south africa

Durban

Why we love Durban ?

Ever wondered why we love Durban, the 3rd biggest city in South Africa. Here is why :

Durban is a city rich in diversity and culture. There are so many things to do in this sub-tropical climate. This means that you can experience warm and sunny winters as well as hot and humid summers. The average temperature in winter is a pleasant 23° while summers can reach an average of 27° to 29°. Most of the rainy weather occurs during the summer months from October to March with the driest months being from June to July.

Lots of activities for the entire family

Due to its geographical location and sub-tropical climate Durban is a great place for water-loving enthusiasts. Durban offers a sixteen-hectare water theme park with fun and entertainment to suit the whole family. Ushaka Marine World offers 8 different attractions ranging such as Kids World and Ushaka beach and Sea World, the 5th largest aquarium in the world.

For those looking for a bit of adventure Durban has a lot to offer. If water sports are not your cup of tea you can experience the worlds tallest swing at the Moses Mabhida Stadium. A high adrenaline experience at the stadium which hosted the World Cup semi-finals in 2010. It is here where you can appreciate a 360-degree view of the city atop a 7-meter-high big rush big swing. Named the Worlds Tallest Swing by the Guinness Book of records. You can take a leap of faith and gently swing right into the stadium bowl. 

If you’re looking for a little bit of peace and quiet the Hare Krishna Temple of Understanding is a must. Here you will find three tall gold and white domes reaching up to the sky above an octagon roof which is truly an architectural wonder. There is a little something for everyone with an east-meets-west, traditional-meets-modern-meets-futuristic stylings. You can spend the afternoon working on your inner peace at one of the Arati services or fill your belly with delicious vegetarian meals at the Govinda’s restaurant. If you are really hungry you can experience the Bunny chow, original take away food, at the Chow Down. A hollowed-out loaf of bread filled with delicious curry makes for the perfect portable lunch without the need for any Styrofoam. If a whole loaf seems like to large a task them ordering a Kota will get you a quarter loaf bunny chow. The Chow Down is a must dating back to 1940 and originated in the Durban-Indian community.

If you’re looking to spice up your life you can visit one of Durban’s traditional markets. You can immerse yourself in the local culture at Victoria Street Market where you will find rich Indian and African products to pique your interest. The lower floor of the market is dedicated to fresh produce and meats the upper floor is where you can find souvenirs and jewellery and clothes.

Durban is known as the home of the Zulu nation one of the many indigenous tribes that reside in South Africa. Phuzulu Safari Park is where you can gain a lot of insight into the Zulu culture. Learn more about the Zulu people and how they made spears and shields used in traditional combat. Here you will also be treated to a traditional Zulu dance show. Note that it is an artificial set up and not the modern way of living.

With a variety of different cultures and activities for anyone to enjoy it’s easy to see why Durban is loved by so many people.

Feel like this is the next place to visit on your bucket list, give us a call +27 65 675 5083 or send us an email.

Where to eat at the V&A

Where to eat at V&A Waterfront in Cape Town

We love food and we adore the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town with its amazing view on Table Mountain. We have hand-picked the best restaurants for you. You want to know where to eat at the V&A Waterfront, read below : 

Karibu

Winner of best South African cuisine globally World luxury restaurant award 2017. A great place to eat if you’re in search of authentic high quality traditional South African dishes from seafood, steaks and Cape Malay curries. They also boast a wide selection of the best wines in South Africa. Discover the menu and make an online reservation here.

Our favorite dish : The giant venison skewer, served with Amarula sauce 

Budget per person (2 courses + 1 drink) : R 600 to R 850.

Life Grand Café

Delicious Mediterranean inspired dishes offering a wide variety of classics often with a twist. The food is prepared simply and the kitchen has a wood-burning oven. With salad, coffee, crudo and cocktail bars available there is something to suit anyone’s interests. The also have great sushis. The outside seating is lovely, facing the harbour. the service is impeccable. Discover the menu and make an online reservation here.

Our favorite dish : The dock and dive platter (16 prawns, 400g grilled calamari, crispy squid heads, baby kingklip)

Budget per person (2 courses + 1 drink) : R 450 to R 700.

V&A Food Market

What was once the old power station which provided electricity to the docks is now a powerhouse of innovation and bright ideas. With over 40 tenants offering trendy concepts to food and wine V&A Food Market has it all. It’s the place to be for those seeking an eating experience with a vibrant atmosphere and plenty of variety at affordable prices. 

Our favorite dish : Hungarian langos flatbreads with avocado, onions, tomatoes etc. from Stack that.

Budget per person : R 70 to R 120.

Stir crazy cooking

If you’re looking for a fun and interactive cooking experience then this perfect. Anyone looking to learn and new skill or different cooking style either during the day or in the evening. Classes include African style safari cooking, Asian cuisine, sushi, vegetarian, Cape Malay, vegan and more. The cooking classes are taught by professional chefs in a fun, relaxed and interactive environment. Participants get involved in a South African, Cape Malay or African cuisine course preparing delicious course recipes which are shared and enjoyed around the table after the cooking session.

Our favorite dish : Malay Chicken Biryani

Budget per person (class + meal) : from R 750

Ginja

If you’re looking for cuisine to suit all pallets located a literal stone throw from the waters edge. Offering a delicious prawn and wine special for seafood lovers. Whether it’s a cup of coffee and slice of cake with some colleagues, a lovely family meal or sundowners with friends Ginja is an ideal relaxing spot. Book a table online.

Our favorite dish :  Ginja chicken with Jasmine rice, cucumber, peanut, coriander and spicy dressing

Budget per person (2 courses + 1 drink) : R 450 to R 600. 

Cause Effect Cocktail Kitchen & Cape Brandy Bar

Inspired by Cape Town’s oceans, mountains, fynbos and vineyards and using local ingredients to create the favours and effects. Cause Effect Cocktail Kitchen & Brandy Bar is a specialist bar offering experiential cocktails and vintage drinks. Offering the largest selection of award-winning Cape Potstill brandies and local bitters, tinctures and vermouth there is something for any drink’s enthusiast.

Our favorite dish : Sprinbok carpaccio with roma tomatoes, parmesan, rocket and balsamic reduction

Budget per person (2 courses + 1 drink) : R 450 to R 600. 

What if we tell you we have a tailor-made food lovers itinerary with some of the best culinary experiences in Cape Town, check it out.

Our favorite wines

Our favourite wine estates on the R62

Our team prides itself in his extensive knowledge and keen eye for South African wines. Therefore we have listed here (some of) our favourite wine estates on the R62, the South African wine route.

Bonnievale Wines

Bonnievale Wines were named after the town in which it is located. Bonnievale was named by its founder, Christopher Forest Rigg. He saw the amazing potential in the then semi-arid valley on the banks of the Breede river. It is here where anyone can enjoy the best selection of grapes from a large expansive vineyard. For more than half a century Bonnievale Wines have been producing wine from the fertile lands in the valley. You can bring along your whole family even your pets. Bonnievale wines also offer free Wi-Fi and is wheelchair friendly. More info on their website

Our favorite wine from this estate :  Sauvignon blanc

De Wetshof Estate

De Wetshof Estate has been producing fine wines in the Robertson valley since the 1970s. De Wetshof has been known as internationally as South Africa’s eminent Chardonnay house due to its pioneering role bringing this noble Burgundian grape to these lands.  The wines express the uniqueness of the soil in the region and are enhanced through superior expertise viticulture. The Estate has become a known landmark with its beautiful crisp white buildings, rose buses and Jacaranda trees. More info on their website

Our favorite wine from this estate : Thibault (Merlot)

Springfield Estate

Springfield Estate is situated just outside Robertson. It is a family-run wine farm owned by 9th-generation descendants of French Huguenots, who came to South Africa from the Loire in 1688 with bundles of vines with them. The farm has been in the Bruwer family since 1898. Today, using a combination of sometimes innovative winemaking techniques, traditional methods and modern technology, handcrafted wines are produce true to Srpingfield’s motto: Made on Honour. More info on their website

Our favorite wine from this estate :  Life from stone (Sauvignon blanc)

Sumsare Wines

Sumsare Wines is located in a valley in Robertson with lush vineyards cultivated by cool, rich lime soil which is in contrast to the desolate karoo and stunning surrounding mountains. This boutique cellar offers personalised involvement and attention to detail which goes into each bottle. The name Sumsare takes its name from Erasmus spelt backwards. The fist Erasmus ancestors settled on the land in the year 1810 and has been in production as a farm for two centuries. More info on their website

Our favorite wine from this estate :  Shiraz

De Krans

De Krans cellar is regarded as one of the best Porto style wines in South Africa. Situated along the beautiful Gamka River Valley in Calitzdorp in the Klein Karoo. The farm can date its heritage back to 1890 when the land was purchased by the Nel family. By a twist of fate, the first Portuguese grape variety were planted in Calitzdorp. The intention was to plant Shiraz grapes but upon harvesting they were found to be Tinta Barocca. De Krans has recently received an award for the Most Innovative Wine Award for their De Krans espresso and their De Krans MCC (Méthode Cape Classique). More info on their website

Our favorite wine from this estate : Cape Vintage (Porto-style)

How about joining us on a guided tour of the best wine estates in South Africa? Find out more here.

 

Winnie Mandela

5 famous South African women

We truly value our South African heroines and we want to present to you 5 of our most famous women who have marked our recent history.

Phumzile Mlambo-Nqcuka

Phumzile Mlambo-Nqcuka is the Executive Director of the UN Women and the United Nations under Secretary-General. She has worked in both government and private sector and was actively involved in the struggle to abolish apartheid. Ms. Mlambo-Nqcuka has served as Deputy President of South Africa from 2005 to 2008. She has overseen programmes which combat poverty and bring about economic empowerment for women. She is devoted to women’s empowerment and gender equality.

Lilian Masediba Ngoyi

Lilian Masediba Ngoyi was born into a poor family Pretoria in 1911 and died in 1980. She was a textile worker and mother of three. She became one of the leading anti-apartheid activists eventually becoming the Secretary General of the ANC (African National Congress) Woman’s League. As National Chairmen of FEDSAW and the first woman elected into office within the main body of the ANC. She led members of FEDSAW to the union buildings on 9th August 1956. She was highly involved in bringing the world’s attention towards the anti-apartheid movement.

Miriam Makeba

Zansi Miriam Makeba was born in on 4 march 1932 in prospect township near Johannesburg in South Africa. She died in 2008 at the age of 76. Known around the world as mama Afrika, she was one of the world’s most prominent black African performers of the 20th century. She settled in the United states in 1959 and began her career singing Xhosa and Zulu songs mostly highly critical towards the Apartheid regime. In 1960 she was denied entry into South Africa and lived in exile for three decades continuing to tour and perform across Africa and Europe.

Ruth First

Heloise Ruth First was born on 4 May 1925 in Johannesburg South Africa. First was an activist, scholar and journalist and was extremely vocal against South Africa’s oppressive system called apartheid. First was involved in founding the Congress of the Democrats. First worked on drafting the renowned Freedom Charter which called for non-racial social democracy in South Africa. First was assassinated by letter bomb in 1982 by agents of the Apartheid regime.

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela

Nomzamo Winifred Madikizela was born on September 26 1936 in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. Madikizela-Mandela is considered to be the mother of the nation of South Africa. She was the second wife to Nelson Mandela and was a social worker and activist against the oppressive apartheid regime. She became known as a heroine of the anti-apartheid movement and in 1994 was elected Deputy Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and technology. Madikizela-Mandela was awarded the Silver Order of Luthuli for her contributions to the struggle for liberation during Apartheid. More details on Winnie Mandela in our biography.

Robert Sabukwe

Founder of the Pan African congress and one of the towering pillars of black nationalism in South Africa, Mangaliso Robert Sabukwe was a man of brilliant intellect. While advocating for the liberation of African people, he was often accused by some of his detractors as being an anti-white racist. But in fact he had a strong commitment to non-racialism once apartheid had been destroyed.

Born of poor Xhosa parents in the Eastern Cape of South Africa in 1924, Robert was educated in mission schools and later found opportunity to attend Fort Hare University. There he showed a keen interest in politics and became the secretary-general of the ANC Youth League. Breaking away from the African National Congress, he founded the Pan-Africanist Congress in 1959 and became a leader in the Pan-African movement (PAC).

Under Robert Sobukwe the PAC organised mass demonstrations against the pass laws of the apartheid system (laws that forced Blacks to carry identity cards to certify their right to be in areas reserved for whites). One of these demonstrations was on the day of the infamous Sharpeville shootings (21 March 1960) and Robert was arrested on charges of incitement in Soweto. He was sentenced to 3 years imprisonment and upon release he was re-arrested immediately and held a further 6 years in detention on Robben Island under a special amendment to the Suppression of Communism Act (later known as the “Sobukwe Clause”) which allowed the government to detain indefinitely without trial anyone who, having completed a prison sentence, was deemed by the minister of justice to be a danger to the state. In prison he studied law by correspondence and earned a degree.

In 1969 Sobukwe was allowed to settle in the town of Kimberly but was prohibited from speaking in public and from participating in any group activity. He could not leave the Kimberly area, but he practiced law until his death from cancer in 1978.

A wonderful museum is dedicated to him in his hometown of Graaf-Reinet. Off the beaten track, African Heart Travel takes you there on a one-of-a-kind road trip in South Africa.

South Africa’s famous loadshedding

When travelling to South Africa you may experience power outages, our famous loadshedding, this however is part of the new norm South African’s have adapted to.

Many Tourist destinations, shopping malls, restaurants and accommodation places have backup generators and always ensure that their customers and tourist are never left in the dark.

Below we explain what, how and when load shedding happens

In South Africa, the primary supplier of electricity is Eskom. It is their job to ensure that the supply of electricity is secure and available to the economy and society. Due to the increased demand in power and the nature of peak periods Eskom is forced to manage the supply and distribution of power for the country. Due to this the country introduced a load shedding schedule protocol.

Eskom is in charge of generating, transporting and distributing electricity across South Africa. Eskom directly supplies 5 million households with power leaving the municipalities to provide power to the majority of us. Eskom face a huge challenge of managing an extremely constrained power network. The current and new power capacity available is constrained by the low capacity and increased demand. Older power stations and infrastructure are used at maximum capacity in order to meet the high demands. Routine maintenance on the plants and infrastructure are carefully carried out in order to minimize risk of damage to the power supply. Eskom have also strengthened distribution networks in order to reduce localised outages causing to power trips due to overloads.

To protect the electricity power system and prevent a total blackout Eskom implemented load shedding or load reduction. A blackout can occur when there is no power or light to an area or even country. This has seriously damaging effects on a country and in order to avoid such a scenario load shedding is implemented. There are various stages of load shedding depending on how constrained the power grid is. Reducing an areas load consumption by 20% usually takes 2 hours to implement. Load shedding usually lasts for 2 to 2.5 hours per area in order to keep the power system balanced. For the latest schedule, visit Eskom’s website.

Load shedding is a part of South Africa’s landscape and something that all South Africans face. However, being wise to one’s energy consumption is the way of the new world and something everyone should be aware of.

Discover all our itineraries in South Africa.