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Posts tagged ‘Accommodation’

The unpretentious groove of Green Point

Bordering on Cape Town central and the V & A Waterfront and incorporating a spacious common this district is being visibly upgraded on a weekly basis.

A new showcase sport stadium that will host Cape Town ’s 2010 World Cup football games is well on the way to completion with the Green Point Urban Park project bringing fresh and landscaped outdoor amenities into this increasingly prosperous, solidly fashionable part of town.

– Capital Punishment, Streetwalking and Michael Jackson on stage: Solid Foundations for a new Green Point –

Not so very long ago this Cape Town city precinct was the kind of place that offered you few reasons to visit it.

There was the Cape Town traffic department, known as Gallows Hill (the penalties for parking transgressions were severe and final), still there, still uncharming yet necessary.

If you were feeling a little gay or a lot gay then The Bronx  bar and meeting place of gentlefolk was reliably available. And on the corners of solidly named roads like Vesperdene and St George’s ladies of the night turned their good sides to oncoming headlights.

– Character acquires grooming and manners too –

Green Point had lots of character and through the recent changes in and around it has acquired a bit of grooming and manners too.

Being one of the closest suburbs to Cape Town, on the boundary of the old harbour and Victoria and Alfred Waterfront with a sizeable landmass covered with middle-class houses and smallish blocks of flats has led this area to be targeted for mostly successful densification, renovation and commercialisation.

– Green Point Central –

As we move west from Cape Town and past De Waterkant along Somerset Road, the influence of the Cape Town V&A Waterfront becomes more strongly felt.

There are two direct access points to this upmarket harbour complex, via Ebenezer Road to the east and Portswood Road a bit to the west.

– Green Point development in similar class to the Waterfront –

The Waterfront Marina has reached saturation point with regards to hotel and residential development causing similar class of development to occur in Green Point on the Waterfront ’s southern boundary.

A penthouse suite in the under-construction One and Only Hotel (owned by resort tycoon, Sol Kerzner, of Sun City fame who went and made it bigger in Las Vegas: so the crudely ostentatious name stands to reason) has just sold for R110 million which inevitably sends high value reverberations into the immediate vicinity.

– A swathe of glossy modern apartments and all-suite hotels –

And so the Green Point stretch alongside this has responded with a swathe of glossy and modern apartment blocks and luxury all-suite hotels.

These provide excellent accommodation choices that offer better value than the Waterfront Marina by being on the outer edge of the Waterfront perimeter yet having fast direct access to all the Waterfront attractions.

– The unpretentious groove of Green Point –

And you get the veneer of Green Point street credibility that fails to penetrate the high-tech Waterfront security net. Good food outlets, delicatessens, coffee shops, a few first floor balcony lounge bars and the massive liquor and wine warehouse, Ultra Liquors,  pepper the pavements and add to the unpretentious groove of Green Point.

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Green Point Self Catering

Addo Elephant Park – Encounter Nature’s Gentle Giants

South Africa is certainly a wildlife mecca, and one of the best places to see Africa’s largest land mammal up close is at the Addo Elephant Park. Nestled in the bushveld of the Sunday’s River region, this impressive nature reserve was originally proclaimed a protected area in 1931. At that time, only eleven elephants remained in the area and they were in desperate need of these conservation and protection measures to ensure their survival.

Today this pachyderm sanctuary is home to over 450 elephants, amongst other wildlife. The reserve has been extended a number of times over the years and now encompasses the largest coastal dune field in southern Africa. Addo Elephant Park is home to the Big 7 – elephant, rhino, lion, buffalo, leopard, southern right whale and great white shark – as well as the largest breeding population of Cape gannets in the world and the second largest population of African penguins. In between the animals, the park has a rich heritage of archaeological and historical sites, a wide variety of accommodation, and five of the country’s seven major biomes. Other animals you can currently see in the park include Cape buffalo, black rhino, a variety of antelope, the flightless dung beetle, the black-backed jackal, meerkat (suricate), zebra, ostrich and warthog.

The reserve facilities feature a restaurant, a lake, a small shop and more than one game viewing area. Accommodation includes bungalows that can be hired or camping grounds. There is a hotel a short distance away at Zuurburg. Visitors over the age of six can enjoy game drives, though it is advised that you not take citrus fruit with you whilst on safari. Drives can be enjoyed at sunrise, sunset, at night and during the course of the day and each different time of day will afford different game viewing opportunities. If you prefer to navigate your own way around the park, you can make use of the Eyethu Hop-on service where trained guides can join you in your vehicle and guide you through the area. In doing so you will be supporting a local community project and a family. Other activities at Addo Elephant Park include hiking, horseback trails, bird watching, 4×4 trails and day walks. Make sure that you make the most of your trip to Addo Elephant Park and you’ll never forget your stay here.

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Addo Game Lodge

The Addo Elephants

Hunting for ivory began in earnest in the early 1700s. By the 1900s hunters had exterminated most of the remaining elephants and other game in the area. Only isolated herds remained – the largest of these in the Addo region, it being 140 elephants. The last black rhino in the Eastern Cape was shot at Graaff-Reinet in 1880. The last lion in the Eastern Cape was shot in East Griqualand in 1879. Growth in agriculture in the region led to conflict with elephants as they damaged crops and competed with farmers’ needs for water. Local farmers put pressure on the government to exterminate elephants. In the 1830s Mr. Thackwray was killed by an elephant while hunting. Legend says that he was challenged to chalk a cross on the back leg of a sleeping elephant to win the heart of a lady. In 1900, Mr. Attrill (who was married to the widow of the farm Gorah) and his foster son, Sidney, went hunting elephants. Attrill was killed by an elephant. In 1902, Sidney disappeared into the bush. His body was later found.

People, including the Port Elizabeth and Uitenhage Farmers’ Associations, called on the government to exterminate the elephants. In 1919 Major P.J. Pretorius was tasked to shoot the remaining elephants. He set up his camp in Kinkelbos. He used various methods while hunting, including a ladder to see over the thick Addo bush. He shot 114 elephants between 1919 and 1920. He also caught two elephant calves and sold them to Mr. Boswell for his circus. Pretorius then applied to shoot one elephant in the Knysna forest for “scientific purposes” but shot between two and five (according to various reports). His activities generated publicity and sympathy for the elephants, prompting the halt of the killing when only 16 elephants remained.

In the 1920s there was little protection for the remaining Addo elephants so they took refuge on the land of a sympathetic farmer, Mr. J.T. Harvey, near Barkley Bridge. In 1925 the Strathmore and Mentone Forest Reserve was set aside for the elephants. In 1931 the Addo Elephant National Park (about 5 000 ha) was proclaimed when there were only eleven elephants left. The first Park manager, Stephen Harold Trollope (a former Kruger National Park ranger), chased the elephants into the Addo Park area using shotguns, firecrackers and fires. The area was inadequately fenced and the movement of elephants continued to cause problems on surrounding Addo farmland. Elephants were killed as a result of conflicts with farmers and collisions with trains.

In 1933, Trollope started supplying oranges, hay, pumpkins, lucerne and pineapples to elephants in order to keep them within the Addo Park boundaries, which was effective. Since elephants visited the feeding site at certain times, the practice of inviting visitors began. The feeding caused problems of its own which is the reason why there is a sign warning visitors not to take citrus into the game area. In 1954, Graham Armstrong (the Addo Park manager at the time) developed an elephant-proof fence using tram rails and lift cables and an area of 2270 hectares was fenced in. There were 22 elephants at the time. This Armstrong fence, named after its developer, is still used around the Addo Elephant National Park today. The feeding of citrus, lucerne and the like, continued after the fence was erected in order to increase the chance of visitors seeing the Addo elephants from outside the fence. The Sundays River Citrus Co-operative was donating substandard oranges and grapefruit. A viewing ramp and floodlights were erected for visitors.

By 1976 about 25-30 tons of oranges were fed during the winter months. For want of a better system, a truck would enter the game area and dump the oranges. Elephants would run behind, screaming, roaring and grabbing oranges from the truck. They would be scared away from the entrance gate (when the truck departed) by whips, throwing bricks and shouts. The vegetation around the feeding area was decimated, as elephants did not move out of the area for fear of missing the feeding sessions. Levels of aggression between the elephants rose and many were injured. Many elephant cows showed signs of stress by the secretions from their temporal glands when competing for oranges. Due to all these signs, the practice of feeding citrus was gradually phased out by 1979. Elephant numbers grew from 22 in 1954 to 100 in 1979. Today there are more than 400 elephants in the Addo Elephant National Park.

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Addo Elephant National Park

South African Taxi Travel

South African taxi travel combines the services of regular, metered taxis with the somewhat unconventional minibus system, which has a language and code of its own. Metered taxis are recommended, although a ride on a minibus can provide interesting insights into the lives and cultures of ordinary South Africans.

South African taxi travel is unlike that of most other countries in the world. Here, you will not find South African taxis simply driving the streets, waiting to be hailed at the next street corner. Rather, taxis in South Africa must be specifically telephoned for service, which can become tricky if you plan to visit several sites or destinations in a day.

South African taxi travel can be broadly categorised according to two sectors: metered taxis and what’s commonly referred to as minibus taxis.

Metered taxis are definitely the international visitor’s best bet. They can be called from the hotel where you’re staying, with hotel staff recommending the best local services to use. Metered taxis are private, offer door-to-door service and generally efficient, with experienced drivers behind the wheel.

However, compared to hiring your own car, using a shuttle service or booking a tour that includes transport, metered taxis can be quite costly.

Minibus taxis serve the general population, as public transport that is able to pick up and drop off passengers in areas not serviced by the country’s bus and rail networks. It’s a somewhat unconventional service, in that routes are determined by the drivers and there are no specific scheduled stops – taxis simply stop wherever a passenger needs to alight.

Hailing these taxis is also a matter of knowing your sign language, for each route and destination has its own specific sign which passengers use to flag down drivers.

While a ride on a minibus taxi will certainly provide you with an authentic South African travel experience, this service must be used with caution. The vehicles are often not maintained properly and therefore unroadworthy, and drivers have the tendency to drive recklessly.

If you’re interested in a minibus ride while in South Africa, take a short trip accompanied by an experienced guide or a local who understands the system well.

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Car Rental in South Africa

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