Posts Tagged With: Cape Town

 
 

Finding Adventure at Victoria Falls in Africa

Despite the negative press that South Africa is receiving right now from the Covid-19 variant, when travel is safe, Africa is one of the most fabulous travel destinations for both the casual tourist and the adventurous. 

Victoria Falls during dry season

Both awe-inspiring and the largest waterfall in the world, Victoria Falls happens to be located on one of the most alluring continents in the world, Africa. One of the seven natural wonders of the world is located along the Zambezi River at the border of the countries of Zambia and Zimbabwe where lies the majestic site that many aspire to visiting on their travel bucket lists. 

Named by Scottish explorer David Livingstone in 1855 after Queen Victoria, the almost 1 ½ mile basalt cliffs form the falls where water from the Zambezi river plummet over the edge and into the gorge some 300 feet below. The power of the falls can be seen from 30 miles away, heard from 25 miles away and the mists can be felt as high as 430 yards from the falling water. 

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, on average 500,000,000 liters of water flow when the water levels peak at the end of the rainy season in late March or early April. Alternatively the falls will reach their lowest points in the fall during the dry period when it is even possible to walk through specific points of the falls.  

Victoria Falls Lookout Bridge

Surrounded by rainforest, another basalt cliff faces the Main falls with a path through heavy spray  offering exceptional views of the falls. Another option for viewing, is from the Knife-Edge Bridge for panoramic views of the Main falls and the Boiling Pot area where the river switches down the Batoka Gorge. For the more weary, views from Livingstone Island during the dry season or the Falls Bridge that crosses over the Zambezia provide panoramic views. 

Depending on the time of year that you visit, after seeing the beauty and power of Victoria Falls, there are many options for immersing yourself with the area finding adventure at and around Victoria Falls. We recommend that you hire a local guide as some of these experiences can be dangerous for those not familiar with the area. Not all adventures require physical activity, but each offers the opportunity for an adventure you will remember forever:

Flight of Angels

Regardless if it is during the peak flood period when the falls are at their highest or dry season when it’s at its lowest, flying over Victoria Falls is one of the most astounding and most personal ways for seeing the falls from an angle most do not have the opportunity to.

From the windows of a small prop plane, follow the Zambezi river to the gorges that form into the massive magnificent Victoria Falls offering panoramic instagram worthy photos and an unforgettable experience. Other flight options are by helicopter to get you even closer to the action, also flying over the Batoka Gorge and Mosi-oa-Tunya National park. 

Your flight experience usually ends with a DVD of your 15 – 30 minute flight as a souvenir to take home and share your experience with others. 

Victoria Falls from the air

Swim in the Devil’s Pool

Close to Victoria Falls, rock pools have formed and the most popular for its location is Devil’s Pool. Located near Livingstone Island at the edge of the falls with a sheer 325 foot drop, the site provides the heart-pumping exhilaration of a natural infinity pool looking over the side of the falls. 

The most active part of this experience is the climb down to the Zambezi river and swim across the pool. Unless you are the fearless type who jumps full throttle into the raging waters of the pool from above. Regardless, the thrill that you will get from the view at the edge and feeling the force of the river flowing over the falls providing an invigoration and energy that you will not soon forget. 

Devil’s pool is seasonally accessible depending on the water levels. Access to the pool can be dangerous and it is highly recommended that a guide be hired for the safest experience. 

Swim below the Falls

Another unique experience is to swim the rock pools located below the falls to view the basalt cliffs as the water cascades above you. 

A more active experience involves walking the Batoka Gorge to the river where inflatable rafts and a guide await you to paddle to a location near Victoria Falls for some unique and amazing views. Once your rafts arrive at the rock pools below the falls, you can enjoy some downtime swimming and enjoying the waters that surround you. 

Although more physically demanding, this 3 hour or so guided experience allows you to immerse with the geology of the region as you walk over the rocks and interact directly with the river before walking back up the gorge at the end of your tour. 

Kayakers and Rafters on the Zambezi River

Kayak or White Water raft the rapids of the Zambezi River

From the top of Batoka Gorge, an experienced white water guide will fit you with a paddle, helmet and life jacket before leading you down the 450 – 800 feet to the river to board your kayak or raft boat. Your guide will then steer you through the rapids and direct you for safety with the ultimate enjoyment. 

Although no previous experience is required, this is an encounter for those who are both physically able and mentally prepared for this type of adventure. Other requirements may exist as determined by your tour provider.

Kayaking is usually a full day experience offering breakfast at the top of the gorge and picnic lunch as a final reward for your day’s activities. White water rafting offers a half or full day or for the active adventurous type, enjoy the “float of angels” taking a full day on the Zambezi followed by an overnight in a camp deep within the Batoka Gorge to wake up and take on another full day of a roller coaster of rapids. 

The best time for rafting all 23 rapids is during the drier season from early summer through early winter. 

Victoria Falls is but one of the many Africa experiences that adventurists venture to the farest regions of the earth for. Other exciting journeys await you with safaris within Tanzania and Botswana and spending time at the beautiful beaches and winelands of South Africa’s Cape’s rugged coast.  

Coastline of South African Cape

With so much to see, how do you explore these regions seamlessly and enjoyably? Imagine an experience that combines all of the experiences in a 10 – 21 day African experience. Start your journey on land combined with four nights on a small private luxury African boat drifting along the river all the while having an up-close wildlife experience before heading back on land for more time to explore Victoria Falls, the villages and unique highlights of the region.

Plan now for travel in 2022 and beyond. For more information on the safest and most intimate ways to explore Africa with river cruising visit our webpage.

Categories: Dream Vacation, Eco-Friendly, Experience, River Cruise, Sustainable Travel, Travel Bucket List | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

Visit South Africa for the Wine

Visiting the continent of Africa is always top of bucket list for the amazing wildlife and outdoor experiences. Many times a visit to Africa will begin or end in Cape Town which is located in the African country of South Africa. Did you know that Cape Town offers beaches to relax at, forests and mountains to explore and lush winelands that produce some of the top new world vintages?

Cape Winelands beauty

South Africa is a country on the southernmost tip of the African continent. Cape Town is located on the western coast of the African peninsula surrounded by the Indian Ocean. The wet winters and hot dry summers provide a Mediterranean climate, similar to the region of Bordeaux, in France and provides for ample wine production with major vineyards surrounding the city of Cape Town.

Considered a New World wine region, wine in South Africa actually dates back to 1659 when the first bottle of wine was produced in Constantia, a suburb of Cape Town. With time and transportation growth, availability to sell in international markets has put South African wine onto the Viticulture map.  

Today you can find about 60 appellations throughout the South African wine system and production happens in production centers located around Cape Town. 

Stellenbosch Mountain

Most popular today for red wine production specifically the Cabernet grape and another notable vintage, a cross breed of the hard to grow Pinot Noir grape and the sturdy Cinsaut grape, Pinotage, is the second most planted red grape in the country. Recognized by many growers as the grape of South Africa, Pinotage can be found as a single vintage and also in local blends plus created in many styles; barrel aged, rosé, fortified ports and red sparkling wines.

Chenin blanc (referred to as Steen) is the most widely planted white grape in South Africa and can be found in the western region of the Stellenbosch winelands. 

The Cape Wineland district is located in the Boland region of the Western Cape that makes up over 10% of the total land of the Cape Town suburbs of Paarl, Worcester, Wellington and Stellenbosch. 

The Town of Stellenbosch

Approximately 30 minutes from Cape Town is the oak-lined village of Stellenbosch, the second-oldest and best known of South Africa’s wine regions. One of the, if not the most, scenically attractive and historically preserved towns in South Africa that was planted in 1679. Today 14% of annual wine production in the country occurs at 17 cellars within the district. Stellenbosch is located 28 miles from Cape Town where the surrounding mountains and coastal False Bay provide an average temperature of 68°F during the summer growing season. 

Two recommended cellars to visit while visiting Stellenbosch are Longridge and Glenelly Estates. 

Longridge is known locally for their biodynamic and organic winemaking practices. Established in 1841 they have created a vintage of environmentally stable wines without the use of chemicals, pesticides and fertilizers using only natural methods. Their primary growths are Steen (Chenin Blanc), Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinotage. In addition to a Wine Lounge with tastings and vineyards tours, they also feature a restaurant with farm to table South African inspired dishes accompanied by scenic views of False Bay and Table Mountain to enjoy while sipping some of their award winning wines. 

The vineyards of Stellenbosch

Glenelly, just a 10 minute drive from the historic town of Stellenbosch is also an environmentally driven wine estate. The French owned estate features South African wines produced with French growth inspiration with vintages of their flagship Cabernet Sauvignon, in addition to Cabernet Franc, Syrah and a Chardonnay Reserve. A tasting room is available daily (except Monday) with scenic views of the estate and local mountain regions plus a bistro offering a French inspired menu serving lunch daily and dinners on the weekends. The one of a kind privately owned wine museum offers another experience when visiting this lovely wineland estate. 

In addition to its connection to wine, the Cape Winelands is a popular culinary center of South Africa where local growers produce olives, fruits and cheese. The Winelands also offers beautiful scenic drives with mountains and many miles of hiking and biking trails for the active adventurer. 

The best time to visit the Winelands is between March and May during the South African autumn harvest when the weather is warm and sunny. Summer (November through January) is another popular time to visit the winelands while also enjoying the beaches of Cape Town with warm, longer days. 
Experience three days in Cape Town including the opportunity to spend the day in the Cape Winelands before a 10 day Africa wildlife adventure with Chobe river cruise. Learn more about this amazing bucket list experience in Africa.

Categories: Active Travel, Dream Vacation, Eco-Friendly, Experience, River Cruise, Sustainable Travel, Travel Bucket List, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

Beaches You Want to Visit in Cape Town

On the southern tip of South Africa along the Atlantic is Cape Town. Known as the “Mother City” as the original city established in S. Africa by Europeans in 1652. 

The location of Cape Town along the Atlantic coast is original for being a cosmopolitan city that sits among a beautiful landscape of mountains, ocean and also offering some of the best beaches in the world.

Visiting Cape Town for its history, culture, friendly people, wildlife or for her landscape, a beach visit is a must with many options: 

Atlantic Seaboard – on Cape Town’s western coast, the suburbs of Clifton and Camp Bay have the top real estate in S. Africa and the area’s top beaches with its white sand beaches and crystal clear water. Sitting on the Atlantic side of the peninsula and facing west for amazing sunset views and views of Table Mountain are another reason for the popularity of the beaches in this region. 

  • Clifton Beach and it’s 4 coves (Beaches 1 – 4)

Considered one of the top if not the best beaches in Cape Town, Clifton beach is located off the affluent Clifton neighborhood in the Cape Town region. 

Composed of 4 beaches separated by Granite boulders, called coves, the area attracts many locals and visitors for its powdery white sand and easy access for water sports. 

Uniquely due to the geography of the region, the warmest waters will be found in the winter months (May – August) when temperatures will reach 68 degrees as opposed to the summer months (November – February) when the water will reach maximum highs of 50 degrees.

Popular for wave and body surfing, plus boogie boarding the largest waves are found at 1st beach and the calmest are at 4th beach. 

1st beach is a popular surfing destination and where you will find the majority of the serious water lovers. 

2nd beach is popular with the teen and college crowd who spend their days playing volleyball, frisbee and other sand activities. 

3rd beach is the smallest in area and is known as a destination for the LGBTQ crowd looking for a more intimate setting. 

Families can be found at 4th beach where you will also find yachts that anchor near 4th beach due to its calm waters and easy shore access. 

  • Camps Bay Beach

15 minutes from central Cape Town and also located on the Atlantic Ocean, at the base of the Twelve Apostles mountain range near Table Mountain is Camps Bay Beach. 

The village of Camps Bay, like Clifton is an affluent neighborhood of South Africa. Camps Bay offers the largest white sand beach within a small bay off the western coast of the Cape Town peninsula.  

The largest of the beaches in the Atlantic Seaboard area is located within a popular tourist area with hotels, bed and breakfasts and villa accommodations plus offering acclaimed restaurants, cafe’s, bars and nightclubs for a one stop visit location at the beach.  

The beautiful views from the beach here has made it a popular wedding destination within South Africa for ceremonies on the beach or at one of the nearby resorts. 

West Coast beaches –  offering long, sandy beaches to the North of Cape Town. These beaches are popular for kite-surfing and windsurfing due to the wind and surf conditions.

  • Bloubergstrand

On the shores of Table Bay is a small seaside town located about 15 miles North of Cape Town. A mostly residential area, it’s northern location with consistent winds and cooler waters attracts visitors as the ideal location for windsurfing and kite-surfing enthusiasts. 

The Bloubergstrand beach region lies within a marine nature reserve protecting the endangered Cape Rock lobster and abalone. 

Another popular reason to visit the beach at Bloubergstrand is for the views of Table Mountain across the bay making it a picturesque spot.

During the S. African winter, this is the place to come for sightings of killer whale, dolphin and fur seals. Otherwise beautiful views of Table Mountain across the bay and for its uncrowded pristine beach makes it worth the visit anytime.

False Bay – Just shy of an hours drive from central Cape Town, the “C” shaped coastline is a picturesque region of the S. Africa to the southeast of Table Mountain along the east side of the rocky Cape Peninsula. 

  • Boulders Beach 

Simon’s Town located just over the mountains from Cape Town has a sheltered beach that sits between 540 million year old boulders which is how it received its name. A popular location for visitors but not for its sand and sea but for its local residents. 

Boulders beach is the home of the Africa penguin who can only be found along the South African coastline and are protected by the Cape Nature Preservation due to their current status of extinction. 

Boulders is one of the only locations to get close enough to observe the birds in their natural habitat as they wander the beach. 

Tip: Head over to nearby Foxy beach for an even better view of the feathered birds with boardwalks to view the birds from above. 

  • Muizenberg Beach 

One of the longest beaches in the area covers 20 kilometers (12 miles)

A beach side suburb of Cape Town, in the western Cape region, this beach town is the top surf destination. Due to it’s warmer waters (can hit up to 58 degrees) and consistent swell of waves, surfing here dates back over a hundred years accounting for it’s popular surf culture and where many come to learn to surf, or sample riding the S. African waters. 

The beautiful wide beach is flanked with colorful beach cottages on the beachfront. Venture a little farther down the beach and you will find picturesque Victorian bath houses that date back to the heyday of the beach’s history in the 1800’s.

Like the historic beach huts, this beach is all about simple good old fashioned beach fun and is the perfect setting for swimming, gathering, learning to surf and sun-bathing.

Adjacent to the beach you will find cafe’s, restaurants, boutiques and surf shops for the full beach resort town experience.

Africa is a bucket list destination for wildlife and exploration. When planning an African experience, South Africa is a must see and a visit to beautiful Cape Town is highly recommended.  

For more information on how to explore Africa, visit our webpage

Categories: Bucket List, Summer, Travel, Travel Bucket List | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

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