Travel and Car Hire Blog

Posts tagged ‘south’

Universities in South Africa

The decision of where and what to study is one of the most important decisions you will have to make. Hundreds of pamphlets, advertisements and representatives from Universities in South Africa will try to make the decision for you however at the end of the day, armed with an overload of information that has been handed to you; you alone can make the move towards what you want.

South Africa is home to the top three universities in Africa. In 2010 the University of Cape Town ranked number one – if you choose this university as your tertiary education institution  not only will you leave with a sought after qualification but you would have studied underneath the guidance of some of the top lecturers and resources on the continent. The University of Pretoria and the University of Stellenbosch rank second and third, and without a doubt will give an education and tertiary education experience to be proud of.

The decision of what to study can often lead to where to study. There are many Universities in South Africa that are renowned for being the best at giving certain degrees. For example, Rhodes University in Grahamstown is notorious for their excellent journalism faculty and degree, and the best place to study veterinary science is at the University of Pretoria.  Another factor involved is language. Although it is compulsory to learn two languages at school level, most students would prefer to attend a University that teaches in their mother tongue. The University of Stellenbosch mostly lectures in Afrikaans, however some of the courses are also taught in English. The Mangosuthu University of Technology is accommodating towards Zulu speaking students, as the institution is in Kwa-Zulu Natal, the province which is home to the largest population of South African Zulu speakers.

Unfortunately one of the factors that must be considered when applying to a University are its fees. Many bursaries are offered to previously disadvantaged students, and those who wish to pay back their university fees can often take out student loans. Unfortunately student loans are not available to foreign students but many scholarships can be won by students from African countries wishing to study in South Africa. Foreigners who otherwise wish to study at one of the Universities in South Africa will find that they may have to pay higher fees than their fellow students who are South African citizens.

South Africans have a wide choice of tertiary education institutions to choose from, ranging from collages, schools, and universities. Although the decision of where to go is a big one which must not be taken lightly, a University degree will nudge you a step above the rest and may even anchor you a career in a shaky economy.  Not only will you receive a good education but you’ll make new friends and contacts to later network with, and will have the opportunity to become involved in University events, outings, and committees. Lastly, a University degree can never be taken away from you and an education is never worthless. By attending a University, not only will you be one of the elite to be fortunate enough to get this education and experience, but you will be able to make a valuable contribution to your society and work towards your dream career.

Self drive holidays in Cape Town and the surrounding areas

Cape Town is a vibrant, cosmopolitan city with dramatic mountains as a backdrop, and expansive oceans stretching as far as the eye can see. This world-renowned holiday destination is consistently, rated the best South African tourist city and each year there are even more visitors arriving on its shores. What is truly unique about Cape Town is that you can journey from wine farms to shopping centres to Table Mountain, in a scenic 30-90 minute drive.

Top Cape Town Destinations

Wildlife enthusiasts will love the Cape Point Nature Reserve situated a scenic 25-minutes south of the Cape Town CBD, in the 22 100 hectare, Table Mountain National Park. The ocean at the nature reserve is crystal clear; this is where the warm Mozambique current of the Indian Ocean and the cold Bengula current of the Atlantic Ocean meet. There are hundreds of species of flora and fauna to observe whilst driving through the reserve there are also spectacular snorkelling spots, barbeque spots and the acclaimed Two Oceans Restaurant which offers world class cuisine and spectacular vistas over False Bay.

When we think of Cape Town, we often think of world famous Table Mountain. At a height of 1,073 metres, it is the single most prominent feature of the Cape Town region and one of the cities greatest tourist attractions. Whether you chose to travel up via the cable car or hike up one of the many paths once you reach the top you will be overwhelmed by some of the most gorgeous vistas imaginable.

The Cape Town beaches are some of the most beautiful in the world. Most are in close proximity to vibrant restaurants and bustling shopping centres. Spending lazy summer days on the beach are a favourite pass time amongst visitors to the Western Cape and once you’ve had your fill of the sun what could be better than sipping cocktails at one of the beachfront cafes over looking the exquisite African sun setting over the clear ocean water.

The Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, a popular hotspot among locals and international visitors, is a must visit on your self drive holiday in Cape Town. Live entertainment takes place in the amphitheatre and you can browse and buy anything from couture to curio at the craft markets and the wide variety of stores located within the V&A. Marine lovers should not miss a visit to the Two Oceans Aquarium. One of the greatest highlights at the aquarium is the predator tank, which is home to several Ragged Tooth Sharks.

A short boat ride from the V&A Waterfront lies Robben Island; former home to Nelson Mandela while he was imprisoned under the apartheid regime – a South African national monument not to be missed by visitors to the Cape.

Drive up the West Coast

Approximately an hour from Cape Town lies the West Coast – a region of sheer beauty, which stretches 400km across the coast and consists of several small towns and villages, each with its own particular ambiance. The best time to visit is spring when the wild flowers are blooming and form a carpet on the ground from coast to mountain. The West Coast wildflowers are world renowned, and people come here each year, to view this spectacular sight. There are 38 towns along the West Coast and a self drive holiday up the coast stopping in at as many of them as possible will be highly rewarding. Each town has its own unique attractions and apart from the magnificent wild flowers the entire coast offers excellent opportunities for water sports and extreme adventures.

The Winelands

South Africa has earned international acclaim as one of the world’s best wine producing nations. The Western Cape is home to South Africa’s premier wine industry and the Stellenbosch, Paarl, Franschhoek, and Constantia wine routes are all within 45-minutes drive from the heart of Cape Town. These wine routes consist of a number of wine estates, where you can sample award-winning wines, take in some of the most spectacular scenery and have lunch in an acclaimed restaurant. The wine estates are set in impressive expanses of vineyards; with Cape Dutch style farmhouses, and incredible landscapes. The best way to see these estates is to drive the wine route at your own pace, stopping at locations along the way that tickle your fancy. No holiday to South Africa is complete without a day on one of the Western Cape’s gorgeous wine routes and don’t forget to buy some wine while you’re at it – you’ll appreciate it when you get back home.

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Car Hire Cape Town

Why Car Hire Is Better Than Public Transport, Taxis Or A Coach Tour

When on holiday at a particular resort we will always want to take that trip out to see a famous landmark or tourist attraction. The question is whether to hire a car, take a coach tour, or avail of public transport (if there is any!) that will whisk us away to see those in demand tourist sights.

Without a doubt availing of a hired car is the very best option. Read on and we will tell you why…

Firstly, car hire allows you to be flexible and independent in your travel. You can go wherever you wish, and at a time that suits you! And what’s more, if you come across a beautiful spot that you can take a great video clip or photo of, you can stop off without a care in the world, enjoy the attraction, take your time there, and get make the most of that photo session!Hiring a car is a one off payment, and you know the exact price before you head off on your vacation. You factor that into your holiday budget and away you go. Nowadays there are so many rental companies out there offering cheap car hire so you have plenty of choice in availing of a quality car rental deal!If you have children then you will know that travelling during a holiday can sometimes be stressful and unsettling for the little ones. Car hire solves all this. You can stop and start whenever you want, and with the presence of child restraints and booster seats you will have total peace of mind that travelling with kids in a hired car is completely safe. You can provide entertainment on board in the form of DVD players, music or making up your own games between yourselves!

To this end, choose your own musical soundtrack by CD or using your plugged in mp3/ipod player for your very own road trip. And you can select a DVD for the DVD player to keep the kids entertained in the back seats!

Entering into a car hire agreement for your holiday is so much better and straightforward. And better for your wallet! In these days of recession, people are looking for a better deal all the time, and car hire often works out cheaper than public transport, especially when you are travelling from attraction to attraction or resort to resort at your own pace, and as well the cost of the car is shared. You can book in advance and make the most of any special car rental offers that come on board.

You are not stuck to rigid public transport timetables, and by hiring a car you will not be hanging around at a bus or train station waiting for a connection.

Taxis and independent coach hire companies can be very expensive, and would love nothing more than to fleece the innocent and attraction-seeking tourist!

Hiring a car can help you get to more attractions in less time, if you take the easiest and quickest route. With a bit of forward planning, the use of GPS and a good roadmap, you will come across the very best attractions near your holiday destination!

Even if you are not planning on doing too much driving around throughout your holiday, hiring a car at your arrival airport can offer you so many benefits. Not only will you avoid having to pay an outrageous taxi fare for your arrival and return journey to your holiday resort, it is very convenient if you have an early morning return flight and you have plenty of baggage to get to the terminal!

So the travel advice we recommend to you is  – shop around and get the very best car rental deal that offers you exactly what you want.

Have you hired a car or taken public transport and other modes of transport during your holidays? What do you recommend?

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

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