birds eye views of the forest.

Tsala Treetop Lodge

Image source: Tsala Treetop Lodge

If you’re looking for a luxury safari lodge, Singita Ebony located in the Kruger National Park has incredible views of the river where wildlife bathe and drink with all the features of a five star lodge. Each room at Singita Ebony has a private pool, open fireplace, indoor/outdoor shower and game-viewing deck.

Singita Ebony

Image source: Singita Ebony

Follow the links below to book your romantic experience in South Africa.

Hot Air Ballooning

Mankwe GAMETRACKERS
Tel: +27 14 552 5020
Email: suncity@mankwegametrackers.co.za

Helicopter Ride

The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa
Tel: +27 (0) 21 437 9000
Email: horst@12apostles.co.za

Shark Diving

SHARKEXPLORERS
Telephone: +27 82 564 1904
Email: info@sharkexplorers.com

African Dive Adventures (include Tiger Shark Diving adventures)
Tel: +27 (0)39 317 1483
Email: afridive@venturenet.co.za

 Accommodation

Ivory Tree Game Lodge
Tel: +27 11 781 1661
Email: res3@anthology.co.za

The Tsala Treetop Lodge
T : +27 (0) 44 501 1111
F : +27 (0) 44 501 1100
res@hunterhotels.com
www.hunterhotels.com

Singita Ebony
Tel: +27 (0)21 683 3424
Fax: +27 (0)21 671 6776
Email: enquiries@singita.com
http://singita.com/