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volunteering | tours & adventures backpacking | education travel

Youth travel - South Africa

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Youth travel - South Africa


Contents Welcome to South Africa! We think South Africa is a great place for travellers to explore. But don’t take our word for it. We’ve chatted to young travellers volunteering, backpacking, touring and learning English in South Africa and they’ve shared with us the stories of their special experiences around the country.

Iconic South Africa

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Cape Town

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Around Cape Town

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The Garden Route and Beyond

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Wild Coast

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Kwa-Zulu Natal

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Countries around South Africa

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Learning English in South Africa

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Who are we? The South African Youth Travel Confederation (SAYTC) is a memberdriven organisation aiming to market South Africa globally as a preferred youth travel destination and to establish a professional youth travel industry based on accreditation and guidelines. SAYTC has members from the following sectors:

• Backpacking South Africa (BSA) representing the accommodation sub-sector

• Education South Africa (EduSA) representing language schools and student travel

• Tours & Transport South Africa (TaTSA) representing specialised youth and adventure tour operators and transport providers

• Volunteering South Africa (VolSA) representing organisers and operators of volunteer programmes

Membership is not limited to South Africa, and includes members from neighbouring Southern African countries; Lesotho, Zambia, Mozambique and Swaziland. Those based overseas that would like to become members are most welcome, and are given a 15% discount on their annual fee. Most youth tourism service operators in the region are independent, but recognise the need for a regional body that looks after their needs, as well as those of visitors to South Africa. All members have undertaken to abide by basic standards and work towards the common good of both the traveller and industry. SAYTC strives to market South and southern Africa as a destination on the whole so that all the members, and the country, benefits. Contact us! Deborah: National & Marketing Coordinator E-mail: deborah@saytc.co.za Tel: +27 (0)82 220 6443 Tara: E-mail: Tel:

Membership & Admin Manager tara@saytc.co.za +27 (0)78 087 1180

Website: www.saytc.co.za Youth travel - South Africa

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Iconic South Africa South Africa is the rainbow nation, so called because of the peaceful diversity of its people. This diversity extends to its landscapes; in South Africa you will find mountains, oceans, desert, bush, and everything in between (often in just one day!). But one of the most rewarding aspects of travelling in South Africa is the diversity of its destinations. Everywhere is very different, as shown by Canadian volunteer James who highlights five places across the country.

Kruger National Park Road signs warn of crossing elephants. Piles of fresh dung and bulldozed trees suggest this isn’t a trick to get me excited. Within moments a large herd slowly crosses in front of us without a care in the world. This is one of the Big Five and I don’t have to wait long to see the others. Buffalo are seemingly everywhere, strange looking creatures that I grow to like over my three day safari with Old Vic Travellers Inn. On the tour it felt like we were almost always on a game drive, so there was no stopping the animal sightings. South Africa has over 90% of the world’s rhino population, and it’s rare that we go a long time without being close to them. Kruger National Park is in Mpumalanga province, in the north east of the country. Nelspruit is the base to arrange a tour and explore the park and I stayed at the awesome Old Vic Traveller’s Inn, owned by two of the as most gracious hosts I’ve ever come across. Kruger is one of the oldest and largest game reserves in Africa, covering almost 20 000 square kilometres, and has more species of large mammals than anywhere in the world. Eland, kudu, wildebeest, wild dog, giraffe, waterbuck, hyena and hippopotamus are just some of the animals I see. Although I have to credit our amazing guide Dave for his extensive knowledge and spotting ability.

sleep in the road. As we get closer, two more lions walk across and lie down in the shade of our vehicle. I’m almost near enough to touch them, and I briefly panic at how real this experience is. Other predators live here, like cheetahs and leopards. This is a wild animal playground, and it’s tourists like us that are in the minority.

Soweto Heading towards Soweto I was nervous. It’s the world’s biggest township and I had expected makeshift shacks and danger. I can’t believe how wrong I was! Everyone greeted me with waves and smiles. Soweto even has a hostel. Lebo’s Soweto Backpackers was started 14 years ago by a young local resident and it is feels very authentic. Locals and tourists keep warm around a fire in the yard, furniture and decoration has been brilliantly improvised, and the hostel is officially 3-star.

Everywhere I look I’m hit by a vibrant assault of colour. If South Africa is the rainbow nation, then Soweto’s streets are its paintings, its visuals that turns this metaphor into reality. In this Orlando West suburb, Vilakazi Street is the only street in the world that is home to two Nobel Peace Prize winners; Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu.

In front of us another pack of animals begins to cross the road. Except they never make it. These three lions have decided to stop and

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On Lebo’s bicycle tour we move away from the upmarket area of Orlando West and peddle through different suburbs, stopping to drink homemade beer, eat boiled cow’s head and give lifts to children on the handle-

bars. With every kilometre I begin to realise that this is also a place I would be justifiably proud of. I can’t call this home, but I can claim that I’m not just a tourist statistic. Both Lebo’s and Soweto offer a personal touch, a chance to experience an iconic side of South Africa that will always be different because each tourist will spark a conversation with a different stranger, and stop to admire another colourful corner.

Johannesburg The people in South Africa’s largest city work hard and play harder, but they’ve always got time to say hello and show you around. Like any large city its attractions can be hidden away, but ask any backpackers hostel in Johannesburg and you’ll have a huge list of diverse experiences. My time involved going to local flea markets and Indian markets; experiencing the Apartheid Museum and a football match at the 90 000 seater World Cup stadium; listening to jazz, techno and live bands; partying in warehouses and on rooftops; and touring the World of Beer. There is no standard tick list of attractions, so take an open mind and get ready to explore.

Johannesburg has Africa’s biggest airport and is where most travellers fly into. MoAfrika Lodge is located less than 10 km from Johannesburg airport and provides free airport transfers. As well as having clean spacious accommodation, they also organise tours to Johannesburg, Soweto, Pretoria and the Kruger National Park.


Swimming pool & back garden bordering Nelspruit Nature Reserve

Dinner at Old Vic

The bar at Old Vic

Old Vic on safari in the Kruger National Park

Ga me viewing in the Kruger Park

Dinner inside the park, catering for groups, fa milies & single travellers

Accommodation inside the park

Self catering units

Budget fa mily room from R150p.p

Food on the beach – Moza mbique tour with Crazy Dave from Old Vic

Skyway Trails zipline tour arranged by Old Vic

Bourke’s Luck Potholes - a stop on our Kruger/Blyde River Canyon tours

Tel: +27 13 744 0993 Cell: +27 82 340 1508

Fax: +27 13 744 9596 12 Impala Street, Nelspruit

oldvic@mweb.co.za www.krugerandmore.co.za

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Hogsback Hogsback is the place that inspired writer JRR Tolkein’s The Hobbit, and Middle Earthtype references are all over this small forest village. It’s a place that feels like it exists in another time, before our world developed into what it is today.

Photo courtesy South African Tourism

One very special place sums it up, TerraKhaya, an ecological paradise where you can live without the clutter of the modern world and take an open hot bath overlooking the valley below. This backpackers is an out-innature experience, and that’s before one of their horse rides through the forest. It’s quiet in Hogback’s forest - quiet enough to hear your footsteps in the moss and hear the rumbling water getting closer. Hogsback is famous for waterfalls. First I ascend to the base of Swallow Tail, then take the rock scramble to Bridal Veil, and finally hike across

to Madonna and Child Falls where I sit below an epic cascade of water. There are many more waterfalls either visible from a distance or hidden along hiking trails. Hogsback has specially made mountain bike trails that cut through the pine forest, and open onto views of the surrounding Amathole Mountains. If Frodo had the choice he would have gone by bike. Nearby there is a land just as mystical but very different. Elundini is a Xhosa village of 300 people situated a twenty minute drive from Hogsback. Over three days I’m eating Xhosa food, making Xhosa bread, taking a basic Xhosa language course and settling into the inimitable rhythm of life. Walking around the village I see people going about their everyday life; preparing maize beer, fetching wood from the forest and always stopping for a long chat with everyone who walks past. Situated on a hillside with sweeping views into the Amathole Mountains, this is a piece of natural paradise where life continues like it always has.

Wildlife & Volunteering at Game Reserves No trip to South Africa is complete without getting personal with some wild animals. Kruger might be the most famous park, but there are many others. In South Africa

Experience the life, culture & history of South African people On the doorstep of world famous historical sights and home of political icons Our popular and eco-friendly bicycle tour takes you out on the streets and into the communities

lebo@sowetobackpackers.com www.sowetobackpackers.com www.sowetobicycletours.com

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you can volunteer at game reserves for a truly authentic experience. Shamwari Game Reserve is located 75km outside Port Elizabeth and the Shamwari Conservation Experience gave volunteers like me an opportunity to get fully involved with conservation efforts. I spent two months on their gap-year program, tracking animals and monitoring animal numbers in the park. It gave me some incredible first hand experiences, like rehabilitating big cats and watching hunting scenes take place. Throughout my stay I was fully submerged in the wildlife and the conservation programme. Getting so close to them is an experience I will never forget. Kwantu Private Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape also offers a volunteer programme that gets volunteers involved in every aspect of conservation management, including introducing new animals to the reserve and monitoring and tracking animals. Part of their program is also focused on outreach, and volunteers have the opportunity to assist in a local rural farm school. But the most important part of volunteering here is learning. While volunteers are supporting the wildlife and conservation, they’re also developing and gaining an unforgettable experience.

A UNIQUE TRUE AFRICAN EXPERIENCE

Cell: +27 78 357 3285 elundinibackpackers


Welcome to MoAfrika Lodge

MoAfrika literally means 'African People' in the language of the local Sotho populace, the original inhabitants of the Highveld. Your host, Anthony, has skillfully created a unique lodge in which an african theme induces a warm welcome for guests. Set on a 8000 square metre land through which a stream flows, MoAfrika Lodge provides a rustic and tranquil setting where guests can unwind in a relaxed and country atmosphere. Why book yourself into a Hotel or Guest Houses when you can stay here at MoAfrika Lodge. MoAfrika Lodge has evolved from Anthony's place which has been operating since 2006. MoAfrika Lodge offers comfortable and stylish accommodation. Our rooms are spacious and are tastfully decorated in a truly African style. A large dining room and lounge flow unobstrusively into the cosy bar area. Guests may unwind around our sparkling swimming pool and enclosed wooden deck. MoAfrika Lodge is very conveniently situated less than 10km from Johannesburg Airport, O.R Thambo. The tariff includes transfers to and from the airport. Kruger Park Safarais can be arranged.

Rooms

MoAfrika Lodge lives up to its name as the African theme flows from the exterior of the buildings into the tastefully decorated bedrooms and entertainment area.

Bedrooms

The bedrooms are spacious and Africa envelopes you as you enter - from the grass thatched ceilings and the liberal use of natural wooden poles to the localy drawn motifs of landscapes and people that decoratively adorn the walls. Each room has a heater and air conditioner to ensure climate control that suites your needs. A tea/coffee station with biscuits and complementary hospitality bathroom items add to your comfort. A good nights rest is guaranteed via our comfortable beds. We have installed large TV screens that carry all the major DSTV, international and local programmes.

Entertainment

A spacious entertainment area includes the dining section, a atmospheric lounge with a vibey bar. Breakfasts are usually served indoors, but alfresco breakfasts are available on the wooden deck in the summer months. Internet facilities available.

www.moafrika.com | www.moafrikatours.com

MoAfrika Tours

MoAfrika creates tours which are personal and unique to give you an authentic and unforgettable experience of South Africa.

Kruger National Park

· 4-Day Kruger Park Safari & Budget Tour · 4-Day Tented Kruger Safari · 3-Day Tree House Kruger Safari · 3-Day Kruger on a Shoestring

Pilanesberg National Park

· Pilanesberg Camping Adventure · 3-Star Pilanesberg Safari · 4-Star Pilanesberg Safari · Pilanesberg Tour

Gauteng tours

· Rhino & Lion Park Tour · Lion Park Tour · Elephant Sanctuary Tour · Apartheid Museum Tour · Soweto Tour & Apartheid Museum · Gold Reef City Tour · Johannesburg Tour · Soweto Tour · Soweto Night Tour · Pretoria Tour · Orlando Towers Adrenaline Rush · Lesedi Cultural Village Tour · Lion Park & Pretoria Tour · Cullinan Diamond Mine Tour · Cradle of Humankind & Sterkfontein Caves Tour

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www.simonsays.co.za | 6177

! t i r e M e h T t e G Take The Gap...

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Behind the scenes wildlife experiences

Youth travel - South Africa


An opportunity to get behind-the-scenes and involved with the wildlife conservation efforts at the world-renowned Shamwari Game Reserve. At Shamwari Conservation Experience we cater for: • Gap Year Volunteer Individuals • School, College and University Groups And we offer: • 60 Day FGASA level 1 Ranger Training Courses • Vet Eco Experiences for veterinary science students

www.shamwariCNSVXP.com General Enquiries: sce.bookings@shamwarigroup.com Trade Enquiries: sce.operations@shamwarigroup.com

Scan our QR code with your smartphone to find us on Facebook Youth travel - South Africa

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Cape Town Everyone who visits Cape Town has a favourite memory. It might be climbing Table Mountain, partying in Long Street, reliving Mandela’s years by visiting Robben Island, or learning to surf. But it’s equally likely they’ll be experiencing another side, taking a tour through a township and seeing the lives of the people who define the city. What will be your favourite memory? Australian volunteer Emily writes an account of Cape Town.

Arriving in the city I was taking photos through the bus window, completely in awe at my first sighting of Table Mountain. But I soon learnt. Rising almost vertically from the ocean, Table Mountain is always standing over the city. It follows you everywhere you go. It acts as a compass, always in your vision as you explore the city. It doesn’t matter how many pictures you’ve seen - nothing can prepare you for your first glimpse of this mountain. The only time I didn’t see it was when I was standing on top of it. Over a kilometre above sea level I admired the 360° view. On one side is the Atlantic Ocean, stretching out to the horizon, while on the other South Africa’s southern coastline drifts into the distance. Beneath me the city extended and I picked a visual path through the urban sights; the dazzling World Cup football stadium; the seductive V&A Waterfront full of alluring bars and restaurants; and

Kite Beach, the world’s premier destination for kite surfers. Walking down into the city I travelled on cobble-stoned streets past the brightly coloured houses of Bo Kaap; red, yellow, purple, and blue all next to each other. Then to Greenmarket Square, a vibrant market of African crafts bursting with colour, and on to the Company Gardens, a green oasis in the centre of the city. Now to the District Six Museum which tells the stories of how blacks were forcibly removed from the area, and guided tours are conducted by an ex-resident. Nearby, the Iziko South Africa Museum and Slave Lodge also weave a historic tale. A short boat ride away is Robben Island, the infamous prison where Nelson Mandela spent many year; an integral chapter in this nation’s history. And when the sun goes down I found myself

Photo courtesy Cape Town Tourism

Photo courtesy Cape Town Tourism

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Photo courtesy Cape Town Tourism


WELCOME TO CAPE TOWN Boost your green Karma at the Green Elephant. Backpacker & group accommodation in the Observatory student area. Across the road from Groote Schuur Hospital and close to the University of Cape Town. Dorm, private and en-suite accommodation.

Observatory, Cape Town • +27 21 448 6359 • www.greenelephant.co.za

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in Long Street, Africa’s most energetic night out; a never-ending row of festivities, live music and drinks offers. Penthouse on Long is perhaps Cape Town’s coolest hostel, located six floors above this popular street, and with a rooftop bar that always has a party going. It’s smack in the middle of the action, but high enough to ensure a peaceful night’s sleep. Also situated in the middle of Cape Town’s attractions the Backpack is the country’s original backpackers, and was recently voted Hostelworld’s best hostel in South Africa. Each culture in Cape Town mixes, small pieces of each shaping the city. Beside the Gugulethu township, Mzoli’s reflects this diversity. Butchers serve up large metal trays of barbequed meat, DJ’s pump house music, beer comes from the houses across the road, and everyone from Cape to Cairo can be found at this butcheryrestaurant. Beer, barbeque and bass: three passions that unite Capetonians and are a must for any visitor. One suburb of Cape Town was officially a grey area during apartheid. Different races were allowed to live and mix in Observatory, and it continues to be one of the most culturally diverse areas in the country. It’s a mélange of bohemia and charm, with cute restaurants and underground bars, bookshops and revolutionaries. Green Elephant, one of the country’s oldest backpackers, is situated in a large Victorian house along a quiet side street. It’s a place where you’re submerged in the multiculturalism and uniqueness of the area. In the adjacent suburb of Woodstock the Old Biscuit Mill becomes a culinary feast on a Saturday morning, the country’s best homemade produce coming together in an atmospheric food market. The Cape Town Deco Lodge in Woodstock offers distinctive accommodation that reflects the city’s many colours.

thought it would be like.” It’s one side of Cape Town, and there are many. Each suburb and area is different; the beach and trendy bars of Camps Bay, the nonstop vibe of the City Bowl, or funky Green Point which sits in the middle of everything. Atlantic Point is a custom-designed hostel in this area that fits the city’s unique ambiance, offering both haven and attraction. It was voted HostelWorld’s number one hostel in Africa for 2011 and is as iconic as the city it graces. Looking back, I’m finding it almost impossible to pinpoint one specific memory. I suppose for me, my favourite is the atmosphere of the city. It surrounds you everywhere and at every moment; carefree, optimistic, creative and welcoming. It’s the kind of atmosphere that makes just walking around an attraction in itself. And it evokes the kind of feeling that makes sure nobody ever forgets Cape Town.

dare to experience wickedly wacky woodstock

4 star graded DECO LODGE offers accommodation in a pleasant, typically capetonian atmosphere. This is a place for travellers to meet interesting local and international visitors, many of whom stay for extended periods of time.

With the sunrise I went off to Kite Beach, the world’s premier kitesurf destination, where I watched the world’s best fly high before floating down to the ocean like feathers. From here I saw the image from all the postcards, Table Mountain across the bay - front on - and complete with a waterfall of cloud coming down its face. It was breathtaking. A base to learn and practice surfing and kitesurfing, Cape Town keeps my adrenalin pumping with its continuous adventure. Go kloofing and abseil down waterfalls, jump from a plane and skydive onto the beach, or step off the top of Table Mountain, at 1000 metres above sea level, and abseil into pure vertical space.

Penthouse on Long Cape Town

My adventure continued, walking through an assortment of scrap metal and wood shacks on a township tour. Our first stop was a shebeen, where strong home-made beer is brewed from maize and served in tin jars. Then we walked into the township’s heart, past women barbequing cows’ intestines, inside the Zion Church made from scrap metal, and into local people’s homes. From the outside, townships look like chaos, but most homes are neatly arranged to maximise their tiny space. Not once does it feel unsafe. Like my guide pointed out, “all tourists say it’s different from what they 12

Youth travel - South Africa

Rootop Bar Fully Kitted Kitchen Rooftop Garden In the heart of the city Family Run Hostel Travel Desk www.penthouseonlong.com

+27214248356


Around Cape Town Cape Town is one of the world’s most iconic cities, with some of the world’ most breathtaking attractions. However, it’s not just about the city. Cape Town is surrounded by unique sights that don’t just live in the shade of the city. All these experiences are within two hours of Cape Town and can be done independently or as part of a tour. After experiencing Africa by taking a wild adventure tour with Acacia Africa, Spanish backpacker Michel independently explored the area around Cape Town.

Day 1: Cape Point & the edge of the world Coming out of Cape Town, Chapman’s Peak Drive clings to the side of the mountain. It winds alongside the ocean, going through tunnels, past deserted beaches and down to Cape Point. This is the south-western tip of Africa and from the edge of the peninsula you really feel like you’re on the edge of the world; next stop, Antarctica. It’s a stunning and deserted area that is home to baboons, scenic roads and hiking trails. I was in a vintage World War II sidecar, enjoying the peninsula on a tour with Cape Sidecar Adventures - surely the coolest way to experience this incredible stretch of scenery.

time in the water with these predators. Diving with sharks is about working in harmony with the marine environment, and by learning about these creatures we enhance the survival chances of this rare species.

Day 3: Finding Penguins

Photo courtesy Cape Town Tourism

Day 2: Diving with Sharks in Gansbaai

Simons Town is home to a whole colony of Cape penguins. They waddle across the beach, dive into the ocean and hang around beside the footpath. You’re guaranteed to see penguins at Boulders Beach and if you’re lucky, you will be swimming with them. It’s one great experience out of many; there is so much do both in Cape Town and around.

Great White sharks can grow to more than four metres and weigh up to two tonnes; and you can be in a cage barely a metre away from them! Gansbaai has become the shark cage diving capital of the world. Just off-shore is Shark Alley, a shallow stretch of ocean teeming with Great Whites. Sharks can be seen year-round as operators have learnt where the sharks go at different times of year. No diving experience is necessary, all equipment is provided and pick-ups from Cape Town are arranged. A number of operators run tours but this is a once in a lifetime experience so you want to be assured of the quality. Marine Dynamics employ marine biologists and actively use the time in the boat to facilitate research on the local marine environment. They have a custom volunteer program for those wanting to work closely with the team and study sharks and ocean conservation. They use a purpose built boat and cage to maximise your comfort and

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Day 4: Learning to surf in Muizenberg Riding a wave is an iconic a South African experience as anything else and Muizenberg is one of the best places in the world to learn. The waves are long and clean and they hold the world record for the most surfers on one wave – over 100. It means there is lots of white water, space for beginners to learn and plenty of experienced surfers to pick up tips from.

Day 5: The Wine Regions Around Cape Town, there are wine estates for everyone - old fashioned farmhouses home to small producers; lavish estates with rolling green fields and high-class décor; big names who export around the world and hidden gems that only sell from their cellar. Taste the wines with cheese, olives, chocolate, biltong or stop for lunch at one of the many vineyard restaurants. You could go to a different vineyard every day for two years and still not see all of them. Red, white, sparkling, port? Whatever your taste there’s plenty of wine to go around. To see more of the region consider staying in the wine capital Stellenbosch, a quaint university town that’s old on the outside but young on the inside.

Day 6: Chilling in Hout Bay Cape Town isn’t short of beach getaways; secluded pieces of paradise hidden along the coastline. Go north from Cape Town and find rustic fishing villages, untouched sand and rambling sand dunes. Life moves slowly and quietly here. The coastal suburb of Hout Bay is just twenty minutes south of Cape Town and is easily accessible by public transport from the city. It looks like a small harbour village - fishermen unload their fresh catch against the backdrop of Table Mountain. Hout Bay Backpackers is quiet and comfortable; perfect for those looking to surf at nearby Llandudno beach, or take any of the numerous Table Mountain hiking trails that start near here. With breathtaking balcony views of the mountain, bay and ocean, it’s hard to believe that you’re so close to the city.

Day 7: Hermanus In a sentence, Hermanus is the best land whale watching spot in the world. Southern Right, Humpback, and Bryde’s whales pass these shores; sometimes within 20 metres of the cliffs. Whales migrate here to calve and mate in the shallow water, and are usually seen from May to December. Hermanus has a whale crier who sounds his kelp horn to alert everyone of a sighting. Around October time he must get out of breath with all the action! In addition to whales you can spot dolphins, seals, penguins and perhaps even Great White Sharks with Dyer Island Cruises that leave from Kleinbaai, a seaside village near Hermanus.

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e c n e i c s n o c a h t i w Travel 8 great places 9 right choices 14 or 21 days SOWETO DRAKENSBERG

WILD COAST CAPE TOWN SHARK DIVING

Make a difference! Our Travel Pass takes you to the most breathtaking parts of South Africa from mountains to sea; bus, drive, walk or cycle the paths of our heritage around battle fields and through museums. Choose to be involved with volunteering programs and take an adventure with shark cage diving, surfing or meandering along beaches that are mostly undisturbed by man. Local guides will show you the hidden gems, learn something new like fishing or horse riding, taste local authentic food you have never tried before or just relax in a hammock and read a book. How you travel is your choice by plane, bus or car. Travel for 14 or 21 days. Accommodation is in clean, comfortable backpacker lodges that are all Fair Trade accredited. Each lodge operates community development projects that benefit the local community and you support these projects just by staying there. Travelling with respect - that makes for a good night’s sleep already! You can use the Travel Pass in either direction, so start either in Cape Town or Soweto/Johannesburg but once the direction of your journey is started you can only continue in that direction. We guarantee that you will meet the most wonderful people, experience the culture of our peoples, see parts of South Africa that are off the beaten track and taste food that is mostly home-grown, fresh and lovingly prepared. 16

Youth travel - South Africa

The Fair Trade Travel Pass gives you the freedom to visit the most beautiful and culturally diverse parts of South Africa knowing that the community where you spend your money is going to see the benefit.

Take the hassle out of trying to make the right choice and have a positive impact on local people and environs with this collection of leading Fair Trade in Tourism community lodges and activities.


Shark diving, Gansbaai

Wild Coast, volunteering

THE BACKPACK

MARINE DYNAMICS

VOLUNTEER AFRICA 32Ëš SOUTH

An award-winning backpacker lodge with a great location, excellent rates and great service. We invest in people and communities, giving meaningful and relaxed travel experiences. Making a difference is the way we work and the way we live.

Shark cage diving operator with the best aluminium boat in the industry. No diving experience required. All diving gear, snacks and lunch provided. We run marine biodiversity conservation programs.

Fully-catered volunteer projects in the coastal village of Chintsa. We change the lives of over 600 rural kids weekly through education, sport and art. Our motto is work hard, play hard.

Wild Coast, Bulungula

Wild Coast, Coffee Bay

Cape Town

Wild Coast, Chintsa

BUCCANEERS BACKPACKERS

BULUNGULA LODGE

COFFEE SHACK

Backpackers lodge with the beach right on the doorstep. We offer a wide range of accommodation options, a surf school, beach horse rides and more‌ Delicious homemade meals with hearty portions that suit your budget mean that self catering is only an option.

An award-winning lodge located right on the beach in a beautiful rural village - surrounded by the sea, a river, forest and rolling green hills dotted with mud huts. The lodge is jointly owned by the local Xhosa community and follows cutting-edge, ecologically sustainable principles.

A vibey, beach backpackers that has been running strong for 12 years. Our 5-day Learn-to-Surf Package starts from R1800 and includes accommodation, meals, lessons and equipment. The backpackers is jointly owned by the community.

Wild Coast, Mdumbi

Drakensberg

MDUMBI BACKPACKERS

SANI LODGE

Enjoy the beauty of green hills and forests, secluded surf and beaches, pristine rivers and panoramic ocean views. Here you can discover a real sense of community with the people of Mankosi Village and your fellow travellers. Leave loving and laughing at yourself.

Eco-friendly retreat on the spectacular Sani Pass in the Drakensberg mountains. A range of accommodation options and delicious home-cooked meals available. We are an ideal base for wilderness hiking, exploring Lesotho and viewing Bushman rock art. Our Lesotho community tourism assists over 100 families.

Soweto

LEBO'S SOWETO BACKPACKERS & BICYCLE TOURS Unique opportunity to experience life, culture and the history of South African people. Our popular and eco-friendly bicycle tour takes you out on the streets and into the communities, to world famous historical sites and the home of political icons.

FAIR TRADE TRAVEL PASS WWW.FAIRTRADETRAVELPASS.COM Youth travel - South Africa

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The Garden Route and Beyond The Garden Route is South Africa in a nutshell, an action-packed stretch of beaches, lagoons, forest, and mountains. Officially the Garden Route covers the area between Mossel Bay and the Tsitsikamma National Park but most people travel the whole southern coast between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth in one trip. With most attractions connected by the N2 highway, it’s the perfect way to experience a lot in a limited amount of time. What’s more, each destination is easy to reach both independently and as part of a tour. We asked six backpackers about their highlights.

Cameron from America went on an organised six-day Garden Route and Addo Adventure with Earthstompers. “Addo Elephant National Park was everything I had imagined before I came to Africa. There were big herds of elephants everywhere. We must have seen 200-300 in just one day. We also saw herds of zebras, buffalo, kudu, and found two lions feeding on a carcass. You can’t ask for much more than that when you come to Africa for the first time! From the moment my garden route tour kicked

off with Earthstompers it was non-stop fun and excitement. Our guide was fantastic and really went out of her way for us. I could talk about the great accommodation or wonderful landscapes but it was more about how Earthstompers brought everything together to make it unforgettable. It felt very special to visit Cape Agulhas, the southernmost tip of Africa. We stood at the point where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet and I felt like I was on the edge of the world. Plettenberg Bay is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. I was stood on the rocks and saw whales breaching very close to the shore. The beaches there are very clean and seemed to carry on all the way to Cape Town!”

Photo courtesy of South African Tourism

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Sarah from Sweden travelled the Garden Route with the Baz Bus hop-on hop-off bus service. “I loved relaxing and exploring in Wilderness. The beach is stunning and goes on forever, and there was never anybody else on it. It’s only a small place and it really lives up to its name as there were lots of hiking trails that took me deep into the forest. I also canoed through the national park to the hidden waterfall. It was great travelling with the Baz Bus because I met other people to travel with. We hopped off at so many different places, and being picked up and dropped off at the door saved us so much time. I especially liked how flexible it was; we would just send a text a few days before to book the next section of our journey. My favourite stop was Wild Spirit Backpackers, as it’s surrounded by nature with a stunning view of the Tsitsikamma forest. It’s natural, breathtaking, relaxing and kept me there with a very warm atmosphere.

Photo courtesy of South African Tourism

Knysna is incredibly beautiful. South Africans have twice voted it their favourite town and I could see why. It’s on a lagoon with the mountains behind it, and beside the cliffs and ocean. There is a gap in the cliffs at the Knysna Heads where the ocean is a brilliant green and blue colour.”

Uli from Germany visited the Garden Route as part of a longer 35-day overland trip with Africa Travel Co.

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“Outdshoorn is the ostrich capital of the world and 98% of the world’s ostriches come from this town. The landscape completely changes when you go there, it’s almost like being in the desert. And the mountain passes you take to get there are the most breathtaking roads I’ve ever seen. I was eating ostrich, getting a back massage from an ostrich, and the highlight... riding an ostrich - although I fell off after five seconds. The Cango Caves in Outdshoorn are definitely worth visiting. I expected them to be quite tame but it was a real adventure squeezing through tiny holes and doing my first caving.

David from France travelled on a five-day Cape to Addo Tour with Hotspots2c.

Tsitsikamma National Park is incredible. You follow the forest and then suddenly it just meets the ocean where huge waves are crashing against the rock. There are so many different ways to explore it. I did the Otter Trail along the coast on foot, went by mountain bike to the viewpoint at Storms River Mouth, and went

“The backpackers accommodation along the whole Garden Route were some of the best I’ve seen anywhere in the world. Every hostel has a unique style so you remember exactly where you stayed. They usually have great locations with

Youth travel - South Africa

off-road with a Segway along the Plaatbos trail. If I had to pick a highlight based on beauty it would be here. But most of all I loved the scenery and how it changes when you travel along the Garden Route. Every bit of the road is interesting and I always had my head out of the Africa Travel Co. window taking photos, especially when we came across baboons. The journeys we did were as fun as the destinations.”


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views over the ocean or into the mountains. Many hostels have a backpacker and hostel star rating from the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa. That means they meet certain quality conditions and some are even 5 star! Of course I loved all the destinations. Hotspots2c is the perfect name for the places we visited! But I also loved all the little places we stopped at on the trip. Our awesome guide Maudi would stop the minibus and we would be at a cute bridge, or spectacular viewpoint, or even at Ronnie’s Sex Shop – which is actually a random road cafe where women leave their bras and knickers. This was part of the attention to detail that made Hotspots2c such a great tour.”

Tim from Australia went on a two-day Bloukrans Bridge Bonanza Tour with The Bungy Bus. “Bloukrans Bridge Bungy of course! I was shaking just watching people dive off the bridge. But when you go onto the platform they pump out dance music and everyone is just having a party. Wow, it was scary, but so worth it. I’d never done a bungy before but now I can say that I’ve done the highest commercial bungy jump in the world. Yes, I jumped 216 metres off a bridge.

was also a great resource in finding accommodation. I also really like Port Elizabeth. It has a lot of history and a lot of old culture and buildings to explore. Like any city, when I stayed for longer I found more and more cool places to hang out and discover. The local people are great and lots of them wanted to show me around and show off their city. There was so many cool things to do in Mossel Bay I could have stayed there forever. Skydiving, whale watching, shark cage diving, horse riding, surfing, hiking and sandboarding. Each day I woke up I was spoilt for choice, but always full of memories from the day before - like a tandem skydive with Triactive when I dropped over the Indian Ocean, Outeniqua Mountains and beautiful beaches.”

There are many different ways of exploring the Garden Route. What will be your Garden Route highlight?

I was staying in Cape Town and didn’t have much time so the Bungy Bus tour was perfect to tick the jump off my bucket list. What an experience! Sharing the nerves with others on the tour, and the adrenalin and excitement afterwards. I’m so happy I got to experience it all with new friends. I also loved Sedgefield. It has a spectacular beach and a very relaxed atmosphere and it’s like a hidden piece of paradise. You can walk straight from the beach into the backpackers.”

Hendrik from Denmark hired a car and self drove along the Garden Route. “Jeffreys Bay! It’s South Africa’s most famous surf spot and was part of the Billabong Pro World Surf Tour. I was learning English at Jeffreys Bay Language School and hanging out at Island Vibe Backpackers. Waking up every morning and learning to surf at the Island Vibe Surf School was very rewarding. Most afternoons I would

go watch the professionals showing how you’re supposed to do it. Partying! A lot of the backpacker hostels have lively bars and I was never short of someone to have a drink with! George is also a nice town. Not many people stop there which is a shame because there are lots of activities and some fun nights out. Hello Garden Route

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Your friendly experts in Garden Route getaways www.hellogardenroute.co.za


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WHATâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S INCLUDED: Â&#x2021;(DUO\PRUQLQJFROOHFWLRQIURP\RXUFHQWUDO&DSH7RZQDFFRPPRGDWLRQ Â&#x2021;6FHQLFGULYHDORQJWKH*DUGHQ5RXWHLQDOX[XU\DLUFRQGLWLRQHGEXV Â&#x2021;6KDUN&DJH'LYH²EUHDNIDVWGLYHHTXLSPHQWVQDFNVUHIUHVKPHQWVDQGOLJKWOXQFKLQFOXGHG Â&#x2021;'LQQHULQFOXGHGÂ&#x2021;1LJKWDWVHOI FDWHULQJ$)UDPH&KDOHWLQVKDUHGDFFRPPRGDWLRQÂ&#x2021;:RUOG·V+LJKHVW %XQJ\-XPS%ULGJHDWPHWHUV%XQJ\MXPSLQFOXGHGÂ&#x2021;/X[XU\DLUFRQGLWLRQHGEXVWUDQVIHUEDFNWR\RXU FHQWUDO&DSH7RZQDFFRPPRGDWLRQÂ&#x2021;%LJWLPHDGUHQDOLQUXVKDQGHDUWRHDUVPLOHV &$//86)25$%81*<$'9(1785(2)$/,)(7,0( &RQWDFW  RU  RUHPDLOLQIR#EXQJ\EXVFR]D

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Wild Coast Lions, bungy jumping, partying in Cape Town? All backpackers have done something a little bit wild in South Africa. So how wild can the Wild Coast be? Dutch backpacker Christa finds out just how much this destination deserves it name.

“Walking to the beach I pass numerous circular huts; homes of Xhosa families that dot the green cliffside. A strong smell of wild flowers guides me down from the cliffs, onto the beach and into the warm water. I’m on my surfboard paddling... left right, left right, the wave’s taking me, but I’m tumbling into the Indian Ocean as something distracts me. In traditional white dresses twenty villagers are walking towards the water, accompanied by a Sangoma, a witch doctor. To the beat of a drum the doctor calls on the spirits. A lady wearing a giant feather hat kneels in the water, and I watch gobsmacked. And I realise that it’s this mix of local life and tourist pleasures that makes the Wild Coast so intoxicating. Ask a South African their favourite local destination and most will probably say the Wild Coast. It’s located along the southeast of the country, between Durban and East London. Much of this coast is located in the Transkei area, a region which was independent of South Africa during the Apartheid years. This separation has enabled the area to retain much of its indigenous culture. My journey started in Port St Johns, where I stood 225 metres above the ocean, drinking sundowners on the cliffs that witnessed Leonardo DiCaprio’s death in the movie Blood Diamond. Each day of the week Amapondo Backpackers organise a different tour for their guests, none of them

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costing more than R150 (€12). Deep in the surrounding hills are hidden waterfalls, cliff jumps and rope swings, all of which must be accessed by hiking through the jungle. Across the Umzimvubu River I found the largest beach caves in the southern hemisphere and tempestuous waves crashed around me as a pod of dolphins swam past. Every day I would return to Amapondo and my own balcony that gazed out over the ocean. It was the perfect antidote - the relaxing and calm evenings that prepared me for going out and exploring again. I journeyed along the cliffs by horseback, discovering a waterfall that drops into the ocean (there are only five of these in the world and the Wild Coast has two of them). After seven days I was still in Port St Johns and couldn’t explain my slow progress. Locals called it pondo fever, a case of never leaving, named after the Pondo tribe native to the town. I know it was because my days were memorable for the continual interaction I had with them, with locals. Like Port St Johns, Coffee Bay is at the end of the road, a delightful expanse of sand and ocean that I was surfing in when this witch doctor turned up. Surfboard in hand, I’m following proceedings, watching the feather hat be passed around, and everybody drinking a hearty cup of maize beer. They’re probably thinking, what’s that foreigner doing trying to stand on a board in the

ocean? And they would be right. They’ve been performing this ceremony for centuries while my surfing adventure only started a few days ago in Coffee Bay. The Coffee Shack’s surf instructors have a phenomenal success rate, almost everybody standing within one of their R50 (€4) twohour surfing lessons. Is there anywhere in the world where you can attend a surf school for cheaper? It’s got me hooked, and the Coffee Shack’s daily activities are keeping me involved. Each day, for just R50 (€4) again, they get people out of the hostel to explore the local area. One day we sampled village life; tasting beer, singing, dancing and becoming a part of the Xhosa experience. Yesterday, we hiked along cliff edges to jacuzzis in caves and cliff jumps into the ocean, and this morning the whole hostel was being taught how to surf. Tomorrow, I’m traversing the cliffs to the Hole in the Wall, a dramatic tunnel in the cliff wall that juts out into the ocean. Most impressive about Coffee Shack is the feeling that it’s a hostel run by the local community; a dozen or so staff members adding their unique characters into the atmosphere. The Wild Coast is rugged, unspoilt by man and ravaged by nature. Women stand at doors waving hello, children run around content and excited, and on most days I see the witch doctors moving around. Perhaps the best way to explore the coastline is on foot. Travelling between destinations by


t s a o c d il w , y a b coffee

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are part community owned and both show me how sustainable tourism can empower and improve a community. At both I spent half my time lounging by beautiful beaches, and the other half in the village listening to the amazing tales of locals.

vehicle often requires a detour to the main N2 road. But a famous five-day hiking trail between Port St Johns and Coffee Bay takes me the direct way - along the coast. Walking with Wild Side Hiking we were at one with nature, but also at one with the rural communities that gave us warm welcomes and invited us into our homes. Crossing rivers, fishing for our dinner, and walking over untouched landscapes, it gave me a real sense of rural Africa; especially with local Xhosa guide Albert. The Wild Coast’s destinations might be pieces of paradise but they’re not isolated beaches for tourists. At the very heart of the wild coast experience is the interaction with locals. In the small Xhosa villages of Lubanzi, Mdumbi and Bulungula there are stunning backpacker hostels overlooking the ocean. Life moves slowly here and relaxing into this rhythm is an essential part of the experience. Mdumbi Backpackers and Bulungula Lodge

At Wild Lubanzi Backpackers I spent five days watching the dolphins swim past, chilling with the other guests. It’s an immensely relaxed environment but most of all it’s full of a soul and spirit that made me want to linger, longer and longer. The backpackers here is one of the best in the country; wooden cabins with stunning views and so much space I sometimes get lost - but I could have written that about all the accommodation on the Wild Coast. Further down the coast, Chintsa immediately grabs me. A phenomenal expanse of sand curves into the distance, a stunning lagoon stretches below me and the ocean is great for surfing. Across the road a giraffe waves me along, and a horse takes me down to the beach for a gallop on the deserted sand. In a nearby village school, a children’s choir sings for a few foreigners - another example of how local communities work with tourism. There is no begging around here, just donations for rewarding very talented performances. Volunteers from Volunteer Africa 32° South talk me through their innovative projects like

a mobile 4x4 computer lab and homework club for vulnerable children. Buccaneeers Backpackers is a relaxed and homely place to stay while visiting this beautiful place. What really impressed me about some of the places I stayed at in the Wild Coast – Coffee Shack, Mdumbi Backpackers, Bulungula Backpackers, Buccaneers Backpackers as well as Volunteer Africa 32° South, is that they are approved by Fair Trade Tourism. Fair Trade Tourism has assessed them and decided that they run their businesses ethically, treat their staff fairly and make sure that the local community also benefits from their business. I like to think that while I’m having a good time, I’m also making a difference to people’s lives. There are several other backpackers and tour companies around the country also approved by Fair Trade Tourism and I will try to make them my first choice. Rural African life meets beach paradise; untouched nature meets authentic interaction with locals; relaxation meeting exploration. I’ve found many things to justify the tag of “wild”. But most impressive about the Wild Coast is revelling in a destination that feels unchanged, untamed and unaltered for centuries. When you visit you will probably think it’s going to stay like this for a long time because here, you become part of Africa.”

BACKPACKERS

ACTIVITIES

HERITAGE SITES

LAND: Horse riding | Quad biking | Mountain biking WALKS: Adventure hikes | Rain forest hikes | Coastal hikes WATER: Boat cruises | Canoeing | Snorkelling | Scuba diving |Sardine Run

Waterfall Bluff | Cathedral Rock | Blow Hole | Mamba Rock Pools Magwa Falls | Secret Caves | Afrotherian Reserve | Mt Thesiger Airstrip Bulolo Falls | Sinuka Mud Caves & Sulphur Springs | Silaka Nature Reserve

ACCOMMODATION

PRICING Luxury en suite cottages from R450 per night Deluxe family rooms R300-R350 per couple Double rooms R300 per couple Dormitories R100 per person Camping R60 per person

It’s Possible

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W : www.amapondo.co.za E : info@amapondo.co.za T : +27 83 315 3103

BACKPACKERS


Kwa-Zulu Natal Mountains and beaches, city lights and rural huts, Kwa-Zulu Natal is an area of diverse landscapes and experiences. From the Indian Ocean to 3200 metres above sea level, English backpacker Mark explores the land of the Zulu people, finding three very unique destinations.

Drakensberg The path narrows, taking a wide arc around 3200 metre Sentinel Peak, and offers spectacular views of the Northern Drakensberg Valley. Two hours ago I was admiring these mountains from a distance. Now I’m making a spectacular climb to their broad summit, where I sit on top of the world, dangling my feet over a sheer 1000 metre drop as I eat lunch. Beneath me the round huts of the Zulu people are dotted around the valley, and beside me the broad peaks of the mountains are a visual Christmas present. Behind me is a remote corner of the highest country in the world, Lesotho, a place where locals ride horses across the border and green valleys stretch forever. Read more about Lesotho on page 30. Pangea Trails is an amazing concept to see the highlights of South Africa. They focus on backpacker hostels and spend three nights at the five-star Amphitheatre Backpackers, one of the most atmospheric places in the country. Tiptoeing away from the edge I’m walking to another Christmas present. Tugela Falls is the world’s second largest waterfall and I’m swimming in the river just before the water makes its dramatic descent. Less than 10 metres in front of me this cool water tumbles over the edge and drops for 952 metres. This is not the only place to hike in the Northern Drakensberg - Royal Natal National Park offers numerous day trips. And for the less energetic simply standing and admiring these mountains from a distance is enough to soothe any tortured soul. This is, after all, the highest mountain chain in Southern Africa. Inkosana Lodge has been around for 21 years and is set amongst the dramatic backdrop of these mountains in the central Drakensberg. In the Southern Drakensberg the mountains have a more gentle feel, sloping and folding into each other, like a giant piece of

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crumpled green paper. Nestled in these mountains, surrounded by nature and silence is Sani Lodge, a quaint retreat at the bottom of the Sani Pass. Drakensberg Adventures takes me on the Sani Pass, a famous and dramatic gravel road that rises over 1000 metres in just 8 kilometres until it reaches Lesotho.

smiles. Is Durban a beach in the city or a city on the beach? Either way one merges into the other. The surfers ride a wave, and walk straight into the vibrant streets. And I walk the other way, past the cheapest shopping in South Africa until my feet hit the exceptionally clean sand.

The whole of the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to 40 000 bushman paintings. Drakensberg Adventures’ day trip gives me an insight into the complexity of these images. Drawn by the indigenous San people who settled in the Drakensberg 8000 years ago - the drawings were an essential means of communication. Living the life of nomadic hunters, the these people left visual messages in caves and resting places. Each painting tells a story, and many I see depict hunting scenes - the oldest believed to be 3000 years old.

This is a compact city explorable by foot, with excellent backpacker hostels just a short ride from the city centre. Barely 500 metres from the ocean, the vibrant colours of Happy Hippo Backpackers reflect the diversity of the city. And the variety of nationalities on their rooftop bar add a dozen new accents to Durban’s cultural cauldron.

Durban

Durban doesn’t need an aquarium to showcase the local marine world. An hour south of the city in Rocky Bay is one of the world’s top dive sites and a unique shark diving experience. This is not Great White shark territory, but within seconds the boat is surrounded by black tip reef and spinner sharks. They hang around for every second of the 30 minutes I spend in the cage.

Descending towards the city, Baz Bus driver Jessie explains Durban’s number one status. It has the biggest harbour and aquarium in Africa, the largest Indian population outside India, Africa’s only Olympic-sized swimming pool and the world’s largest swing. The adrenalin is already pumping as I check out its stats. I’m walking up the iconic curve of Durban’s World Cup stadium, 352 steps taking me up onto the roof where the city becomes a sea of colours and styles. Durban’s buildings are a cross fertilisation of ideas from many decades, harmoniously fitting together before spilling onto sand. Durban is also South Africa’s most multicultural city, a friendly collection of its past and present. Their cultures mingle, giving the city its distinct feel. First stop the exotic spices of Victoria Street market, and a bunny chow; Indian curry served inside a hollowed out loaf of bread. Heading towards the ocean I pass the colonial buildings, and a central market of African traders with welcoming

HAPPY HIPPO BACKPACKERS DURBAN

222 Mahatma Ghandi Road, Durban Central Phone: +27 (0)31 368 7181 E-mail: info@happy-hippo.co.za

Situated 500m from Durban's best beaches and right next to uShaka Marine World, you couldn't ask for a better setting. As Durban's first purpose-built backpacker hostel, you can enjoy fantastic facilities like the rooftop party area, the wireless internet cafe and the spacious communal areas. This one-stop hostel can also be your one-stop travel shop. We can book your tours and adventures. Happy Hippo has 4 and 5 bed dorms, en suite 4-bed dorms, singles, doubles, twins and en suite doubles, twins and triples.

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Countries around South Africa South Africa has enough to keep you entertained for months, if not years. But just across the border there are four countries that offer completely different experiences, all deserving a place in your itinerary. Norwegian Keri explored South Africa’s neighbours and tells us how different they are from South Africa, and each other.

Lesotho Ever been on top of the world? It’s usually an abstract concept, stemming from a special day in your life; falling in love, your country winning the World Cup, quitting your job and going traveling. But what if you could visit the top of the world... Lesotho? It is the highest country, and its isolated mountainous location has meant it has completely avoided western influences on its culture.

We meet two shepherds dressed in underwear, gumboots, balaclavas and woollen blankets. They left school at 11 years old, but can glance at speckles of white on the green mountainside and immediately calculate there are 280 sheep. They’ve never seen a television and send messages with horsemen riding past. Most memorable about this country is the feeling that it will remain like this for centuries to come.

My guide from Drakensberg Adventures explains: “In most of Lesotho you see mountain – valley - mountain. But sometimes you see mountain – valley – river – village - mountain.” Driving for an hour there is nothing that contradicts this and the silence around us is absolute.

LESOTHO TOURS

Livingstone, Zambia Our innovative community tourism initiatives allow us to offer you a real insight into a unique traditional culture and ensure your visit brings real benefits to local people. Explore the “mountain kingdom” on our village experience, pony trekking or extended tours into the remote Highlands of Lesotho. A trip with Drakensberg Adventures will offer another dimension to your Southern African Experience” +27 33 702 0330 www.drakensbergadventures.co.za

Drakensberg

5,4,3... wait, stop, I can’t do this... 2,1,bungy - the Zambezi river hurtles towards me and I’m screaming a strange sound that can’t possibly be me and when I come round the faces are grinning; “did you enjoy your bungy jump in no-man’s land?” There are bungy jumps all over the world, but nowhere else can you say, “I jumped off a bridge between two countries at Victoria Falls.” To my right the sign says “Welcome to Zimbabwe.” To my left ,“ Welcome to Zambia.” Behind me, the Victoria Falls. Waterfalls can be higher, wider and longer. But this is the officially most powerful in the world. It’s estimated that 1000 tonnes of water drop over the edge, every second. I can hear the crash of the water from almost 10 kilometres away. It more than deserves its place as one of the new seven wonders of the world. The water rises above the viewing platform, above the waterfall and comes down on everyone nearby. It’s like standing underneath a fire hose. It’s visually beautiful, but its power is the most unforgettable. Livingstone is the gateway to the Victoria Falls, and Jollyboys Backpackers & Camp must have the largest congregation of backpackers outside Cape Town. Not that it’s crowded - its custom

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purity. Volunteers with All Out Africa have been explaining that in Swaziland all this is perfectly normal. They’ve been living like locals, finding out how this normality is deeply rooted in tradition. All Out Africa run a number of life changing social and conservation projects in Swaziland, Mozambique, and South Africa, as well as expeditions combining volunteering and tours. Swaziland’s landscape is bountiful. For the locals this means fertile crops, but for tourists it means adventure. Like the numerous stunning hiking trails; one of which starts from the back garden of Lidwala Backpacker Lodge. Or scrambling through caves, getting somersaulted by grade-four white-water rapids... or riding a horse alongside wild zebras at Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary and walking alongside all of Africa’s antelopes. In Swaziland I found it was possible to imagine that all of Africa was once like this land humble, mythical, and able to put a smile on anyone’s face.

design ensures there is accommodation for all budgets, and every opportunity for people to come together and exchange travel stories. Their travel desk has special offers on most activities, and their staff talk me through the options that have given Livingstone the reputation as the adrenalin capital of Africa; like white-water rafting on the Zambezi River, helicopter rides over the falls, lion and cheetah experiences, sunset river cruises and walking safaris. They also run free shuttles to the falls every morning. I go kayaking on the Zambezi, paddling past hippos and sunbathing crocodiles. An hour later and I’m walking through the bush to within 10 metres of a snoozing rhino. Back to Jollyboys, a quick dip in the pool, impala stew for dinner, and a lazy evening in their custom chill-out area. Just across the border in Botswana is Chobe National Park, home to 120 000 elephants. In one day I’ve maybe seen a thousand; many of them cute babies. Add hundreds of hippo sightings, innumerable giraffe and a few prowling lions. While the falls are reason enough to visit Livingstone, the variety of additional activities have kept me here for over a week.

Mozambique Approaching Tofu I can smell the sand as it blows in and invades the town, following each street corner before piling against white washed walls. Following the sand, I dawdle onto the beach, admiring a traditional wooden dhow sailing towards the horizon. Where is the horizon? The contrast between ocean and sky blurs, while behind me palm trees are unsuccessfully tasked with keeping the beach out of town. Mozambique has almost 2500 kilometres of untouched coastline but I reckon I’ve found the number one spot - Tofu. All across Mozambique, I find an atmosphere different from the rest of Southern Africa. It still has smiling locals and unspoilt nature, but there is a laid back style that makes Mozambique difficult to leave.

Swaziland Swaziland is a country of long standing traditional beliefs. Barefoot children plead with their smiles, desperate to hold hands with the mlungu (white person). Women carry bundles of straw on their heads, and we stop in a village square to drink maize beer. I’m in the village of King Sobhuza II and people here still live in reed and mud huts. My guide from All Out Africa points out the homes of various princes and princesses. Pangea Trails* run a tour that’s off the beaten tracks with a focus on community involvement and meeting local people. Their trips run from Johannesburg to Cape Town; including cities, mountains, Kruger National Park, the Indian Ocean, Swaziland, and lots of new friends. Every year some 80,000 virgins dance bare breasted for the king at the Reed Dance ceremony, celebrating chastity and

*Pangea Trails is a registered trademark representing the service provided by Alexander Wittig for and on behalf of and trading within the Van Schoor’s Tours (Pty) Ltd. (Company registration: 1994/01449/07).

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SWAZILAND â&#x20AC;˘ HEAD OFFICE Ezulwini, Swaziland

T +268 2528 2192 ]+268 2416 2260

www.alloutafrica.com info@alloutafrica.com

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Learning English in South Africa South Africa isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t just a holiday. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a whole experience. Visitors who come for a short time are amazed, but those who stay longer are rewarded with becoming part of the unique culture. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s why learning English in South Africa is so popular. Virtually everyone in the country can speak English so you always have chance to practice and make new friends. And youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll have a once in a lifetime chance to experience living in Africa.

Education South Africa is the national association of quality language centres. When looking for an English language school make sure they are members of Education South Africa. All members must be ethical and meet minimum standards in professionalism and quality. That means you get the best quality schools, teaching and experience. Letâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s listen to what some language students had to say. Jemma from Spain: â&#x20AC;&#x153;I love studying at LAL Cape Town because having fun and studying at the same time is the best way to learn English. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a serious school but I can learn English naturally. The city is beautiful, the staff are amazing, and the experience has changed my life.â&#x20AC;? Ray from Hong Kong: â&#x20AC;&#x153;At IH Cape Town itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s felt like a friend has been teaching me English. The school is modern and I will miss all the activities and my new friends.â&#x20AC;? Matthias from Germany: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Studying at the warm environment of Inlingua Cape Town has been the best time of my life.â&#x20AC;? Leonardo from Brazil: â&#x20AC;&#x153;I loved the Kurus English school, especially their language excursions which gave me a really authentic way to learn and interact with people.â&#x20AC;?

/ $ 1 * 8$* (7 5 $ , 1, 1 *& (17 5 ( &$3(72:1Â&#x2021;6287+$)5,&$

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Ilya from Russia: â&#x20AC;&#x153;The atmosphere at Interlink School of Languages is amazing, and the small classes meant I always made good progress with my English.â&#x20AC;?

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Best location in Cape Town!â&#x20AC;? Â&#x2021;0HPEHURILQOLQJXD,QWHUQDWLRQDOÂąFHQWUHVZRUOGZLGH Â&#x2021;4XDOLW\(QJOLVKWUDLQLQJLQVPDOOFODVVHV Â&#x2021;7DLORUPDGHSURJUDPPHVIRUVSHFLÂżFQHHGV DFDGHPLFEXVLQHVVH[DPSUHSDUDWLRQHWF Â&#x2021;)UHHZLÂżLQWHUQHWÂ&#x2021;$OODFFRPPRGDWLRQFORVHWRWKHVFKRRO Â&#x2021;([FLWLQJVRFLDOSURJUDPPHÂ&#x2021;/HDUQ(QJOLVKRQVDIDUL

tel: +27 21 419 0494 e-mail: info@inlingua.co.za web: www.inlingua.co.za

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Quality in

EFL centres

South Africa

Setting standards, ensuring quality

Education South Africa (EduSA) is the national association of quality English language centres in South Africa. It is committed to developing and guiding the growth of the English language travel industry in South Africa and ensuring that its members meet or exceed guaranteed minimum standards of professionalism and quality.

info@edusouthafrica.com | www.edusouthafrica.com

Cape Town Cape Town is the second-most populated city in South Africa and is the provincial capital and primary city of the Western Cape. The city is famous for its harbour and its natural setting in the Cape Floral Kingdom, as well as for such well-known landmarks as Table Mountain and Cape Point. English Language Centres EC Cape Town

Language Learning Worldwide

Eurocentres

SCHOOL OF LANGUAGES

EF International Language School of English

English Language School of Cape Town

Eastern Cape The Eastern Cape is the ultimate backpacker destination for the adventurous traveller seeking unmatched natural and cultural diversity. Here you’ll find two cities that host EduSA schools, namely Port Elizabeth and Jeffreys Bay.

Port Elizabeth Port Elizabeth, or PE for short, is L A N G UAG E T R A I N I N G C EN T R E commonly referred to as South G O O DGood HO P EStudies STUDIES Inlingua Language TrainingAFRICA Centre Hope CAPE TOWN • SOUTH Africa’s water sports capital due to its good climate, warm sea, stunning beaches and breathtaking coastline.

Interlink School of Languages

International House Cape Town

Kurus English

LAL Cape Town

Language Teaching Language TrainingCentre Centre

Oxford English Academy

Cape Town School of English

The Knowledge Workshop

Jeffreys Bay Jeffreys Bay is hot to the Billabong Pro surf contest in July when thousands of people, including the world’s top 45 surfers, flock here each year.

Bay Language Institute

South African

School of English South African School of English

Funny Face Place

Bay Language Institute

Johannesburg Johannesburg is also known as Jozi, Joburg, Joni, eGoli or Joeys. It is the largest city in South Africa by population, and is the provincial capital of Gauteng, South Africa’s wealthiest province. Tourist attractions include the Apartheid and Hector Pieterson Museums, as well as the Mandela Museum which is located in the former home on Nelson Mandela. There is also a large industry around visiting former townships such as Soweto and Alexandria.

Wits Language School Expert Language Solutions

Wits Language School Youth travel - South Africa

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▪ General, Intensive, Business and Exam preparation courses ▪ Quality lessons ▪ Small class sizes ▪ Dedicated staff

▪ Fantastic location ▪ Excellent accommodation ▪ International atmosphere ▪ Fun activities ▪ Competitive prices

Learning a language is a journey.

Let yours begin at International House Cape Town, South Africa

International House Cape Town is a CELTA, University of Cambridge ESOL training centre and offers the full range of English language courses in addition to humanitarian, conservation and wildlife volunteer programmes. With a great location in the trendy tourist area of Sea Point, all accommodation is within walking distance of the school and a full trips and tours desk ensures that you will enjoy the experience of a lifetime! Call us on: +27 (0) 21 433 0546 Email us at : info@ihcapetown.com www.ihcapetown.com

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Learn English with LAL!

Enjoy a wide range of English courses, on-site accommodation and exciting leisure activities in Cape Town, South Africa!

Learn English somewhere special in our excellent school in an amazing city at the tip of Africa. Meet friendly people, feel the atmosphere and see amazing animals. Discover Africa and learn English at LAL Cape Town. Cape Town is the perfect destination if you want to experience a unique, exotic and vibrant culture! A free travel service is available in our school to help you to discover the best of Cape Town and its surrounding areas.

LAL is the only language centre in Cape Town to have school and accommodation on the same property.

There are many reasons to learn English, and LAL’s courses are designed to help you reach your goals.

LAL’s on-site Residence is the most popular option for our students as the residence is located inside our school!

It’s the perfect place to meet new people from many different countries and practise your English constantly!

You can choose our regular English courses or even join our Travelling Classroom along the amazing Garden Route!

An off-site residence, hotels (from 3- to 5-star), host families and apartments are also available at reasonable prices.

We have:

Available courses:

• • • • • • • •

• General and Intensive English • English for Business • Examination Preparation (Cambridge, IELTS, TOEFL) • Academic Focus Diploma • 7-day Travelling Classroom • Private lessons • Study plus Work South Africa

16 spacious classrooms Self-study room Communal kitchen Swimming pool Computer laboratory Free wireless internet access Student lounge with TV Garden with barbecue

facebook.com/lalcapetown

+ 27 (0)21 439 7410

lalschools.com39 southafrica@lalschools.com Youth travel - South Africa


ADVERTORIAL

Fair Trade Tourism

Tourism news from South African Tourism

The mark of a good holiday!

Put your backpacker and hostelling establishment among the stars with a star-graded plaque.

Fair Trade Tourism ensures good wages and working conditions for staff, a fair share of the tourism revenue to local communities and respect for human rights, culture and the environment. In other words: tourism that is good for people and the environment.

HOW DOES IT WORK? Fair Trade Tourism (FTT) is a local non-profit organisation that certifies tourism businesses (like hotels, activities and attractions) against a set of standards linked to global Fair Trade criteria as well as local issues. These include fair wages & working conditions; fair purchasing; fair operations; equitable distribution of benefits; and respect for human rights, culture and environment. An assessor spends two to four days on-site (depending on the size of the business) to verify the criteria. This audit is repeated every 36 months, to ensure that standards are kept high. Businesses that qualify get to carry the FTT-certification label.

In recent years, the tourism industry has seen an explosion of visitors opting to stay at backpacking establishments and hostels. This option is fast becoming a fun, authentic and exciting way for tourists to explore a destination while on a limited budget. South Africa has its share of graded backpackers and hostelling establishments and the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa (TGCSA) is on a drive to tell establishment owners in this field that star grading is as much for them as it is for hotels, lodges and B&Bs. “South Africa is a destination of choice for a wide variety of travellers and holiday makers. We have numerous establishments to cater for various travel requirements and budgets. Our marketing insights tell us that if travellers have more time to spare than money to spend and are looking for a comfortable and reputable place to lay their head, staying at a backpack establishment or a hostel will be an option to explore but they need to be convinced that it will adhere to certain conditions,” says Thembi Kunene, Chief Quality Assurance Officer at the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa. According to the TGCSA, which is the only officially recognised quality assurance body for tourism products in South Africa, South Africa has 82 graded backpacker and hostelling accommodation establishments, 39 of them being in the Western Cape. The Eastern Cape and Kwa-Zulu Natal provinces lag behind with 15 and nine respectively. Other provinces: Gauteng 8; Mpumalanga 4; Free State 3; North-West 2; Northern Cape and Limpopo have one each.

By selecting an FTT-certified establishment, you are assured that your travel benefits local communities and economies, and that the business is operated ethically and in a socially and environmentally responsible manner.

WHAT KIND OF PLACES ARE FAIR TRADE? Any kind of tourism business can become FTT-certified: from backpackers to 5-star lodges; township tours and whale watching cruises to adrenalin-filled activities and botanical gardens. There are currently almost 70 tourism businesses across South Africa certified by FTT. In addition to being fab holiday places and activities, they all do a whole lot of amazing things for people and the environment. You can read all about this on the FTT website: www.fairtradetourism.org.za

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“This being such a niche offering in our industry, we encourage owners to get graded simply because there is reliability, uniformity and predictability in services, standards and facilities among graded establishments. And it meets travellers’ requirements. Should one traveller have a bad experience with an ungraded backpacking establishment or hostel, it has the potential to taint the entire sector,” explains Kunene. Other benefits to star grading include: • Having a greater chance of being in the top results of a Google search. • You will also have the benefit of being promoted as part of South African Tourism’s significant global marketing investment. • A globally recognised plaque which immediately identifies the quality of your establishment. “Visitors to our country need to know that backpacking and hostelling, although affordable, they still maintain the highest levels of quality and service excellence.” says Kunene. For more information on how to get your backpacker and hostelling establishment star graded, contact the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa at www.tourismgrading.co.za


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FAIR TRADE TOURISM THE MARK OF A GOOD HOLIDAY!

Fair Trade Tourism (FTT) is a local non-profit organisation that certifies tourism businesses (like hotels, activities and attractions) against a set of standards linked to global Fair Trade criteria as well as local issues. These include fair wages & working conditions; fair purchasing; fair operations; equitable distribution of benefits; and respect for human rights, culture and environment. An assessor spends two to four days onsite (depending on the size of the business) to verify the criteria. This audit is repeated every 36 months, to ensure that standards are kept high. Businesses that qualify get to carry the FTT-certification label.

By selecting an FTT-certified establishment, you are assured that your travel benefits local communities and economies, and that the business is operated ethically and in a socially and environmentally responsible manner. To find out what places are fair trade, visit the FTT website: www.fairtradetourism.org.za.

Fair Trade Tourism - making a difference Real stories about real people that have benefitted from Fair Trade Tourism

“I want to pass what I have learnt to

the other people ...”

Viola Siyotywa - Grootbos Foundation

Viola was born in the Eastern Cape and came to Gansbaai in 2003 lookin g for employment and better opportunitie s. In 2006, Viola saw an advertisement for the training program at the Green Future s Horticultural and Life Skills Colleg e based on the FTT-certified Grootbos Private Nature Reserve. This innovative and highly successful training program has been run by the nonprofit Grootbos Foundation since 2003. Viola was accepted as one of twelve studen ts. The Green Futures College provid es an annual training programme in hortic ulture, indigenous gardening and life skills development. All theory is backed up by a range of practical work in develo ping and maintaining gardens, both on Groot bos and for private clients. After successfully completing her training and impressing the staff and manageme nt of the program, Viola was asked to join the training

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team as a trainee facilitator. She jumped at the opportunity and also registe red for a facilitator’s and assessor’s course and passed with flying colours. At Green Futures, under the mento rship of the project manager Susan Lochn er, Viola’s teaching responsibility gradually grew. In 2011 Viola was offered the post of life-skills trainer at the Growing the Future College on a permanent basis. In May 2011 Viola completed her Higher Diploma in Adult Basic Education and Training, achiev ing her dream. In Viola’s words: “I want to pass what I have learnt to the other people. If there are more opportunities for me to study furthe r, I will. There are lots of things we can learn. We learn until we die!” The Grootbos Foundation is incredibly proud of Viola and all of her achievements!


Youth travel - South Africa

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CONVENIENT HOP-ON HOP-OFF DOOR-TO-DOOR BACKPACKER BUS SERVICE

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Youth travel - South Africa

Saytc Expo Brochure 2013  
Saytc Expo Brochure 2013  

Youth travel products in South Africa including accommodation, tours, adventures, safaris, transport, language studies and volunteering oppo...

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