South Africa has many faces! Think about….
Explore the world’s longest wine route! The country’s first plants were grafted from French and Spanish vines back in 1655, to become the root of the Constantia Wine industry, thriving by the 1700s and still vibrant today. In Constantia country, chase your vineyard tour with a dinner-to-remember at Brad’s Grill, “a hugely popular restaurant thanks to… well.. Brad”! (2nd Avenue, Harfield Village, Kenilworth  671 2527. Link to Brad’s). Or stay a few nights at at boutique hotel in Stellenbosch, and travel the VineHopper to any of the 100 surrounding vineyards. Want to learn more? Twitter with Micheal Olivier (http://twitter.com/Michael_Olivier) who says, “All you need to understand wine is to have a glass and a corkscrew”! Or pick up AFRICA UNCORKED: Travels in Extreme Wine Territory, a travelogue about wine tasting throughout Africa.
Abseil 112 meters off Table Mountain (think rappelling), sandboard the dunes of the Northern province, surf the tubes in Jeffery’s Bay, 0r go wild and cage dive with the Great White Sharks!
Explore the history of humankind! Dating 3 million years old, sculls and skeletons of the first hominids are still being excavated in the UNESCO site, “Cradle of Humankind.” See it firsthand while spelunking in Sterkfontein and Wonder Caves! Then visit the highly-praised exhibit at Maropeng for underground boat rides, extensive fossil exhibits, and helpful interpretation. For more on this topic, stay tuned to toughlovetravel.blogspot.com later this month!
- THE CAPE OF GOOD HOPE
Drive the Cape Route! Envision Big Sur wildness down Bermudian garden lanes. Loop the peninsula south of Cape Town through colonial towns along the east coast and boardwalked beaches on the west, past ostrich farms and vineyards… braking for baboons…even a colony of penguins! If walking’s more your “thing”, try the famous 70-km trail to Cape Point on an ambitious but awesome 5-day guided trek! A fantastic guide/writer on Cape hikes for all levels is Mike Lundy. http://www.hikecapetown.co.za/
- THE FIFA WORLD CUP 2010
Join the frenzy for the “Olympics of Soccer”!. South Africa was awarded this once-every-four-year hosting privilege, and the action starts June 11th, 2010. It’ll run for about 30 days, with over 200 teams from around the globe competing in 9 stadiums, in 8 cities, across SA. To read about the brightest soccer stars, the competition of the different national teams, and what to expect at World Cup, go to FIFA Tournament News. To learn about the international ticketing process, go to FIFA ticketing procedures (we’re now in Stage 2). And if all this sounds just too confusing, call my cell and we’ll talk (609.923.0304). Once you get your match tickets, I can also help with lodging (from homestays to boutique hotels, to “buspackers” to 5*s), transportation between venues, and must-see sightseeing.
- TRAIL THE TRIBES
With 13 languages (including sign language), South Africa is ripe with tribal heritage. See the Zulu Kraals and their cattle culture, follow the Ghandi Trail, volunteer in a building project for a tribal playground, or homestay with a Xhusa family on the Wild coast! For some great cultural museums in Zulu-Natal, go to KwaZulu Museums.
Walk through Soweto, the famous shantytown of SW Johannesburg, and follow the routes… or roots… of Apartheid. Meet the locals in their homes and listen to the stories of the schoolchildren that unfolded right there on Soweto’s streets, then spread worldwide! Open your mind at the Apartheid museum, then travel to Robben Island, off of Cape Town, and pay respects to Nelson Mandela’s cell and garden plot from his decades of imprisonment. For a slideshow of Soweto, go to Tough Love Travel on Facebook!
Shoot (with a camera lens!) the Big 7 (elephants, leopards, rhino, buffalo, and lions… plus sharks and whales!) at Addo Elephant park, or go to SA’s #1 Park, Kruger. (Check out YouTube’s Battle At Kruger– below!) If you have the time, you can even take a weekend jaunt up to Namibia to search for the rare black rhino. Remember, there are walking, elephant-back, jeep, mokoro, self-drive, 5*, and mobile tent safaris… email me at Melanie@toughlovetravel.com to find out more!
South Africa is truly a rich stew, or “bredie’, as they call it in Afrikaans, the local Dutch polyglot. The best way to see it is by sampling ALL of these themes, and with the dollar strong –about 1 USD for 9 Rand, getting you a sandwich for $2 and a cab for about $10 – it’s a great time to go!