Archive for the Category »South Africa «

Dec
09th
  Spotlight on South Africa: Top Five Things to do with Kids

World leaders and thousands of others mourning the loss of former South African president Nelson Mandela are expected to pack the beloved leaders funeral next week in South Africa.

Dozens from the media will be there also, sending back images of this land of contradictions: Beautiful scenery, yet tremendous poverty among South Africa’s black majority. 26% of it’s people are living on less than $1.25 a day, according to a United Nations survey.

Yet, it is still one of the best travel destinations in the world, and the great thing about tourism, is that it can help lift an area’s economy and benefit the locals.

Yes, South Africa may be intimidating because you probably don’t know as many people who have been, and it is far away if you are living in the United States. You’ll probably want to spend a couple weeks there if you are going that far, and for parents, that means one of two things: You either don’t go because you can’t leave the kids that long, or you bring them.

I say bring them. I am not unaware of the high violent crime and murder rates there… it’s just you have to look at WHERE this is happening. There is large disparity between haves and have nots in South Africa, and most of the crime is happening in the poor townships where travelers shouldn’t go. There is also a high rape statistic, but again – mostly in the poorer areas of town, and few assaults are on tourists. Nonetheless, you should remain vigilant like on any trip.

Here are my Top Five things to do with your children in South Africa:

kruger1) Take a safari. There are dozens of some of the nicest safari lodges in South Africa. Here is a website listing some of them: www.departures.com/articles/luxury-african-safaris . What’s also amazing is Kruger National Park. There are safari lodgings there as well, and you can even take self-guided tours to see the wildlife – this park is known for viewing opportunities of the Big Five. It is also one of the best maintained parks in all of Africa.

Cape Town_mainpic2) Cape Town – Gorgeous, natural beauty. Sparkling beaches against the backdrop of Table Mountain. Explore some of the waterfront towns, hike Table Mountain for some incredible views, partake in water sports like sea kayaking. You can even whale watch from the land.  Venture out to Cape Peninsula and see a lighthouse. There are many top notch hotels  and restaurants in Cape Town.

RovosRail_TrainSideView3) Take a luxury train trip on Rovos Rail. It is a wonderful way to see the country, in a luxurious setting. The journeys range from 48 hours, to weeks long – if you bring children, I would suggest a shorter excursion, as it is an adult-like atmosphere on the train, and not many kids can still that long. Older children will be fine – and there is a railroad golf safari that might be worthy checking out if you have golfing children – South Africa boasts some of the world’s best golf resorts, and getting off the train to golf gives kids a chance to walk around and be active.

From knysnaelephantpark.co.za

From knysnaelephantpark.co.za

4) Knysna, on the Garden Route – Knysna is a great town along the Garden Route – a long coastal drive in South Africa that is compared to Pacific Coast Highway in California. Knysna offers family friendly Bollard Beach… an elephant park where kids can hand feed the pachyderms… and gorgeous forests where you can mountain bike. This might require you renting a car – but you might want to look in to a car service so you can enjoy the view and let a driver deal with some of the local drivers who have reputations for being a little crazy on the road.

durban5) Durban: Beach town known for it’s surf. The beaches have nets to protect from sharks. There is also a promenade with shops and cafes and an aquarium. You should also check out Victoria Indian St Market – the area has a large Indian population, and here you can get a taste of this culture and it feels like you’ve stepped into another world. Lastly, you can visit the Umgeni River Bird Park with more than 800 birds, and various shows.

Happy Travels -

 
Jun
11th
  Hotel of the Week: Scooooore with a novel hotel in South Africa…

Mexico soccer fans

Have you watched any of the World Cup yet? Set your TIVOS since some of the games are pretty early.

After watching it, and reading more about the host country, you may want to visit that region of the world. Johannesburg is like the New York City of Africa…with almost 4 million people, and plenty to do.

But, if you’re going to make the long trek, Cape Town, South Africa, should also be on your itinerary. Although it is around 800 miles south west of Jo-burg, Cape Town is many travelers’ favorite South African city. Sophisticated… yet situated between beach and mountains…Laid back but not lazy; the city still boasts great restaurants and nightlife, with the majestic Table Mountain towering over the city.

Cape Town

Best time to visit for plenty of sunshine and beach time are Dec-March… the wet and wintry months are April – August.

One fun place to stay is the Grand Daddy Hotel…but specifically check out the Airstream Penthouse Trailer Park located on top of the hotel. Yep, it is exactly how it sounds – Seven highly designed Airstream trailers are parked up on the roof for guests to stay a night or two or three…

Each trailer has hot and cold water, toilets and showers..so it is not your “daddy’s campers” at the Grand Daddy hotel. It is definitely for the traveler who has seen it all. The hotel group behind this likes to have fun and invoke humor into their boutique hotels. Each trailer has a unique design from different local designers. Some rooms are pretty whimsical, adding to the fun ambiance.

In addition to the cleverly decorated and slick Airstream trailers, the rooftop has a tented sky bar for guests, complete with couches and heaters to enjoy the nighttime sky.

The Grand Daddy is making sure guests have a cozy place to watch all the World Cup action this summer (but remember when you travel..it is winter there.) Think comfy couches, a fully stocked bar, and big screens.

http://www.granddaddy.co.za/hotel_airstream.php

Go U-S-A – Saturday!