Posted by: South Africa Tourism | February 23, 2011

High Speed Joburg to Durban Rail Link Plan

A PLAN for the proposed high- speed rail link between Johannesburg and Durban was ready for presentation to the Cabinet, Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele said yesterday.

He said the plan would be part of the government’s bid to revitalise the country’s railways and boost job creation.

The Johannesburg-to-Durban link is itself part of a wider initiative for high-speed railways between Cape Town and Johannesburg, Pretoria and the former KwaNdebele area in eastern Mpumalanga, and Johannesburg and Musina on the Zimbabwean border, Mr Ndebele said.

“Cabinet approval will then kick-start a process that includes a feasibility study on the viability of the Johannesburg to Durban rail link,” he said.

Department of Transport spokesman Sam Monareng said the proposed railway was not just for passengers and included a significant freight element. “We want to get as much freight as possible off the road,” he said.

The South African National Roads Agency says 80% of freight arrives in Gauteng by road.

Mr Monareng said projected costs would be available only after the viability study was conducted, so long as approval to proceed was received from the Cabinet.

The ministry also set out to allay fears about potential cronyism involving the project, saying it had “noted recent media reports indicating that Duduzane Zuma, the son of President Jacob Zuma , Lazarus Zim, and the Gupta brothers together with their Chinese partners were in line to win the rights to construct Africa’s first high-speed rail project” and that the department would only call for ” expressions of interest on the Durban-Johannesburg high- speed rail route in July”.

Source: (http://www.businessday.co.za/articles/Content.aspx?id=135103)

Posted by: South Africa Tourism | February 21, 2011

Five Fantastic Locations To Go To In South Africa

South Africa is a sizeable and contrasting country tempting tourists from all across the earth. There is such a lot to see and undertake in this stunning nation, it is not achievable to visit the whole place but naturally, there are some destinations that the vast majority of holiday makers hope to drop by as part of their big adventure.

Cape Town is the “Mother City” and is on the travel plans of a staggering 70% of travellers to South Africa from the UK. The legendary Table Mountain is the background to this special metropolis which is at the Southern most point of Africa where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet. Well liked interesting attractions in and around Cape Town include the V&A Waterfront, Robben Island or a visit to the top of Table Mountain. It is also the ideal starting point to discover the Winelands of the Western Cape.

Kruger National Park is amongst the most renowned safari parks in the world. Situated in the North East part of South Africa, it covers an region close to the size of Israel and is home to the “Big Five” (Leopard, Lion, Rhino, Elephant, Buffalo). Whilst there are literally 100s of national parks in the country, The national park is by far and away the most well known.

The Garden Route is a beautiful section of shoreline in the Western Cape. It is sought after with adventure seekers and outdoor enthusiasts. During parts of the year at Hermanus, it is feasible to observe the Southern Right Whales from the shoreline as they swim past. There are ample wonderful small towns to discover along this section of shoreline.

Durban’s Seashores are stunning. The golden sands attract sun-worshippers all year round as the temperature even in the middle of winter easily reaches twenty five Celcius. It’s a terrific holiday destination for surfers too and the recently opened uShaka Marineworld is another successful place to drop by and see.

South African wine is amongst the most fantastic around the world and a good number of of the cape winelands date back centuries to the time of the Dutch settlers. Places like Paarl, Franschoek and Stellenbosch can all be reached on day tours from Cape Town or alternatively, you may well stay in without doubt one of the a lot of homesteads in the area.

Making the decision to go to South Africa is not hard. The demanding thing people have is striving to put together their itinerary for their South Africa holidays.

Posted by: South Africa Tourism | February 20, 2011

The Highlights of Mpumalanga Province in South Africa

Found in the north east of the country, Mpumalanga is home to roughly 3 million people as well as the most well known safari park on earth; the Kruger National Park. Yet, there is certainly a lot more to Mpumalanga that Kruger.

It is really a beautiful, land-locked province boasting stunning panoramas and lots of wild animals. Here is the heartland of South Africa’s safari territory and comprises the Lowveld and the Highveld.

The Lowveld is the region beneath 1,000m above sea level. It is somewhat open woodland interspersed together with long grass and an abundance of wildlife. Broadleaf and thorn trees are both found in this low-lying subtropical environment.

Within the very north of the province, the iconic Baobab trees reign over the skyline. Wide, slow moving rivers shrink to isolated pools throughout the dry season and that is when animals assemble making it the perfect time for game viewing.

The Highveld is notably chillier, with rolling grassland, wild flora and lots of pine plantations. Trout angling is great in the dams and streams near to Dullstroom and Lydenberg.

The main selling point of Mpumalanaga is without doubt the Kruger. This vast wilderness encompasses an area as large as Israel and is well-known for having the largest diversity of wildlife species in Africa; 140 mammal species, 500 bird varieties and around 300 tree species. Camping places and game lodges are available.

Across the borders of the park are various private game reserves presenting lavish safaris. These kinds of lodges offer fantastic lodging and are a lot less crowded. The lodge’s safari vehicles may also turn off road a thing that isn’t authorized inside the national parks.

The province is also home to a section of the mighty UKlahlamba mountains and it is here you can see the Blyde River Canyon. It’s the third largest canyon around the world. The views are generally splendid with the lookout point of ‘Gods Window’ being the best spot to look over this magnificent panorama.

Mpumalanga is certainly a province for those who are looking for the remarkable outdoors with outstanding safaris, wonderful scenery in addition to hiking, biking and fishing.

Pietermaritzburg is mostly a continually innovating city that has in recent times seen quick expansion although it has long been a focus for lots of sights and entertainment. It’s the host urban centre for international events including the Comrades and Dusi Marathaons that are considered amongst the top running events globally. The Midmar Mile swimming event possesses the biggest open water field of its kind around the globe. The dam where it takes place likewise offers a good amount of additional pursuits over summer and winter. Holiday accomodations at Midmar are usually offered at picturesque shoreline camping sites, bungalows or a bush camp.

The Midlands is really a renowned place in KwaZulu Natal. It is a warm and welcoming place has its simple beginnings in 1985, after a small number of crafters came together to develop an art and craft route that holds the leading culture attraction on Pietermaritzburg and the Midlands known as the Midlands Meander. It’s grown into a vibrant network of 134 members, a few of local extraction, plus some who have left the metropolis to make their living in this beautiful environment.

The Midlands Meander, that offers great variety, great value and great service at numerous farms, hotels, guest houses, bed & breakfasts and spas, scattered along a well-marked corridor. In existence for over 20 years, this craft and leisure self-drive journey has long been certainly one of the nation’s more successful getting regular return holidaymakers to its diversity and distinctive atmosphere. Cheese farms with quaint goat’s towers, a mini-beer brewery, award-winning pottery studios, butterfly study projects, brilliantly coloured herbal centres and leatherworks all give top quality products created with a personal touch.

Hot air ballooning provides the exhilaration option of viewing the places of the Midlands from another point of view. Howick is a pleasant old town near to Pietermaritzburg that features the amazing 97m high Howick Falls. Close by is a monument which marks the spot where Nelson Mandela was caught prior to his incarceration on Robben Island.

This is only a sample of what’s offered as the Pietermarizburg Midlands in KwaZulu Natal provides a galaxy of visitors attractions as diverse and plentiful as the ample stars in its gloriously clear night skies which makes it the aptly billed “Capital of the Zulu Kingdom”.

Posted by: South Africa Tourism | February 2, 2011

Northern Cape – Best Parts of the Northern Cape in South Africa

The Northern Cape is the largest sized province in South Africa and affords visitors views of a handful of the most impressive scenery in the country. It is home to the historic San people whom lived here thousands of years in the past. Although the San people are long gone from the area, their legacy continues in the rock art they have left behind. In addition to the McGregor Museum in Kimberley, there are actually an abundance of samples of San Rock Art found at different points along the Orange and Vaal rivers.

Among the highlights in the Northern Cape may be the Augrabies Falls National Park. The thundering waterfalls are the focal point of the area where tourists are able to backpack, mountain bike or experience paddling outings. The 90m falls drop down a series of granite cataracts.

In the very north of the province is the Richtersveld Transfrontier Park a partnership between South Africa and Botswana. The park is home to impressive creatures including the black maned lions, gemsbok and the oryx. This part of the Northern Cape is notoriously scorching, dry and rural. The only standing water is the Orange or Gariep River. There aren’t many highways therefore it isn’t an easy region to take a look at.

The primary urban centre is Kimberley and together with the a good number of museums, art galleries and aged buildings, tourists might locate ‘The Big Hole’? which had been made as a consequence of open cast mining for diamonds. It is the biggest manufactured hole on earth which was dug during what was the biggest diamond rush ever recorded.

Namaqualand is famous for the blossoming flowers which flood the region with a stunning selection of colours for a couple of short weeks in August and September. Of course, this part of the Northern Cape is not revered a great deal outside of the flower season. These desert and semi-desert places do have their own lure. The sky is wide open and spectacular, the remote hills and the multi-coloured boulders generate their very own impressive spectacle.

Posted by: South Africa Tourism | January 31, 2011

Mandela museum disappointment

Following concerns a former MEC raised about a museum built to honour former president Nelson Mandela, a Cape Times investigation revealed similar problems.

A security guard took a Cape Times team on a tour of the Nelson Mandela Museum and Heritage Centre despite the fact that it had a full-time guide, but who was absent on Saturday. The team found only a few visitors and was shown locked computer rooms and collapsing basketball courts.

Concerned about the management of the centre situated in Mandela’s home village Qunu, near Mthatha, former Western Cape education MEC Cameron Dugmore vowed to file a complaint with Eastern Cape Premier Noxolo Kiviet after his visit in December.

Yesterday Dugmore confirmed he intended to write a letter of complaint to Kiviet.

Dugmore had visited the centre in December but left disconcerted after he discovered there was no tour guide and there was not much activity.

He then wrote about his experience at the museum on Facebook, triggering a flurry of comments.

He was later quoted in a Sunday newspaper: “I was with family on the way to Durban. My daughters had read books about Nelson Mandela’s early years and we wanted them to see the museum. There was supposed to be a multimedia centre – but there was a really arbitrary video playing there. No guide at all.”

Said Dugmore: “I did not see any other visitors when we arrived at about noon. I saw a vehicle arrive when we were leaving. It is an issue worth following up.”

Dugmore’s concerns were immediately evident when the Cape Times team arrived at the centre on Saturday.

There was no sign of tourists or a tour guide. Two security guards greeted the Cape Times team. One, dressed in a bright red jersey, took over the tour guide job.

“We have a tour guide here, but today he is not here and I’m not an expert on taking visitors on tours,” he said.

The security guard said the tour guide, who lived in Qunu, worked from Monday to Saturday but had not shown up on Saturday. He did not know the reason.

He took the Cape Times into an exhibition room which had boards hanging on the walls with Mandela’s pictures and stories depicting his life from a young rural boy to the first black president of South Africa.

While leading the Cape Times to another exhibition room, the guard pointed out that various rooms, including a computer centre and a kitchen, were locked. They were opened when there were visitors.

Inside a multimedia centre where a video was playing on each of the two TVs, two men sat and worked on equipment.

At the back of the museum, two basketball courts under construction had collapsing fences. The security guard said a storm had apparently blown down the steel fence.

Source: IOL News (http://www.iol.co.za/news/south-africa/western-cape/mandela-museum-disappointment-1.1019135)

Posted by: South Africa Tourism | January 31, 2011

Taxi fares set to increase in Western Cape

Taxi fares are set to rise in the coming weeks following consecutive petrol price increases. The Western Cape Taxi Council said an increase in fares was imminent but it could not confirm when fares would be adjusted.

The petrol price is due to increase by 26 cents litre at midnight on Tuesday.

Council spokesperson Mvuyisi Mente said the price hike must first be discussed amongst the various associations: “There will be an increase but we have to consult with the associations. We have to consult with the taxi industry in the Western Cape as a whole.”

He added that they had no choice but to increase the fares.

Source: Eye Witness News (http://www.eyewitnessnews.co.za/articleprog.aspx?id=58324)

Posted by: South Africa Tourism | January 29, 2011

KwaZulu Natal’s Northern Coastline

KwaZulu Natal’s Northern Coastline, popularly called The Dolphin Coast, extends from Zimbali, an eco and golf estate to the mighty Tugela River. Its warm waters are the place to find the common bottlenose dolphin which may be observed frolicking in the waves close offshore all year round, while the tropical, lush shoreline features a large number of quiet bays, golden shores and eye-catching homes.

Patches of natural coastal woodland give way to never-ending rolling hillsides covered with fields of sugar cane, which stretch to the interior. A unique mix of luxurious resorts and affordable holiday accommodation complement amazing seashores and culturally diverse points of interest to make this place a glittering jewel.

The Northern Coast presents genuinely living Zulu Culture, bursting colour, song and dance. On 24th September every year, this place comes alive to celebrate Heritage Day in a very special way. This day reminds the Zulu nation of their rich heritage and the value of leadership. The attendees are frequently seen clad in their traditional attire showcasing their roots.

The Northern Coast also possesses a wealthy cultural blend of Eastern, African and European influences where by curry seafood dens take a position beside customary Zulu dancing and colonial-style hospitality as the primary interesting attractions. Situated a little away from the coast is KwaDukuza, burial site of the great King Shaka Zulu, and Groutville, residence of Albert Luthuli, Africa’s 1st Nobel Peace laureate, with monuments and a fascinating museum keeping testimony to his part in South Africa’s historical past.

A substantial Indian local community sees their home in this region, allowing travellers to take delight in their intriguing temples and sample their culinary delights, including pineapple-on-a-stick, coated in tangy spices. River quad biking trails, horse riding, a sugar cane farm museum, children’s Animal farm and crocodile farms all compete for space on the leisure calender.

Coastal microlight trips, terrific fishing and the opportunity to swim with the dolphins add to the vast range of unforgettable holiday activities available. Close proximity to Durban and the Big Five game reserves of KwaZulu Natal make this holiday location a outstanding choice for a holiday central to infectious vibe or rugged adventure – simply take your pick.

Posted by: South Africa Tourism | January 29, 2011

Cape Town to bid for F1 Grand Prix

The Cape Town Grand Prix Bid Company unveiled its plan to bid for a “Monaco-style” Grand Prix to be raced around the streets of Green Point and Moullie Point on the Cape’s Atlantic Seaboard.

Now while this TT reporter never sees the entertainment value in driving high performance cars, ridiculously fast on an endless loop, where the view never changes and it’s all a blur anyway, I do understand the international appeal of this event and that millions of people around the world love to watch fast cars burn petrol as fast as they can. The route would even take in the new stadium, and as an annual event, could prove worthwhile in the long time, even justifying the reported R1bn price tag that comes with hosting the four day event.

Local residents, I imagine, will not relish four days of petrol fumed noise humming through their living room, and I am guessing this might be a hard sell for them. Many can’t handle the hum of vuvuzelas never mind super F1 cars. Having said that, Cape Town has proven over and over again that they can successfully host any nature of big events, but once again Culemborg seems to be a better option, incorporating the city and harbour without annoying the residents, and drivers get to drive get a better, albeit blurry view of Table Mountain. The proposed route even takes in the Cape Town Stadium, which is still struggling to find an anchor tenant, alright it has found their rugby tenant but they aren’t interested.

The Cape Town Grand Prix Bid Company, which released details of the bid, will wait anxiously for a final decision by the city on whether or not to support the bid. A decision is expected in the next six – 12 months. South Africa last hosted a F1 race at Kyalami in 1993, won by French driver, Alain Prost.

Source: Real Estate Web (http://www.realestateweb.co.za/realestateweb/view/realestateweb/en/page322?oid=77493&sn=Detail&pid=1)

Posted by: South Africa Tourism | January 28, 2011

First Cape rhino poached

A rhino was poached in the Western Cape for the first time at the Botlierskop private game reserve near Mossel Bay on Thursday, the reserve owner said.

Reserve owner Arnold Neethling said a white rhino bull, about 12 years old, was found poached at 9.30am on Thursday morning with its horns chopped off.

‘We found it dead’

“We spotted it last night at about 7.45pm and this morning on the daily checks we found it dead in the middle of a field.”

He said it must have been done in the middle of the night when there was a lot of rain because it was in quite a busy area.

“We are hoping that someone saw something. If anyone saw anything they can go to the police or come to us.”

A ‘real tragedy’

He said it was a “real tragedy” and what bothered the most was that it was being done by organised crime

“This is a problem that the society of South Africa would have to solve,” Neethling said.

“Once poachers have killed all the rhinos they would simply move onto another species.”

Source: iAfrica (http://news.iafrica.com/sa/701882.html)

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