It’s just after dawn, a time rarely seen on traditional beach holidays. Yet a group of guests has already gathered in front of the Rocktail Beach Dive Centre. I wander up - weight belt in one hand, cup of coffee in the other - and listen to the excited chatter about what lies ahead (or rather below): “There have been fantastic whale shark sightings recently!”; “Massive mantas circled us yesterday!”; “I hear the coral is incredible!”
She pushes her huge tail down, ducks under the waves with tremendous forces and then, with colossal power, launches her huge body above the water, coming down with a fantastic splash. Everything is quiet except for the chorus of ‘Wows!’ from my fellow boat passengers. There’s a shared anticipation and keen excitement as we hope she’ll do it again… Our luck is in as she once again uses her tail fin to propel herself like an aquatic rocket above the ocean off Kleinbaai, a tiny hamlet on South Africa’s Whale Coast, less than an hour’s drive from Hermanus and regarded as the whale-watching capital of the world.
Africa is a vast destination, home to untamed wilderness, idyllic islands and modern cities. You’ll find this same rich variety in the cuisine served here. Cast an eye over our guide to the Top 10 Restaurants in Africa, and you’ll find everything from internationally awarded gourmet restaurants to aromatic fusion food inspired by Africa’s rich cultural heritage… and that’s not counting the mouthwatering local ingredients served in spectacular wilderness settings at our top lodges.
A three-centuries-old port city, Cape Town is flanked by both the Indian and Atlantic Oceans. Known to sailors by the rather alarming ‘Cape of Storms’ because of the fierce gales that can surge around the peninsula, we landlubbers prefer to think of it by its gentler nickname: ‘the Fairest Cape’. It's a seaside city renowned for easy living, gourmet food, fine wines and an efficient infrastructure. Cape Town's top beach hotels allow you to sample the best of the ocean - with its frolicking dolphins, seals and whales - in utter comfort and sheer luxury.
The full bodied pinotage swirled in my glass, its luscious plum colour staining the edges. Aromas of raspberries and black cherries floated through the air and I offered up my glass for a refill. Wine tasting at Spier means three things: generous helpings, numerous samplings and expert advice.
When I set off on my Zanzibar vacation, it never occurred to me that Stone Town would be a highlight of the trip. I had done some research on what activities to do on the island and, of course, Stone Town - a World Heritage Site - was on the list. I didn't expect too much from it - I was focused on experiencing as many ocean and beach-based activities as possible. I thought a quick afternoon tour of Stone Town would be enough.
Among the many things that regularly caught my eye during my visit to Zanzibar, the dhows always stood out. These traditional boats are still used for fishing and transport but have also been adopted by the locals to provide visitors with authentic sunset cruises and ocean safaris.