South Africa 路 the real way 路 right now
produced by travelnownow
Because this world is made up of many weird and wonderful This is a product of the South African people with a range of preferences, we have come up with five Youth Travel Confederation - or, SAYTC. themed routes to suit your favourite flavour of travel. As an So who are we? We’re a network of Adrenalin Junkie, you like to come in hot, partaking in any tourism businesses from the youth travel and every activity that will give you that fix. Maybe you’ll keep sector. Our members include backpacker going like that until you burn out, or maybe you’ll mellow out hostels, transport providers, tour and and get in touch with your inner Culture Vulture, sipping on adventure operators, language schools, fine wine one day, cycling around the township the next. But volunteer organizations and tourism service even if you don’t consider yourself the ‘outdoorsy’ type, you providers.You know you are in good hands simply could not ignore that Nature Lover in all of us, with when you use a SAYTC member as we place so much beauty around. And what trip would be complete value on quality products and services. without letting your hair down a little and really Feelin’ the Vibe? After all this excitement, however, one does Travel Now Now is the consumer brand of SAYTC, eventually start wondering about something to take to bring you South African travel experiences back home... like the rewards that come from learning for the young at heart. Backpack, volunteer, something new or giving back. learn English or be excited by one of the many adventures on offer. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Feelin’ the Vibe
Travel with a Purpose 50 Meet our members 67 Behind every great youth travel mag, there’s a team of travelling babes...
Kim Whitaker Conceptualist
Tara Gellé Project-Managing Princess
Sadia Nanabhay Design & Layout Babe
Kathryn Arthur Content Curator
Adventure Junkie Exploring outside your comfort zone Don’t let this route’s name fool you… Adventure activities are NOT exclusively for total JUNKIES. During your travels, although you might not consider yourself an adrenalin-head, you might wake up one morning and experience a craving to do something you’ve never done or had the chance to do before! There are
George Van De Schyff
over 100 different types of adventure activities in South Africa alone, which boggles the mind. And each activity falls somewhere different on the ‘adrenalin-o-meter’, which means there will always be something out there for YOU. So face your fears, or simply go on a more easy-going, fun type of adventure in some of the most beautiful settings you will ever see in your lifetime. That’s South Africa for you.
Sure...hiking, kayaking and safaris are quite an adventure, but are they racy enough for you? Are you more of an adrenaline junky? If so, make sure you don’t miss some of the awesome options offered by these companies: » Face Adrenalin - Bloukrans Welcome to the world’s highest bungy jump off the Bloukrans bridge. » NAC Helicopters - Cape Town See Cape Town from the air with this unforgettable experience. » White Shark Safaris – Gansbaai For marine wildlife enthusiasts join in on a 3 Day Shark Diving Package or witness the great white shark breaching by Seal Island in False Bay. » White Shark Ecoventures - Gansbaai In Gansbaai you will find daily shark diving and sightseeing tours on offer. » Cape Xtreme – Cape Town Find and book adrenaline pumping extreme sports adventures as well as life changing overland tours and amazing accommodation travelnownow
Cape Town & the Western Cape »» Staying in Stellenbosch? If so your next adventure starts at Stellenbosch Adventure Centre. Find the best of what is on offer here. »» Want a personal tour without the risk of annoying tourists joining you? If so, Cape Tourist Guide Connection is right for you! Find a tour guide, find interesting and personalized tours and much more! »» Are you a cyclist? Looking for an active way to experience Cape Town? Cape Town is full of enthusiastic cyclists and incredible roads with stunning views to travel by bike. If you would like to join these enthusiasts and see the “Mother City” from this point of view, make sure you check out Cape Peddlers! Not only do they offer fully outfitted bike rentals, but also specially crafted tours of Cape Town - all on two wheels. »» Make Hout Bay Backpackers home if you want to focus your attention on the majestic Cape Point and the variety of amazing outdoor activities it has on offer from hiking to cycling to majestic drives along the likes of Chapmans Peak. »» Explore the untouched playground of Storms River by kayak, lilo, scuba or snorkel with Untouched Adventures. The picture on the cover is one of their fun adventures.
A couple of weeks ago I was sitting in a little four-man plane wondering what the hell I had gotten myself into! It got me thinking as I looked to my right and the Atlantic was glistening away on a rare windless day on the West Coast of Cape Town and up ahead of me Table Mountain basked in all her glory. To my left the Ceres valley was shrinking as we made our way up to 12000ft.
I realized, as we gained altitude that I had managed to accomplish a little holy trinity over the weekend (well to me anyway!) I had enjoyed my almost daily trail run on Table Mountain on Friday afternoon, surfed the icy waters of Big Bay alongside the always smiling crew of Stoked Surf School on Saturday and charged down the mountain biking trails of Eeselfontein in the Ceres valley on Sunday. And on this day, the cool as cucumber crew of Mother City Skydiving were taking me into the heavens only to throw me back down at over 200km per hour. WTF?!
What got me here? Hailing from the humid, wild coastal city of Durban I grew up surfing and cycling through the multitude of sugar cane farmlands. It’s an epic place to lose touch with reality. We would rush out to the Bluff and surf the reefs, eat chips and surf again. The good guys at Anstey’s Beach Backpackers would sometimes let us leave our bags there and as we got older it became a hub for travellers and surfers alike and opened my eyes up to the world out there. People from around the world and the country would tell us about places they had been, waves they had ridden and that was it! I wanted to see it all. Life happened, varsity came and went and jobs ebbed and flowed. My desire to see this country didn’t waiver and as soon as I could I was back on the road. I started discovering awesome things local to my hood, like swinging from the arch at Moses Mabida stadium with Big Rush, which happens to be the highest swing in the world. I still get goose bumps thinking about it! Seeing Durban from that perspective reminded me how lucky I am to have grown up in such an outdoor paradise. I made my way up to the Berg as we call it back home, to Sani Lodge where we stayed with Russell and Simone. While there we got to do stuff I feel every South African should do at least once in their life with Drakensberg Adventures. From the madness of mountain biking the Sani Pass into Lesotho (remember your passport!), to spending the night in the rural Lesotho Matsoaing Village, home to the Nkune family, we did it all. They even rear an exclusive local breed of horse that will take you through the surrounding rolling hills, an absolutely mesmerizing experience! Jumping on the hop on hop off Baz Bus, which runs the lengths of this country taking adventurous youths (and some enlightened elders) to the extremes of their imaginations, I found myself in the Eastern Cape and 6
did what every red blooded surfer would do, I got to experience the holy grail of surfing at J-Bay. Despite what you saw recently about a certain Aussie pro getting a “howsit” from a great white, it’s a very rare occurrence. But we are in their backyard so must be respectful nonetheless. Speaking of sharks, I recently got a bit of face time with a few great whites in the sturdy cages of White Sharks Projects. Gerald and Mandla got us close to the action and managed to give me a real respect for the predators. When you are sitting on your board out there you pretend they don’t exist. Well this sure put that fallacy to rest! I also recently found myself aboard a boat with Andre and crew from Marine Dynamics, who were not shy to share their knowledge and love for the ocean having been involved in marine conservation for decades. I can attest that this is not just a business but also a vital contingent in gaining knowledge about these apex predators, which will in turn save millions of sharks in the years to come. As I made my way down towards Cape Town I stopped in the sleepy town/city hybrid of Plett, where I found a home away from home at Amakaya Backpackers, where I got chatting to the locals there over a cold one on their deck. Looking out over the balmy Indian Ocean with the Tsitsikamma to your right is a good opportunity to zone out and reflect. However, the locals pointed me in the direction of the Crags for something us Durbanites don’t do enough of. I went kloofing. Sounds odd I know but what an amazing experience! The crew at Africanyon got us into high end safety gear as we charged through waterfalls, down natural waterslides, swam through ravines and saw parts of the valley very few people ever have. All the massive ferns and teaming bird life gave us the feeling that a T Rex was going to pop around the corner and block our path. Well this time they didn’t, and neither did the fabled Knysna elephant. Finally I arrived in Cape Town, where I now live and venture from. I find myself having nostalgic laughs with the guests at Once in Cape Town, a cross between a backpackers and a hotel which attracts the most amazing mix of people both local and international with its unique concept and central position. I get to meet the young and old as well as the rich and budget conscious over a good local craft brew. The guys from Earthstompers often roll through with a few inspiring stories to spark your imagination back to life. They really do the local scene properly, whether it’s exploring the wine lands by bicycle or riding an elephant out at Addo, they are the go to guys for us, even as Capetonians. I recently wanted to go further afield, so Avo Orange took me and some others up to Vic Falls in one of their massive unimogs; which really is a great way to see this continent. You are above the grass line and out of the lions reach whom you can see without being touched. Coming eye to eye with a giraffe was one moment I will definitely take to the grave! We camped in some ridiculous places along the way (Fish 8
River canyon being my personal favorite) and when our tents became too stuffy the crew arranged some well-priced accommodation along our way to Zambia. Finally we found ourselves trading stories over a sunset braai at the Jollyboys Backpackers & Camp in Livingstone. Because locals run it you are guaranteed to see the area through their eyes. They took us to lesser-known gems (go see for yourself) and naturally they guided us to the most adrenaline pumping sections of the Zambezi. Being a surfer I thought I had seen it all when it came to water sports and the dangers thereof. Woah was I wrong! We flew down rapids and narrowly escaped certain injury many times. To say I came out humbled and pumped doesn’t do the experience justice! But that being said, they gave a crew of gentle Swedish lasses a much more chilled experience. Either way it’s a must do in the region. Something a little closer to surfing is sandboarding the dunes in Namibia. Imagine snowboarding on Mars! My cousin and his new wife recently went up west to Namibia for their honeymoon and they weren’t interested in the usual lie by the beach read a book type of thing. Instead, Jackie and Bossie at Chameleon Safaris took them into the dessert and through canyons. They found the dynamic duo really caters to families or wanderlust 20-somethings in search of adventure. Either way they keep you glued to your binoculars or window (no tv screens needed there!). Where else can two dine atop a blood red sand dune on local venison as a million stars come to life above you? As soon as I get married its on my list, alongside surfing the world’s best left at Skeleton Bay, google it, your mind will be blown. Rated as the world’s longest single barrel, guys are getting in the green room for close to a minute! Sounds like a good honeymoon to me Recently I had a few school mates out from the UK. These guys are well travelled so I was more than a little nervous as to what to do with them! A mate of mine luckily had mentioned he had recently done an epic solo mission on his scrambler to the Eastern Cape. So I checked on Dirty Boots website to look at the biking tours they have available. So when the lads got around the table I told them to write off six days as we would be heading along the R62 towards De Hel. As we travelled we saw more mind blowing passes then we can possibly mention, and there is absolutely no other way you will want to experience it all. Along the way we did the compulsory stop at Ronnie’s Sex Shop for a few beers and Karoo lamb chops as we headed towards the secluded Gamkaskloof Reserve where we slept under the stars and spoke way too much junk around the fire with some of our finest local brandies. Honestly at the end of it all, I couldn’t have thought of a better way to catch up with these guys and see the back roads of this insanely beautiful country. I am not done. I may be older on the outside and no wiser on the inside but I still have a lot to see and 10 travelnownow
do here down south. All I can say is thank goodness I live in beautiful South Africa because I know I will have the time to continue to adventure in this stunning land.
off-the-beaten track Do you want some more adventure in your life? If so, open up your Coast to Coast guidebook available throughout southern Africa and check out these amazing options that are just a bit off the beaten track. »» Lidwala Backpackers Lodge is in Swaziland’s Ezulwini valley and has its own hiking trail into indigenous forest and up Sheba’s Breast mountain to the summit where you get 360º views over the valley and Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary. »» Wake up to warthogs, zebras and impalas grazing just next door to Lidwala when you stay at Sondzela Backpackers located within Swaziland’s Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary. Activities include mountain biking, horse back riding or walking through the spectacular wonderland. »» The Trading Post Backpackers in Lesotho is the ideal location for adventurous off-road trails as well as for discovering the peace and tranquility of trekking through Lesotho’s valleys and mountains. »» Don’t miss out and go hike The Amphitheatre where you can see first hand, Tugela Falls, the 2nd highest falls in the world and the highest in Africa, only a short distance away from the beautifully located Amphitheatre Backpackers. »» Malealea Lodge in Lesotho exceeds expectations with sparkling waterfalls and a mountainous terrain that challenges adventurers with one-day or overnight pony treks, hiking, mountain biking and more! »» Sand dunes, Windhoek beer, wild animals. What more do you need? While in Windhoek, make sure you stay at Chameleon Backpackers and go on an epic Namibian safari.
Epic surf spots Looking for some amazing surf spots? Don’t miss these epic wave locations: » Mossel Bay Backpackers - Mossel Bay » African Ubuntu - Jeffreys Bay » The Surf Shack - Blouberg, Cape Town » Afrovibe Adventure Lodge - Myoli Beach, Sedgefield » Coffee Shack - Coffee Bay » Ansteys Beach Backpackers - Durban » Monkey Bay Backpackers - Ballito
overland trips through Africa Do you want an African adventure but don’t know where to start? Check out these guys who offer awesome tours that take you through to some of the best sites in southern Africa! From wildlife and dive tours to overland journeys covering Namibia, Botswana, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia and more - you don’t want to miss the adventure! »» »» »» »»
Durban is hot! Join in the various half day and full day tours on offer by Ubuntu Adventure Tours. From the Urban Jungle Experience around Durban to the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park Experience up the North Coast Ubuntu Adventure Tours has plenty to offer.
Africa Travel Co. Blue Chilli Adventures Intrepid Bundu Nomad Aventure Tours travelnownow 13
Culture Vulture Courtesy of Cape Town Tourism
Making friends in the Rainbow Nation With its 11 official languages, momentous history and diverse lifestyles coexisting at the tip of Africa, the Rainbow Nation certainly has a wealth of material to feed its cultural output. This is excellent news for travellers, who can experience the local culture and get an understanding of Africa on township streets, tours, galleries, markets, festivals and theatres. James Bainbridge jamesbainbridge.net
Courtesy of Cape Town Tourism
From the colourful houses of Cape Town’s Bo-Kaap neighbourhood to the woodcarvers chiselling away in Limpopo’s artistic Venda region, South Africa’s culture is an inspiring reflection of its diverse society, and a passport to unforgettable travel experiences.
Making good holiday choices Choose a Fair Trade Tourism (FTT) certified product for your holiday itinerary to be sure that you are directly benefitting the local communities and economies and supporting businesses committed to fair, responsible and sustainable tourism practices.
A major highlight of most South African holidays around South Africa is Cape Town, the Mother City where 350 years of » If you are keen for a luxurious self-catering farm history began with the arrival of the Dutch East India experience, look no further than The Guinevere Company. Already famous for its stunning location Guest Farm in Tulbagh. at the foot of Table Mountain, the city has culturally » Colesberg is a convenient stop on the journey come into its own in recent years. These days, you can between Johannesburg and Cape Town and shop for high art with a price tag in the galleries and Toverberg Guest Houses offers travellers boutiques of Church Street and the V&A Waterfront; pick consistently comfortable accommodation. up cool African craft and hip homeware in Woodstock; and enjoy cultural activities from jazz- or cuisine-themed Culture by bike township tours to evenings in piano bars and pub theatres. Are you looking for something unique? The city’s stint as World Design Capital 2014 sparked Look no further than African Hoopoe design- and art-orientated community projects, while the Tours. Offering both day-long cultural Maboneng Township Arts Experience is coming to Gugulethu tours as well as multi-day adventures in November, and monthly First Thursdays showcase inner-city through the Cape as well as Namibia, galleries. they do it all. And if this isn’t enough - it’s possible to do all tours by The city’s backpacker hostels have led the way in championing motorcycle! local culture and community initiatives - for example The Backpack. The Backpack encapsulates Cape Town cool with its travelnownow 21
places to stay in cape town
Want to explore some of the lesser known areas of Cape Town that are hopping with the energy and excitement of artists, ideas, music, food and more? »»From 33 South Boutique Backpackers get immersed in the vibey culture of Observatory (Obs), Cape Town’s most bohemian and culturally rich neighborhood. »» Close to the District Six Museum and The Cape Town Castle, Backpackers District Six is the perfect place from which to explore the rapidly developing new East City precinct of Cape Town »» Cape Town Deco Lodge is the perfect place to start exploring everything that Woodstock has to offer - restaurants, nightlife, art, music and much more! »» Explore Cape Town’s bustling nightlife from the chic and spacious Daddy Long Legs located directly on the famous Long Street. »» Explore the microbreweries, become a foodie or enjoy the street art around Woodstock while staying at Wish U Were Here, a cool urban stay over. »» The B.I.G. has everything Cape Town has to offer on its doorstep. Everything from the Sea Point Promenade to the beautiful Bo Kaap area is just a short bicycle ride away.
tours in & around Cape Town »» Explore the Cape in a vintage World War II sidecar with Cape Sidecar Adventures – it makes for awesome Instagram pics. »» Explore Cape Town and Stellenbosch on three train tourism routes operated by Cape Metrorail. »» Food is one thing we all cherish and PG Tops private tours aim to introduce you to the South Africa’s culinary diversity. »» See Cape Town Tours offers budget tours to Cape Agulhas and the Winelands, as well as up the West Coast and into the Cedeberg mountains. »» Offering scenic and photographic tours, Travel with Andre gives you the opportunity to get a feel for a place and create great memories. »» Ubizo Events & Tours specialises in cultural and historical experiences in Cape Town’s vibrant townships.
Afro-funk décor of Xhosa beadwork and shweshwe fabric; its craft shop selling Zulu necklaces, Xhosa dolls and Nelson Mandela bags; rooms named after cultural luminaries such as the late Nadine Gordimer; and the travel desk dispatching guests on tours and volunteer placements.
Accommodation options throughout the Cape Town area are great bases for exploring the Western Cape’s cultural riches, offering day trips far and wide. A popular tour is Stellenbosch and the Cape Winelands, where historic wine estates offer tastings with a refined backdrop of Cape Dutch architecture. The area is also popular for volunteering placements, allowing participants to spend longer enjoying Cape Town’s vibrant nightlife, culture and stunning scenery.
Ama Africa Experiences offers numerous volunteering programmes in the Western Cape, ranging from community outreach initiatives to a wildlife and social experience. It also offers tours to the Garden Route and beyond – the ideal way for volunteers to fit in some travel alongside their work in the Cape. Booking with a volunteering agency like Ama Africa Experiences or All Out Africa, or a tour operator such as Acacia Africa, is a great way for travellers to ensure they make the most of their time overseas. All Out Africa and Acacia Africa both organise activities throughout Southern Africa.
Heading along the coast from Cape Town, many wonderful backpacker hostels mix beach bumming with cultural activities. Muizenberg’s Stoked Backpackers, near a surf beach with a famously photogenic row of bathing huts, is a great base for exploring this up-andcoming town. The small coastal spot boasts both the popular Blue Bird Garage Food & Goods Market and the Casa Labia Cultural Centre, respectively occupying a 1940s aircraft hangar and a villa dating to 1929, as well as arty cafes and hipster bars.
To head further from Cape Town, travellers can rent a car through affordable operators such as Around About Cars. Road tripping to off-the-beaten-track spots is one of South Africa’s great pleasures; for example to experience the Karoo’s quirky, offbeat culture in historic dorpies such as Matjiesfontein, Prince Albert, Graaff-Reinet and Nieu Bethesda. For travellers who don’t fancy driving, and enjoy the sociability of the backpacker scene, the coast road awaits on the hop-on hop-off Baz Bus. Linking Cape Town to Johannesburg via Port Elizabeth and Durban, the bus stops at numerous cultural hotspots; shuttles can also ferry passengers inland to fascinating towns such as Oudtshoorn, with its ostrich-farming history, and Hogsback, the fairy-obsessed mountain community.
Courtesy of Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism
The Baz Bus makes several stops on the Garden Route, a deserved tourist hub with culture, history and activities among its old-growth forests, lakes, lagoons and bays. Knysna has cultural cred with its painters taking inspiration from the coastline; township tours, including the art-themed Mad About Art and visits to the Judah Square Rastafarian community; the country’s oldest microbrewery and 19th-century Belvidere Church. Woodwork and furniture shops recall the bygone woodcutters, who, as Dalene Matthee’s novels evoke, once dodged elephants in the surrounding forests. The gay-friendly town comes to life during the Pink Loerie Festival, its Mardi Gras in April/May, and the Knysna Oyster Festival in July, a week-long celebration of its excellent seafood. Among the Garden Route’s many tour companies, Rock the Route offers interesting cultural itineraries - including Band Tours, which facilitate performances at intimate venues. The ‘groupie’ package offers the opportunity to ‘hang out with these hairy special humans’ and ‘go backstage, if there even is a stage’. Rock the Route’s more conventional tour packages explore the area’s small towns, with tastings and agritourism along the way, and the option of travelling in a 1961 ‘fintail’ Mercedes. Over the provincial line, the Eastern Cape is famous for its Xhosa culture and friendly people, which are both found in Port Elizabeth. Sprawling around Algoa Bay, ‘PE’ is a surprisingly dynamic town emerging from a period in the doldrums, thanks to the regeneration of its inner city. The Richmond Hill neighbourhood is the best place to get a feel for this, with buzzing restaurants and bars on Stanley Street. Nearby, the Route 67 heritage trail begins in the Donkin Reserve and leads between sculptures, monuments and Victorian buildings, narrating local history from the famous influx of British settlers in 1820 onwards. The South End Museum shows the human effects of tumultuous local history, covering the multicultural area destroyed by forced removals under apartheid. Likewise, the recently reopened Red Location Museum delves into PE’s oldest township, which was involved in the antiapartheid struggle.
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culture on the Garden Route? »» Outeniqua Travel Lodge is a cosy and convivial base from which to explore the Garden Route. »» Explore Plettenberg Bays’s creative spirit at Unjani Arts Residence & Backpacking Lodge, a township tourism and arts initiative.
culture in the Eastern Cape
Being a relaxed city for surfing and hanging out, PE has a healthy backpacker scene. Lungile Backpackers Lodge occupies an airy A-frame house near the beach, offering day trips to local townships and Addo Elephant National Park. Island Vibe, which also has branches in Knysna and surf-mad Jeffrey’s Bay, is a ‘flashpackers’ in the upmarket Summerstrand neighbourhood, with comfortable accommodation and an outdoor Jacuzzi.
Explore culture in the Eastern Cape in some stunning locations and with reputable tour companies. »» Buccaneers Backpackers – on a lagoon in the Wild Coast »» African Heartland Journeys – tours based at Buccaneers Backpackers »» Bulungula Lodge – community-owned and managed lodge in the Wild Coast »» Elundini Backpackers – located in a village in the Amatola Mountains »» Imonti Tours – cultural tours of East London »» Mthatha Backpackers – in Mthatha, a bustline city that is en route to most Wild Coast destinations
Moving east, the Wild Coast, once the apartheid-era Xhosa ‘homeland’ of the Transkei, is one of South Africa’s cultural gems for the African experiences it offers. Among greens hills and windswept beaches, travellers can easily meet the locals and glimpse the traditional, rural life taking place in the pastel rondavel huts. This is also where Nelson Mandela grew up; at the Nelson Mandela Museum in Qunu, guides point to spots in the surrounding veld where the future president swam and herded cattle.
»» Owl House Backpackers – based in Nieu-Bethesda in the Karoo which is known for outsider art at the Owl House and the fossil discoveries in the area 24
The Wild Coast’s coastal lodges offer a distinctive
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what’s happening in joburg & Gauteng? and memorable take on backpacker accommodation, » Explore Maboneng, Joburg’s creative district, with Curiocity with rooms in rondavels, Eastcity Backpackers, the coolest place to stay. stunning settings and » Mainstreetwalks encourages you to get out of the car and redis integration with the local cover the inner city of Johannesburg and its people by foot! community. Reached on bumpy » MoAfirka Lodge warmly welcomes guests to their rustic and tran gravel roads through Xhosa quil lodge a short distance from the airport. villages, Mdumbi Backpackers » MoAfrika Tours provides unique tours of Johannesburg, Soweto, offers an eco-friendly slice of the mines, Pretoria and much, much more! African Eden by the sea. Mdumbi, » Want to try some truly African local food? If so, Johannesburg a compound of rondavels above a based Jozanzi has the perfect traditional cuisine and culture white-sand beach, offers activities tour for you! from village tours to volunteering in » TravellingCheapskate aims to explore the world within a community projects run by Transcape, limited budget of the working class individual, to use one an its affiliated NGO. It is 30% owned by other to make life easier and travel in an economic fashion. local employees and 10% of profits go to the community. » Homebase Melville is the ideal suburban backpackers located walking distance from Melville’s 7th Avenue with its eateries, clubs, galleries and more. The African fun continues in the epic province of KwaZulu-Natal, home to » Let Hero Holidays pair your skills with the needs in local South Africa’s largest ethnic group, the communities on one of their environmental and social Zulu. With landscapes ranging from the volunteer programmes. raw Drakensberg Mountains to the tropical » Get out the bus and experience Soweto by bike with Elephant Coast, KZN is an awesome place Soweto Bicycle Tours! You’ll make more friends and to learn about Shaka’s people. At 1560m in go away with a different perception of the township. the Southern Drakensberg, you can get away » Lebos Soweto Backpackers is the place to base from it all at Sani Lodge Backpackers, which your Soweto adventures. You’ll feel like part of the offers cultural activities such as San rock art tours community and discover Soweto’s colourful culture. alongside the famous hiking trails. The province’s urban heart is Durban, the beach city affectionately known as ‘Durbs’ (and as Courtesy of Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism eThekweni in Zulu), which received a pre-World Cup makeover. There are museums, galleries and historic buildings throughout the centre – from the Phansi Museum’s tribal art, to the Sugar Terminal’s coverage of Durban’s sugar trade. Also here are the southern hemisphere’s largest Hare Krishna temple and largest mosque, serving one of the world’s biggest Indian communities outside the subcontinent. Gandhi spent two decades here and Durban even has a unique curry dish, the bunny chow. Reflecting all this vibrancy, Happy Hippo backpackers is inspired by South African culture from its craft shop to its décor, which splashes the colours of the national flag on industrial spaces. Happy Hippo’s roof bar is a great place to start a night on lively Florida Road, while jazz fans should head to the Rainbow Restaurant, BAT Centre or the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Centre for Jazz. Johannesburg should definitely be your last stop if it wasn’t your first. Pretoria may be the national capital, but this swaggering metropolis is the place to feel the pulse of Gauteng, South Africa’s most populous and frenetic province. Galleries and public murals have sprung up in inner-city enclaves such as the Maboneng Precinct, where culture has played a key role in urban regeneration. With its buzzing and multicultural nightlife, Soweto’s sights and tours, and day trips including the Cradle of Humankind, Jo’burg is increasingly popular for longer stays. For people looking to improve their language skills, Avenue English, one of several English schools in South Africa, offers two- to six-week courses. After all, there are 11 official languages in South Africa – why not take the time to learn one.
Nature Lover Exploring the land of plenty Itâ€™s no secret that South Africa is a land of plenty. One with wide-open landscapes, big skies, endless shorelines, abundant wildlife and a great selection of activities on offer; specifically for the nature lover who thrives on time outdoors and eco-themed travel. Dawn Jorgensen The Incidental Tourist www.theincidentaltourist.com
Starting in Cape Town, the sweetheart of South African destinations and a place that demands a lingering look at her cosmopolitan mix of attractions, natural beauty and generous beaches which will hold your attention. Marked by the iconic Table Mountain, with internationally renowned restaurants, craft beer and the Cape Winelands within easy reach.
Ecotourism » Slide along the cables high up within the forest canopy in the magical forests with Canopy Tours. Locations include Magaliesberg, Tsitsikamma, Karkloof, Magoebaskloof, Swaziland and Drakensberg and just outside of Cape Town.
Go up Table Mountain as soon as you can for an orientation of the city. The cable car is weather dependent so take it the first chance you get. If you’d rather something more adventurous, there are numerous marked hiking routes to suite your level of fitness. Either way, once on top do the 45-minute circular walk, it really is flat up there with incredible views, Cape vegetation and many a rock hyrax or dassie to photograph.
» Take in South Africa’s natural splendor on a walking tour with Walk in Africa. They arrange, book and guide one-day walks and a multi-day treks. » Check out the Eco Atlas search engine to find places to eat, shop, stay and play as a conscious consumer and responsible traveller.
If you’d like to hike up some perspective but don’t want to push the capability boundaries, walk half way up Lion’s Head for an excellent view of the city. Once you’re there you could just keep going, but see how you feel. Visit the Cape Point Nature Reserve or Cape of Good Hope as it is fondly known. The best way is by driving along the False Bay coastline through St. James, Kalk Bay and the naval base of Simonstown. Stop at Boulder’s Beach in Cape Point to visit the African Penguins. Actually if you’d like to have a swim at Boulder’s
» Cederberg Oasis is located in the isolated Cederberg Conservancy Area and nature lovers will enjoy the rock formations, rock art and the starry night sky. Pangea Trails offers group and tailormade trips that cover South Africa’s highlights. The “South Africa Explorer Tour” starts in Johannesburg and heads via Kruger, Swaziland, Drakensberg, then along the Indian Ocean coast to Cape Town.
Nature guide training Do you want to work in nature professionally or are you passionate about conserving nature? Consider one of these options for professional training in an amazing southern Africa setting: »»Eco Training - near Kruger National Park »» Eco Ranger Conservation Services - near Kruger National Park »» Eco Africa Experience - near Victoria Falls as well as in the Eastern Cape
Beach you’ll be in the water with the penguins, a very special experience indeed. Look into the numerous hiking trails available in the Nature Reserve, or even take a bicycle and cycle the park. A favorite walk is from the Cape Point Lighthouse to Dias Beach and along to ridge to the South Western most tip. Remember to look out for baboons!
Volunteer with animals
Get to the Sea Point promenade, it »» Volunteer with Great White sharks, study shark behavior, bimay be in the city but offers the idyllic ology and much more as part of the International Marine balance between urban high risers and Volunteers based in Gansbaai, the Great White sharks shoreline with space to walk, run, cycle capital of the world. and talk, with yoga on the lawn, public »» Volunteer, intern or be a student at the only programme art and inspired benches to pause on as in Africa that is supported by the WWF. With locations well as a guaranteed place to chat with in Zululand, Malawi and Seychelles, Wildlife ACT has locals. The Company Gardens also offer a something for everyone! reprieve to nature within the heart of the city. There is even free wifi if you feel the »» Bridge the gap between conservation and community need to connect with the world. development with Conservation Travel Africa. They have projects in several destinations around Southern Take to the beaches to simply soak up the sun Africa. with the beautiful people at Clifton and Llan»» With 93 projects available including lion dudno, with Muizenberg and surfers corner the rehabilitation, photography and much more, best place to get on a board. African Impact has the perfect volunteer project for everyone. Dive with thousands of Cape Fur Seals off Hout Bay’s Duiker Island with Animal Ocean. Wetsuit, goggles and snorkels are the only thing that will be between you and these curious animals that will Cape Town come in for a closer look. Don’t think shark, this is »» Need a one stop guide for Cape Town? Go no seal territory. further than Cape Town Tourism. Just over an hour’s drive away is the Elgin Valley, which »» BokBus is an adventure company known for offers a myriad of attractions, cool climate wines and their exciting and affordable Garden Route endless views across apple orchards and vineyard-covtours that include all the highlights. ered hills. Here is a lesser-known place for nature lovers »» Go on Big 5 safari at Aquila Private to escape to, a mountain bikers dream with some of the Game Reserve, only two hours from most demanding and spectacular single tracks for profesCape Town. sionals. Other outdoor activities in the valley include quad »» With a specialty in cycling, Daytrippers biking, kayaking, water-skiing, hiking and nature walks. offers amazing day trips to the Cape’s top locations. Too often forgotten is the more barren and rather real area
»» Zoete Inval Travellers Lodge in Hermanus is close to the cliff walks that make Hermanus so good for land-based whale watching. »» Drive on down to the southernmost point of Africa to Cape Agulhas. Cape Agulhas Tourism will help you with your travel plans. Stay at Cape Agulhas Backpackers, close to where the two oceans meet. »» Stay at Greyton Eco-Lodge to discover Greyton, the eco-jewel of the Overberg.
West of Cape Town. The drive up the R27 highway offers a look at Bloubergstrand, Melkbosstrand and Yzerfontein, Blouberg undoubtedly offering the best views towards Table Mountain. The West Coast National Park with its 16-mile beach, tranquil lagoon and game viewing is the perfect place to spend a day. Actually you can book lunch at the Geelbeck Restaurant, or continue to Langebaan and have a meal on the water’s edge. Bear in mind that the wild flower season is from August to early October each year with the West Coast Park becoming covered in a carpet of flowers. While out on the West Coast consider a weekend of beach glamping at the Beach Camp in the Cape Columbine Nature Reserve with sea kayaking and mountain bikes adding to your rustic and natural experience. Most kayakers are lucky enough to see dolphins while out on the water here.
East of the city you will discover one of the most scenic roads in the world. Clarens Drive, which connect Gordonâ€™s Bay with the inviting Rooiels, Pringle Bay, Bettyâ€™s Bay and Kleinmond. Out here Hangklip is ever popular with sand boarders and kite surfers celebrating the wind. Further along is Hermanus. A town that has built a reputation for having the best shore based whale watching in the world, the season is between June and November each year. With a rocky coast that offers an elevated look at the South Right Whales that frequent our waters each year. Also in the Overberg is Gansbaai village and what has become known as the capital of shark cage diving. A great attraction to visitors to the Cape, with False Bay having a very high population of these protected animals. Should you wish to partake I recommend you book with Marine Dynamics who place much emphasis on the conservation of these apex animals, rather than the thrill factor. In the area there are caves to explore, horseriding, boat trips, 4x4 flower safaris, walking trails and beaches to walk on, taking a closer look at life in the rock pools. Take to the most extreme zip lining in South Africa with a visit to the new Cape Canopy Tours in the Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve, where your adventure will have you flying above age old protected
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Cape vegetation. Here nature meets adventure in this elevated part of the reserve.
» Are you a surfer? The most consistent waves along the South African coastline are found at The Point, just 300m from Mossel Bay Backpackers. Heading towards the Garden » Cango Wildlife Ranch is an internationally-accredited conservation Route on the N2 highway will facility recognized for their work with cheetas. Stop by for a visit or take you to De Hoop Nature arrange to volunteer. Reserve, a place of untamed » Wild Farm Backpackers in Wilderness is perched on a hill with 360 wilderness, protected seas, and degree views of the mountains, lakes and the sea. relaxed game on 36000 hectares near Bredasdorp. With varied ac» With an adorable dog, a large pool and a great location - Home commodation options, from which Base Knysna is a great place from which to explore Knysna and you can enjoy the numerous marked the Garden Route. hiking trails, drives and a guided walk » Escape to African Array Backpackers in Plettenberg Bay with in the marine reserve. This is Cape its views of the countryside, mountains, the sea and stunning Nature’s Flagship Nature Reserve and sunsets. once there it’s easy to see why. » Stay at Jeffreys Bay Backpackers to surf, love the beach, relax and breathe in the sea air. Arriving in Knysna on the Garden Route » Wild Spirit Lodge in the Crags is surrounded by the indigwith a need to explore the outdoors, take enous forests, pristine beaches and high mountains, and is a boat trip. Privately owned and protected, close to Tsitsikamma National Park. it serves as a necessary sanctuary to small game, with caves for exploring, beaches and coastline, a breeding ground for oystercatchers and endless vistas both inland and South to where there is nothing but blue waters.
» If you find yourself in Port Elizabeth and you’re in search of a place that feels like home, make sure you stop by Kings Beach Backpackers. » Love elephants? Addo Elephant National Park has 450 of these majestic creatures. If you’re needing a place to stay nearby, choose between The Aardvark and Woody Cape Backpackers & Nature For accommodation in the area, Woodlands Lodge. Cottages are well situated high on the banks of » Kwantu Private Game Reserve is not only a the Bushman’s River, a birder’s paradise with a wide upmarket Big 5 game reserve, it also offers a variety of species spotted daily. From here you have volunteering programme at their wildlife and easy access to surrounding attractions. conservation volunteering camp. » Want to watch zebras during breakfast? You If time is limited, stop for a walk in the Garden of can do so at Santa Paloma Guest Farm and Eden, located between Knsyna and Plettenberg Bay, a Eco-Centre, nestled in the coastal forest fantasyland of wet forest vegetation and towering trees, outside East London. here is the smell of nature with flowers peeping through » Do you want to get off the grid? Terrathe green. Further along, the Tsitsikamma indigenous forest Khaya in Hogsback is 100% off the grid. is an enchanting place to visit, with some of the Outeniqua Here you find a backpackers, camping Yellowood trees as old as 700 years. and eco farm that celebrates a mindful, alternative way of living. A great recommendation in the St Francis Bay area is to walk the Chokka Trail, a four-day, slack-packing trail that takes you » Jungle Monkey Backpackers in Port through three picturesque fishing villages, along the rugged coastSt. Johns on the Wild Coast is perfectline, over sand dunes, through tidal rivers and protected fynbos. ly located to watch the parrots or go on a boat trip to see the whales and In Jeffrey’s Bay, besides the world famous Supertubes surfers spot, dolphins during the sardine run. you can go horseriding with the Featherfoot Horseriding School, » Lubanzi is a little Xhosa Village exploring the Kabeljouws nature reserve whilst looking out for bird where the road ends, where the life, including flamingos, spoon bills and even fish eagles. If you’re a sea and sky meet and the sun confident rider you can enjoy an exhilarating gallop along the beach. kisses the waves. Wild Lubanzi Backpackers is as “away from Keeping with the eco theme, the Shamwari Conservation Experience everything” as you can possibly offers a once in a life time opportunity to get behind the scenes at be. the world renowned Shamwari Game Reserve. Look into their various volunteering programs that offer short and long term involvement as well as learning programs. The ocean adjacent to the lagoon has excellent whale activity during winter and spring with many marine species seen here throughout the year. Ocean Odyssey are Knysna’s only close encounter whale watching operation, with their well-trained skippers providing a memorable experience for all.
At the beginning of the Cape Wild Coast with it’s gentle hills and scattered huts and remote settlements leading down to the ocean, is Areena Riverside Resort. Located on the banks of the Kwelera tidal river east of East London. With excellent views and cruises to the river mouth. Access to the beach is either by boat, river ferry, or a short trip by car, or for the more energetic an interesting hike. Moving inland the Ukhahlamba-Drakensberg mountain range stretches the entire length of KwaZulu Natal’s western boundary and is home to some of South Africa’s oldest rock art. There are 4x4 trails, quad bikes to be hired, horse riding and even trout fishing and white water rafting on the Tugela River. It’s an outdoor lover’s paradise that includes the Royal Natal National Park, Cathedral Peak, Champagne Castle and Monk’s Cowl. The foothills are scattered with boutiques hotels, lodges, farm stalls, craft brewers, cheese makers, weavers and artists. Still in the province, consider joining one of the African Insight programs that teach a greater awareness and sensitivity to the surrounds with their wildlife experience, ranger course, science on safari and volunteer options that afford you the opportunity to learn about elephants, turtles and birds in the area. Nearby is the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, with 332 000 hectares contained in three major lake systems,
Around Durban »» Salt Water Lodge overlooks the ocean at Umhlanga Rocks, just north of Durban, and is an ideal family spot. »» Stay in Shapes of Africa Rustic Stayover’s Zulu rondavels at in their luscious garden overlooking Mount Moreland and Umdloti river valley, just north of Durban. »» Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Bush Camp is a hidden gem in Zululand. It is the only fully functioning lodge on the border of Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park.
Kruger »» Eco-friendly and fun loving lodge Funky Monkey Backpackers in Nelspruit also offer budgets safaris if you haven’t figured out how to get to Kruger yourself. »» Old Vic Travellers’ Inn is located next to a bird-rich nature reserve in Nelspruit. They also offer quality, affordable safaris in Kruger and Blyde River tours. journey through the park. 40 travelnownow
eight interlinking ecosystems and most of the country’s remaining swamp forests. It also has the one of the densest populations of hippo and crocodiles to be found. Take a boat cruise on the waters, listen for the call of the fish eagle and consider a guided game drive into the park at night. It offers a whole new perspective to the area. Don’t leave the province without time in Durban, hot in climate, character and local curry, this east coast city lays itself bare with a relaxed and uncomplicated confidence. Walk the Golden Mile beachfront, which runs from North to South Beach. The water is warm and you could walk one-way feet in the sand, the other along the promenade, to get a different feel of the place, all the while salt catching your skin. Take a canoe paddle on the uMgeni River estuary, one of the most important biodiversity assets in the area. You can experience the combo of beach, estuary and river with great bird watching in particular and the beautiful mangrove swamps. Back in the heart of the country, Johannesburg is not to be overlooked but rather is well worth stopping in for long enough for you to be infected by the pulse of the city. Then once you’ve had your fill seek out the great outdoors at the Cradle of Mankind and Sterkfontein
Caves about 50km out of the city. One of eight World Heritage Sites in South Africa, Archaeological finds here include two-million-year-old stone tools and fossil sites that tell the story of what the world was like when our human ancestors were evolving some two to three million years ago. Aside from a visit to the Sterkfontein Caves and Maropeng, the official visitor centre of the Cradle of Humankind is also a playground for the people of Gauteng, with a range of facilities and activities, including loads of accommodation choices, restaurants, coffee shops, cycling tracks and hot-air ballooning. Melville Koppies Nature Reserve, once a small suburb in the west of Johannesburg, was once the princess of bohemian life and known as one of the city’s nightlife hot spots. Today, the Melville Koppies Nature Reserve provides a good place for a stroll to enjoy the flora, small mammals and over 200 species of birds, with spectacular views over the city from the grassy ridges. Here you can breath fresh air and find some quiet.
All this taken into account, one of the best ways to get around the country is with Baz Bus, a unique hop-on hop-off, door-to-door bus service between the backpacking hostels around South Africa. Simply buy one ticket to your final destination and get on and off as many times as you want, wherever you want, with no time limit. It’s genius for the carefree traveller. Best advise I can offer, always allow time to deviate from the route, as you make your own discoveries, views will captivate you and one or two spots will be very hard to leave. Enjoy our natural wonders.
Feelin’ the Vibe Courtesy of Gauteng Tourism Authority
Letting your hair down in awesome places Travelling is not just about scenic places - of which SA has plenty - it’s about meeting cool people and feeling the vibe. You know that vibe, where you play a game of pool with a local, learn some local lingo, or where you’re free to let down your hair and just go ape in a dive bar. I’ve travelled round the country staying at some awesome hostels en route. Here’s my pick of the spots in SA where you’re guaranteed to feel that vibe. Meruschka Govender MzansiGirl www.mzansigirl.com
Courtesy of Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism
Getting around If you’re going to party, the easiest way to get around is via Baz Bus. Just hop-on and hop-off without having to worry about getting lost. As a solo traveller, the Baz Bus is a great way to make friends en route, so you’re pretty sure of your party entourage at the next stop
Find the right vibe for you African Backpackers is the perfect option for Dutch and Belgian travellers looking for internship, study and volunteer placements. They know how to work hard and party harder so they organise journeys of discovery to AfrikaBurn - Africa’s very own version of the famous ‘Burning Man’ festival - and other crazy adventures as well.
For more of a structured itinerary, go with Hotspots2C who offer a range of packaged tours around Cape Town, Winelands and the Garden Route, but they also offer private tours. Their tours are great value with fun and informative guides.
Hostelworld is one of the top online resources to find hostels in South Africa where everyone can find the right hostel at the right price, and making a booking on the spot.
Stellenbosch Most travellers just go to Stellenbosch – aka Stellies – for a day trip to experience its epic wines. I say stay. Besides the delicious wines, the town is the second oldest in South Africa and has a wealth of heritage and charming Cape Dutch buildings. More importantly, Stellies is a student town so there’s a lot of partying to be done. That means cheap drinks specials all week long!
Party safely, spend safely Need a way to safely carry money to those awesome, off the beaten track, totally hipster, yet slightly scary bars and don’t want to carry large amounts of cash or your no pin credit card? UR Card, a preloaded debit card, is the solution to your needs.
You can’t go wrong staying at iKhaya Backpackers in the heart of the town. It has a friendly and authentic local atmosphere and travelnownow 43
Feel the vibe in Cape Town
they can arrange tours to suit your budget. Don’t miss the Amazink Township Theatre or a bike tour of the winelands.
»» Love the feeling of sand between your toes? Are you a natural water baby? If so, SaltyCrax Backpackers is perfect for you they even offer tours and adventure activities. »» Want a chilled vibe with a braai (BBQ), a bar, swimming pool and the companionship of other backpackers - all in Cape Town? Cape Town Look no further than A Sunflower Stop. Cape Town is party central! Head »» There is a Cape Town legend about a man in a smoking competition with the devil on the mountains. His name was to the famous Long Street strip Van Hunks – also the name of a vibey bar and restaurant for a pub-crawl of note. There are located on the always-happening Kloof Street. a host of options to get that Long Street vibe from beer halls and »» Are you a beer lover? Even if you’re not, Super Cool Beer Tour will convert you. Explore Cape Town’s amazing beer pool halls to Irish pubs, trendy bars culture off-the-beaten track in Newlands, Woodstock and and lounges. There’s something for Salt River. everyone and lots of great options for a pre- or post- party feast. »» Discover quality South African wines at some of the Cape’s beautiful wine estates with Wine Flies Wine Tours. These tours in the heart of the Winelands are immensely fun For a little more of a hipster vibe, head and unforgettable. to Woodstock to the Old Biscuit Mill where the artisanal Neighbourgoods market is »» Want a safe and convenient way to get around Cape Town? Backpacker Bus offers airport transfers and held every Saturday. You’ll sample delicious 24-hour transfers to backpacker lodges in and around local fare, craft drinks and music too. Of Western Cape. course a visit to Cape Town isn’t complete without a party in the townships. Mzolis in Gugulethu is where the real vibe is at. Ask And in Durban... anyone. »» Located on the Dolphin Coast of South Africa, Monkey Bay Backpackers is a creative haven for There are plenty of hostels on Long street, though a quirky, laid back and soulful vibe. I prefer to stay little bit away from the craziness. That’s why I like staying in the Green Point area, it’s well-located, has a good range of bars and great restaurants but is more chilled than Long Street at night. It’s also walking distance to the V&A Waterfront and the Seapoint promenade, the perfect place to watch the sunset over the Atlantic.
I like to stay at Atlantic Point Backpackers. This newly renovated, grand 3 story mansion was created with the modern budget traveller in mind. It’s stylish and fun, yet practical. Their dorms are spacious and their double rooms make you feel like you’re in a hotel. The bar is cheap – great for getting warmed up before a big night out. They also have free breakfast to cure your hangover! Another great hostel is Never@Home. This hip spot has the air of a boutique hotel, with contemporary décor and a fun atmosphere. What sets this hostel apart is the happening Randy Waterhog Bar and Grill, the perfect spot to lounge with a mojito by the watering hole (the pool) or smash one of their infamous burgers.
Durban Durban has been called the Miami beach of Africa. With the warm Indian ocean, miles of golden beaches, and amazing weather, Durban’s beach front is the place to get your chill on. Cycle the newly revamped promenade or grab a surf or SUP, then grab a beer at one of the beach-front restaurant. This is surf city, and surfers to like to get their party on, albeit in a more 44 travelnownow
chilled way. The main party strip is Florida road, with its stretch of bars, clubs and restaurants. Just off the main party drag, is Tekweni Backpackers. From their slogan ‘ Tekweni goes off’, it’s obvious that this is the place to feel the Durban vibe. Chill by their lovely pool or hit up their lively sports bar before a night out. If there’s rugby on and the local Sharks team are playing you’re guaranteed a dose of local culture.
Knsyna Set in the heart of the Garden Route, Knsyna is the place to experience the vibe of the spectacular region. It’s a charming little town, flanked by indigenous forests and a stunning coastal lagoon that is best explored by a sundowner cruise. I like to stay at Island Vibe Knysna hostel - centrally located and walking distance from the waterfront and the town’s hotspots. It’s a cheerful spot, with bright murals on the walls and a cool bar. Their wooden deck is ideal for relaxing with a chilled beer and taking in the views of the magnificent Knysna heads.
t s a o c d il w , y a b e e f f o c 5 DAY SURF PACKAGE R2400/$250* Includes: ∙ Dinner ∙ Dorm bed ∙ Breakfast ∙ 7 lessons ∙ All equip and lots more... AGENTS WELCOME enquire now at firstname.lastname@example.org * at current exchange rate
Surfing is our passion at Coffee Shack and we want everyone to give it a go! +27 47 575 2048 WWW.COFFEESHACK.CO.ZA travelnownow 47
Eastern Cape The Eastern Cape is my favourite part of SA and where you really meet South Africa. Forget the big cities, the Eastern Cape’s coast is where the real gems are hidden in an expanse of rolling hills dotted with rural villages, empty beaches stretching for miles and the odd town thrown in for good measure. They don’t call it the Wild Coast for nothing. As you enter Port St Johns on a windy road, the humidity of its sub-tropical climate takes over. You can almost taste the beauty of its indigenous forests. Once you get into town it feels like Africa – bustling but chilled, almost as if it’s stuck in a time warp. Amapondo Backpackers is my hostel of choice here. I’ve been staying there for years. There’s little better than lying on a hammock sipping a Zamalek* overlooking the river mouth. Stay at one of their sweet chalets for views that will have you mesmerized. Days are spent hiking, fishing or exploring the beaches while at night the chilled Pondo vibe kicks in. Your next stop should definitely be Coffee Bay, a little village with a lot of party. The only place to stay is Coffee Shack – a hostel with one of the best vibes ever, amazing staff and a pretty location perched on the river mouth. As soon as you check in you’re
Partying in the Eastern Cape »» Want the perfect Addo Elephant Park experience? If so, Orange Elephant Backpackers is the place to go with a variety of accommodation, a happening bar and in-house tours and safaris. »» Looking for the party in East London? Sugar Shack is the place to be. The beach, babes, surfing, sun and a vibe. What more could you want?
welcomed with a free beer - fun times! Spend the days lazying on the beach, hiking to the epic Hole in The Wall, cliff-jumping or learning to surf at their surf school – they offer the cheapest surf lessons in SA! At night, unwind round the fire or at their infamous Babalaza bar. Yummy cocktails like the Wild Wendy will bring out the wild in you.
»» Buccaneers Backpackers is famous for its festive vibe. A legend in itself, its situated above a stunning beach, and Buccs offers nightly volleyball games and parties with pumping music, drinking games and more! This is one you don’t want to miss. »» Located in Hogsback, Away with the Fairies inspires images from “Lord of the Rings” in South Africa’s very own mystical fairytale land. Escape to the garden on the edge of a cliff where you get some of the best views of the hogsback in the Amatola Mountains.
Elsewhere in South Africa…
And then there’s SA’s surf mecca, Jeffrey’s Bay, the home of big waves, ripped surfer dudes and huge surf-brand outlet stores. Stay at Island Vibe J- Bay – doesn’t the name say it all? This is the ultimate surf hostel, situated right on the beach overlooking one of the best breaks. Depending on when you go, their bar can be chilled, but its mostly pumping due to their energetic staff who keep the shots flowing. Their food is awesome (try the pizza) and great value too!
»» Have a once in a lifetime experience and stay in a castle in Johannesburg at Brown Sugar Backpackers! »» Whether you want to party hard, chill on a beach or have an all inclusive experience at one of South Africa’s famous music festivals, Rush Adventures will organise your student and youth tour and take care of all the tedious planning so that you can focus on having fun. 48
South Africa is a diverse country with a youthful spirit, and we sure do love a good jol - that’s South African slang for party – and now you know where to find it!
Travel with a Purpose Meaningful stays in South Africa Of course we would never knock making spontaneity your mistress on your travels; letting the wind take you where it will, making decisions moment to moment… But there is also much reward that awaits you in a different kind of travel, which does not have to exclude ‘going with the flow’ at times. How about travelling… with a purpose?
South Africa holds almost unlimited opportunities to give back; to dedicate your time to a worthy cause, while experiencing all the novelties of travel â€“ but with an altruistic twist!
Education South Africa (EduSA) 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.
Or what about study travel? Learning a new language or simply improving your skills, while experiencing a foreign culture and way of life? Either way, your comfort zone will be stepped out of... and into a brave new world that leaves you with an enormous sense of fulfilment at the end. Weâ€™ve spoken to English language students and volunteers in South Africa, who shared with us their experiences.
All EduSA centres agree to undergo the EduSA On-site Language Centre Inspection and maintain the standards stipulated therein. Language Centres must pass the inspection in order to qualify for membership. Inspection criteria include: 1. Language centre facilities 2. Teaching staff 3. Course of study 4. Learning and teaching resources 5. Services offfered 6. Management & administration 7. Homestay guidelines 8. Other accommodation
STUDY ENGLISH IN SOUTH AFRICA
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.
STUDY ENGLISH IN THE WESTERN CAPE
Language Learning Worldwide
EC Cape Town
EF International Language School
English Language School of Cape Town
Cape Town www.ecenglish.com
Cape Town www.ef.com
Cape Town www.elscapetown.com
Cape Town www.eurocentres.co.za
Good Hope Studies
Inlingua Language Training Centre
Interlink School of Languages
Cape Town www.ghs.co.za
Cape Town www.kurus-english.com
Cape Town www.inlingua.co.za
Cape Town www.interlink.co.za
Language Teaching Centre Language Training Centre
LAL Cape Town
International House Cape Town
Cape Town www.ltc-capetown.com
Cape Town www.lalschools.com
Cape Town www.ihcapetown.com
South African College of Education & Languages
Language Link College
Cape Town www.sase.co.za
Cape Town www.languagelink.co.za Cape Town School of English
The International English School Somerset West www.english.za.net
Cape Town www.ctenglish.co.za
The Knowledge Workshop Cape Town www.theknowledgeworkshop.com
ÂŠNelson Mandela Bay Tourism
STUDY ENGLISH IN THE EASTERN CAPE
STUDY ENGLISH IN GAUTENG
INCUBATOR MEMBERS Bay Language Institute
IH Johannesburg - Language Lab
Port Elizabeth www.baylanguage.com
Johannesburg www.Avenue-English.org Easy English Centre Pretoria www.easyenglishint.co.za English Access
Island Vibe Language School
Wits Language School
Jeffreys Bay www.jbaylanguage.co.za
Setting standards Ensuring quality
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Joseph D.R. Congo Studied English in Cape Town
I remember it like it was yesterday, traveling from the Congo to Cape Town. It was the 12th of June, and I came from somewhere very hot to somewhere very cold (it was winter when I arrived!) It was amazing to me that there could be two opposite climates on the same continent! The purpose of my journey was to improve my English, as this is the language I use at work. I attended English classes at a wonderful school in the city, and this has helped me to make improvements to my English skills. When I started my lessons, I was pleasantly surprised to see that eight is the maximum number of students per class. I think that this is a good thing, because the atmosphere is jovial, but you are also able to have individual attention from the teacher. I took two kinds of classes at the school: Grammar lessons and Business English. I enjoyed both classes very much, and found my teachers to be very professional, knowledgeable, and friendly, and the materials were interesting and helpful. My favourite class was Business English, because not only did we learn a lot about business communication, but we also had interesting debates in class. Sharing and defending opinions is a good way to improve your English! There was a school rule that I really liked: English Only. When you are in the building, you have to speak English to each other. I think this is very useful for students, because if you keep talking in your mother tongue, you will not improve very quickly. Another great thing about the school were the extracurricular activities they provided. Twice a week, on Wednesdays and on Fridays, they arranged excursions. These included things like fun activities and sightseeing. For example, one Friday we went on the Red Bus Tour. This was a full day trip and we visited lots of amazing places in Cape Town and around the city. We saw the beautiful Kirstenbosch Gardens and the historic Groot Constantia Wine Estate, and drove along the amazing Camps Bay beach! As well as being educational and interesting, all the tours and activities were conducted in English, so it is a great opportunity to practice speaking and listening in English. Also, it helped students to get to know more about the sights and the history of Cape Town, so that when we go back to our countries, we can share what we learned with our colleagues, friends, families, and communities, and can be ambassadors of Cape Town. During my stay in Cape Town, I lived with a host family. I think that this was very helpful to me in many 56 travelnownow
ways. Firstly, it helped me to practice speaking English, because nobody in my host family could speak French, so I had to speak English to communicate with them. Secondly, it helped me to have a first-hand experience of South African culture. In my case, I was staying with my host family when they celebrated a religious festival earlier in the year, and they included me in their festivities. It was a new experience for me, and I learned a lot about their culture and religion. In fact, it was not only been my host family, but also the school staff who treated me very kindly during my stay. All the people I met were sociable and helpful. During my lunch break at school, for example, I usually ate at restaurants, and I became friends with many of the waiters and managers in the area. They were always very happy to talk to me and recommend new places to go and things to do. This was one of the best surprises of Cape Town for me; to see how professionally people behave here and how well they treat their customers. I experienced this at restaurants and shops everywhere. People were always willing to help you and give you advice, and they cared about the kind of service you were getting from them. My English journey has taught me so much more than English. Not only do I have new skills I can use at work, but I have also developed as a person. The mix of cultures, religions, races, foods, and lifestyles make Cape Town a wonderful place to visit, and I will never forget the amazing experiences I had here.
SCHOOL OF ENGLISH South African owned and run, Cape Town School of English has been successfully offering English courses to students, business people and travellers since 1991. We’re located in Claremont which has its own CBD and is close to the University of Cape Town and other colleges. It’s a vibrant and safe suburb close to accommodation options and has public transport to the city centre, the Waterfront and Muizenberg. We offer: • All levels of General English, group classes • English for Special Purposes, Business and Academic English • Preparation for the International IELTS and TOEFL exams • Assistance with visa applications, accommodation, airport transfers and tourist information and bookings
Contact: Manya Bredell Tel: 27-21-674 4118 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Natasha Haydt Brazil Studied English in Cape Town
I always wanted to visit Africa and study English at the same time; the first country that came to my mind was Cape town, South Africa, because I thought the weather was the same as Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - there are many beaches and natural places and hotspots to explore. I was especially interested in the history and polictics, so I decided to go to Cape Town to do everything I was interested in! On the first day, I went to Camps Bay; what I felt there was “this is my place”. After that day I did my test at a school to know which level I was at and during the speaking part, the teacher asked me what was my first impression of the city and I just answered I would live here because I like everything about Cape Town. The first activity I did was shark cage diving and after that, I did many other activities offered through the school. The best activity was going to a real South African township - it made me look at my life in a new way; what I’ve done for myself and for the ones that I love, and helped me appreciate better the things that I have, which I had never thought about before. You see many kids and people happy, with smiling faces and they don’t complain, so why should we from privileged homes complain so much?! I was a volunteer for one day, where I spent time with orphaned children and babies; the job was playing with the children to make them happy but the opposite happened… they made me happy. I felt that I could start leaving my comfort zone and face my fears, so I decided to do what I had been most afraid of; which is why I went paragliding. I decided to take it a step further and go skydiving; the company was so professional, they explained all the steps about the jump and how to jump out of the plane. It was an incredible experience. During my last week, I decided to take a trip up the Garden Route, where I did a lot of fun activities. It was offered by the school. It was only one weekend, but packed with many difference experiences - I went to the Cango Caves, did the highest bungy jump and went on safari. I stayed in comfortable and interesting backpackers, which is a great way to travel. And of course my English improved a lot after that experience, after three intense months of classes and activities. After these three months I went back to Brazil, I spent a month there and now I’m back in Cape Town to study more and spend more time with the friends I made here. Today, I think that my life is in Cape Town instead of Rio de Janeiro. 58 travelnownow
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.
• • • • • • • •
• General and Intensive English • English for Business • Examination Preparation (Cambridge, IELTS, TOEFL) • 7-day Travelling Classroom • Private lessons • Study & Volunteer
16 spacious classrooms Self-study room Communal kitchen Swimming pool Computer laboratory Free wireless internet access Student lounge with TV Garden with barbecue
+ 27 (0)21 439 7410
lalschools.com travelnownow 59
Vanessa D.R.Congo Studied English in Johannesburg
school of languages
I’d like to specify how my life was going in Johannesburg. Firstly, I went there to learn English and to further my study. Learning English wasn’t difficult at all neither easy because there are some specifics rules that I had to follow. I’ve better learned and that was very important for me. When I arrived I’ve founded some problems like the way of thinking and to explain my ideas wasn’t similar because of languages. The language school usually offered to student visitation as we call it social programs at the end of each month - to visit the Zoo, the Botanic garden, go bowling... that was interesting because of student who must relax after a full month of course and writing an exam. Teachers were lovely and helped me to learn and improve daily. Secondly, I was staying with a South African host family, it was difficult at the beginning because of the way of living, even food. But sincerely I’ve found a nice family people were lovely and friendly parents even their kids. Johannesburg is a beautiful city, there are many interesting places like museum, zoo, art galleries, cinema. I had a chance to go there with my host family in my free time. As people say that Johannesburg isn’t a safe place. But there are some safe places like Braamfontein where many students live. I’ve even see a difference in the way of living about cultures. To study and live in South Africa was for me a big opportunity to meet many people of different nationality, people from Gabon, Cameroon, Congo Brazzaville, Madagascar. Leaving south Africa can’t stop us to keep in touch with those people who I’ve met.
Hannah & Martin Switzerland Studied English in Jeffreys Bay
LEARN ENGLISH AT INTERLINK ▪ BOUTIQUE - exclusive, upmarket, customised one-on-one service! ▪ UNIQUE - individualistic and one-of-a-kind, the difference is in the detail! ▪ EXPERIENCE SOUTH AFRICA - a once in a lifetime opportunity!
The Equinox,154 Main Rd, Sea Point, Cape Town, South Africa, 8005 Tel +27 21 439 9834 email@example.com www.interlink.co.za
Need to improve your English? > Choose Cape Town!
> Small classes (max. 8 students) and finest location in spectacular Cape Town > Teacher-guided Language, Culture and Discovery Excursions > Stimulating learning environment > Become a global communicator
We stayed in J-Bay for the whole of August 2015. We went to four hours to school in the morning. It was very nice to be in a small class so the teacher always had enough time to answer and explain all our questions. The head teacher, Dallas, was always around if we had problems or questions. We enjoyed the time at the language school it was a good experience. We will miss this time.
> Enrol for intensive examination preparation (FCE, CAE, CPE, IELTS, TOEFL, TOEIC) > Experience highest standard homestay accommodation
70 Wale Street, Cape Town 8001, South Africa | phone +27 21 426 4606 web www.kurus-english.com | e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
ȵȦƍǉȐƍDǉƨƾƳǺư YOUR ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNING PATHWAY
General English English Improvement Conversation Classes IELTS Preparation Business English
LEARN ENGLISH IN JOHANNESBURG!
We did a lot of different activities. We went bungee jumping 216m down from a bridge. We also went to the waterfall for cliff jumping and swimming, beach horse riding, to a football match in Port Elizabeth (Kaizer chiefs vs PE – Chippa United) and we went to the Tsitsikamma National Park. One afternoon we went to a sea safari for whale watching. We saw the whales jumped out of the water, only 20m in front of our boat. Of course we used the opportunity to take a lot of surf lessons in the afternoon. For lunch we always went to different restaurants. Our favourite restaurant is called Tasty Table, with a view on the beach. They have organic food and drinks. There are a lot of different factory shops where we bought a lot of clothes. Every Monday and Friday we had the opportunity to go to a big supermarket with a shopping shuttle. There we bought food for the whole week. In the evening we mostly cooked for our self. Most of the evenings we went to Island Vibe where we played pool and met people from all over the world. We slept in a room with a bathroom and a big balcony with a beautiful view on the beach. Sometimes we saw dolphins from our bed.
154 Corlett Drive, Bramley, Johannesburg info@Avenue-English.org 011 440 2239 www.Avenue-English.org
Simone Italy Studied English in Johannesburg
I spent three months working and studying English in Johannesburg, and I had a great time. I’m glad to have had this kind of experience, because it’s very important for my professional career and, of course, for my English! During the week I used to improve my English at the school in the morning; I started my course as Intermediary and I finished as Upper Intermediary – something I can be proud of. I will probably start a Business course when I go back there, which I am planning to! In the afternoon, I used to go to work as a volunteer on various projects, which is something I’d highly recommend to other students as it is very rewarding. Most of the weekends I spent the days doing activities with new people I met through the school, and volunteering. I just had the opportunity to go with my English course students to Melville, and went to Maboneng’s market on Sunday with a group of friends. One of the things that I liked most about Jo’burg is the diversity of the people, restaurants and activities that you can meet and do in your free time. travelnownow 61
Agnes Kunze Germany Studied English in Port Elizabeth
Where to go? When you’re living in Central Europe, there are a few options for your language holiday close by. My idea started off like this: UK? I am not a big fan of their cuisine… Or Ireland? Friendly people, a green island – and you’d get wet every day… Malta? Lovely weather but English isn’t the Maltese’s first language. Maybe across the Atlantic? USA or Canada? Their culture is quite close to ours and is there a point in flying such a long distance? I can’t remember what exactly happened when South Africa appeared on my list. In one go, it made all other options irrelevant. Animals, known from endless hours spent at the zoo, summer weather when it’s cold and dark in Europe, a young democracy… The city Port Elizabeth, the largest city in the Eastern Cape, is known as the windy and friendly city. Both are true. The city is not as shiny as Cape Town and its shopping malls are not primarily built for tourists. Port Elizabeth is a middle-sized city which doesn’t pretend to be extraordinary and this helps to settle in quickly.
The city itself can be easily explored using the typical minibuses. Rental cars are an affordable alternative especially, if you plan individual weekend trips. The road traffic is mild compared to other cities of the same size. For those who love shopping, P.E. has three big malls of which I preferred Walmer Park. Also, there is an amazingly big number of good restaurants, with both food and service of a very high standard. Night owls would enjoy a number of great bars like the Beer Shack, or dance to the special vibe of Balizza Night Club. Tuesday’s karaoke night at Barney’s: sipping an ice-cold drink on the terrace with a perfect sea view gives a lively insight into local music and party styles. Although security in South Africa is seen as an issue, I always felt safe both in Port Elizabeth and other areas in the Eastern Cape. School and classes The school, my temporary home for two months, is located in a quiet green suburb in Port Elizabeth. One of P.E.’s beautiful beaches is just across the street and allows jogging in the morning and swimming or surfing after class. If you don’t want to live with a host family, the school provides well equipped accommodation in the residence where you can meet other students for any kind of social activities. The school is managed by Shaun and his wife Melanie, who care for almost everything you would need during your stay. Between the warm welcome on
your arrival day and the lovely ceremony when you get your certificate on your last day at school (which is quite a sad moment) – there are lots of questions for them to deal with. Shaun and Mel also organise afternoon and weekend activities, which is pretty convenient for students - even more so as Shaun and Mel are locals to the area and do a much better job than any travel agency could do. Also, Shaun helped me to understand South Africa’s history and complex political and economic situation. Classes were small enough to give the students enough opportunities to contribute and allow teachers to pay individual attention to every student. I could improve my English skills quite quickly and lessons were entertaining instead of hard work because the teachers are amazing conversation partners. Extra-mural activities Let’s start with what you can do after school. First, there are beautiful beaches around the corner. Second, there’s a surf school in walking distance from the school and the waves in the Algoa Bay are friendly to beginners. If you like horse riding, you would enjoy the area between Port Elizabeth and Sardinia Bay. A three hour ride will take you on narrow paths through forest, lush
green bushes onto the dunes of Sardinia Bay. Sardinia Bay with its large dunes is also the place where I tried sandboarding for the first time in my life. The first attempt required all my courage and I fell a few times. However, practicing on the sandy slopes is great fun. Now, here are the activities for the weekends. If you are interested in traditional animal watching, Addo Elephant Park, the biggest national park in the Eastern Cape, is a worth more than just one visit. One hour away from Port Elizabeth, it takes at least one day to get a flavor of the richness of the African wildlife. From an open vehicle we saw all sorts of animals associated with Africa. Big herds of elephants socializing at a waterhole, giraffe families, buffalos, zebras, all kinds of antelopes (no chance to remember their names!), jackals, lazy lions and funny warthogs. Quite exciting were two rhinos appearing right next to our car… Luckily they were not angry! And the tour guides at Addo share their knowledge in quite an entertaining way. One year after my first visit, I came back for another stay in Port Elizabeth and - guess what - I’m now busy planning my next language holiday in the Eastern Cape because there are still places I would like to see!
Lars The Netherlands Volunteered at a sports program in Port Elizabeth
I enjoyed the volunteering program I did in Port Elizabeth, the Eastern Cape very much! At first I did not know what to expect as it was my first time going abroad to volunteer, but when I arrived it was great! During my time here, I volunteered more on the sports side of the project in Walmer Township. The holiday program was just about to finish, so it was my job to make a new timetable for the sports program and run it together with the local sports coach. This program is great for these children as it keeps them off the street and gives them the motivation to be part of an exciting opportunity. I enjoyed being in Port Elizabeth very much, as it is a beautiful and friendly city. There is a lot to do and there’s a good mix of many different restaurants, bars, outdoor and indoor activities and being close to the ocean is great too! To see the townships for the first time is a very different and interesting experience, especially when you have not seen places like this before. It was all very new to me and something I will forever remember. I did a lot of travelling during my 2 months stay in Port
Elizabeth. I went to Cape Town and travelled almost the entire Garden Route. I also when to the Wild Coast and Tsitsikamma, and saw many different game parks - something everyone should do when visiting South Africa. Port Elizabeth has so much to offer as it has both the ocean and the bush all in close vicinity of each other – you get the best of both worlds. I would highly recommend going to South Africa for an internship or volunteering. I had an amazing experience and will definitely be back as soon as I can! travelnownow 63
games. It wasn’t always easy to keep the kids focused, I mean they are 6 to 13 years old kids, they have a lot of energy… One big task was the athletic trial, we tried to identify the best 4 girls and boys in sprints and long distance of each age. It was very difficult to oversee these trials, because some kids were very clever and tried to cheat, but you know, the coach sees everything! Besides the sport activities we had also a task to educate them in social aspects, like behaving well, respecting each other, and listening to somebody with authority. Sport gave us a good platform to work on these topics. As a volunteer in this project you also have to be referee at the weekly school league’s games. For me it wasn’t new, because I used to be the referee in some games back in Germany. It was amazing to see the power and passion of these kids, and also the will to beat the opposite team. On each Friday it was our day off, so we always had a 3-day weekend, which was a great opportunity to recover and do other activities. Kevin Germany Volunteered as a sports coach in Cape Town I was very curious before the start of my volunteer project, I had no idea what to expect; I had just known it was a combination of playing soccer (football for Europeans) and spending time with young children in South Africa. It was on Monday at. 8:30 a.m. when Charles (the last of the three drivers) picked us up at a backpackers. First, we dropped off the other Volunteers at Sarah Fox Children Hospital; thereafter we drove to Kensington, to the Wingfield Primary School. Charles dropped me off and I met the other “coaches” (kind of a teacher for sports class) - Franklyn, Wesley and Ismael (later on this day I met also Jeremy, the boss of Lifezone). It was a very charming and lovely welcome. The sports class was already running, so the interrupted it and lined up all the kids to introduce myself. The first time I saw the school children, it was very special, especially the “Good morning coaches, how are you today?” which they said or better, which they sang all together before each sports class. In my second week a Spanish volunteer joined me, and I really appreciated his support. We had classes with 20 to 40 children (all in all there are over 600 children), so it was easier to split them up in small groups and gave them a closer coaching. If you think that we just had to coach them in playing soccer, you’re wrong. We played some other games like “Hot Potatoes”, “Mission Impossible” and floorball. Especially the girls played various 64 travelnownow
Tian Australia Volunteered at a creche on the Wild Coast
To put my first week as a volunteer in Cintsa, Eastern Cape, South Africa in a few paragraphs is near impossible. I’ve learnt more, been challenged more and met more interesting people than I have in my 21 years of living. My initial expectation of the trip was that I would feel an overwhelming sense of satisfaction from helping those who needed it. However I was soon to realize I also was in need of help, but of a different kind; the kind that opens your eyes and mind, and allows you to feel things you have never felt before. Each week day, our group of thirteen, along with Jax (our project leader), Miller and Ash (local co-ordinators), worked on restoring a crèche named “Mandela Park Day Care”, situated in Mzwini. The task of watering the vegetables in the garden was my very first task and it was not as simple as getting the hose and turning on the tap. The most basic things I had taken for granted in Australia, I was soon to realise, took a much longer here. Watering involved walking a short distance to fill buckets and individually carrying them back. By the time I had reached the vegetables, I had already thoroughly
watered myself! Every step of the way I received support from the excited kids in the township. No task was ever dull or without reward. A few boys decided to sacrifice their own fun on their hand-made, wooden go-kart and lent it to us to pull the buckets on. If there was a lesson to be learnt that first day it was that we should all try to be more like these boys. Every day was much like this, and every task became a fun activity with laughing children around us. They were always trying to assist us, even when the job really was too labour intensive for them. When they were not assisting they were showering us in hugs and kisses. When we were not working we were discovering steep dunes on the beach to conquer, or going for breath taking hikes through bush and beach. In only one week I had made friendships that will last a lifetime. A family unit has formed in the house, thanks to bonding activities like beach volleyball and late nights playing and teaching each other card games. It has made my experience of South Africa and volunteering so much more than what I had expected! . My daily interactions with not only the kids, but also with Jax, Miller and Ash, have opened my eyes and mind, allowing me to view the world from a different perspective - one where an individual really does have the ability to make a difference. That is what the volunteering experience offered me, and I gladly accepted. I would do it again in a heartbeat.
Conferencing, team building and other group activities »» If you’re in need of a centre that can host large groups of people as well as sleep a fairly large number, Step Aside Conference Centre is for you. Situated 2km outside of George, this tranquil 45ha property is at the foot of the majestic Outeniqua Mountains and is the perfect conference or wedding venue.
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