Travelrific® Travel Journal

Picture postcards in prose.™ Check out the blogroll on the front page for official merchandise and other resources!

Archive for south africa

South Africa’s Spice Route

By Linda Tancs

Cape Town is South Africa’s oldest city, established in the 1600s as a refueling station along the Spice Route for eastbound ships. The story goes that ancient mariners would blow their horns to signal their arrival at Cape Town harbor, inviting farmers to trade. That spirit is captured today along the modern Spice Route, a tourist destination in Paarl featuring arts and crafts, local wines, draft beer and dark chocolates. The artisans chosen to participate in the route represent the best of the culture, art and taste of South Africa. The site is just over an hour’s drive from Cape Town’s city center.

*************

To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Glaciers in Patagonia

By Linda Tancs

In the Patagonia region of Argentina there’s no shortage of glaciers. That’s why the area is named Los Glaciares National Park. Located in the southwest of Santa Cruz on the border with Chile, the park includes a large portion of the Andes practically under ice and snow to the west and arid Patagonian steppes to the east. Its name refers to the glaciers that are born on the ice caps – the largest continental ice extension after Antarctica – which occupies almost half its area. In this region you’ll also find some of the world’s richest fossil beds, highest mountains and biggest glacier-fed lakes found anywhere. The park can be accessed from different points of Route No. 40, by bus or by car.

*************

To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

South Africa’s Garden Route

By Linda Tancs

The Garden Route is one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in the Eastern and Western Cape provinces of South Africa. It was discovered by Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias. A museum devoted to him is located in Mossel Bay, the official starting point of the route. It ends at Storms River. Needless to say, the 124-mile trek is a popular self-drive destination. The region comprises beaches, lagoons, coves, indigenous forest, beautiful flowers (giving the area its name) and quaint towns like George, known as the “Gateway to the Garden Route.” Another town worth a visit is Oudtshoorn, center of the ostrich industry, which rests conveniently along the wine route. You’ll enjoy pleasant temperatures year round.

*************

To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Mountain of Dragons

By Linda Tancs

Drakensberg translates roughly to “mountain of dragons.” It’s one of South Africa’s most spectacular natural wonders, the highest mountain range in the country, reaching over 11,000 feet above sea level. Its peaks, favored by shutterbugs and trekkers alike, include Giant’s Castle, Cathedral Peak and Mont-Aux-Sources. For those seeking an easy day hike, try the Hlatikulu Forest Trail at the foot of the mountains and near the Mpofana River Valley. It boasts some stunning forested areas in some places as well as carpets of wildflowers (in season) in others.

*************

To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

On Route 62

By Linda Tancs

Offering a scenic alternative to the N2 highway, Route 62 is South Africa’s tourist route (much like Route 66 in the U.S., after which it was modeled). Meandering between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, the highway is reputedly the longest wine route in the world and includes views of red soil, stark cliff faces, mountain passes, green valleys, rivers, orchards and indigenous scrub. The area’s dams and wetlands are known to host the blue crane, South Africa’s national bird, an endangered species often spotted along the route. Some popular stops are Montagu (known for its mountain views), Oudtshoorn, the principal town of the Little Karoo, a semi-desert), Robertson (the heart of the route) and Worcester (the commercial center).

World’s Best Bass Fishing Site Teems with Wildlife

By Linda Tancs

Albert Falls Dam is rated as one of the best bass fishing dams in the world. But the fishing isn’t the only thing that’s legendary about this area in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The area around the dam is filled with secluded nature trails, which form part of the Albert Falls Dam Nature Reserve established in 1975. Embracing tracts of mixed woodland, open grassland and small marsh areas, the reserve offers wonderful game viewing (like zebra, the red hartebeest, rhino and giraffe), boating, birding and rock climbing opportunities.

On the Table in Cape Town

By Linda Tancs

Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront boasts Table Mountain as its backdrop. You can ride a cable car to the top of this flat-topped mountain for panoramic views. Down its eastern slope you can visit Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, especially the large indoor greenhouse exhibit of plants from around the region and the outdoor exhibit of local flora. Equally compelling is the view of Table Mountain from Table Bay via the high speed catamaran ferry to Robben Island from the waterfront. That location is significant for its maximum security prison where Nelson Mandela spent nearly two decades of his life for daring to fight against apartheid. These characteristics alone merit Table Mountain’s designation as a New 7 Wonder of Nature, an appellation announced at the N7W headquarters in Zurich on 11 November 2011. Did you know that a N7W Cities competition is underway? Choose your seven cities for the finalist phase starting on 7 December.

South Africa’s City of Roses

By Linda Tancs

Except for its annual festival of roses, you might think that South Africa’s “City of Roses” Bloemfontein (“fountain of flowers” in Dutch) is just a waypoint for oenophiles headed to Stellenbosch or art buffs on their way to Jo’burg.  Not so!  This city, the judicial capital of South Africa, has year-round delights.  For instance, Franklin Game Reserve on Naval Hill is currently the only nature reserve in the world to be located in the middle of a city.  There’s also Oliewenhuis Art Museum, a neo-Dutch style mansion, formerly a residence for the Governor General of the Union of South Africa and now one of the youngest art museums in the country. You’ll also enjoy a landscape of 70 hectares of grass and woodlands at the Botanical Gardens, or take a gander at the Big Five within the sanctuary of the Zoo.  Whatever you do, you’re sure to find a reason to stay awhile.

Share

San Artists in South Africa

By Linda Tancs

Only two hours from Cape Town, the Cederberg mountains and wilderness area offers up telling rock art from the nomadic San.  The 2500 or so ancient sites depict everyday hunting and gathering activities and some not-so-mundane mysteries for rock sleuths.  After a day of rugged rock climbing, why not indulge in a cup of rooibos, a tea derived from the rooibos plant (Aspalathus Linearis) which is only found in the Cederberg region.  Famed for its restorative properties, you just might find your fountain of youth.

Share

Running with the Fishes

By Linda Tancs

It’s not every day that humans compete with dolphins and sharks for good eats.  But ’tis the season off South Africa’s east coast for locals and tourists to rush after massive schools of sardines off Durban, South Africa during their annual migration.  Consider a sardine run expedition fit for divers and snorkelers alike for an underwater extravaganza of a lifetime.

Share

%d bloggers like this: