Safety is on every traveller’s mind – more so it seems in these turbulent times. Many travel companies stay away from addressing the issues around safety directly. We believe that the more informed our travellers are, the safer, better prepared and happier their vacation will be, so we gathered together our top safety tips for travellers coming to Africa.
Long Street is one of Cape Town’s most improbable and yet exciting streets, where prim Victorian architecture festooned with wrought-iron decorative ‘lace’ stands cheek-by-jowl with pumping nightclubs and some of the city’s oldest and most-revered places of worship. Starting near the harbour, it forms a rich backbone to the inner city and is truly the street that never sleeps: from office and court workers on weekdays to ultra-hip students and night owls who haunt the late-night restaurants on weekend, it has pep, zest and life in all its weird and wonderful incarnations.
It’s impossible not to like giraffes. Their languid manner and slightly puzzled expressions have entranced us since one was shipped to a disbelieving Italy in the 1400s. It is an animal so peculiar in appearance that its scientific name - Giraffa camelopardalis - reflects its perceived similarity to both a camel and … uhm … a leopard.
South of the equator, January is midsummer. If you’re planning to come to Africa at this time, you might hear things like: it'll be hot, it'll be wet, the wildlife is as widely dispersed as the abundant surface water (instead of conveniently concertrated around waterholes), and some lodges and camps are closed for the "off" season.
Elephants love their mud. They squish it, fling it, ride it and learn from it. What's not to love? Watch as these elephants face their daily dose of mud and the fun, creativity and challenges that come along with it.
The world was transfixed when Nelson Mandela was finally released to freedom in 1990 after 27 years in jail for his role in the struggle to overcome apartheid. Twenty-three years later, in 2013, the eyes and cameras of the world were once again on South Africa as this former president, Nobel Peace Prize winner, statesman and father figure to millions was laid to rest. None of us will ever again have the opportunity of interacting with this great-yet-humble man but we can visit some of the places that shaped his life and that are indelibly connected with his story.
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.
Africa is the soil my soul is rooted in; it is the scent of wild sage, the buzz of cicadas on a hot summer’s day and the heartsong of a fish eagle: all these whisper ‘home’ to me. But what does my love affair with this continent have to do with travel trends? It is at the centre of the top trend shaping travel to this continent in 2014: our desire, as travellers, for an authentic connection with the places we visit – for a genuine taste of what makes locals (like me) passionate about living there.
Summer in Cape Town sees up to 14-hours of daylight, with the sun setting at about 8pm at the height of the season when temperatures regularly hit the 30s Celsius (90s Fahrenheit). And what a sunset it usually is: the sky streaked with candy floss-pink clouds and the sun slipping beneath the horizon as it bathes all in a soft, golden light.
Book a window seat if you’re flying into Cape Town for the first time: the bird’s-eye view of the Mother City’s natural beauty deserves the chorus of ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ it elicits from arriving visitors. Accessible and easy to enjoy, the city’s mountains and beaches are its primary natural attractions, but there are hidden gems on the wilder side of this peninsula. Underwater forests, rugged hiking trails and great white shark enounters all lie within sight of Cape Town.