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Must see locations, events and places to travel and enjoy in South Africa.
Must see locations, events and places to travel and enjoy in South Africa.
Shimmy Beach Club is South Africa’s premier lifestyle destination venue. Guests dine in a spectacular beachfront setting, idling away the hours in exclusive lounges, decks, VIP areas and a restaurant, with Table Mountain as a backdrop. Voted one of the world’s top ten beach venues, Shimmy is the perfect place for everything from a simple family get-together, to exclusive conferences and elaborate events, owing to its clever layout and versatile decks, breakaway rooms and lounges. During Shimmy’s summer campaign, “Summer Calling” weekends are filled with top DJ’s creating the best parties in Cape Town. Download the Shimmy App on Google Play & Apple App Store or scan the QR codes below.
CHRISTMAS LUNCH AT SHIMMY – Shimmy Beach Club will be hosting an extravagant, plush Christmas lunch buffet. Guests can book a fable in the 220-seafer restaurant where live entertainment from Ricky Botsis will set the ambiance for the evening. Cost: R895 pp overl3 years, R175 pp for children 3-12 years.
ONS ROCK! Come and have a great time with family and friends while listening to your favourite Afrikaans singers at the Afrikaans Rock event hosted at Shimmy Beach Club. Afrikaans Rock, in partnership with Klipdrift Brandy, bring together for the first lime, South African music’s biggest names. With a line-up that exceeds any Afrikaans music lovers dream, this is a show that is not to be missed. 3 December 2016 will see I Die Heuwefe Fanfasfies and Fokofpolisiekir returning to the Shimmy Stage and Karen Zoid I will make sure we are all reminded as to why ‘afrikaners is plesierig’. Also keeping crowds I entertained are Soulh African favourites Jack Parrow and Francois van Coke.
AWARD WINNING INTERNATIONAL DJ, BLACK COFFEE, SIGNS HIS FIRST SOUTH AFRICAN RESIDENCY FOR SUMMER 2016
Shimmy Beach Club is thrilled to announce a new resident DJ for Friday nights throughout the 2016 summer season. Multi-award winning DJ and Producer, Black Coffee, will be hitting the decks live at Shimmy Beach Club, starting on Friday, 09 December 2016. Arguably the most prominent house music producer in Africa, Durban born Nkosinathi Maphumulo, known as Black Coffee, has released five albums under his record label, Soulistic Music. He was awarded a BET award for Best International Act In Africa this year. In 20017 he became a household name in the SA DJ scene, firing up floors with his tribally infectious, vocal-laced beats.
Additionally, he recently won 4 awards at the South African Music Awards (SAMA) including Album of the Year, Best Dance Album, Best Engineered Album and the International Achievement Award. In 2015 he was also awarded ‘Breakthrough DJ of the Year” in Ibiza and has been nominated again this year in the ‘Deep House” category for the 2016 DJ Awards. Black Coffee’s penchant for true Afropolitan house: home-brewed but fresh and future-focused. The global superstar believes that the use of live instruments in a song is very important, as it brings the track to life.
SUBMERGED SUNDAYS will once again be headlined by GOLDFISH, who will be supported by a host of internationally acclaimed artists from around the world.
Book now for Goldfish on the following dates: December 2016:4, 11, 26, 28; January 2017: 1,8
ARMADA NIGHTS sees acts from:
De Hofnar on 17 December 2016
Pretty Pink on 27 December 2016
The closest parking lot to Shimmy Beach Club is The Clock Tower parking, V&A Waterfront, with Shimmy shuttles running frequently between the venue and the parking. It is however recommended that parlygoers make use of a reliable taxi service. Voted as Cape Town’s hottest Club by Zomato, Shimmy Beach Club is headed by Group CEO Nicky van der Walt. This premier party venue balances the style of international party life and the laid-back atmosphere of Cape Town, making it a stylish venue to rival Ibiza’s beach club scenes.
Yes, yes, very waxing of the lyric but that is how one feels when on a paddle cruiser (yes, you heard right), sailing past the magnificent cliffs on either side in the last light of an autumn day, sipping champagne and eating oysters. The quaint town of Knysna always reminds me more of a movie set than a place where people live every-day, banal lives, concerned with the trite trivia and idle gossips of a small town community. The boat is a two-storey affair with soft lighting and the excited sounds of kids aged between very new and teenage fill the chilly sea air as we slowly drift across the olive coloured sea. The mist blurs the surrounding majestic cliffs and sky together.
This is the only paddle driven boat in South Africa by the way so don’t expect an adrenaline heart-stopping type thing at a top speed of 3.8 knots per hour…The cruise goes to the famous Knysna Heads and back and lasts for about an hour and a half. One of the best reasons for living in my opinion is one of the things Knysna is world famous for – oysters. God created oysters to make up for nasty things like that Black Plague incident, Hitler and boy bands. I’m staying at the smart and sophisticated four star Rex Hotel just this side of the Waterfront and located very centrally I have a delicious steak dinner at the restaurant DISH with my charming host Jeannine Orzechowski from Knysna Tourism.
The following morning I wake up regretting the copious amounts of Van Loveren Brut the previous night. Accompanied by my friend Meinie who lives in the area, we make our way along the coast to the world-famous primate sanctuary Monkeyland, just past Plettenberg Bay. Monkeyland is an astonishing place. It opened its doors to the public in 1998. According to their website, this unique primate sanctuary is currently the top eco-tourism attraction on the Garden Route and for very sound and sunny reasons. Monkeyland has captured the hearts of visitors in its efforts to rehabilitate and free previously caged primates. They are free to move about the forest and this they do most harmoniously.
Adjacent to the monkeys are the birds…of course. Birds of Eden is a bird sanctuary which is housed in a unique two hectare dome (the world’s largest) and spans over a gorge of indigenous forest. The sanctuary has its own mysterious ruin, which incorporates a walk-behind waterfall. Another feature is its amphitheatre, which has the ability to seat over 200 visitors. It boasts its own canopy walk and, while shorter than the 128m bridge at Monkeyland, it hangs above the clouds on this cold and rainy day. The sanctuary even enables bird owners to apply to release their own pet birds into the sanctuary. Next it’s off down the road to the Tenikwa Wildlife Awareness Centre. Guests here are taken on a guided tour to meet captive-bred furry felines, living in a semi-natural environment. Not everyday you can say “I stroked a leopard…”
During the one hour guided tours you are guaranteed to see the charismatic cheetah, ZweLakhe the Leopard and enjoy a cat and mouse game with South Africa’s seldomly seen lesser indigenous cats, such as the African Wild Cat, servals, caracal and the rare Black-Footed Cat. For the more adventurous, the Centre offers a walk with the Tenikwa cheetahs. That night, after a glorious dinner at 34 Tapas, I crawl into my warm bed, lulled to sleep by the soft rain and the cool sea air. The next day, a terribly hedonistic massage and delectable lunch at the five star Simola Hotel await me. Located high up in the hills above Knysna, Simola Golf & Country Estate is a world apart.
Fairways merge seamlessly with lush indigenous vegetation and forests, creating an evocative vista of undulating green hills and dales descending gently down to the Knysna River. From its vantage point, the 325-hectare Estate looks out on a spectacular panorama encompassing the full expanse of the Knysna Lagoon, all the way to the Heads and beyond to the sea. I wish to stay but before I know it, the time has dragged me away from this special hide-away on our beautiful coast, one of the most beautiful towns in a lithe world…
Battlefields are inherently eerie. Often remote and protected from development, there’s an almost unnatural stillness about them – the breeze seems muted, the shush of the grass quieter than elsewhere, and the cairns, graves and memorials somehow unchanged despite the passage of time. But visit with a knowledgeable guide who can narrate the story of the battle, and it’s easy to completely immerse yourself in the story, and almost, just almost, hear the batt le cries, rifle shot and the moans of the wounded, smell the smoke and the fear, and see the epic clash of soldiers gripped in combat. KwaZulu-Natal is home to some of South Africa’s most important battlefields from the Voortrekker-Zulu Wars, the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879, the Transvaal War of Independence and the Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902.
Each of these conflicts, not to mention others too numerous to mention here, played an integral part in shaping the history of our fledgling nation – both for the good and the bad.
Sadly, the battlefields tend to be visited mostly by foreigners whose forebearers fought and died on KZN’s plains. If you went to school in KZN,
chances are you visited Isandlwana or one of the other battlefields as part of a school tour, and as good an experience as it is for young people, the geopolitics, nuances and repercussions of these great events can be somewhat lost on kids. The batt lefields are reasonably easy to reach, there are guides on hand and they’re generally surrounded by excellent places to stay and other attractions – so why not veer off the well-beaten track, and see them for yourself?
ISANDLWANA – The Battles of Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift are two of the most famous battles in South Africa’s history, let alone the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879, with one serving as possibly the Zulu nation’s greatest battlefield victory, and the other serving as one of Great Britain’s greatest defensive actions. The Battle of Isandlwana was the first major encounter between the British and King Cetshwayo’s Zulu kingdom. The centre column of the British forces under the command of Lord Chelmsford, camped on the eastern slope of the Isandlwana Mountain – notable for its resemblance to the Sphinx.
Underestimating the Zulu capabilities, the British did not laager their wagons or entrench, and Chelmsford took the majority of his force to search for the main Zulu army, leaving behind some 1400 men to defend the camp. The 20,000-strong Zulu army thoroughly outmanoeuvred Chelmsford, and on 22 January 1879 attacked the camp. In the ensuing battle, more than 1300 British and Colonial soldiers died, and it was Britain’s worst defeat against an indigenous foe in its history. Although there was no casualty count of the Zulu losses, it’s estimated that 1000-2000 Zulu soldiers lost their lives.
RORKE’S DRIFT – But the drama didn’t end as the last soldier fell at the foot of Isandlwana. in the aftermath of the battle, an impi of some 4000 Zulu warriors crossed the Buffalo River and attacked the British Commissariat and Hospital at the Mission station at Rorke’s Drift. A small British garrison of 140 men repelled the Zulu attack for 11 hours through the night, losing only 17 men and leaving 600 Zulu warriors dead. It’s a remarkable battle which saw 11 Victoria Crosses (the most ever received for a single action by one regiment) and 4 Distinguished Conduct Medals awarded to the brave men manning the garrison. The buildings used in the defence have been turned into a museum and interpretation centre, which tell the story in vivid detail, but it’s hard to imagine the stilt, pretty grounds playing host to a night of such carnage.
BLOOD RIVER – The Battle of Blood River was one of the most iconic encounters of the Great Trek, which saw 470 Voortrekkers led by Andries Pretorius defeat a force of an estimated 15,000-20,000 Zulu warriors on the banks of the Ncome (Blood) River on 16 December 1838. Whilst the victory itself is remarkable, what’s even more so is that no Voortrekkers were killed (only three were lightly wounded), whilst there were some 3000 Zulu casualties.
The Voortrekker wagons were laagered, and Pretorius made excellent use of the natural features of the landscape as part of his defences. The battle lasted about three hours, with the Zulus withdrawing in defeat across the river, which ran red with the blood of the dead and wounded, giving rise to the name of the river and battle. Today, two complexes mark the battle site: the Ncome Monument and Museum Complex east of the Ncome River, and the Blood River Monument and Museum Complex to the west, including 64 full size replica bronze wagons set in the format of the original laager.
MAJUBA HILL – Arguably the most decisive battle in the Transvaal War of Independence (also known as the First Boer War), the Battle of Majuba Hill resulted in another humiliating defeat for the British. Fought on Sunday, 27 February 1881, a British force of some 400 men held the top of Majuba Hill, which dominated the Boer positions blocking the Laing’s Nek Pass and the road into the Transvaal When the Boers realised this they stormed the mountain, and killed or captured 256 British soldiers, including the British General, and lost only five men wounded or killed in the process. Although small in scale, the battle led to the signing of a peace treaty and later the Pretoria Convention, between the British and the reinstated South African Republic, ending the First Boer War. The battlefield has a number of graves and monuments to the fallen, and a phenomenal view of the surrounding area.
SPIONKOP – The Battle of Spionkop was one of a number of battles that took place due to efforts by the British to relieve the besieged British Forces in Ladysmith during the Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902 (also known as the Second Boer War). Fought on 24 January 1900, the battle was bloody and technically ended in a Boer victory, though for both sides the battle was in many senses a futile one. The battle is also notable in that both Winston Churchill and Mohandas Gandhi were present as a courier to and from Spionkop and British headquarters, and a warrant officer of the Indian Ambulance Corps respectively.
During the night of 23 January 1900, the British occupied the kop, but as dawn broke they discovered they only held the smaller and lower part of the hilltop. The Boers held the higher ground on three sides of the British defensive position, and to compound this the British had been unable to dig suitable trenches, with the hard rock of the kop only yielding trenches 40cm deep. The Boers counter (attacked as the mist rose in the morning, combining artillery fire with a massed attack which resulted in vicious, close quarters combat. The fighting lasted throughout the day, and both sides withdrew once darkness fell, with the Boers occupying the kop the following day.
While the roads in Africa have improved over time, the comfort of the vehicles hasn’t – until now. Leading small-group adventure travel company G Adventures announces the launch of a new overland adventure vehicle (OAV), purpose-built for today’s modern traveller, and designed to maximize safety and comfort. The fleet of 10 “Landos” are being introduced on most G Adventures overland trips in eastern and southern Africa with the rollout being completed by summer 2016. Each truck features full body seatbelts, reclining seats with side-seat movement for extra shoulder room, a 250-litre water tank to
reduce the use of plastic bottles, onboard Wi-Fi, USB chargers at every seat, large front windows for better views of wildlife, and windows designed specifically for photography.
Jeff Russill, VP of product at G Adventures, says his team has completely re-invented and improved the OAV with the needs of travellers in mind, using traveller feedback and the inside knowledge of the G Africa team.
“Our travellers have become more sophisticated and their needs have changed. We no longer accept that the old vehicles suit modern-day travelers, and in our bid to lead with service have come up with a solution to bring overland travel into a new age,” says Russill.
‘Lando’ is a play on the word ‘overland’ and it’s no coincidence the OAV bears a likeness to cavaliering Star Wars character, Lando Calrissian, whose sense of adventure is similar to that of G Adventures’ travelers. The Lando will operate on 22 G Adventures Yolo itineraries (adventures for 18 to 39 year olds) covering Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Tanzania, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
G Adventures Yolo trips in Africa are primarily camping trips (with some hotel accommodation) that are fast-paced, cover a lot of distance, and provide younger travellers with the opportunity to see as much as possible at a more affordable price. Sample itineraries featuring the new Lando: Botswana and Falls Adventure – An immersive African experience in a compact eight-day package. Soak up the wildlife and vibrant colours and scenery of Zambia, Botswana, and South Africa with game walks and plenty of game drives. Camp under the stars of the Okavango Delta and marvel at the immense Victoria Falls. Kenya and Uganda Gorilla Adventure -Meet mountain gorillas and other amazing wildlife on this two-week overland adventure.
Spot chimpanzees in Kalinzu Forest, and join experienced trackers while traveling deep into the Ugandan forests to spot endangered mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. Victoria Falls and Serengeti Adventure -Inhale the scent of Zanzibar’s spice plantations, hunt for the perfect snapshot of the ever-elusive Big Five and feel the thunder of Victoria Falls. Uncover the spectacular highlights of four African countries on this stellar 20-day adventure.
WHAT’S THE STORY BEHIND THE LOOK? This handsome house, with its Victorian filigree-laced veranda, has been lovingly restored by its current owners. Room are pretty, with white walls and antique wood furniture, but it’s the building that’s the star here, sat among neat lawns and rose bushes in beautiful countryside east of Cape Town.
Round the back there’s an open conservatory, where evening meals made with ingredients from the kitchen garden are served.
WHICH ROOM IS MOST MEMORABLE? With a four-poster bed, fireplace and rolltop bath, it has to be the Honeymoon Suite.
1. Greenpoint Lighthouse Is The Oldest In SA. This iconic structure based in Moullie Point has been standing since 1842.
2. The Shipping Port Is Said To Be The Busiest In The World – Because of its location along one of the world’s busiest trade routes, this port sees many shipping containers and cruise liners.
3. Table Mountain Has Its Own Constellation – Mensa is seen in the southern hemisphere around midnight in July.
4. It Has Made South Africa One of the Top 10 Wine Producing Countries – This is thanks to the vineyards in Cape Town – from Franschoek to Constantia, Stellenbosch to Fairview – grapes are a plenty.
5. Humpback Whales Can Be Spotted In False Bay – The mammals come to the shores to give birth around July, and many whale-spotting tours are facilitated in the area.
Heading back towards the Atlantic Seaboard, just past Hout Bay is Seal Island, which is well known for its Great White Shark spotting since the island is packed with the shark’s favourite meal. And if getting up close and personal with these toothy mammals is what floats your metaphorical boat, Gaansbaai offers shark-cage diving for those who want to see this magnificent creature in its natural environment. Other marine life that can be spotted around Seal Island include whales and dolphins.
Before a groan escapes your lips at the mere mention of the word “history”, let me assure you that I am not about to bore you with details of Jan van Riebeeck, but rather elaborate on places like Simons Town and Robben Island. Home to South Africa’s largest naval base, Simons Town is a hub of activity, with Boulders Beach being a major attraction. About 3000 African penguins waddle around in amongst the massive rocks and visitors are able to be on the beach and in the water with them – but as with most cute-looking animals, these little creatures are fierce and bite hard.
Many people will know of Robben Island as being the place where the world’s most famous president, the late Nelson Mandela spent 18 years imprisoned. The island has since become a major tourist attraction, taking visitors around to see the school, hospital, leper colony and military base that were there, as well as, most notably, Mandela’s actual prison cell.
Cape Town as a whole has a very warm summer climate, which invites some of the world’s best supermodels, photographers and actors to its shores. Many movies are filmed in Cape Town, so the chance of you bumping into an A-lister there is high.
Between the glistening Atlantic ocean, one of the seven wonders of nature that is Table Mountain, and the white beaches, it’s no wonder why Cape Town was named the best place to visit by both The New York Times and The Telegraph.
The Mother City has so much more to offer than just vast expanses of sand (Camps Bay), penguins waddling around rocks (Boulders Beach near Simonstown), mountain ranges (Franschoek) and wine farms (Stellenbosch). This city is one teeming with cultural diversity, which brings with it some major tourist attractions, such as Cape Point, Chapman’s Peak, the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens – a World Heritage Site – and not to mention, the V&A Waterfront. Before we get carried away with listing the points of interest in Cape Town, let’s start with the obvious.
Table Mountain was named one of the Seven Wonders of Nature, and with its commonly known “tablecloth” of cloud cover, 1 000 metre rocky hike, and views that stretch further than 180 degrees it is no surprise. For those that are not so thrilled with the idea of climbing up the mountain, the cable car will get you to the top in just over 5 minutes, where you can have a picnic, or go get something to eat at the restaurant there. To the west of the mountain is Signal Hill, which is a popular spot for sun downers because of its ease of access and magnificent views.
Other bays along the coastline of South Africa’s Western Cape attract migrating whales, but most of them return yearly to the waters of Walker Bay and the coastal town of Hermanus. The months of June to November see hundreds of courting, mating, and calving whales, particularly the southern right whale, with a few Bryde’s and humpbacks thrown in for good measure.
Hermanus sits atop a ledge where a 7-mile cliff walk is the prime vantage point for whale-watching; a roaming whale-crier, complete with sandwich board and bullhorn, keeps you apprised of approaching activity. Even on a rare whaleless day, you might be happily compensated with white sharks, jackass penguins, and seals in a naturally beautiful setting. Nearby, Grootbos Lodge offers the area’s loveliest stay.
This privately owned 295-acre nature reserve gives a limited number of guests the chance to meander on horseback or on foot over hills draped with wild lilies and fynbos, the predominant flora of the Cape, and through milkwood forests full of bird life. The young European owner and manager finds time to excel as a chef as well, and arranges beach barbecues along the coastline, where sunset is a bonus.
This 130-mile stretch east of Cape Town runs along the coastal terrain of lakes, mountains, forests, and golden beaches. The waters are full of penguins, dolphins, and migrating whales. Its year-round beauty is enhanced between July and October, when multitudes of blooming wildflowers create a nonpareil diversity of flora due to unique climatic and soil conditions.
The floral kingdom of the Southern Cape is the most varied in the world, as hiking among hundreds of miles of trails and leisurely drives through forests and parkland will illustrate. The famous Otter Trail in the Tsitsikamma National Park is a five-day hike through some of the country’s most spectacular scenery; half-mile trails descend from the Visitor’s Center for those without much time or stamina.
The charming town of Knysna is a must-see. While you’re there, sample some of the area’s renowned oysters; the famed Knysna Oyster Company’s alfresco tasting tavern overlooks a scenic lagoon. Follow the town’s walking trails out along the coast to view the Heads, rock sentinels that stand guard at the mouth of the lagoon.
On a gorgeous sweep of beach lies the Plettenberg, the coastline’s most exclusive hotel and an enchanting place to stop. Built around an 1860 manor house, a more contemporary addition has airy rooms that overlook the pool and ocean. Come at least for a wonderful lunch on the open terrace and whale-watch as you dine.