You've been selected to participate in a beta for a new release of our website. If you do not want to participate in this beta,please click here >
"To be free is not merely to cast off one's chains but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others." -Nelson Mandela, June 1999 Opened in 2001, The Apartheid Museum is a powerful and extensive museum documenting the rise and fall of apartheid. Constructed on a 16 acre plot of land, the museum's architecture and design are unique. As you enter through the gates, you'll notice a separate entrance for whites and blacks. It's quite an interesting way to start your voyage through the history of apartheid. The back gardens are designed by Patrick Watson and it is complete with a sculpture by William Kentridge. For anyone wanting to understand the what apartheid in South Africa was about, a visit here is a necessity.
Although English is widely spoken throughout South Africa, so is Afrikaans and it has certainly made its way into everyday language. Afrikaans is a daughter language of Dutch, but the influence of other languages and accents transformed it into a distinct tongue over the centuries. As so often happens, words for food are usually the most important in language and this is certainly the case in Afrikaans. One of my favorite dessert items in the Dutch dialect is something known as koeksister. Koeksisters are a syrup-coated doughnut in a twisted or braided shape. Like most doughy delights around the world, the pastry is deep-fried and then a sugary syrup is added to make a delicious if not sticky sweet. When you visit you will see these everywhere, so instead of being confused by the term now you know to add these to your culinary must-do list.
The Maboneng Precinct is undergoing a transformation with old warehouses and apartment complexes being converted into artist studios. We stumbled across this fun and thought provoking street art on our way to Arts on Main, a hub for Jo'burg's creative community to develop and share ideas. People scribbled their mere mortal wishes on the wall and local skateboarders were using the halfpipe (not pictured) and ramp to show off their skillz. Jo'burg is full of street art and this was one cool example.
A three-day safari in Kruger National Park is a must for anyone visiting South Africa. Entering the gates is like Jurassic Park and you feel transported back in time to the creation of Earth where the wild animals, especially the elephants, are dinosaurs filled with ancient knowledge of the land's beginning. Although you may not see anything like the infamous "Battle at Kruger" YouTube video, you will certainly witness some interesting animal behavior like hippos bathing, monkeys mating, giraffes snacking or even two elephants flirting in the brush.
An amazingly curated museum, the Wits Art Museum, fondly referred to as WAM, hosts a stunning collection of contemporary and traditional African art. It's located in a bright and airy space and feels relatively undiscovered. My favorite piece was Sam Nhlengethwa's "It left him cold", a tribute to the death of Steve Biko. Definitely put this on your list.
Phinda is a 55,000 acre private game reserve run by &Beyond, the leading safari/wilderness outfitter in Africa. Phinda features several lodges, each of them exquisite and luxurious in their own right. I spent two nights at Rock Lodge, a cluster of just six private villas tucked in to the mountainside overlooking miles of wild bush. The best part? Soaking it up, literally, from the comfort of your very own personal plunge pool.
City Sightseeing in Johannesburg is doing some wonderful things, by helping to bring the tourists both local and foreign to parts of Johannesburg that they may not have necessarily done on their own. The Soweto tour is a new tour line that departs from Gold Reef City and if you don't hop off, will take approximately 2 hours to complete. The friendly and extremely knowledgeable tour guides ensure that your trip is both fun and educational. Highlights of the tour include, visiting Vilikazi Street where both Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu have homes, as well as stops at some local restaurants to test out some local fare.
Amplify your safari experience at Londolozi Game Reserve in the Sabi Sand. Hear a cheetah sharpening its claws on a sausage tree or listen to a cape buffalo swallowing as it drinks from a water hole. Londolozi’s enhanced sound equipment at Pioneer Camp will open a new dimension to animal behavior, with expert guides on hand to decipher the action. This customization is available on request.
The Foundry doesn't seem to disappoint on any level. Their food selection goes great with the vast array of craft beer on hand. In this case the Three Little Pigs platter (Grilled sausages with mustards, pickles, sauerkraut, and bread pretzel), paired very well with a Pale Ale from the Butcher Block brewery.
Kruger National Park is one of South Africa's best known game preserves. It houses thousands of species that once freely ruled the land. It was designed to help encourage survival of these animals and they rome free, and live off the land. You can either take tours, or bring in your own vehicle. However, be warned these are creatures in their own habitat, you do not want exit your vehicle at any time. They are rest stations to be found in the park that are safe.
The small town of Gansbaai, about an hour and a half from Cape Town, South Africa, is the Great White Shark capital of the world. Every winter scores of these ocean giants descend on the small channel between Dyer Island and Geyser Rock known simply as Shark Alley. Thousands of tourists follow the sharks every year for what has become one of the most popular tourist activities in South Africa, cage diving with the Great Whites. The experience of climbing into the chilly waters with nothing in between you and the apex predators of the sea is daunting but exciting. Watching first hand these majestic animals swim and chase after bait is a privilege and it, hopefully, instills in each guest the need for shark conservation and protection.
The only land-based penguin breeding colony, Boulders Beach reserve is part of Table Mountain National Park. Here you can see the little black-and-white fellow previously known as the Jackass Penguin. His new name, the African Penguin, might be more politically correct, but it's anybody's guess who the name reflects most poorly on: Africans or jackasses. When you hear their braying mating sounds, you won't ask why 'jackass'. INSIDE INFO: Don't think you must pay the entry fee to get into Boulders Beach reserve within the National Park. Following the boardwalk is free and will enable close-up viewing of their nesting sites. Even better: head onto the tranquil and wind-protected Seaforth Beach on the western edge of the Boulders Reserve. On the rocky outcrop on the west of Seaforth you will be sure to find plenty of penguins that will allow you up close and personal, with no fences in the way. Be warned, though: a penguin beak is a dangerous thing, and they will not hesitate to attack you if they get annoyed. If you are extremely lucky, you might see a Cape Clawless Otter there too just as night falls. These creatures exit the sea at a freshwater stream, and come searching for penguin eggs.
Lion's Head is a mountain in Cape Town between Table Mountain and Signal Hill. Lion's Head peaks at 669 metres (2,195 ft) above sea level. The peak forms part of a dramatic backdrop to the city of Cape Town. It can be climbed during the day- it is a busy and popular climb or once a month under the full moon and starlight for some extra magic. It starts off relatively steep as the path winds around the mountain- it is not a straight ascent. It is a walk that turns into a hike that turns into a challenging climb but the views are gorgeous and you can stop and turn around at any time, so even people with moderate fitness can manage the walk part (locals often take their dogs with!) It's free and fun and gives you a wonderful perspective of the city glittering below either lit up by the sunshine or the moonlight. If climbing in summer please remember that the African sun gets very hot, very quickly so you should start your climb by 7am. Remember to take with water, sunscreen and a hat as there is nowhere close by to purchase these items. At night you will need a warm jacket and torch and good climbing shoes. The very fit can summit in 45 minutes but the average person may take between 75- 90 mins however it is best to go at your own pace and enjoy the spectacular view.
The 27 clauses of South African's constitution are carved into these massive, gorgeous doors leading in to the court. Inside the foyer, the curated art collection is on par with museum-quality standards.
I've discovered an affinity for ostrich meat - it's lean and so tasty! Perfect for burgers. At Dukes Burgers in Greenside. This burger had fried rosemary-infused butternut squash and cucumbers as well.
You'll discover the hip and trendy at Jozi's Neigbourgoods Market. Large picnic tables and stalls selling everything from local brews and oysters to Croatian hamburgers and jewelry line this two story complex. If you're in Jo'burg on a Saturday, come to the heart of hip.
"...no one can blame brave just men for seeking justice by the use of violent methods; nor could they be blamed if they tried to create an organized force in order to ultimately establish peace and racial harmony." -Chief Alber Luthuli: Statement on the sentencing of the Rivonia Trialists, 12 June 1964... Nestled in the suburb of Rivonia, Liliesleaf became a place of refuge for leaders of the South African liberation struggle. It was where ANC leaders like Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Ahmed Kathrada, and Denis Goldberg strategized and dialogued under a common goal of equality and justice for all people. Liliesleaf was "ground zero" of the South African resistance movement until July 11, 1963 with a dramatic police raid. Extensive evidence was uncovered that detailed the overthrow of the South African government and it was this evidence that sentenced leaders like Nelson Mandela to life terms at Robben Island. This landmark is one of South Africa's most prominent historical and educational. Definitely spend time absorbing the history. The video that you can watch in the "garage" is powerful so don't miss it.
Kirstenbosch ranks as one of the world's top picnic sites, and with good reason: it's on the slopes of Table Mountain, and any picnic would be a confirmed success when presided over by that view. I stopped by there on an otherwise gloomy afternoon last fall, and snapped this shot of Table Mountain shrouded by the mist — it looks even more majestic under a cloak of clouds. (Read more about picnicking at Kirstenbosch on my blog, The South AfriKhan, here: http://bit.ly/182IRLH.)
On a recent visit, we stayed at this wonderful B&B in the heart of Camps Bay called 'At the Fairway' - a gorgeous location that gives a flavour of chic South Africa. Set within a heartbeat away from the row of cafe's that line 'the strip' just by the beach this was the ideal base for us to explore Cape Town and it's surrounds. Catching the sunrise on Camps Bay beach was a highlight along with sun downers at one of the bars along the strip and wonderful dining options - a top pick was 'Cod Father' a great specialty seafood restaurant - just a short walk away from 'At the Fairway'
If you ever want to get away from the hustle and bustle of Jo'burg without wandering too far, then book a stay in one of the Residence's amazing suites. A stay in the Penthouse Suite grants you access to luxurious amenities which include a fireplace in the room, a skylight above the king size extra-length bed (so you can sleep under the stars), which is topped with with goose down stuffed king size pillows and Egyptian cotton sheets. With an outdoor spa bath, an outdoor shower and a jacuzzi on offer with the suite, the jacuzzi definitely has the best view, which just makes enjoying a glass of wine while soaking up the beautiful South African sunset that much more beautiful. Should you require more pampering, book yourself a relaxing spa treatment in the hotel's spa center. As one who doesn't usually do the whole pampering thing, I thoroughly enjoyed the full body massage. Dining at the hotel, will give your taste buds an experience of their own. From bacon-wrapped litchis with blue cheese sauce for my starter, to perfectly cooked Ostrich fillet on wasabi mash for mains, my only gripe was that they'd run out of the hand-made peanut butter ice-cream when I tried to order dessert. I eventually settled on the crème brûlée, which isn't usually my first choice, but on completion, this particular iteration had me wishing I'd had a second helping...
Rolling through five countries in 14 days, the opulent Pride of Africa whisks passengers from the tip of South Africa to Tanzania’s largest city. The trip includes two nights at a five-star game lodge, a sunset cruise on the Zambezi River, and lectures by an onboard historian. From $10,600. 27/(0) 12-315-8242. Photo courtesy of Rovos Rail. This appeared in the June/July 2013 issue.
Muizenberg is a fresh air escape. Straight down Metrorail's Southern Suburbs line, you'll go through the suburbs, wetlands, and eventually arrive at your destination - the False Bay side of the Cape, right in the heart of Surfer's Corner. This area, once a bit derelict, has changed since significant renovations and community investments have been made to keep it safe and clean. There are a few shops to rent boards and wetsuits from, if surfing is your thing. People watching is one of my favorite activities from the Knead cafe on the beachfront - all ages and races flock to this beach and you'll see why they call South Africa a "rainbow nation". If you've got time for another detour, I recommend the Muizenberg to St. James walk, just to the right once you leave the station. It's a promenade between the train tracks and the ocean that make for a really nice walk to the nearby town Kalk Bay.
South Africans love their wine, and with good reason. They’ve been producing wine since the 17th century and the Constantia winery in Cape Town has a long reputation as one of the best wineries in the world. Embargoes during the apartheid era though meant that South African wines couldn’t access the international marketplace, which set back the industry at a time when people around the world were discovering new and tasty wines. South Africa is making up for lost time though and now consumers in the United States and Europe are once again learning about the many delicious wines produced on the bottom of the world. One of the most popular in South Africa is the pinotage. Pinotage is South Africa’s signature red grape varietal and was originally a hybrid between two other grape types: Pinot noir and Cinsaut. Today it’s easily the most popular wine in South Africa and is known for a smooth, smoky flavor. As the go-to wine you’ll look like a travel pro when you ask for it at a restaurant or local wine bar. Groot Constantia is the oldest winery in South Africa and is conveniently located in Cape Town making it the perfect spot to taste your first pinotage.
Outside the back of the Apartheid Museum, they have a beautiful patch of Highveld with a pretty good view of the Joburg skyline. Of course, you also get the roller coaster from Gold Reef City...
Azure, at the 12 Apostles! I went for lunch at this oceanfront hotel, a quintessential Cape Town classic, and while course after course was carefully conceived, beautifully presented, and above all, delicious, nothing compared to the drama and flair that accompanied the spoons of mango sorbet palate cleansers. The servers announced the course, and voilá — dry ice enveloped the platters, leaving us to hunt for our portions through the hazy fog. Brilliant.
If "farmer chic" isn't a thing yet, maybe it ought to be. The fabulous farm resort of Babylonstoren, in the Cape Winelands, can lead the charge. This stylish retreat, just a half-hour from Cape Town, is a dazzling treat for the senses and the sensibilities: lush, fragrant, impeccably manicured gardens set against a beautiful mountain backdrop, and on it an incredibly refined and stylish revamp of old farhmands' quarters at a historic 17th-century Cape Dutch farm, courtesy the former editor of Elle Decoration. The food at Babylonstoren's signature restaurant, Babel, and its more casual counterpart, Greenhouse, is beyond fresh — after all, it doesn't get more farm-to-table than when the table is literally in the farm, does it? These scones and carrot cake might be the best I've ever had.
© 2014 AFAR Media