KwaZulu Natal

Road Tripping in South Africa
South Africa is a great country to drive around because of excellent roads and infrastructure. So get hold of a new user-friendly book that suggests some great road trips – all perfectly manageable in a sedan – and discover some new destinations.

12 May 2014 by Kate Turkington

Road Tripping South Africa (Map Studio), available at good book stores nationwide, suggests some fascinating off-the-beaten track detours that will give you the opportunity to discover a South Africa away from the regular tourist destinations. Written by a number of top local travel writers, each ‘journey’ is divided into useful sections that give you information on everything from driving time, distances and maps, to highlights and all the necessary tourism contact details.

The book also suggests what to pack (you’ll learn an essential Afrikaans word, ‘padkos’, which literally means ‘road food’), from a fully charged mobile phone, to water, toilet paper and a sat nav (most rental cars have them).

Maybe you plan to drive from Johannesburg to Cape Town? Instead of zooming along the N1 – the major national road – take your time and enjoy some of the many potential detours along the way.

What about a picnic in the Golden Gate Highlands National Park; a visit to St Augustine’s Priory; soaking up the Karoo landscape; stopping for a night at the Mountain Zebra National Park and going hiking; goggling at South Africa’s oldest grapevine in the historical town of Graaff-Reinett (buy some hand-knitted or hand-woven mohair goodies here); enjoying some of the world’s finest stargazing at Sutherland (but be warned, it’s freezing in winter); and lots more scenic, historical and culturally fascinating places, before you finally roll into the Mother City?

If it’s wildlife you’re after, you could choose the Ultimate Safari Route that takes you from St Lucia in KwaZulu-Natal, through Swaziland to the Kruger National Park.

If it’s wildlife you’re after, you could choose the Ultimate Safari Route that takes you from St Lucia in KwaZulu-Natal, through Swaziland to the Kruger National Park. On this route you can go from one game reserve to another (with no boring bits in between) for 10 whole days. Other options include a golf road trip; a surfing road trip; Route 62 and some of the country’s most wildly scenic passes; a tour around Mpumalanga’s Panorama Route; admiring glorious scenery and swimming in as many waterfalls as possible; a journey along the Eastern Cape’s Wild Coast (some of the most beautiful and deserted beaches in the world); or an Anglo-Zulu Battlefield route.

KwaZulu-Natal

Handy tips are given for each route, helpful historical nuggets, and an ‘On the Side’ box for each route that suggests even more things to do and places to go.

All the information you need to know about driving conditions, pet- and child-friendly ratings, the best time to visit and some suggested background reading is also provided.

So as we say in South Africa, ‘put foot’ – in other words, foot down on the accelerator and off you go…

The Swartberg Pass in the Western Cape

Road Tripping in South Africa

South Africa is a great country to drive around because of excellent roads and infrastructure. So get hold of a new user-friendly book that suggests some great road trips – all perfectly manageable in a sedan – and discover some new destinations.

12 May 2014 by Kate Turkington

Road Tripping South Africa (Map Studio), available at good book stores nationwide, suggests some fascinating off-the-beaten track detours that will give you the opportunity to discover a South Africa away from the regular tourist destinations. Written by a number of top local travel writers, each ‘journey’ is divided into useful sections that give you information on everything from driving time, distances and maps, to highlights and all the necessary tourism contact details.

The book also suggests what to pack (you’ll learn an essential Afrikaans word, ‘padkos’, which literally means ‘road food’), from a fully charged mobile phone, to water, toilet paper and a sat nav (most rental cars have them).

Maybe you plan to drive from Johannesburg to Cape Town? Instead of zooming along the N1 – the major national road – take your time and enjoy some of the many potential detours along the way.

What about a picnic in the Golden Gate Highlands National Park; a visit to St Augustine’s Priory; soaking up the Karoo landscape; stopping for a night at the Mountain Zebra National Park and going hiking; goggling at South Africa’s oldest grapevine in the historical town of Graaff-Reinett (buy some hand-knitted or hand-woven mohair goodies here); enjoying some of the world’s finest stargazing at Sutherland (but be warned, it’s freezing in winter); and lots more scenic, historical and culturally fascinating places, before you finally roll into the Mother City?

If it’s wildlife you’re after, you could choose the Ultimate Safari Route that takes you from St Lucia in KwaZulu-Natal, through Swaziland to the Kruger National Park.

If it’s wildlife you’re after, you could choose the Ultimate Safari Route that takes you from St Lucia in KwaZulu-Natal, through Swaziland to the Kruger National Park. On this route you can go from one game reserve to another (with no boring bits in between) for 10 whole days. Other options include a golf road trip; a surfing road trip; Route 62 and some of the country’s most wildly scenic passes; a tour around Mpumalanga’s Panorama Route; admiring glorious scenery and swimming in as many waterfalls as possible; a journey along the Eastern Cape’s Wild Coast (some of the most beautiful and deserted beaches in the world); or an Anglo-Zulu Battlefield route.

KwaZulu-Natal

Handy tips are given for each route, helpful historical nuggets, and an ‘On the Side’ box for each route that suggests even more things to do and places to go.

All the information you need to know about driving conditions, pet- and child-friendly ratings, the best time to visit and some suggested background reading is also provided.

So as we say in South Africa, ‘put foot’ – in other words, foot down on the accelerator and off you go…

The Swartberg Pass in the Western Cape
Five cool things to do in Durban
Durban is famous for its balmy weather, lush, subtropical feel and its links to the Orient. Here are five cool ways to experience South Africa’s most popular holiday destination.
Trainee life guards at Durban’s North Beach

Never been to Durban before? Here are a few must-dos when you’re there…

1. Dip your toes in the Indian Ocean

Durban’s claim to fame is the balmy waters of the Indian Ocean that make year-round swimming and surfing a pleasure, and it’s not unusual to see Durbanites nipping down to the water’s edge for a quick surf between business engagements. Take a stroll along the beachfront and spot the incredible sand sculptures that are a permanent fixture here, or chat to the lifeguards whose job it is to keep an eye on anyone who ventures into the water.

Sand sculptures are a fixture on the beachfront

2. Go on a city walking tour

The sprawl of Durban can be confusing and a bit overwhelming for the first-timer, so one of the best ways to acclimatise yourself to the heady cultural mix of the city is to go on a walking tour. If you’re interested in Durban’s links with the Orient, or want to see some of the historical landmarks on foot, then book a tour with Durban Tourism. It costs only R100 for an adult and will keep you occupied for several hours. The Oriental Walkabout will take you past landmarks like the Juma Musjid Mosque and the Victoria Street Market, while the Historical Walkabout will see you visiting landmark buildings like the current City Hall.

Bookings: Call Durban Tourism on +27 (0)31 3224173 to arrange a tour so that they can line up a guide for you. Tours start at 9.30am or 1.30pm, but must be arranged in advance.

An organised walking tour is a good way to orientate yourself
Durban’s City Hall

3. Buy some masala for the folks back home

Thanks to Durban’s Indian population, this city is famous for its curries and so it is virtually mandatory to eat a spicy meal when you’re here. If you want to take that nice, warm feeling back home with you, then buy some masala (mixed, ground spices). Some traders make up frighteningly hot mixes with names like ‘Arson Fire: Mother-in-Law Exterminator’. If you’re not up for the hottest of hot curries, then request a milder version to be made up especially for you. A sachet should cost around R20.

Masala piled high at a trading store in the Victoria Street Market
Stall inside Victoria Street Market

4. Visit the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board

Based in Umhlanga, north of central Durban, is the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board, whose job it is to protect bathers along the coastline of this province, where the warm waters attract some 14 species of shark inshore (only three of which are dangerous to bathers). Here there is an interesting display with more information about the sea life to be found in these waters and a curio shop. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, you can also attend an audio-visual presentation and watch a shark dissection. Sharks have been known to scavenge all manner of things (like Wellington boots and even human body parts), so you never quite know what might be inside that stomach!

Where? Follow the signs on Umhlanga Rocks Drive past the Umhlanga Hospital
Contact: +27 (0)31 566 0400

A dissection at the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board
This surfboard is on display at the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board head offices in Umhlanga

5. Have sundowners at a beachfront hotel

The Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani has a great Panorama Bar and Pool Deck on the second floor, with a commanding view over the beachfront where you can watch the surfers dropping into the water off a pier, or simply enjoy the balmy air and view of the glistening water. Remember that the sun rises in the East, so you won’t see it sink into the sea but it’s a still a great place for cocktails or to enjoy one of their trademark ice creams. Another popular spot is Joe Cool’s on the beachfront.

Durban beachfront as seen from the sea

 

Five cool things to do in Durban

Durban is famous for its balmy weather, lush, subtropical feel and its links to the Orient. Here are five cool ways to experience South Africa’s most popular holiday destination.
Trainee life guards at Durban’s North Beach

Never been to Durban before? Here are a few must-dos when you’re there…

1. Dip your toes in the Indian Ocean

Durban’s claim to fame is the balmy waters of the Indian Ocean that make year-round swimming and surfing a pleasure, and it’s not unusual to see Durbanites nipping down to the water’s edge for a quick surf between business engagements. Take a stroll along the beachfront and spot the incredible sand sculptures that are a permanent fixture here, or chat to the lifeguards whose job it is to keep an eye on anyone who ventures into the water.

Sand sculptures are a fixture on the beachfront

2. Go on a city walking tour

The sprawl of Durban can be confusing and a bit overwhelming for the first-timer, so one of the best ways to acclimatise yourself to the heady cultural mix of the city is to go on a walking tour. If you’re interested in Durban’s links with the Orient, or want to see some of the historical landmarks on foot, then book a tour with Durban Tourism. It costs only R100 for an adult and will keep you occupied for several hours. The Oriental Walkabout will take you past landmarks like the Juma Musjid Mosque and the Victoria Street Market, while the Historical Walkabout will see you visiting landmark buildings like the current City Hall.

Bookings: Call Durban Tourism on +27 (0)31 3224173 to arrange a tour so that they can line up a guide for you. Tours start at 9.30am or 1.30pm, but must be arranged in advance.

An organised walking tour is a good way to orientate yourself
Durban’s City Hall

3. Buy some masala for the folks back home

Thanks to Durban’s Indian population, this city is famous for its curries and so it is virtually mandatory to eat a spicy meal when you’re here. If you want to take that nice, warm feeling back home with you, then buy some masala (mixed, ground spices). Some traders make up frighteningly hot mixes with names like ‘Arson Fire: Mother-in-Law Exterminator’. If you’re not up for the hottest of hot curries, then request a milder version to be made up especially for you. A sachet should cost around R20.

Masala piled high at a trading store in the Victoria Street Market
Stall inside Victoria Street Market

4. Visit the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board

Based in Umhlanga, north of central Durban, is the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board, whose job it is to protect bathers along the coastline of this province, where the warm waters attract some 14 species of shark inshore (only three of which are dangerous to bathers). Here there is an interesting display with more information about the sea life to be found in these waters and a curio shop. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, you can also attend an audio-visual presentation and watch a shark dissection. Sharks have been known to scavenge all manner of things (like Wellington boots and even human body parts), so you never quite know what might be inside that stomach!

Where? Follow the signs on Umhlanga Rocks Drive past the Umhlanga Hospital
Contact: +27 (0)31 566 0400

A dissection at the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board
This surfboard is on display at the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board head offices in Umhlanga

5. Have sundowners at a beachfront hotel

The Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani has a great Panorama Bar and Pool Deck on the second floor, with a commanding view over the beachfront where you can watch the surfers dropping into the water off a pier, or simply enjoy the balmy air and view of the glistening water. Remember that the sun rises in the East, so you won’t see it sink into the sea but it’s a still a great place for cocktails or to enjoy one of their trademark ice creams. Another popular spot is Joe Cool’s on the beachfront.

Durban beachfront as seen from the sea

 

Wildlife sightings in Phinda

ELUSIVE KINGFISHER!

The gentle breeze was sweeping through the canopy of Riverine Trees and every now and then a large yellow leaf of the Sycamore Fig floated to the ground next to us. The previous evening we had a great downpour and once again the Munyawana River that cuts through Phinda Private Game Reserve was flowing.

We were on a Specialist Safari, comfortably lying in hammocks, serene and relaxed in the cool shade. It felt as though we were the only people in this pristine wilderness! More →

Wildlife sightings in Phinda

ELUSIVE KINGFISHER!

The gentle breeze was sweeping through the canopy of Riverine Trees and every now and then a large yellow leaf of the Sycamore Fig floated to the ground next to us. The previous evening we had a great downpour and once again the Munyawana River that cuts through Phinda Private Game Reserve was flowing.

We were on a Specialist Safari, comfortably lying in hammocks, serene and relaxed in the cool shade. It felt as though we were the only people in this pristine wilderness! More →

South Africa Travel – Definitely More Than Just Cape Town

Canyon_south_africa_-_viewing_

Hi there, my name is Anthony and I’m from TheTravelTart.com. I’d like to write about a recent travel experience I had to South Africa based on a press trip to the KwaZulu Natal Region in October 2010.

The coastal city of Durban is the gateway to this incredible area of diversity. This was my fourth time to South Africa, and my second visit to the KwaZulu Natal region. However, I had never experienced a truckload of things KwaZulu Natal had to offer until this trip. More →

Ben Groundwater’s South Africa adventure

So, what’s this South Africa place about? It’s game parks, right? Elephants, lions, G&Ts at sundown in your safari lodge?
After 10 days in the country recently, I now know that the answer is yes. And no. Um…

Game parks? Yeah, we did game parks. We did Phinda Reserve, an amazing private game reserve where you need a guide to take you to your room each night so you don’t accidentally get mauled by the wildlife.

You take breaks during your morning game drive for biscuits washed down with hot chocolate and Amarula. You stop off on evening game drives for G&Ts and biltong.

It’s game driving as it should be done – lots of animals, not many tourists, and a comfortable bed at the end of the day (as long as you avoid those animals).

But there was more to the trip than just annoying the safari animals.

We scuba dived at Aliwal Shoal on the KwaZulu Natal south coast, watching warily as ragged-tooth sharks glided by and watched us warily.

We jumped off the top of a football stadium in Durban. We rode quad bikes through a banana plantation on the south coast. We rode horses on the beach in Trafalgar. We reeled in a couple of tuna off Shelly Beach. We jumped off a cliff at Oribi Gorge.

In fact, if there was a South African activity that was even slightly dangerous or stupid that we missed out on, I’d be very surprised.

By the time we got home, I realised there was only one thing we hadn’t got the chance to do: sleep.

 

Ben Groundwater’s South Africa adventure

So, what’s this South Africa place about? It’s game parks, right? Elephants, lions, G&Ts at sundown in your safari lodge?
After 10 days in the country recently, I now know that the answer is yes. And no. Um…

Game parks? Yeah, we did game parks. We did Phinda Reserve, an amazing private game reserve where you need a guide to take you to your room each night so you don’t accidentally get mauled by the wildlife.

You take breaks during your morning game drive for biscuits washed down with hot chocolate and Amarula. You stop off on evening game drives for G&Ts and biltong.

It’s game driving as it should be done – lots of animals, not many tourists, and a comfortable bed at the end of the day (as long as you avoid those animals).

But there was more to the trip than just annoying the safari animals.

We scuba dived at Aliwal Shoal on the KwaZulu Natal south coast, watching warily as ragged-tooth sharks glided by and watched us warily.

We jumped off the top of a football stadium in Durban. We rode quad bikes through a banana plantation on the south coast. We rode horses on the beach in Trafalgar. We reeled in a couple of tuna off Shelly Beach. We jumped off a cliff at Oribi Gorge.

In fact, if there was a South African activity that was even slightly dangerous or stupid that we missed out on, I’d be very surprised.

By the time we got home, I realised there was only one thing we hadn’t got the chance to do: sleep.

 

Mike Dolan’s South African Experience

South Africa is a country with so many spectacular attractions that once visited, it’s never forgotten. Scenic Cape Town is a hip and happening city with magnificent scenery and the starting point of the Garden Route – a fly-drive adventure for all the family.

Then there’s the seaside town of Hermanus, where you can watch hundreds of humpback whales gather in a bay on a breathtakingly beautiful stretch of coastline. Yet, my two favourite destinations are the Kruger National Park, where you enjoy a DIY camping safari, and KwaZulu Natal, where private game reserves provide luxurious lodgings, fine food and remarkable game viewing. Once, when dozing by the swimming pool at Phinda Forest Lodge, I was woken by a low rumbling sound. There, on the other side of the terrace, was a big bull elephant having an afternoon drink from the pool. After he finished, he raised his trunk, gave a short toot and slowly ambled back into the bush. After all, to an elephant, a swimming pool is just another waterhole.


Mike Dolan
Travel Editor of The Australian Women’s Weekly

To plan your own South African Adventure visit www.southafrica.net

Mike Dolan’s South African Experience

South Africa is a country with so many spectacular attractions that once visited, it’s never forgotten. Scenic Cape Town is a hip and happening city with magnificent scenery and the starting point of the Garden Route – a fly-drive adventure for all the family.

Then there’s the seaside town of Hermanus, where you can watch hundreds of humpback whales gather in a bay on a breathtakingly beautiful stretch of coastline. Yet, my two favourite destinations are the Kruger National Park, where you enjoy a DIY camping safari, and KwaZulu Natal, where private game reserves provide luxurious lodgings, fine food and remarkable game viewing. Once, when dozing by the swimming pool at Phinda Forest Lodge, I was woken by a low rumbling sound. There, on the other side of the terrace, was a big bull elephant having an afternoon drink from the pool. After he finished, he raised his trunk, gave a short toot and slowly ambled back into the bush. After all, to an elephant, a swimming pool is just another waterhole.


Mike Dolan
Travel Editor of The Australian Women’s Weekly

To plan your own South African Adventure visit www.southafrica.net