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My trip to the Okavango Delta!

Last month I was lucky enough to visit the Okavango Delta! Thank you Ker &Downey, for sponsoring my trip. I am so grateful.

These are my diary entries: –
06 Oct: I’m sitting in a small 6 seater plane, flying from Maun over the Okavango Delta. It is a searing 45 degrees. I can see tiny hippos and elephants below me. The swamps of the Okavango Delta vein their way around – the lifeblood of Africa. My heart is in my mouth as we fly higher and higher. We touch down at our 1st camp, Kanana Tented Camp. I can’t believe I am here! We check in and go for our first Game Drive. I see a lioness on the way to the Lodge. Tonight I enjoyed a beautiful dinner by candle light..so romantic.

07 Oct: This morning I fly to my next Lodge, Okuti Camp. Okuti offers 5 twin bedded rooms & 2 family rooms accommodating up to 18 guests. This camp lies alongside the Maunachira River which flows through the Xakanaxa Lagoon, within the world renowned Moremi Game Reserve. Okuti has recently been rebuilt amidst the wilderness of one of Botswana’s prime game viewing regions. Here I enjoyed a game drive and a mokoro boat trip, where we viewed game and birds and little frogs from my private boat. Beautiful and quiet and serene, and incredibly special.

08 Oct: Today I fly to Shinde, a classic safari tent camp, nestled on a lush palm island in the heart of the northern Okavango Delta. Shinde is an intimate camp located on the edge of Shinde lagoon, teeming with animal and birdlife. I visit the exclusive Shinde Enclave camp, which is the best location for wildlife photographers in the Delta, and see 1000’s of birds endemic to the area, it was totally incredible.

Delta! 09 Oct: The last camp I visit is Footsteps Across the Delta Tented Camp, a specialist safari experience. I overnight at Footsteps, which offers expertise in guiding with the emphasis on walking safaris. This program maintains the elegance and eccentricity of the original ‘under canvas African safari’. We track wild dog on foot for 3 hours, a truly amazing experience and one that I will never forget. The Guides and food and accommodation has been ‘top’ Thank you Ker & Downey, for creating many special memories that I will never forget.

 

By |May 24th, 2012|Blog|

My trip to Victoria Falls!

My trip to Victoria Falls! I stayed at Tongabezi Island!

This month I had the opportunity to visit Victoria Falls, and stayed at the most romantic property on earth, Tongabezi & Sindabezi Island. Perfect for Honeymooners, Sindabezi Island is is an idyllic bush camp on a private island on the Zambezi River. It is the only luxury camp in the Victoria Falls region and in 2008 was selected by The Sunday Times in London as one of the best remote places to stay in the world. Sindabezi Island has just five open-sided thatched cottages, allowing guests to soak up the sights and sounds of the African bush in a perfect untouched setting.

HIGHLIGHTS: Swimming in the Devil’s Cauldon on top of Vic Falls. This is an activity I’ve been wanting to do my whole life. Words cannot describe the feeling you get from up here! You can book this activity through me.

Having a champagne breakfast overlooking the Falls

Paddling up the Zambezi River, in a 2 man kayak over crocodiles and hippos swimming beneath you. Probably the scariest thing I have ever done.

By |May 24th, 2012|Blog|

Happy Guests – Botswana Safari Feedback

Paul went on our 10 Day Botswana Safari! 

Hi Fiona, I just wanted to say that we had the most amazing trip! We’re now at a stop over in London before we head to San Francisco. The best part of the trip was by far the 10 day mobile safari with Penduka. We ended up with the owner, Willem, as our host and he was amazing. Great stories, Great host, Great guide – and we had a great group so everyone got along well. We’re actually now reading a booked published about Willem’s grandfather. It called The Ivory Trail. We just loved riding on top of their vehicle, which we named the Shrekster. One of the best days in my entire life was when we say cheetahs chasing impalas for breakfast (they did not do the kill – it was very half hearted), hippos, giraffass, lions eating a giraffe kills, wild dogs, buffalos, elephants and nearly every time of antelope (kudus, impalas, elands, etc). Everything went off well and as scheduled. Thank you again for your help. Willem spoke very highly of Cape Diversity, by the way. Best, Paul Foster 12 Sep 2011

Go to our Botswana Safari Page here!

By |May 24th, 2012|Blog|

Happy Guests – Madikwe feedback

Stefani stayed at Madikwe Safari Lodge, in the malaria free Madikwe Game Reserve.

Hi Fiona, The trip was fantastic, but most importantly, Madikwe was the absolute highlight!! I was looking forward to it and it absolutely did not disappoint, in fact the actual lodge itself and the game drives too absolutely exceeded my expectations. It was spectacular. The lodges are divine, beautifuly set and just lovely really, you couldn’t wish for any thing more. The service was spectacular, again, you couldn’t wish for anything more. Actually my husband Dave said it really well when talking about the staff there, he said “you couldn’t wish for anything because they’d thought of it all before you could even think of it yourself”. It really was first class, from the second you get up in the morning, to your escort to your room in the evening.

The game drives were brilliant, we saw everything from leopards in trees, to lionesses with a kill for their 8 babies to eat (amazing!!) to a baby rhino, and everything in between. Being an Aussie girl and only having exposure to animals in zoos before this took things to a whole new level – I can never go to a zoo again!! Loved every second of it! Our only regret was that we didn’t stay longer, it was such a relaxing place that even another night there just relaxing would have been lovely! The transfer was excellent too – thank you so much for organising that. I really appreciate you and your teams help in accomodating us, particularly with all the backwards and forwards in the lead up to it, we really do appreciate your guidance and patience, your recommendations were spot on! Thank you so much again – have a great day! Stefani Chinn 25 May 2011

By |May 24th, 2012|Blog|

Happy Guests – Malawi feedback

Hi Fiona, Just a note to say we think of the wonderful trip that you arranged for us to South Africa and Malawi very often. We have been sharing pictures, videos and memories with our friends, each time we are reminded that you provided just the right touch to accomplish what we wanted on this trip. Thanks again, Cedric and Marilyn 10 March 2011

By |May 24th, 2012|Blog|

Amazing Feedback! – Our University Group

Dear Cape Diversity Tours, We experienced an exceptional trip. As you may have heard, the group members really engaged in learning, asking deep questions, and critical thinking as we sought to “compare and contrast” social, natural, bio and historical diversity. Willie’s ability to respond and expand the directions of thought and stay relative to what we were seeing and doing was the key to such success. Our meals and accommodation far exceeded everyone’s expectations. We have formed new friendships and life changing perspectives. It was exciting to observe the “transformational process” in my colleagues and family guests as they traversed this cumulative experience. I have almost continual flashes of persons we met along the way that invited us, however briefly, into their lives, communities, homes, or places of work. I woke up this morning with thoughts of the flitting sugar birds on the brush in the Cape of Good Hope Reserve….Pat Dignum 01 Jan 2010

 

By |February 16th, 2011|Blog|

Food Markets

There is nothing better than getting together with your friends on a Saturday morning and sitting in the sun with a couple of ciders, eating good food, and shooting the breeze. Food Markets are becoming the fastest growing trend in Cape Town this year. My top 3 favourites are: The Neighbourgoods Market at the Old Biscuit Mill – http://www.neighbourgoodsmarket.co.za/
Porter Estate, in Tokai – http://outdoormarket.co.za/
and The Slow Market in Stellenbosch – http://www.slowmarket.co.za

By |January 20th, 2011|Blog, Cape Town Foodie|

Cherry Picking!

Last weekend I went cherry picking! We stayed on a working farm in Ceres, which was spectacular. 6 little eco huts housed us for the weekend. It was truly magical. There is something to be said for having no electricity, it brings you back to yourself. Be sure you bring gas lights and plenty of wood. There is a donkey geyser for outdoor hot showers. For details on cherry picking, visit http://www.cherryfarm.co.za/ Here are some of my pics from the weekend…

By |January 20th, 2011|Blog, Cape Town Foodie, South Africa Blog|

Slanghoek Camping

This year, I spent Christmas in Slanghoek. It is Cape Town’s undiscovered gem. There are load of camping spots on various wine farms, mine was right on the Breede River. There are many activities to do in the area, from hiking, to biking, to kayaking, to fishing and wine tasting. Take a drive and see for yourself, only 45 minutes from Cape Town, through the Hugenot Tunnel. There is a lovely lunch spot called the “Dam Fine Cafe” where you sit under oak trees and enjoy a real ‘boere’ Sunday lunch, with the works! I love it.

By |January 20th, 2011|Blog, South Africa Blog|

Happy New Year!

Welcome to the New Year. I hope it’s a good one. I’m saving up for a holiday to Italy the UK & France.
What are you saving up for?

By |January 19th, 2011|Blog, South Africa Blog|

Camping in Greyton

This weekend I just wanted to get away from the city. So we packed up, rolled up our tents and sleeping bags, and went on a road trip. Destination: Greyton. It is only a 1.5 hour drive from Cape Town. This small town is heavenly, and filled with beautiful shops and restaurants. You can walk around and have breakfast and then tea and cheesecake right after at the many gorgeous delis and restaurants (which is what we did) I highly recommend Abbey Rose. You can camp at the Blue Hippo (on the cheap) or choose from the many B&B’s and guesthouses in Greyton if camping isn’t your thing. The Blue hippo is a retreat with horses and a 2 hectare dam for swimming, it is absolute bliss. That’s us having a picnic (did I mention they have a tipi village?) 🙂

By |December 15th, 2010|Blog, South Africa Blog|

Kamikaze Canyon

This is a trip I did, with Abseil Africa, a while back. If you are in Cape Town over the summer and are into adrenalin sports, then this one is for you. You hike up the rugged river gorge arriving at a series of rock pools. (Very easy) Here you can try your hand at Kloofing, jumping from 3 metres to 22 metres high. (I would recommend that you stop at 14 meters) It might look a little crazy – it is! The reward: You get to Abseil down a 65 metre cascade of water! Lean back off the edge and enter a world of radical abseiling! This was by far the most terrifying thing I have done, but I did it and I felt great! The price is R795pp incl. transport, 3 meals, hiking, abseiling and cliff jumping.

By |December 15th, 2010|Blog, South Africa Blog|

My trip up the Garden Route!

Hello lovely Bloggers. Today I wanted to share with you my trip I did up the Garden Route recently. The Garden Route is South Africa’s best kept secret. It consists of mysterious woodland forests and lakes – and reminds me of Britain’s gorgeous Lake Districs, but with much denser Indigenous forests. You basically travel 5 hours from Cape Town by car until you hit Mossel Bay, George, Wilderness, Knysna, Plett and the Tsitsikamma. It is an Adventurer’s Paradise with so many activities you will not believe it! (Treetop canopy swinging tours, bungi jumping, black water tubing, horse riding, hiking and more) No trip to South Africa is complete without it, and you can do it on the cheap! And include a Safari is you wish. Here is the itinerary I did…

Day 1 – Depart Cape Town at 9am for Mossel Bay. Arrive at 14h00 at Botlierskop Game Reserve. Check into my gorgeous Luxury Tent and enjoy an afternoon Game Drive, and later a sumptuous 5 course dinner!  I rate it the best meal of 2010!

 

 

 

Day 2 – Early morning Game Drive, & Elephant Back Ride. Visit the Lion Sanctuary (read all about it here) Check out of the Lodge and make our way to Gondwana Game Reserve, about a 20 minute drive. Gondwana is the only Fynbos reserve in the world, with free roaming Lion and Black Rhino! It is 11 000 hectares (that is huge!) and the views are breathtaking. Enjoy an evening Game Drive, a wonderful dinner, then bed!

 

 

 

Day 3 – After an early morning Game Drive and breakfast, we set off for Plettenberg Bay! Spend 2 nights at the wonderful Plett River Lodge (costs only R 390.00 per person per night, including breafast!) (that is about US $ 55 each) Plett River Lodge is my new favourite place. It overlooks the Bitou River, with gorgeous accommodation, with your own private deck. It is a home away from home where you can really relax, kick back, and open a bottle of wine from the bar. Today we did nothing, just watched the view from our Deck 🙂 The birdlife is amazing here.

Day 4 – Today we explored Robberg Beaches of Plett, whale watched, and took a drive to Knysna (a 25 minute drive) to explore this quaint little village. Enjoyed a Seafood lunch at the Knysna Quays, which is famous for it’s oysters!

 

 

Day 5 – This morning we checked out and drove a short way to Wilderness. I left the best till last. We really were spolit! I received a free night at The Views, in Wilderness. What an amazing property. Words can’t describe this place, it’s breathtaking.

Day 6 – This morning we check out and make our way back to Cape Town. I feel restored and revitalized. (Did I mention The Views has a Spa?) Be sure to stop for coffee and cheesecake at the Wilderness Farmer’s Market.

By |December 2nd, 2010|Blog, South Africa Blog|

The Harfield Village Festival

This weekend I went to the Harfield Village Street Festival. It occurs every year in Cape Town, around the 27th of November, and is really fantastic. They close off 1st Avenue, and have a street party! There’s everything from art on sale, to clothing, jewelry, food, live music and more! I live 2 streets up so you can drink and be merry and not have to drive anywhere. Perfect. These are some of the pics I took…I hope you enjoy as much as me 🙂

By |December 1st, 2010|Blog, South Africa Blog|

Top Restaurants

Cape Town is the food capital of South Africa. When it comes to dining out, you are simply spoilt for choice. There really is something for every taste. I am a foodie and really passionate about the subject! Here is my list of my favourite restaurants in Cape Town:

La Colombe on Constantia Uitsig Wine Farm (+27 21 794 6500, www.constantia-uitsig.com) in the Cape Town Constantia Winelands is one of the finest restaurants in Cape Town.

Jardine’s in Bree Street (+27 21 424 5640),

Bizerca Bistro near the Cape Town International Convention Centre (+27 21 418 0001) and

The Food Barn (+27 21 789 1390; www.thefoodbarn.co.za)

Mzoli’s Place (+27 21 638 1355)

Bibi’s Kitchen in Wynberg offers spectacular Indian fare; The Food Barn in Noordhoek was started by renowned chef Franck Dangereux and has an excellent bistro menu and relaxed atmosphere; Mzoli’s is an authentically African restaurant in Gugulethu that is known all over the world for its good vibes and meaty menu. For sushi head to Wakame or Wafu (+27 21 433 2377) in Beach Road, Mouille Point (the seafood is also spectacular).

For a touch of Moroccan you have to go to Mojolenas (+27 21 426-2351; www.mojolenas.com ) to try out the chocolate chilli steak and for your fill of fabulous pizza, Vabbo (+27 21 448 0282) is a sure bet.

By |November 23rd, 2010|Blog, Cape Town Foodie, South Africa Blog|
HOT TUBS & HEARTHS
Experience the first Glamping location in the Cape Winelands in Wellington. Located beneath the historic Bainskloof Pass at the foothills of the Groenberg Mountain Range, AfriCamps Doolhof is set within the award-winning Doolhof Wine Estate, a short drive from the picturesque town of Wellington, only 50 minutes from Cape Town. 6 AfriCamps luxury glamping tents are surrounded by vineyards, the Kromme River that runs through the farm and glorious mountain views – best enjoyed while soaking in your outdoor wood-fired hot tub.
Cost: R670.00 per person sharing per night! This Special is valid through Love Africa so contact us for more details https://www.ilove-africa.com/contact-us
The Wines: On Doolhof, two white varietals, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay and a substantial number of reds are grown. They include Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec, Merlot, Pinotage and Shiraz. The white varietals are planted on the eastern slopes of the Groenberg, which allow the grapes cooler days and less direct sunlight. A visit to the estate’s tasting room is a must.
Activities on the Estate include a 5km vineyard hike, the river walk that leads you all along the Kromme River, mountain bike trails that start on the property, a kids mountain bike trail, the gorgeous wine tasting room where you can try some of the estate’s award-winning wines along with a platter or lunch and, of course, the outdoor wood-fired hot tub next to your tent. You can also enjoy a selection of spa treatments from the comfort and privacy of your own tent. Off the property, explore the surrounding area’s popular mountain bike trails, hiking trails and fly-fishing in the Limietberg Nature Reserve, horse riding, touring between various Wellington wine farms and distilleries and world-class golf courses.
ACTIVITIES ON THE FARM
Wine Tasting
Doolhof’s wine tasting room is situated in an original wagon house built in the late 19th century. A large terrace and a garden adjoins the Tasting Room, making it ideal for enjoying the tastings, platters and lunches on offer. You can taste five Doolhof Wines for R50 or try your luck in the weekly mystery tasting.
Wood-fired Hot Tubs
All six tents offer the exclusive use of their own outdoor wood-fired hot tub. A wood-fired hot tub is the purest form of relaxation. Soak up your beautiful Winelands surroundings while listening to the calming crackle of the fire. Or take a dip to cool off during the hot Wellington summers.
Picnic
Delicious picnic lunches including vegetarian are available. Reservations should be made 24 hours in advance with a 50% deposit, and by 12 noon on Fridays for a weekend picnic basket. Doolhof wines of your choice are available at an additional cost. You can enjoy the picnic during a the river walk, vineyard hike or on a grassy spot on the farm.
Spa Treatments
The following treatments are available from the comfort of your tent. Bookings can be made at Doolhof and should be confirmed 24 hours in advance. Prices are subject to change and will be confirmed by Doolhof on booking.
Massage therapy
Aromatherapy massage
Swedish massage
Deep tissue massage
Back & Neck massage 45min
Manicure 45min
Pedicure 50min
Foot massage 30min
Facial 60min
Hiking
Visitors can enjoy a 5km walk through the vineyards or the shorter river walk. Doolhof, which is known for its mysterious hills and valleys, is also home to many small mammals, including buck, porcupine, baboons and even leopard. Ask your host about Viking Adventures @ Doolhof. Join our guide, Jaco for a ride halfway up Groenberg Mountain and hike to the top.
Mountain Biking
The area is very well known for spectacular mountain bike trails and you can start the trails right from Doolhof. The kids can explore the farm during the 3.5km Vineyard Ride. You can rent mountain bikes from the tasting room at R150 per day (subject to availability) or bring your own. Find the Wild Boar trail map in your tent and pick your route!
The Labyrinth
As a tribute to the estate’s history and typographic Labyrinthine characteristics, a small labyrinth was constructed close to the entrance of the farm. This is a fun spot for the kids to play and make their way through the labyrinth.
Viking Adventures @ Doolhof
Viking Adventures offers a range of family friendly tours and activities starting on Doolhof.
Groenberg 4X4: Drive with a military Unimog around the Groenberg Mountain to see a few of our neighbouring farms – 4X4 style. This tour takes 2.5 hours
Ghost House Rock Pool Trip: Drive with an old military Unimog to the old ghost house in the mountains and take a swim in the mountain pools.
Groenberg Hike: A guided drive halfway up the Groenberg Mountain from where guests can hike to the top.
Other Activities in the area
Wine Farms and distilleries
AfriCamps at Doolhof is nestled at the end of the Bovlei Valley and offers an authentic Winelands experience. Taste delicious wines on award-winning wine estates such as Doolhof, Dunstone, Val du Charron, Welvanpas or Bosman, many of which offer country style lunches and snacks. Some of the Estates are in walking distance of Doolhof, but you can also enjoy a bike ride between wine farms. Try world class organic Brandy, Grappa, Port and Cabernet Sauvignon from Upland Organic Wine & Brandy Estate or take a distillery tour at James Sedgwick Distillery where grain and malt whiskies are distilled.
Wellington Wine Walk & Horse Riding
Enjoy a horse ride with well-informed guides, who will introduce you to the local personalities and products of the area by guiding you along private property and quaint routes. They promise to unlock many of the well-kept secrets of Wellington and trust that your walk will be a rewarding experience. Horse riding trails vary from a half-day to a three-day ride.
Mountain Biking Trails
Wellington has amazing mountain bike trails, for beginners, intermediate and advanced riders. A detailed map of trails is available in the tents.
Bainskloof Pass
In the mid-nineteenth century a good connection route from the region around Wellington to the inland of South Africa was needed. In 1846 Andrew Geddes Bain explored the mountain and in 1849 began with the construction of a road through the gorge. Today the 26km Bainskloof Pass is recognized as a national monument and makes for a beautiful drive with stunning views over the Boland.
Hiking
The Limietberg Nature Reserve offers various hiking trails through fynbos rich areas dotted with clear rock pools giving hikers the opportunity to cool off. The reserve is only 10 minutes’ drive from Doolhof. Here are a few of our suggestions.
Wellington Museum
The museum features not only the cultures, artefacts, traditional tools, musical instruments and jewellery of various African ethnic groups but also prides itself in having ties with countries as far afield as America, England, Scotland, France and the Netherlands. It exhibits Stone-Age artefacts, a major collection of Egyptian artefacts and tells the stories of various pioneers who made their mark on the history of South Africa. Visit the Museum and discover the age-old mysteries of Africa.