This article is great- everything & anything you need to know about South Africa! We have included a few sections for you to read. Thanks BBC and Lonely Planet! *The whole article can be found by clicking the source link.
Take to the road in one of South Africa’s most diverse regions and discover fabulous food, fine wines, wild wide-open spaces & big game.
Nowhere does the Rainbow Nation display its colours to greater effect than among Cape Town’s places to eat – this is a city that feasts on its multiculturalism. For food-loving locals the weekend begins with a breakfast of strong coffee and crêpes fresh from the hot plate at Neighbourgoods Market, held in an old Victorian warehouse in the one-time industrial neighbourhood of Woodstock. More than 100 stallholders gather here every Saturday morning to sell upmarket metropolitan essentials, from champagne to organic bread.
West of here are the kaleidoscopic streets of the Bo-Kaap area. Its acid-bright houses are home to the city’s Cape Malay community – descendants of people from India, Malaysia and other South East Asian countries who settled the area as early as the 17th century – and the cuisine is a spicy, aromatic, and sometimes strange, mix of Asian, European and Mediterranean flavours. Nzolo Café, afro-print oilcloths and craftworks lining its walls, offers a taste of traditional South Africa. For locals the most popular order is vetkoek (pronounced fet-cook and literally meaning ‘fat cake’): an Afrikaner pastry that’s a bit like a savoury doughnut, filled with mince.
Dinner promises an escape from the city, and a different sort of meal. Driving south, Table Mountain recedes in the rear-view mirror and congested streets give way to a cliff-hugging road and endless ocean views. Kalk Bay, one of the first fishing harbours in the area, is home to elegant seafood restaurant Harbour House. Diners sit at tables lining the open windows, listening to the waves crash against the seawall, as they tuck into such dishes as grilled Cape crayfish, impeccably tender and lemony. Across the harbour there’s Kalky’s, an informal fish and chip shop that’s something of a local institution. Commuters recently disgorged by the city train crowd around the sunny tables outside to share fried delicacies – hake, snoek, calamari – straight from the sea. Others head to the dock with their paperwrapped packages, the contents of which will be eaten with greasy fingers beside the boats that brought in the catch.
Where to stay: Grand Daddy Hotel
As well as stylish regular rooms and the Daddy Cool Bar, this centrally located hotel has a rooftop Penthouse Trailer Park. Bed down in one of the vintage Airstreams, themed around subjects as diverse as John and Yoko’s ‘bed-in’ and Goldilocks and the Three Bears (from £132; granddaddy.co.za).
The Boland: Best for wine
Simple white homesteads dot the rolling hills of the Boland, the bucolic patch of countryside east of Cape Town. The area is known for its scenery as much as the dizzying array of grapes cultivated here. Swathes of vines, their leaves cascading over trellises to create rows of unruly hedges, surround the small towns of Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Paarl.
Tsitsikamma National Park: Best for walking
Churning river currents meet turquoiseblue seas in a frothy mix at the mouth of Storms River, in Tsitsikamma National Park. Stop midway along one of the two suspension bridges crossing the river and the park’s diversity presents itself in every direction: millennia-old sandstone and quartz rock formations line the gorge and rocky shoreline, and the fins of massive southern right whales are visible out in the ocean. Walking paths hug the coastal cliffs as they pass through dense thickets of witch-hazel shrub, stinkwood, yellow-wood and milkwood trees, some hundreds of years old.
Park guide Marthinus Sky explains that Tsitsikamma is a Khoe tribe word, which translates as ‘many waters’, and that the area gets over 1,200mm of rainfall each year. Vegetation grows quickly here, but can be reduced to burning embers in even less time by a lightning strike. ‘Nature does the work it needs to do to replenish itself,’ says Marthinus. ‘But the indigenous forest has its own roof, so wind and oxygen are reduced and we don’t see the fires that have devastated the surrounding countryside.’ Furry little dassie (rock hyrax) scurry along the forest floor – incongruously, the animal’s closest relatives are elephants, though they look more like overgrown guinea pigs. Marthinus points out an arum lily, a striking white bloom known as the ‘death flower’ because of its use in funeral arrangements.
Storms River was once the transport hub of a booming 18th-century lumber industry. Logs were cut from the forest further inland and floated downriver, where they were loaded onto ships bound for export. Upriver here and at the Sandrift River, which runs parallel 10 miles to the east, the colour of the water is striking – imagine looking into a cup of strong, dark coffee. The shade is the result of tannin released from fynbos roots, the bitter taste of which helps to defend the plant against hungry animals. Defending the ecosystem of Tsitsikamma’s 65,000 hectares is easier now that it has state legislature on its side. Just like the fynbos root, the park and all the life within it thrives.
Addo Elephant National Park: Best for safari
The jeep comes to a halt and all heads swivel, searching for life in the low bushes, tall grass and distant hills. Nearby dense, bright-green spekboom plants – referred to as ‘elephant’s food’ – begin to rattle, shaking loose some of their succulent leaves. A prehistoric-looking dung beetle, its shiny black shell like armour plating, creeps past the front of the vehicle. Before it can complete its journey, three African elephants burst from the undergrowth, dwarfing the tiny creature and stealing the limelight. Our guide, Jonathan Grootboom, points to their great flapping ears – the shape of the African continent itself.
At Addo, a national park created from farmland situated only 45 miles from the city of Port Elizabeth, these two species represent a conservation success story. There are strict traffic rules to protect the beetles, endemic only to Addo, and elephants once reduced to a mere dozen now number more than 400. So successful has been their rehabilitation that park authorities are now contemplating contraceptive measures. Also roaming free are hyenas and lions, brought here from the Kalahari in 2003 to bring the kudu, ostrich and warthog populations down.
All Addo’s creatures have their role to play in the circle of life. Female beetles bury elephant dung underground to eat, simultaneously fertilising the soil and allowing the abundant growth of spekboom plants – the leaves of which are the main source of moisture for elephants.
‘The old saying is that elephants have good memories,’ says Jonathan, ‘but this is really true, and is the reason citrus fruits are forbidden in Addo.’ To try to revive a population decimated by landowners protecting their property, the first rangers supplied oranges to encourage the elephants to stay within park boundaries. The elephants fought violently over the easy food source, and a fruit ban has been in place since the late 1970s, but even the smell is enough to excite the appetites of seniors in the herd.
It’s late afternoon when the full menagerie comes to life. Male warthogs, distinguishable from females by the extra pair of warts protruding from their cheeks, sit awkwardly on their knees to feed on the grass. Meerkats, popping in and out of burrows, stand on hind legs to detect signs of danger, swivelling their small heads like a periscope. White-striped kudu bulls pause, and slowly turn their imposing curved horns. All of Addo’s animals seem joined in a subtle ballet, a performance the park and its visitors hope will never end.
All of the above information is from the BBC website, more information can be found on: http://www.bbc.com/travel/feature/20110111-the-perfect-trip-south-africa/2