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27 December 2012

Go off the main track and discover some 'secret places'. South Africa.

The Northern Cape.
South Africa's largest, undiscovered and untouched Province.
-Totally overlooked by the local and international tourist.

The Northern Cape, the 'real secret' province.

Some highlights include:-

1. Visit the diamond town of Alexander Bay.
2. See the 300.000 plus seal colony, at Kleinzee.
3. See the worlds largest desert floral garden. (July and Sept)
4. The Windmill Museum, at Loeriesfontein.
5. Riemvasmaak hot springs, next to Augrabies Falls Nat park.
6. Verneuk Salt Pan, near Brandvlei.
7. Kalagadi Nat Park, one of South Africa's best self-drive, safari parks.
8. Lamberts Bay, The crayfish capital and famous bird colony.
9. The Richtersveld Nat Park, South Africa's most remote Park.

The famous Quiver Tree forest

Karoo Jacuzzi, Williston.

The Northern Cape is a photographers dream.

Most tourists only drive up and down along South Africa's Southern
and Eastern coastline.
They totally miss the West Coast and our real desert areas
in the true heart of the country.
The people who survive in these parts are extra tough.
Try visit the town of Hotazel, comes from the name 'Hot as Hell'.

Not a UFO. A social weavers nest.

The worlds largest post box, Calvinia 

Unique places to see in South Africa.

Special places in South Africa that most tourists,
both local and international never get to see.

Just some of the many special attractions in SA: -

1. The Baobab Bar. (The only pub inside a tree, in the world).
     Next to Tzaneen, Limpopo, near the Kruger Park.
2. Put your car on one of only 3 river pontoons for cars in South Africa.
    (Kei River, the hand drawn pont at Malgas and Sendelingsdrift, border Namibia.)
3. Go to Die Hel ('The Hell'), near Oudtshoorn.
4. See the 4000 plus penguins at Betty's Bay.
    (Near Hermanus)
5. The Bakgabeng Plateau. With over 800 rock art sites.
    (Close to Makhado, Limpopo).
6. The mineral hot springs at Tshipise, Limpopo.
7. See the red sands of the Kalahari dessert in the Northern Cape.

Die Hel


The bar in the Big Baobab tree

Take the small roads and try do something different.
All these spots are just a off the main, busy,
tourist routes and all accessible with a normal car.

Pontoon, Kei River

18 December 2012

To travel with a tent, or not? Travel kit idea No #7

Should I travel with a tent or not?

Carrying your own home on your back is not for everyone.

Its hard work and not so glamorous, but can be practical, especially in
expensive National parks or if you're in expensive countries.
-Backpackers try save on accom costs, so they have more money for seeing and
experiencing the country.

For example: -Many parts of South East Asia are very cheap,
          so you don't need a tent.
       - Australia, NZ and USA and Western Europe can be called 'expensive',
         so a tent  can you save money.
I travelled round the world with a small tent.

-VE's:- Can be a 'bit uncomfortable' (Hard stoney ground = Sore back.)
          - The weather is a 'Big factor'
          - Extra weight to carry
          - Your packing space is limited.
          - Location of sites (Sometimes there no campsites close by.)

+VE's: - The main benefit - Saves you money
             - Camping can be HALF the price of a bed in a hostel.
             - Allows you to have options.
E.g.-If you're stuck -  Just camp in the bush or park for free.

The Coleman Bedrock, 2 man, one pole tent. (Small and very light)  65.00Euro

- I recommend the Coleman Bedrock, 2 man, It weighs 2,5Kg.
The best, a tent with only one pole!  Perfect for the RTW traveler
 with space for your bag and smelly boots..

- If camping, you should have foam ground mat.

Don't waste your money on those 'self-inflating mats'.
(They get damaged, especially at the valve.)The army use the foam type.

- It's important to have a light, but warm sleeping bag.
You also use a sleeping bag in hostels as a blanket.

2012 Fact: - In a survey of out of 100 bedrooms at an average hotel, around
20 rooms were found to be infested with bedbugs.

31 October 2012

Travel camping, Kit idea No # 6

Camping pillow idea....

A pillow is a luxury.  You could just put a folded jacket under
your head instead, but you may not sleep well.

I've tried many camping pillows, the small 'fold-up in a bag' type,
the blow-up air pillow and you just don't get proper head and neck support.

              no snore pillow

This new design gives you better support. Memory Foam.

Just cut a 1/3 of a piece off.
This 1/3 piece is all you need, or cut it to the size that you want.
Remember you only need enough for your head and it must be small,
so it fits in your backpack.

Tip: Make a small pillow slip/cover, that's easy to wash.

Portugal is 'a must see'.

Portugal should definitely be on your list when visiting Europe.
 A small 'easy to travel' through country with terrific history. 
Very colourful streets, friendly people and great food.
I found it very safe and with good campsites right across the country.
Castelo de Almourol. You go buy boat to the Castle on an Island

Porto, a UNESCO world heritage site

The medieval fortress villages of Marvao and Obidos
are on the '1000 places to see before you die' list. 

The medieval streets of Obidos

02 July 2012

How green are you?

Green and Eco are 'new words' thrown around very easily today.
We all need to think of the environment and play our part at home and when we travel.

An 'off the grid' home with wind, solar and rain water tanks.

How green are you at home? -
-Are you off the grid or on the grid (dependant on Eskom)?

 People are appliance hungry, using a microwave,
 dishwasher, fridge and electric kettle, etc, We cannot build
 power stations fast enough to keep up with demand.

-Do you use a solar hot water heater or use an electric geyser?
 (Your electric geyser is around 40% of your electricity bill)

-Do you have a gas stove or cook with an electric stove?
-Are all your light bulbs in the house, energy saving bulbs?
-Do you have rain water harvesting tanks, to be less dependant on
 the chemical processed municipal water.

-Do you make sure you have no alien invasive plants on your property
 and only plant indigenous.(Indigenous plants use and need less water.)

-Do you have solar panels for electricity?

When you travel: - Green tips on the road are the same for at home.
-Leave only footprints behind. Walking is the best way to discover a place.
-Rent a bicycle
-Use less plastic and buy local
-Try recycle
-Use the same water bottle, and just refill it with tap or boiled water.
-Save water. Shower instead of bath
-Do a beach 'clean-up'
 (Smokers your cigarette butts belong in the bin)
-Eat less meat and seafood

02 March 2012

The complete list of South African National foods.

"Travelers always make an effort to taste the
local, 'national' foods in each country they visit".

South Africa's National, unique foods:

-Pap (maize meal -  'the staple food')
-Baboetie (meat and egg dish)
-Bunny Chow (bread and stew)
-Boerewors (sausage)
-Samp and Sugar beans (maize and beans)
-Marogu (African spinach)
-Vetkoek and Mince (bread and meat)
-Koeksister (sweet)
-Potjiekos (meat stew)
-Biltong (dried meat)
-Droe wors (dried meat)
-Sosaties (meat and fruit/ veg on a stick)
-Skilpadjies (lambs liver in net fat)
-Mielie brood (maize bread)
-Oma Rusks (dried bread)
-Milktart (sweet)
-Snoek with Apricot jam (local fish)
-Peppermint Crisp (chocolate, sweet)
-Chakalaka (sauce)
-Pronutro (maize and soya cereal)
-Pro Vita (bread/biscuits)
-Mrs. Ball's Chutney (sauce)
-Waterblommetjie stew (pondweed flowers with lamb)
-Rooibos Tea (drink)
-Rooster brood (grill bread)
-Mosbolletjies (bread made with fermented grape juice)
-Skuinskoek (sweet, sticky cookies)
-Mageu (fermented maize, drink)
-Amasi (sour milk, drink)
-Amarula (alcohol, Liqueur, drink)
-Appletizer (apple soft drink)
-Mampoer/ Witblitz (home made alcohol)
-Van Der Hum Liqueur (alcohol)
-Morvite (sorghum porridge)
-Guava Roll (rolled dried fruit)
-Monkey Gland Sauce (BBQ sauce and tomato sauce mixed , no monkeys used)

Add a comment, maybe I forgot a few items.

01 February 2012

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance. Do you really need it?

                                 Travel without it, may be risky.

Most say it's important to have travel insurance.
Lonely Planet recommend travel insurance.
And we all wish, we never have to really use it.

The bad aspect:  The 'Bad' traveller
The truth is, one reason we pay alot, is because of all the bogus
/false claims that the insurance companies have to deal with
 from 'bad travellers'. It is weird that there are so many people
out there that feel they must make a claim, (a false one) during
or after there trip.

Fact: -When travelling, the chance of illness and your
           risks, increase by 50%.

There are many companies, all offering different 'cover'
options, out there today. So, do some research.
Your local medicare, does not cover you in other countries.
Many countries, now require you to have health/ medical
travel insurance, before you may enter.

- It offers peace of mind, that you are covered
   in an emergency, on/during your trip.
-Medical costs in a foreign country can be very costly.
  Check at your bank, they offer a 'Top Up' cover
  on top of your normal cover.
-There is also 'special backpacker' round the world
  travel insurance available for a whole year.

Basic cover: - medical expenses
                     - 24hr emergency evacuation

Other options:- baggage cover, camera, passport
                       - car rental accident (not covered)
                       - extreme sports (not covered)

What are you covered for?

Oh yes.. and don't forget to make sure your tetanus shot
is up to date. Once every 10 years for adults.