Where to Stay - South Africa
 

We had heard how beautiful the Swartberg Pass was from friends and family and when we stopped for a few nights in Prince Albert this September we got to experience it first hand. Although the road is not tarred it is well kept and suitable for a normal car. As with all mountain passes we recommend that you take the drive slowly and stay well clear of the edges.

The Swartberg Pass links Prince Albert with Oudtshoorn and was officially opened on the 10th January 1888. The pass is 24 kilometres long and tops out at 1585 metres (or 5,600 feet in old language) above sea level.

Swartberg Pass near Prince Albert

Entering Swartberg Pass

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We thought it would be helpful to visitors to look into the various options for tours across the Sani Pass. For the purposes of this article we are just going to look at ‘day tours’ and ‘overnight tours’. An important note for anyone taking one of these tours is to remember your passport and that it must be valid. Your passport is required at both the South African and Lesotho border posts.

Depending on the weather you will need anything from hats and sunscreen to warm clothes and of course don’t forget your camera. The ride up Sani Pass is a bumpy one and often referred to as the ‘African Massage’ but the SA roads department has made huge strides recently to improve sections of the road. Unless you have a 4×4 vehicle of your own the Sani Pass is not to be tried on a self-drive.

Sani Pass day tours

Courtesy: commons.wikimedia.org

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Words and photos by Roxanne Reid

The Richtersveld Transfrontier Park, in the far north-west of the Northern Cape, is the only true mountain desert in southern Africa. If you have even a small spark of wildness in your soul, here are six reasons why you should add it to your bucket list.

1.    Mountain desert views
Don’t be put off by the entrance to the Richtersveld Transfrontier Park via Sendelingsdrif, which passes through areas that are being mined for diamonds. But about 30km from the entrance gate, beyond the turnoff to the Hand of God and the Oena Mine, the scenery will knock your socks off.

The Richtersveld Transfrontier Park in the Northern Cape

Stunning scenery

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Like much of South Africa the West Coast is just waiting to be explored. Far away from the hustle and bustle of city life the West Coast transports you to a world of endless sandy beaches and pretty villages. Summer days are long here and in Spring the landscape is transformed into a colourful sea of spring flowers. Typically the wildflowers will bloom from August to the end of September.

From Cape Town the best route to take is the R27 coastal route which takes you all the way up to Velddriff but the secret is to stop along the way at the numerous villages to really uncover the beauty of this part of South Africa. Although not as well trodden as the Garden Route the quality of accommodation along the West Coast is excellent with lots of self-catering establishments to choose from. READ MORE


The Garden Route is a well-trodden and frequently driven route for many visitors to South Africa but too many of us don’t venture

self-catering-accommodation-along-the-garden-route

Eersterivier - Garden Route

away from the popular stop off points and stick to those places identified in the numerous tourist magazines. Just about midway between Krugersdorp and Storms River along the main N2 route there is a turn off to Eersterivier. The road is a dirt-track and a little bumpy but it is only a short drive to reach the small but quaint seaside village of Eersterivier. On your way down the road look out for the Oudebosch Farm Stall which sells all sorts of things and a good place to stock up on things that you will need for your self-catering holiday here. The drive down to Eersterivier, with the Tsitsikamma Mountains in the background, is just a taster of what is to come.

The first thing that strikes you when you reach Eersterivier is the stunning views which all the houses that are built up on the hillside here seem to have. The many wooden log cabin style homes seem to have merged into the countryside surrounded by the flowers that seem to cascade down to the sea. This is Garden Route self-catering accommodation at its best. The peace and tranquillity is only disturbed by the sound of the Indian Ocean waves crashing – seemingly right on your doorstep. READ MORE