South Africa Travel Guide

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South Africa Wastes No Time Creating Nelson Mandela Tourism Map

March 25, 2014 at 9:57 AM | by | Comments (0)

Less than four months after his death, the South African tourist board has launched a new website and interactive map to help visitors relive the life of Noble Peace Prize winner Nelson Mandela.

Mandela, often referred to by his clan name 'Madiba,' has long been heralded in South Africa and throughout the world for his activism, which included spending 27 years in prison after being convicted of conspiracy to overthrow the state. As it turns out, he was trying to do just that. When an international campaign got him released from prison in 1990, he became the first president of South Africa just four years later, ending the reign of the apartheid government.

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What It's Like to Land at the Tiny Safari Airport of Hoedspruit, South Africa

February 18, 2014 at 12:40 PM | by | Comments (0)

We love it when our travels take us to slightly more unusual airports, and this one in South Africa certainly fits the bill. Hoedspruit (HDS) lies 280 miles northeast of Johannesburg on the eastern edge of the Limpopo province, towards the border with Mozambique. The most likely reason for venturing out to HDS is the same for which we came: the proximity to world-famous Kruger National Park.

Only one airline (South African Express) and two cities (Johannesburg and Cape Town) offer scheduled service to Hoedspruit, using small, single-aisle Bombardier jets or prop aircraft. The link to Johannesburg is twice-daily throughout the week, with one daily flight to Cape Town only available on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. A few charter airlines will also make the hops.

Hoedspruit’s location and level of traffic could easily fool you into thinking this is just a tiny airport, but that impression would be wrong; only a section (officially Eastgate Airport) is for commercial use, with the airfield being unexpectedly vast due to its use as a military base and, even more interestingly, as one of the emergency landing spots for the now-grounded Space Shuttle.

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Why Twitter Went Crazy Over the Arrival of British Airways Flight 43

December 21, 2013 at 1:30 AM | by | Comments (0)

The top trending topic on Twitter Friday night was a cryptic inquiry: #HasJustineLandedYet?

To tell the story behind the hashtag is to sum up 12 hours of Twitter intrigue and outrage stemming from a single idiotic tweet by @JustineSacco.

Sacco, a communications director for media conglomerate IAC (representing brands like Vimeo, OkCupid, and Match.com), couldn't resist the urge to fire off a final tweet before boarding a 12-hour nonstop flight on British Airways from London to Cape Town, South Africa:

Going to Africa. Hope I don't get AIDS. Just kidding. I'm white!

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How You Can Use Your Camera Phone to Empower South African Women Photographers

September 18, 2013 at 3:46 PM | by | Comments (0)

Most of us don't tend to think about the impact something as simple as a cell phone can have on women around the world. Luckily, the innovators at the heART of a woman project did recognize the potential in the cameras we carry in our pockets and launched an initiative to use them to help women in South Africa.

Their program is designed to "provide education in mobile photography to women (15+) in developing communities, to empower and to create small business and sustainable income through the sales of their photographic art and photo art products." But, to make their vision a reality the folks at HOAWP need a few helpful volunteers. They are looking for advanced amateur or professional photographers willing to travel to Khayelitsha, South Africa this November.

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Three Touristy (but Totally Worthwhile) Things to Do in Cape Town

June 21, 2013 at 12:56 PM | by | Comments (0)

If you're going to road trip in South Africa, let it be on the Garden Route. This popular stretch of road connects Heidelberg and Storms River Village along the N2, traversing mountain passes interspersed with views out to the Indian Ocean. We recently drove it in a 2014 Subaru Forester XT, opting for the most picturesque (and least paved) stretches from Plettenberg Bay to Cape Town. Come along for the ride all this week!

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5

So far this week, we’ve taken you from Plettenberg Bay to Arniston, through numerous mountain passes and ostrich farms, and to a museum choc-full of Ferraris. Alas, all good things must come to an end and the final stretch of our road trip in a 2014 Subaru Forester XT brings us into Cape Town for the usual touristy stuff.

It's totally okay to be a tourist, you know. Everyone must start somewhere in exploring a city new to them. For a first visit to Cape Town, these three touristy activities are completely worthwhile:

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Road Tripping South Africa via the Garden Route: Ferraris in Franschhoek

June 20, 2013 at 7:33 PM | by | Comments (0)

If you're going to road trip in South Africa, let it be on the Garden Route. This popular stretch of road connects Heidelberg and Storms River Village along the N2, traversing mountain passes interspersed with views out to the Indian Ocean. We recently drove it in a 2014 Subaru Forester XT, opting for the most picturesque (and least paved) stretches from Plettenberg Bay to Cape Town. Come along for the ride all this week!

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5

So far this week, we’ve taken you from Plettenberg Bay to Arniston, through numerous mountain passes and ostrich farms, but all good news must come to an end. This is the final stretch of our intense road trip. We're Cape Town-bound, although hardly via the “quick and easy” route.

The town of Arniston is a small fishing community on the very southernmost coast of South Africa. Originally called Waenhuiskrans, it received its newer name after a British-owned East India trading ship called the Arniston lost its heading and ran aground off the coast in 1815. Debris and bodies washed up on shore for days and, tragically, only 6 people survived. Regardless, the residents are always pleased to have vacationers in their humble town.

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Road Tripping South Africa via the Garden Route: Oudtshoorn and Ostriches

June 20, 2013 at 10:34 AM | by | Comments (0)

If you're going to road trip in South Africa, let it be on the Garden Route. This popular stretch of road connects Heidelberg and Storms River Village along the N2, traversing mountain passes interspersed with views out to the Indian Ocean. We recently drove it in a 2014 Subaru Forester XT, opting for the most picturesque (and least paved) stretches from Plettenberg Bay to Cape Town. Come along for the ride all this week!

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5

We couldn't possibly eat more ostrich meat.

After our adventures driving from Plettenberg Bay and through the Swartberg Pass, we'd reached the pleasant, dusty stretch between Oudtshoorn and Arniston and its population of ostrich.

Originally a farming town, Oudtshoorn gained wealth during the 1800s by exporting ostrich feathers to Europe for use in fashion. Ever since, the town still holds the title for being the largest population center of ostriches in the world. Whether you're an animal lover or just love devouring exotic meats, there are plenty of farms where you can stop and take some time to appreciate both.

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Donate $5, Possibly Win a $40,000 South African Safari

June 19, 2013 at 1:27 PM | by | Comments (0)

The Phelophepa Train of Hope is looking for your help in reaching their goal of dispensing 50,000 pairs of eyeglasses in Africa this year and in return you'll be entered to win a mega $40,000 vacation.

The unique Phelophepa Trains utilize the railways of South Africa to deliver health care to under-served areas and, in doing so, they've helped more than 14 million people since 1994.

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Road Tripping South Africa via the Garden Route: Out from Plettenberg Bay

June 17, 2013 at 6:59 PM | by | Comments (0)

If you're going to road trip in South Africa, let it be on the Garden Route. This popular stretch of road connects Heidelberg and Storms River Village along the N2, traversing mountain passes interspersed with views out to the Indian Ocean. We recently drove it in a 2014 Subaru Forester XT, opting for the most picturesque (and least paved) stretches from Plettenberg Bay to Cape Town. Come along for the ride all this week!

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5

First things first. We flew into Johannesburg's O.R. Tambo International Airport and, minutes after the passport stamp, hopped on a charter flight to Plettenberg Bay (onboard a Beechcraft Super King Air), where the on-the-road action finally began. A more popular airport with frequent commercial service on both Kulula and South African Express is George Airport (GRJ).

We departed Plettenberg Bay after a jet lag-heavy sleep and immediately came across the vistas for which we'd traveled halfway across the world. This part of the route, from Plettenberg Bay west, took us north through the Meiringspoort, up and around the Swartberg Mountain range, and eventually back down through the Swartberg Pass to the town of Oudtshoorn.

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Foreign Grocery Friday: The Koeksister Donuts of South Africa

June 7, 2013 at 11:42 AM | by | Comments (0)

When we travel, one of our favorite things to do is to pop into a local grocery store and check out the food products and candies we'd never find anywhere else. So we're trying out this new feature, Foreign Grocery Friday, where each week we'll feature some of our (and your) favorite overseas treats. Got a recommendation? Let us know!

In further celebration of National Doughnut Day, we bring to you the Koeksister"donut" from South Africa. Although not the classic doughnut shape, it retains the same basic ingredients, with a twist. The dough is usually braided and fried in hot oil followed by an immediate dunk in a special, sweet syrup.

The temperature difference allows the syrup to be sucked right into the heart of the dough, causing ooey-gooey goodness. It's a favorite treat in South Africa and usually served as a dessert at gatherings and parties.

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Where to Find Adam Sandler Filming His Annual Summer Movie Project

April 12, 2013 at 2:17 PM | by | Comments (0)

Summer's fast approaching, which means it's time for Adam Sandler to plan his next family vacation goofy summer-themed movie project.

Sandler has spent the past three summers filming Grown Ups, That's My Boy, and Grown Ups 2 in New England with his family and friends. But, this year he's trying something new and bringing the gang (which includes his wife, kids, and some combination of David Spade, Nick Swardson, Milo Ventimiglia, Kevin James, Steve Buscemi, Andy Samberg, or Chris Rock) to Sun City, South Africa.

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It's Now Possible to Surf the Net from a Plane Over South Africa

May 22, 2012 at 8:52 AM | by | Comments (0)

There’s plenty of domestic in-flight WiFi to be found in and around the nifty fifty, and even long-haul options are starting to pop up here and there. However, if there was one place where all this up in the air connectivity has been limited it's Africa, but thankfully that’s not going to be the case for long.

Low cost carrier Mango—they’re kind of like the little brother of South African Airways—is getting ready to connect passengers at 35,000 feet. It sounds like Row 44, Vodacom and Wireless G are teaming up to provide the in-flight internet magic. G-Connect In-Flight WiFi isn’t just some limited gimmick either, as it sounds like email, websites and all the other World Wide Web tidbits are yours for the browsing. There’s even plans to bring some kind of text message system to the comfort of your tray table as well.

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