Eastern Cape

Celebrating NYE and NYD in South Africa

New Year’s is an event celebrated around the world. South Africans celebrate New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day similar to Australians. Both countries celebrate the last day of the year with parties and fireworks and New Year’s Day is generally spent outdoors.

If you’re spending New Year’s Eve in Cape Town you can ring in the New Year on top of Table Mountain. Pack a picnic and grab some friends and you can party until 12:30 a.m. This vantage point gives an unobstructed view of the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront fireworks. The party continues on January 1, with thousands heading to local beaches.

5581_gallery
Image source: A luxury travel blog- Table Mountain Sunset

VAWaterfront-capeletting
Image source: A luxury travel blog – V&A Waterfront

There are many popular nightclubs and areas to watch fireworks in Durban, Johannesburg and Victoria Falls to bring in the New Year.

South Africans love a good ‘jol’ and New Year’s Day is a public holiday in South Africa, making it the perfect opportunity to celebrate the beginning of 2015 and recover from the festivities the night before.

New Year’s Day occurs during the balmy African summer and is often enjoyed outdoors. The many beaches of the Eastern Cape and Western Cape are buzzing with locals and international visitors who want to start the year off with a dip in the ocean and relaxing with friends and family on the sand. This can lead to delays in finding a parking spot or getting a bite to eat along the coast.

2417710541_16e5f8eda0_o (1)Image source: Hobie Beach – Port Elizabeth

Many South Africans spend New Year’s Day having a braai (barbecuing) with friends and families in the gardens, parks and beaches of the country (where permitted). The warm, sunny summers of the country make it a perfect way to celebrate the first day of the New Year.

Braaing-on-the-plains
Image source: Yuppie Chef

Whatever you end up doing on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, South Africa Tourism Australia and New Zealand wish you a happy holiday season.

Celebrating NYE and NYD in South Africa

New Year’s is an event celebrated around the world. South Africans celebrate New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day similar to Australians. Both countries celebrate the last day of the year with parties and fireworks and New Year’s Day is generally spent outdoors.

If you’re spending New Year’s Eve in Cape Town you can ring in the New Year on top of Table Mountain. Pack a picnic and grab some friends and you can party until 12:30 a.m. This vantage point gives an unobstructed view of the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront fireworks. The party continues on January 1, with thousands heading to local beaches.

5581_gallery
Image source: A luxury travel blog- Table Mountain Sunset

VAWaterfront-capeletting
Image source: A luxury travel blog – V&A Waterfront

There are many popular nightclubs and areas to watch fireworks in Durban, Johannesburg and Victoria Falls to bring in the New Year.

South Africans love a good ‘jol’ and New Year’s Day is a public holiday in South Africa, making it the perfect opportunity to celebrate the beginning of 2015 and recover from the festivities the night before.

New Year’s Day occurs during the balmy African summer and is often enjoyed outdoors. The many beaches of the Eastern Cape and Western Cape are buzzing with locals and international visitors who want to start the year off with a dip in the ocean and relaxing with friends and family on the sand. This can lead to delays in finding a parking spot or getting a bite to eat along the coast.

2417710541_16e5f8eda0_o (1)Image source: Hobie Beach – Port Elizabeth

Many South Africans spend New Year’s Day having a braai (barbecuing) with friends and families in the gardens, parks and beaches of the country (where permitted). The warm, sunny summers of the country make it a perfect way to celebrate the first day of the New Year.

Braaing-on-the-plains
Image source: Yuppie Chef

Whatever you end up doing on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, South Africa Tourism Australia and New Zealand wish you a happy holiday season.

Surfs up in South Africa: Best surf spots

South Africa’s coastline has points and bays which provide surfers from all around the world with quality waves. We’ve narrowed down the best surf spots in South Africa to catch that perfect wave!

Jeffrey’s Bay is the surf capital of South Africa, and a top 10 rated surf spot worldwide. Located in the Eastern Cape, an hour’s drive southwest of Port Elizabeth. Commonly referred to as J-bay, it’s known in the local and international surfing community as having the perfect right-hand wave. What makes J-Bay special is that the wave runs for up to 800m, giving surfers an unbeatable ride. Its main beach, Dolphin Beach, is made for chilling, tanning, surfing and shell collecting.

Jeffrey's Bay

Jeffrey’s Bay

Durban Waves

If you’re a beginner looking to catch your first wave in Durban, don’t look past Addlington Beach for small, consistent waves guaranteed to ignite your passion for surfing!

Bay of Plenty is a consistent surf spot frequented by local and international guests. The surf is fairly consistent however, winter is the optimum time of the year for surfing this spot.

Cave Rock in Durban churns out epic waves which pick up large swells! This spot has a reef bottom; therefore only experienced surfers should apply.

Durban

Durban

Cape Town Waves

If you’re looking to catch your first wave, The Surfer’s Corner at Muizenberg is a popular learning spot. It’s a 30-minute drive from the Cape Town city centre and there are plenty of coffee shops nearby to warm up post-surf.

The Cape Peninsula which is at the northern end of Cape Town gives surfers waves all year round. This surf spot is the perfect combination of swell size and direction of the wind, making this a favourite with locals and international surfers.

Long Beach in Cape Town, located on the Atlantic side of the Southern Cape Peninsula in Kommetjie boasts the best consistent shore breaks in the Cape, after Durban. The swell is small to medium on the south east side. If you’re a strong surfer and you’re looking to ride a westerly swell, the Outer Kom will be sure to thrill!

Cape Town Surfers

Cape Town Surfers

Secret Spots

Located in-between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, Victoria Bay or Vic Bay as it’s known to the young local surfers is a local surf spot. The shape of the bay ensures consistent waves throughout the year and is great for surfers of all levels.

If you’re an experienced surfer, Glen Beach is located five minutes away from the city centre churning out powerful, hollow waves. It’s nestled between Clifton and Camps Bay Beach and is a local favourite. This is a picturesque location with the Twelve Apostles visible from the surf.

Western Cape

Western Cape

Who to contact for surf lessons

Learn2Surf
Visit the Learn2Surf website here.
SMS hotline: +27 (0)83 414 0567
Email: info@learn2surf.co.za

Surf Emporium
Visit the Surf Emporium website here.
Muizenberg, Cape Town
Tel: +27 (0)21 788 8687
Mobile: +27 (0)82 562 8687/(0)725860905

Surfs up in South Africa: Best surf spots

South Africa’s coastline has points and bays which provide surfers from all around the world with quality waves. We’ve narrowed down the best surf spots in South Africa to catch that perfect wave!

Jeffrey’s Bay is the surf capital of South Africa, and a top 10 rated surf spot worldwide. Located in the Eastern Cape, an hour’s drive southwest of Port Elizabeth. Commonly referred to as J-bay, it’s known in the local and international surfing community as having the perfect right-hand wave. What makes J-Bay special is that the wave runs for up to 800m, giving surfers an unbeatable ride. Its main beach, Dolphin Beach, is made for chilling, tanning, surfing and shell collecting.

Jeffrey's Bay

Jeffrey’s Bay

Durban Waves

If you’re a beginner looking to catch your first wave in Durban, don’t look past Addlington Beach for small, consistent waves guaranteed to ignite your passion for surfing!

Bay of Plenty is a consistent surf spot frequented by local and international guests. The surf is fairly consistent however, winter is the optimum time of the year for surfing this spot.

Cave Rock in Durban churns out epic waves which pick up large swells! This spot has a reef bottom; therefore only experienced surfers should apply.

Durban

Durban

Cape Town Waves

If you’re looking to catch your first wave, The Surfer’s Corner at Muizenberg is a popular learning spot. It’s a 30-minute drive from the Cape Town city centre and there are plenty of coffee shops nearby to warm up post-surf.

The Cape Peninsula which is at the northern end of Cape Town gives surfers waves all year round. This surf spot is the perfect combination of swell size and direction of the wind, making this a favourite with locals and international surfers.

Long Beach in Cape Town, located on the Atlantic side of the Southern Cape Peninsula in Kommetjie boasts the best consistent shore breaks in the Cape, after Durban. The swell is small to medium on the south east side. If you’re a strong surfer and you’re looking to ride a westerly swell, the Outer Kom will be sure to thrill!

Cape Town Surfers

Cape Town Surfers

Secret Spots

Located in-between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, Victoria Bay or Vic Bay as it’s known to the young local surfers is a local surf spot. The shape of the bay ensures consistent waves throughout the year and is great for surfers of all levels.

If you’re an experienced surfer, Glen Beach is located five minutes away from the city centre churning out powerful, hollow waves. It’s nestled between Clifton and Camps Bay Beach and is a local favourite. This is a picturesque location with the Twelve Apostles visible from the surf.

Western Cape

Western Cape

Who to contact for surf lessons

Learn2Surf
Visit the Learn2Surf website here.
SMS hotline: +27 (0)83 414 0567
Email: info@learn2surf.co.za

Surf Emporium
Visit the Surf Emporium website here.
Muizenberg, Cape Town
Tel: +27 (0)21 788 8687
Mobile: +27 (0)82 562 8687/(0)725860905

Another Conservation Victory at Kwandwe

As part of their ongoing carnivore research programme, Beyond Kwandwe Private Game Reserve recently released two adult cheetah onto the 22 000 hectare wilderness area. Both cheetah were fitted with radio collars to enable Kwandwe’s conservation team to monitor them closely as they settle into their new habitat.

These cats are brothers and will play an important role in establishing the genetic diversity of Kwandwe’s cheetah population, as well as enhancing the exhilarating Big Five game viewing experience for our guests. Kwandwe has played a significant role in cheetah conservation since 2001, and has been responsible for establishing numerous cheetah colonies in other game reserves throughout South Africa.

 Website: www.andbeyond.com


View Larger Map 

Another Conservation Victory at Kwandwe

As part of their ongoing carnivore research programme, Beyond Kwandwe Private Game Reserve recently released two adult cheetah onto the 22 000 hectare wilderness area. Both cheetah were fitted with radio collars to enable Kwandwe’s conservation team to monitor them closely as they settle into their new habitat.

These cats are brothers and will play an important role in establishing the genetic diversity of Kwandwe’s cheetah population, as well as enhancing the exhilarating Big Five game viewing experience for our guests. Kwandwe has played a significant role in cheetah conservation since 2001, and has been responsible for establishing numerous cheetah colonies in other game reserves throughout South Africa.

 Website: www.andbeyond.com


View Larger Map 

Tori’s travel blog 5th day

5th Day

I normally would start by saying how great breakfast was and how I was looking forward to the day but I only really have two tales today. Don’t get me wrong, the breakfast was (again) amazing and I was looking forward to the day ahead but the day was all about cheetahs and canopy tours. Oh yeah… and I couldn’t forget watching the worlds highest bungee jumping of course.
The Tsitsikamma Canopy Tour was the first activity on our agenda. As they started to brief us on the safety requirements my heart started to pound as the adrenaline started to rush in. We even had our own private paparazzi that accompanied us to capture all our actions of courage on DVD. Suspended and flying in the air over the animated and breathing forest seemed easy. But as I looked out over the extensive gap from one platform to another I had a reality check. The treetops swayed in a harmonious symphony to the wind. Tranquility filled the atmosphere. I again caught a longer glimpse of the distance between my feet and the forest floor. I can tell you confidently that is was a long long long way down.

The daring participants leapt out into the nothing before me shrieking with laughter, exhilaration and anxious calls of the thrill. I had no idea what awaited me. As the lovely instructor Donae locked me securely onto the 10mm thick wire the adrenaline began to pump through my body again. After a moment’s hesitation and keeping a light-hearted exterior I took the leap of faith into the air. Exhilaration, thrill and elation. As I soared through the forest canopy an even more intense feeling of freedom drove through my body. It was an incredible experience. Soon after our confidence increased as we leaped into the air instead of waiting for an encouraging push from Donae. Mum was after me. I could read by her face how petrified she was due of her immense fear of heights. She reluctantly stepped onto the platform and screeched as her fears were being conquered. As she reached safety and security she halfheartedly stated, “I didn’t open my eyes”. Later on her fear subsided slightly with her improvement of not even needing to get pushed and opening her eyes. However the screech of exhilaration and fear slightly altered, turning into a squeal. As we soared, leapt and flew, widening our comfort zone was incredibly satisfying. We left with our heads held high and a sense of invincibility. We even bought the movie that showed us in the action. The whole experience was mind-blowing.

Next, a quick stop at Bloukrans Bridge, the connector between the Eastern and Western cape. We wanted to see the biggest bungy in the world. A feat beyond our bravery. We watched people throw themselves into plain air into the gorge below which was surrounded by jagged rocks ejecting themselves from the confined area. We watched mesmerized and feeling some what sick as thrill-seekers much whooped as they fell into the gorge below putting their lives in the hands of a piece of elastic. The idea of throwing myself (safely of course) off a bridge for adrenaline purposes flirted briefly. My sanity reacted differently in the end winning the persuasion war in my mind and therefore not doing the extreme deed. I left with a hint of regret…

Walking into Tenikwa wildcat Care and Rehabilitation Centre furry, wary faces eyed my every movement from behind fenced confined spaces, peeking with fascination and curiosity. It all seems a bit of a blur now. We worked our way from Africa’s smaller cats (cervals and caracals) to the larger (leopards and cheetahs). None of the felines could be returned to the wild because they were born in captivity. However they also have a wild animal rehabilitation centre. We didn’t get to see any of these animals because human contact is minimized for easier reintroduction into the wild. The regal cats that grew and flourished behind the wired fences captivated us. However the deepest passion of the owner and the supreme ruling cats at Tenikwa were the majestic cheetahs. Their regal nature projected with their broad shoulders and golden eyed and with amazing patterns that covered their bodies. I new I would enjoy the experience of walking these amazing creatures but I didn’t realize how much you could become attached to such a wild animal. As I looked up, the guides, Jacob and Brian, harnessed (yes, like large dog harnesses) the two cheetah brothers with affection, passion and clear attachment. After being briefed on the basics and necessities while walking these cheetahs it was time to do the deed. Their names were Zulu and Tuma meaning lightning and rain.  The cheetahs relaxed and purred allowing us to stroke their backs and walk side to side.

Cheetahs are cats and unlike dogs they lead the way. Entranced we mimicked and followed them cautiously aware they are wild animals. If they ran, we ran (with a lot of effort to keep up) if they slowed, we slowed, it was a game of “monkey see, monkey do”. As we walked these incredible animals, any threat or even movements set off their cautious nature. They cheetah’s different reactions fascinated us and to see them so close was extraordinary. Afterwards Mum and I could barely believe the fact that we had just walked Cheetahs. The experience left me with a deep love for the furry felines.

As we drove back the sun began to set, yet again, deep behind the mountains. As the full, beaming circle started to sink it cast its remaining rays across the landscape. As I soaked up the remains I stared across the land and was again greeted by the overwhelming beauty of South Africa.

Tori’s travel blog 4th day

4th Day- Leaving Gorah Elephant Camp driving to “At the Woods” Guest House, Tsitsikamma

A familiar feeling of confusion woke us up at 5, jetlag. Or was it the roaring of lions? I can’t decide. Whatever the reason, we lay in bed listening to the courageous roars echo from one mountain to the other until we finally decided (or worked up the courage) to sit on the deck and watch the sunrise. As we sat waiting snuggled under a blanket, birds called to one another from unseen places making their mark on the African landscape. They screeched and echoed across the mountains. Finally the long awaited sun started to creep across our surroundings, lighting and highlighting the different sectors of the land.  Pink mixed with blue created a personal paint pallet, which sheltered the sky. Before long an unwanted army of clouds interrupted our perfect moment of paradise. Not soon after, Gareth arrived with a freshly squeezed juice, tea and coffee on our deck. We reluctantly dragged ourselves away from the view and got dressed.

Breakfast was overwhelming with so much amazing food. A groaning table was decorated with an extensive range of fruits, meats, juices and cheese; a muesli parfait even graced the table. When I thought there possibly couldn’t be any more, I was wrong. Also offered were an irresistible variety of hot breakfasts.

It was time for our last game drive. This safari we had very close encounters with most of the animals we saw. Zebras graced us with their presence along with Water Buffaloes and 2 elephants. All within 5 metres of the vehicle. 5 Meerkats were seen racing the car only to dive into a sanctuary underground. Heads reluctantly peered out from safety of the unknown.

As we travelled back to the manor a warm air confronted us. The breeze carried a mixture of precise smells, prominent was elephant dung and others that I couldn’t decipher. When we arrived back we are alerted to the animals that had overcome their fear to quench their thirst at the waterhole. Warthogs, Water Buffalo and Zebras. It takes a tedious amount of time for the dazzle of zebras to finally take a long-awaited drink at the waterhole. In contrast the warthogs confidently strut, though drinking as quickly as possible to minimize their time spent at risk. The scent of lion surrounding the area still new and fresh. The buffalo in all authority had no trouble.. We heard that a large elephant had taken a sip from the communal waterhole.  Before long it was time to depart to continue on our South African Journey.

The clouds slowly began to creep upon us and form a solitary blanket over our heads as we picked up our hire car at Port Elizabeth.  Organization does not come easily to my Mum and me, so the simple task of working our navigator was a difficult problem. We ended up driving in the complete opposite direction of where we were actually supposed to go. After 1.5 hours of driving and our confidence erased, we decided to admit to each other that we had no idea where we were. After an argument we decided to call our next stay in Tsitsikamma and tell them our current situation. Turns out that we had indeed programmed the wrong destination and we should be 2 hours in the opposite direction. Frustration was apparent but we soldiered on. The drive ended up being remarkable. Mum and I were completely overwhelmed at how many hitchhikers there were. Signs were plastered one after the other stating that hitchhiking was prohibited on certain sections of the road. When we passed a section of road with desperate people holding signs of their desired destination, Mum and I looked at each other with disbelief. We didn’t offer anyone a ride though. Ivan Milat had done his work on our Australian psyche.

As we travelled we could only get 1 radio station. The station was littered with old-school disco and Broadway tunes, which we happily sang along with the occasional pop song making its way into our car. Of course I cheered when this happened and Mum didn’t care otherwise.

We passed villages, roadside stalls and even surprisingly McDonalds. But the main view we passed we’re the Tsitsikamma mountain range. The massive mountains were decorated with scattered white rocks. Each mountain was messily positioned one after the other. The mountains long, estranged fingers stretched out across the skyline stealing the spotlight for miles and miles.

Before we new it we had arrived Tsitsikamma, At The Woods Guest House. There was a lovely community feel to the little village, which was positioned at the base of the colossal mountains. After unpacking, due to the exercise deprivation and energy build up, we decided to take a walk around the village. Walking down the main street, little buildings lined up smack against each other mimicking a little southern American town. Fairy lights were strung and looped between the trees in an orderly fashion. As we continued through the little town we finally found our destination a quaint restaurant.

The restaurant was decorated with trophies of hunting expeditions. I had a quick glimpse around the room only to see various animal horns staring back at me from the walls. I continued examining the room only to be taken aback by the zebra head situated above my head. I persisted then to be completely shocked by a stuffed leopard placed on a stand overlooking our meal.

After dinner we amble slowly back to our comfortable beds. Collapsing again for a solid nights sleep.

Tori’s travel blog 4th day

4th Day- Leaving Gorah Elephant Camp driving to “At the Woods” Guest House, Tsitsikamma

A familiar feeling of confusion woke us up at 5, jetlag. Or was it the roaring of lions? I can’t decide. Whatever the reason, we lay in bed listening to the courageous roars echo from one mountain to the other until we finally decided (or worked up the courage) to sit on the deck and watch the sunrise. As we sat waiting snuggled under a blanket, birds called to one another from unseen places making their mark on the African landscape. They screeched and echoed across the mountains. Finally the long awaited sun started to creep across our surroundings, lighting and highlighting the different sectors of the land.  Pink mixed with blue created a personal paint pallet, which sheltered the sky. Before long an unwanted army of clouds interrupted our perfect moment of paradise. Not soon after, Gareth arrived with a freshly squeezed juice, tea and coffee on our deck. We reluctantly dragged ourselves away from the view and got dressed.

Breakfast was overwhelming with so much amazing food. A groaning table was decorated with an extensive range of fruits, meats, juices and cheese; a muesli parfait even graced the table. When I thought there possibly couldn’t be any more, I was wrong. Also offered were an irresistible variety of hot breakfasts.

It was time for our last game drive. This safari we had very close encounters with most of the animals we saw. Zebras graced us with their presence along with Water Buffaloes and 2 elephants. All within 5 metres of the vehicle. 5 Meerkats were seen racing the car only to dive into a sanctuary underground. Heads reluctantly peered out from safety of the unknown.

As we travelled back to the manor a warm air confronted us. The breeze carried a mixture of precise smells, prominent was elephant dung and others that I couldn’t decipher. When we arrived back we are alerted to the animals that had overcome their fear to quench their thirst at the waterhole. Warthogs, Water Buffalo and Zebras. It takes a tedious amount of time for the dazzle of zebras to finally take a long-awaited drink at the waterhole. In contrast the warthogs confidently strut, though drinking as quickly as possible to minimize their time spent at risk. The scent of lion surrounding the area still new and fresh. The buffalo in all authority had no trouble.. We heard that a large elephant had taken a sip from the communal waterhole.  Before long it was time to depart to continue on our South African Journey.

The clouds slowly began to creep upon us and form a solitary blanket over our heads as we picked up our hire car at Port Elizabeth.  Organization does not come easily to my Mum and me, so the simple task of working our navigator was a difficult problem. We ended up driving in the complete opposite direction of where we were actually supposed to go. After 1.5 hours of driving and our confidence erased, we decided to admit to each other that we had no idea where we were. After an argument we decided to call our next stay in Tsitsikamma and tell them our current situation. Turns out that we had indeed programmed the wrong destination and we should be 2 hours in the opposite direction. Frustration was apparent but we soldiered on. The drive ended up being remarkable. Mum and I were completely overwhelmed at how many hitchhikers there were. Signs were plastered one after the other stating that hitchhiking was prohibited on certain sections of the road. When we passed a section of road with desperate people holding signs of their desired destination, Mum and I looked at each other with disbelief. We didn’t offer anyone a ride though. Ivan Milat had done his work on our Australian psyche.

As we travelled we could only get 1 radio station. The station was littered with old-school disco and Broadway tunes, which we happily sang along with the occasional pop song making its way into our car. Of course I cheered when this happened and Mum didn’t care otherwise.

We passed villages, roadside stalls and even surprisingly McDonalds. But the main view we passed we’re the Tsitsikamma mountain range. The massive mountains were decorated with scattered white rocks. Each mountain was messily positioned one after the other. The mountains long, estranged fingers stretched out across the skyline stealing the spotlight for miles and miles.

Before we new it we had arrived Tsitsikamma, At The Woods Guest House. There was a lovely community feel to the little village, which was positioned at the base of the colossal mountains. After unpacking, due to the exercise deprivation and energy build up, we decided to take a walk around the village. Walking down the main street, little buildings lined up smack against each other mimicking a little southern American town. Fairy lights were strung and looped between the trees in an orderly fashion. As we continued through the little town we finally found our destination a quaint restaurant.

The restaurant was decorated with trophies of hunting expeditions. I had a quick glimpse around the room only to see various animal horns staring back at me from the walls. I continued examining the room only to be taken aback by the zebra head situated above my head. I persisted then to be completely shocked by a stuffed leopard placed on a stand overlooking our meal.

After dinner we amble slowly back to our comfortable beds. Collapsing again for a solid nights sleep.

Tori’s travel blog 3rd day

3rd day

After our last morning drive with Pascale- our guide- we reluctantly said farewell to Shamwari Game Reserve and with no idea what was ahead us we set off for our next destination. We were headed to Addo Elephant Park to stay at Gorah Elephant Camp. I had little to no knowledge of where we were going to stay that night and as we arrived I can confidently say I was more than impressed. It was breathtaking.

Luxurious tents were perfectly positioned one after the other joined with a wooden platform that snaked its way around each tent. Each tent facing the mountainous land. A waterhole was placed less than 200m away from the tents allowing perfect vision of warthogs, water buffaloes and zebras thirstily sipping the water to quench their long awaited thirst.

As we walked down to the main manor for welcome homemade iced tea, we are quickly alerted to the fact that 5 lions had sprawled themselves at a distance of 500m away! This giving each visitor the perfect opportunity to view these regal creatures. In awe, mum and I watched and waited captivated by these amazing animals squealing with delight at every simple yawn and stretch. It does sound ridiculous but for such little activity, but the whole scene was remarkable. We later understood our amazing luck learning that there were only 12 lions over the entire reserve. After our childish initial excitement we were then taken on another game drive.

The incredible thing about these Safaris is that even if you are in the same place and go on numerous game drives each one is more unforgettable and breath taking than the last. It’s an exhilarating concept never knowing what could be around the corner. We surveyed the land that stretched to the horizon and I was dumbfounded by the destruction of trees that were left broken and destroyed on the ground floor. We were told much this was the result of the elephants using the trees for scratching purposes with young males knocking the trees out of testosterone fueled frustration. Elephant evidence was everywhere. We discovered zebras, Kudus, Hartebeests. But the astounding sight of two endangered male, black rhinos thrashing head to head was the highlight of the whole expedition. We all sat there taking in the reality of what we just saw, praising our good luck. Our guide, Gareth, assured us repeatedly he’d only seen that sort of sighting two times in three years.

As we started our retreat back to Gorah Elephant camp the sun (sadly) began its descent behind the mountains. The darkness intensified shadowing across the charming views, taking them away and making us anticipate tomorrow even further. The illuminated manor lit the way back to civilization. We arrived to canapés and drinks in front of a fire. Another special concept of Gorah elephant camp is there is no electricity. Light is created by candles, the fire and gas lamps. The only exception is two lamps in our rooms (or tents would be more appropriate), which are charged by solar power. The whole thing made the experience more special. Dinner was a three course meal which was complex and out of the ordinary to my usual diet. Having ostrich fillet for the main, which is something I had never tasted before. After dinner a staff member escorted us back to our tents. We were puzzled and confused as to why we would need an escort. After finally voicing our enquiry we were told they were the to protect us from the wild African animals that may or may not be lurking in the dark. Mum and I giggled to ourselves but were later surprised and delighted when woken up by the roar of lions which seemed to unnervingly close to our tent. Africa’s amazement continues to charm our senses. How can tomorrow be better than this?

Tori’s travel blog 3rd day

3rd day

After our last morning drive with Pascale- our guide- we reluctantly said farewell to Shamwari Game Reserve and with no idea what was ahead us we set off for our next destination. We were headed to Addo Elephant Park to stay at Gorah Elephant Camp. I had little to no knowledge of where we were going to stay that night and as we arrived I can confidently say I was more than impressed. It was breathtaking.

Luxurious tents were perfectly positioned one after the other joined with a wooden platform that snaked its way around each tent. Each tent facing the mountainous land. A waterhole was placed less than 200m away from the tents allowing perfect vision of warthogs, water buffaloes and zebras thirstily sipping the water to quench their long awaited thirst.

As we walked down to the main manor for welcome homemade iced tea, we are quickly alerted to the fact that 5 lions had sprawled themselves at a distance of 500m away! This giving each visitor the perfect opportunity to view these regal creatures. In awe, mum and I watched and waited captivated by these amazing animals squealing with delight at every simple yawn and stretch. It does sound ridiculous but for such little activity, but the whole scene was remarkable. We later understood our amazing luck learning that there were only 12 lions over the entire reserve. After our childish initial excitement we were then taken on another game drive.

The incredible thing about these Safaris is that even if you are in the same place and go on numerous game drives each one is more unforgettable and breath taking than the last. It’s an exhilarating concept never knowing what could be around the corner. We surveyed the land that stretched to the horizon and I was dumbfounded by the destruction of trees that were left broken and destroyed on the ground floor. We were told much this was the result of the elephants using the trees for scratching purposes with young males knocking the trees out of testosterone fueled frustration. Elephant evidence was everywhere. We discovered zebras, Kudus, Hartebeests. But the astounding sight of two endangered male, black rhinos thrashing head to head was the highlight of the whole expedition. We all sat there taking in the reality of what we just saw, praising our good luck. Our guide, Gareth, assured us repeatedly he’d only seen that sort of sighting two times in three years.

As we started our retreat back to Gorah Elephant camp the sun (sadly) began its descent behind the mountains. The darkness intensified shadowing across the charming views, taking them away and making us anticipate tomorrow even further. The illuminated manor lit the way back to civilization. We arrived to canapés and drinks in front of a fire. Another special concept of Gorah elephant camp is there is no electricity. Light is created by candles, the fire and gas lamps. The only exception is two lamps in our rooms (or tents would be more appropriate), which are charged by solar power. The whole thing made the experience more special. Dinner was a three course meal which was complex and out of the ordinary to my usual diet. Having ostrich fillet for the main, which is something I had never tasted before. After dinner a staff member escorted us back to our tents. We were puzzled and confused as to why we would need an escort. After finally voicing our enquiry we were told they were the to protect us from the wild African animals that may or may not be lurking in the dark. Mum and I giggled to ourselves but were later surprised and delighted when woken up by the roar of lions which seemed to unnervingly close to our tent. Africa’s amazement continues to charm our senses. How can tomorrow be better than this?

Tori’s travel blog

After an endless 14-hour flight from Sydney straight to Johannesburg, I think I can say I was pretty tired. As the pilot announced our descent I took a glance out of the window. The landscape presented a never- ending puzzle of contrasting yellows and greens fields and crops was overwhelming. The South African journey of discovery, mystery and adventure had finally started.

Shamwari Game ReserveAfter our final flight to Port Elizabeth we were greeted by a driver who would be taking us to our accommodation for the next 2 nights; Shamwari Game Reserve. Our driver’s name was Joseph who gave us our first taste of the amazing warmth and humour of South- African hospitality. After a tedious and tiring flight I finally relented to sleep while in the car. Before long Joseph announced that we had finally arrived. We were then greeted by two staff Members of Shamwari Game Reserve, smiles and a warm greeting- exactly what was needed. We were shown to our room and then had our first South African meal. I have to admit, I was surprised and impressed with the Cape Malay vegetarian curry .For Desert we chose an assorted cheese plate and a remind-me-of-home brownie. Finally, we took refuge to our room and collapsed.

Day 2

Woken up at 5 in the morning I was ready and hungry to discover my first taste of South Africa on a safari. Despite the obvious lack of sleep I was ecstatic and excited to begin the adventure. As the cliché safari ignited its personal roar to life I stared out ahead of the car and again was met with the familiar feeling of being overwhelmed. The endless pattern of green shrubbery and bush was juxtaposed to the harsh red roads that swerved and intertwined with the mystic African landscape. I slowly began to fall in love with South Africa.
Our Guide is an educated, helpful and extremely friendly, Pascal. Every question asked is answered without a second thought.  The endless appears decorated with animals scattered haphazardly. With the warm morning sun peering over the mountains its light falls upon our first found animal; the Giraffe. We listen how Giraffes only sleep 30 hours in an average lifetime with having the talent of switching half of a brain off while munching on the leaves allowing some sort of sleep. Astounding, new and amazing. As we travel on we discover water buffalo, zebras, warthogs, orex, springbuck, bushbuck and even a hippo roaming freely across our path. The animals, of which I would view with disbelief on Animal planet, are now right in front of my eyes. Disbelief, amazement, adventure.

Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre/ Born Free

After a big breakfast buffet with a delicious range of selections we are taken to the Wildlife Rehabilitation centre. As we ride on the safari car, once again, the constant surprise of discovering another animal always crosses our paths. Once we reach the centre its time to feed the Caracals. These are 2 gorgeous kittens with alarming red fur and striking blue eyes. Fierce and successful hunters they are being hand raised having lost their mother. We then feed a baby Zebra called Zoe. Zoe is a 9 month old orphaned Burchell’s Zebra who would stop at nothing for a simple scratch.

This centre is where all of the animals are given veterinary care for the wide range of animals found on Shamwari reserve. The facilities are extraordinary because they have to cope with any illness or injury in wildlife from the most delicate bird to the enormous and not to mention dangerous rhinos, hippos and elephants. We then travel to “Born Free”, a conservation centre for big cats (lions, leopards and cheetahs) who have been rescued from poor treatment and neglect. Despite their problems these animals always have a majestic nature that surrounds them. We listen to Glen, the Animal Care Manager of the facility and carer of the cats that live there. He is a crazy character who makes us all laugh. He explains how each resident ended up in “Born Free”. The centre provides long term humane care for big cats that cannot be returned to the wild. It is sad listening to the stories of being kept in 3 by 2 cages and animals that have not grown their correct size due to poor nutrition and cramped conditions.  However the commitment and care for these large cats are evident. There is a lot we can do to prevent this happening to other animals. www.bornfree.org.uk

Safari

Straight from Born Free we begin our next adventure, the next safari. As the light begins its descent behind the large mountains ahead, the animals begin to make their long awaited appearances. We view enourmous white rhinos grazing with their domineering horn leading the way. We observe a rare sight of two leopards resting.  We watch holding our breath; colossal African Elephants within reaching distant chomp carelessly on the thorn-covered trees that surround our car. The atmosphere of adventure is so real. We drive back with the diverse calls of the animals surrounding us, the need and desire of adventure grows, and Africa definitely is the place to provide it.
www.shamwari.com

Tori’s travel blog

After an endless 14-hour flight from Sydney straight to Johannesburg, I think I can say I was pretty tired. As the pilot announced our descent I took a glance out of the window. The landscape presented a never- ending puzzle of contrasting yellows and greens fields and crops was overwhelming. The South African journey of discovery, mystery and adventure had finally started.

Shamwari Game ReserveAfter our final flight to Port Elizabeth we were greeted by a driver who would be taking us to our accommodation for the next 2 nights; Shamwari Game Reserve. Our driver’s name was Joseph who gave us our first taste of the amazing warmth and humour of South- African hospitality. After a tedious and tiring flight I finally relented to sleep while in the car. Before long Joseph announced that we had finally arrived. We were then greeted by two staff Members of Shamwari Game Reserve, smiles and a warm greeting- exactly what was needed. We were shown to our room and then had our first South African meal. I have to admit, I was surprised and impressed with the Cape Malay vegetarian curry .For Desert we chose an assorted cheese plate and a remind-me-of-home brownie. Finally, we took refuge to our room and collapsed.

Day 2

Woken up at 5 in the morning I was ready and hungry to discover my first taste of South Africa on a safari. Despite the obvious lack of sleep I was ecstatic and excited to begin the adventure. As the cliché safari ignited its personal roar to life I stared out ahead of the car and again was met with the familiar feeling of being overwhelmed. The endless pattern of green shrubbery and bush was juxtaposed to the harsh red roads that swerved and intertwined with the mystic African landscape. I slowly began to fall in love with South Africa.
Our Guide is an educated, helpful and extremely friendly, Pascal. Every question asked is answered without a second thought.  The endless appears decorated with animals scattered haphazardly. With the warm morning sun peering over the mountains its light falls upon our first found animal; the Giraffe. We listen how Giraffes only sleep 30 hours in an average lifetime with having the talent of switching half of a brain off while munching on the leaves allowing some sort of sleep. Astounding, new and amazing. As we travel on we discover water buffalo, zebras, warthogs, orex, springbuck, bushbuck and even a hippo roaming freely across our path. The animals, of which I would view with disbelief on Animal planet, are now right in front of my eyes. Disbelief, amazement, adventure.

Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre/ Born Free

After a big breakfast buffet with a delicious range of selections we are taken to the Wildlife Rehabilitation centre. As we ride on the safari car, once again, the constant surprise of discovering another animal always crosses our paths. Once we reach the centre its time to feed the Caracals. These are 2 gorgeous kittens with alarming red fur and striking blue eyes. Fierce and successful hunters they are being hand raised having lost their mother. We then feed a baby Zebra called Zoe. Zoe is a 9 month old orphaned Burchell’s Zebra who would stop at nothing for a simple scratch.

This centre is where all of the animals are given veterinary care for the wide range of animals found on Shamwari reserve. The facilities are extraordinary because they have to cope with any illness or injury in wildlife from the most delicate bird to the enormous and not to mention dangerous rhinos, hippos and elephants. We then travel to “Born Free”, a conservation centre for big cats (lions, leopards and cheetahs) who have been rescued from poor treatment and neglect. Despite their problems these animals always have a majestic nature that surrounds them. We listen to Glen, the Animal Care Manager of the facility and carer of the cats that live there. He is a crazy character who makes us all laugh. He explains how each resident ended up in “Born Free”. The centre provides long term humane care for big cats that cannot be returned to the wild. It is sad listening to the stories of being kept in 3 by 2 cages and animals that have not grown their correct size due to poor nutrition and cramped conditions.  However the commitment and care for these large cats are evident. There is a lot we can do to prevent this happening to other animals. www.bornfree.org.uk

Safari

Straight from Born Free we begin our next adventure, the next safari. As the light begins its descent behind the large mountains ahead, the animals begin to make their long awaited appearances. We view enourmous white rhinos grazing with their domineering horn leading the way. We observe a rare sight of two leopards resting.  We watch holding our breath; colossal African Elephants within reaching distant chomp carelessly on the thorn-covered trees that surround our car. The atmosphere of adventure is so real. We drive back with the diverse calls of the animals surrounding us, the need and desire of adventure grows, and Africa definitely is the place to provide it.
www.shamwari.com

&Beyond Kwandwe Receives Condé Nast Traveler World Savers Award

&Beyond has once again been awarded the honour of one of the Condé Nast Traveler World Savers. This year &Beyond  came first in the small hotels category for Health Initiatives at Kwandwe Private Game Reserve and runner up overall in the category. The awards will be announced in the magazine’s September issue and presented in a ceremony at the Condé Nast Traveler World Savers Congress, in Singapore on 19 & 20 October.

Home to four luxurious safari lodges, &Beyond Kwandwe Private Game Reserve in South Africa’s Eastern Cape is the ideal place to see the Big Five. As part of an intensive community programme at Kwandwe, specific health initiatives have vastly improved the medical care in these rural areas including providing mobile clinics.

Using the &Beyond Positive Health model, a dynamic training course built around natural vitamins and minerals, affordable food and the power of positive thinking, hundreds of people are living healthier,  longer lives, particularly in order to address HIV/AIDS. This programme is implemented across all &Beyond lodges and their neighbouring communities and so far has reached 35,000 people.

“These are all small but powerful steps that have transformed the area,” says Angus Sholto-Douglas, Kwandwe’s co-owner. “It is an honour to be a part of these awards; the credit goes to our wonderful staff who are in the communities every day making a meaningful difference.”

Managed by &Beyond, Kwandwe is deeply committed to the company’s core ethic of “Care of the Land, Care of the Wildlife, Care of the People” and guests can be assured that by choosing to travel to Kwandwe they are making a difference to ongoing biodiversity protection, conservation development and empowerment of neighbouring communities.

In 2008, &Beyond was awarded the World Savers in animal conservation for its vast animal reintroduction programme at Phinda Private Game Reserve, including black rhino, elephant, lion and cheetah. &Beyond remains committed to implementing both meaningful and lasting benefits to Africa and India’s natural environment and the communities surrounding its operations. The values and ethics of &Beyond are, and always have been, “Care of the Land. Care of the Wildlife. Care of the People.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Web Site: http://www.andbeyondafrica.com/luxury_safari/south_africa/garden_route/and_beyond_kwandwe_private_game_reserve

&Beyond Kwandwe Receives Condé Nast Traveler World Savers Award

&Beyond has once again been awarded the honour of one of the Condé Nast Traveler World Savers. This year &Beyond  came first in the small hotels category for Health Initiatives at Kwandwe Private Game Reserve and runner up overall in the category. The awards will be announced in the magazine’s September issue and presented in a ceremony at the Condé Nast Traveler World Savers Congress, in Singapore on 19 & 20 October.

Home to four luxurious safari lodges, &Beyond Kwandwe Private Game Reserve in South Africa’s Eastern Cape is the ideal place to see the Big Five. As part of an intensive community programme at Kwandwe, specific health initiatives have vastly improved the medical care in these rural areas including providing mobile clinics.

Using the &Beyond Positive Health model, a dynamic training course built around natural vitamins and minerals, affordable food and the power of positive thinking, hundreds of people are living healthier,  longer lives, particularly in order to address HIV/AIDS. This programme is implemented across all &Beyond lodges and their neighbouring communities and so far has reached 35,000 people.

“These are all small but powerful steps that have transformed the area,” says Angus Sholto-Douglas, Kwandwe’s co-owner. “It is an honour to be a part of these awards; the credit goes to our wonderful staff who are in the communities every day making a meaningful difference.”

Managed by &Beyond, Kwandwe is deeply committed to the company’s core ethic of “Care of the Land, Care of the Wildlife, Care of the People” and guests can be assured that by choosing to travel to Kwandwe they are making a difference to ongoing biodiversity protection, conservation development and empowerment of neighbouring communities.

In 2008, &Beyond was awarded the World Savers in animal conservation for its vast animal reintroduction programme at Phinda Private Game Reserve, including black rhino, elephant, lion and cheetah. &Beyond remains committed to implementing both meaningful and lasting benefits to Africa and India’s natural environment and the communities surrounding its operations. The values and ethics of &Beyond are, and always have been, “Care of the Land. Care of the Wildlife. Care of the People.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Web Site: http://www.andbeyondafrica.com/luxury_safari/south_africa/garden_route/and_beyond_kwandwe_private_game_reserve