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Archive for south africa

On the Table in Cape Town

By Linda Tancs

Capetown’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.

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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.

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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.

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The Lore of Cape Town

By Linda Tancs

South Africa is called the Rainbow Nation, alluding to its diversity, with 11 official languages spoken there.  Cape Town, in particular, is as diverse as it gets, sporting boutique lush vineyards on the one hand and a free-roaming pride of white lions on the other.  Located on the shore of Table Bay, the nation’s second-most populous city is teeming with things to do. Listen in at Travelrific Radio.

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Ostrich Rides in Oudtshoorn

By Linda Tancs

Bird watching is quite the sport in Oudtshoorn, a town in the Western Cape province of South Africa some 270 miles east of Cape Town.  In fact, you’ll find here the largest population of ostriches in the world.  Not surprising, considering that this native has been roaming the Karoo since the 19th century.  You can get up close and personal (and attempt a ride, if you dare) at Cango Ostrich Show Farm.  If you’d rather eat than greet, you’ll have the opportunity to sample ostrich steak, eggs or pâté.

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Flying 101

By Linda Tancs

Can you identify the location of a jump seat on aircraft?  Did you know that the “black box” is actually orange? These and other curiosities of air travel are demystified courtesy of Kulula Airlines’s Flying 101 aircraft.  Talk about truth in labeling!  The South African carrier is also celebrating its ninth birthday.  If you register for their eBucks program, you might even get to fly for free.  That’s right–free.  eBucks are earned for doing everyday things like shopping and paying bills with eBucks partners.  Earn enough eBucks and redeem them for a flight–or pay part of the balance with a credit card. Ten eBucks equals one Rand.  That sounds grand.

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