Monday, 30 June 2008

AdventureEscapades.co.za - New Team Member


Ernest Roper (Ern) will be joining us from the 1st July as a fully fledged partner in AdventureEscapades.co.za and will initially be handling all listing sales and support.

Ern comes with an impressive track record in franchising and his last position was that of Regional General Manager of all PostNet franchises in the Western Cape. He is a keen outdoor adventurer and recently completed his first Comrades Marathon.

This is a very exciting time for the AdventureEscapades.co.za team and we would like to welcome Ern and wish him all the best in his new position.

Sunday, 29 June 2008

Adventure Activity Operators - do you want more business?


We can help!!

AdventureEscapades.co.za is South Africa's most comprehensive Adventure Activity web portal and currently has over 100,000 hits a month. Visitors to the site are coming from within South Africa, as well as North America, Europe and Australasia, and we can help drive them to your activity.

Want to find out how? Click here for more information.

Saturday, 28 June 2008

Focus on Limpopo


Following on from yesterday's post, we thought we would start sharing some useful information on the nine provinces in South Africa with you. Limpopo is the gateway to Zimbabwe, through Beit Bridge or, at this point, through a barbed wire fence. Limpopo also borders Mozambique and Botswana.

The main centres are Polokwane (capital), Potgietersrus, Tzaneen, Phalaborwa … we’d love to be a fly on the wall when you try to say those after a couple of sundowners!

Limpopo has some amazing deposits of copper, chrome, vanadium, diamonds and phosphates. And, tourism is starting to increase and it’s fast becoming a popular stepping stone to the Kruger National Park, the world's best known natural game reserve.

Limpopo is the northern most province in South Africa and it borders Moçambique, Zimbabwe and Botswana.

The region offers an amazing array of superb scenic landscape, multi-faceted cultural heritage, an abundance of wildlife species and many nature based tourism activity operators.

It is claimed that Limpopo is a land of legends, myths and of ancient civilizations. If you’re really into your history you will find many places archaeologically superb that yielded relics dating back millions of years.

Go to AdventureEscapades.co.za for a list of adventure activities in Limpopo.

Friday, 27 June 2008

South Africa - Facts you need to know...


Which streets would be my best bet for lion sightings?

Alrighty then, seems we need to clear something up. There’s been a rather persistent and popular rumour circulating over the years that we have lions running around not only on our mountains, but even in our streets.

Now, admittedly, we are a crazy, adventure-loving bunch; but risking life and limb every time we go out to get the post would be a little over the top, even for us.

We have plenty of lions, but they all live in game reserves – it is true that some mad-cap people in fact live in these reserves too and do have to watch their backs when they go out to get their post, but that’s another story for another day.

If you’re coming in to South Africa there are a few facts you really just need to be aware of - Travel information on South Africa

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Magaliesberg Canopy Tours


The MAGALIESBERG CANOPY TOUR is a unique eco-adventure that takes clients on a 2,5 hour tour down the spectacular Ysterhout Kloof, set in the ancient Magaliesberg Mountains.

Eleven platforms have been built against the cliffs and rock faces of the kloof and are joined by long steel cables that clients slide along to reach the next platform. Much like a "foefie" slide, the canopy tour essentially involves zigzagging down the kloof while stopping at each platform to admire the expansive views and surrounding ecology.

Two trained canopy guides assure the safety of each participant while describing interesting facts about the indigenous plants, bird life, ecology and geology of the area. This is definitely an activity not to be missed.

Excitometer = 8 / Fear Factor = 5 / Value for Money = 9

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Helicopter Tours in the Drakensberg


With the magnificant Drakensberg Mountains on their door step, Westline offer scenic flights daily from their base at the Dragon Peaks Mountain Resort's Airfield. Dragon Peaks is in the Central Drakensberg, in close proximity to the Drakensberg Sun Hotel, Champagne Sports Resort, The Nest Hotel, Champagne Castle Hotel and the world renowned Drakensberg Boys Choir School.

They opperate two Robinson 44 Raven II helicopters with Brett and Kevin being the two full time pilots. Each helicopter seats 3 passengers and the pilot. The two standard flight options are the Scenic flight; a 15-20min flight from Dragon Peaks up to the main escarpment, flying past Sterkhorn, Cathkin and Champagne Castle.

The second is the Champagne Landing, similar to the Scenic but they first land on the Little Berg at around 7000 ft for a glass of Champagne or Juice, then carry on up to the escarpment and then back down to Dragon Peaks.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

An Excellent Resource for Water and Air Activities


If the wind is going to affect your activity, you will definitely want to have a look at this excellent resource. WindGURU has 72 hour forecasts, broken down into 3 hour intervals.

Wind Speed and Direction are included, as well as additional general weather details like temperature, cloud cover and expected rainfall. For water sports, like surfing, wind surfing and Kite Boarding, there are also forecasts for wave height, period and direction. All in all, a great adventure activity web resource.

Monday, 23 June 2008

Snow sports in sunny South Africa!


This week, the annual SA National Skiing Championships is taking place in the remote mountain village of Tiffendel. Situated in the Southern Drakensberg, the remote resort is a good ten to fourteen hours from the major cities in South Africa.

The season is fairly short and snow machines are used to supplement the natural snow. Although the runs are not as long as those in Europe, Tiffendel looks and feels like a typical alpine ski resort. Gear can be rented and Instructors are at hand to help the first-timers. If you can't afford to take the family to Switzerland for a skiing holiday, Tiffendel offers a unique South African Alternative.

We have just heard of a new Ski Resort in the Northern Drakensberg, which is a lot closer to both Johannesburg and Durban, so watch this space or navigate to the Snow Skiing / Boarding page on AdventureEscapades.co.za

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Hiking Table Mountain


If you are reasonable fit, one of the best ways to see the Cape Peninsula is to hike up Table Mountain. There are many routes up and down the mountain, ranging from a gentle hike, to extreme mountain climbing. For those who are not as fit as they would like, there is always the option of taking the cable car up to the top of the Table Mountain and then hiking down.

A word of caution is necessary here. The weather changes very quickly on the mountain and it is strongly advisable to take warm clothing and plenty of fluids. The mountain can also be extremely dangerous - strong winds, mist and dangerous cliffs are a lethal combination and sadly, several hikers have lost their lives on the mountain. The safest way to hike on Table Mountain is to use a mountain guide, who knows the mountain and will escort you safely up and down.

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Shark Cage Diving - A uniquely SA Experience



There are a host of Shark Cage Diving operators in the Western Cape, that offer you the chance to see a Great White Shark from the relative safety of a Shark Cage. If you would like to see these magnificent creatures 'up close and personal', then this is the experience for you.

Friday, 20 June 2008

Mountain Bike World Cup - South Africa Apr 09



The Mountain Bike World Cup will be heading to Pietermaritzburg in April 2009. Pietermaritzburg is the capital of Kwazulu-Natal and is the home of World Mountain Bike Champion Greg Minaar.

The event will be held on the 11th and 12th of April, two weeks after the Cape Epic and local organisers hope to entice in some of the Epic riders to stay for the World Cup which will feature Cross Country, Downhill and Four Cross.

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Featured Activity - Falaza Game Park and Spa



What an unbelievable experience. We had the pleasure of being treated to a wonderful weekend at the Falaza Game Park and Spa and what a weekend it turned out to be.

Although we arrived quite late after a long drive a very warm friendly welcome awaited us. We were quickly shown to our beautiful tent and handed a welcome drink while our luggage was being brought up (now that's what I call real service!) We headed down to dinner and were in for a real treat. Not only was the atmosphere and food superb but the highlight was being able to enjoy it while watching the family of rhino grazing on the lawn not 10m from where we were sitting.

Over the weekend we met the friendly and efficient Falaza team, had a night drive around Falaza, a morning drive and cooked breakfast in Umfolozi-Hluhluwe and to top it all off the most wonderfully relaxing body treatment in the spa on the property.

A short article can never do justice to what we experienced. We spend a lot of time in reserves and at resorts but Falaza has something truly unique. Situated just outside Hluhluwe means it also has a lot to offer with St Lucia and Sodwana only a stone's throw away. If you're heading up to Northern Zululand or need a wonderfully relaxing get-away, we can highly recommend this great location. Just watch out for the Rhino's - they like to get real close!

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Dragon Boat Racing - Great for Team Building


This exciting, 2400 year old team sporting adventure, is available in both Johannesburg and Cape Town. These majestic boats were traditionally made of teak, but are now more commonly made from fibreglass or aluminium.

Teams of up to 22 people, compete against each other in the four boats available. There are currently organised leagues throughout the year, but the boats are available for corporate team building events.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Site Updates - AdventureEscapades.co.za


We are busy with another exciting round of web updates for AdventureEscapades.co.za. The updates will go live on Friday the 20th June and are largely aimed at helping you get the most out of our website. Amongst the updates, will be a new 'Quick Search' feature, which will allow you to search for the areas, that offer your particular activity of choice. Check in on Friday and let us know what you think - we really do appreciate your comments and feedback!

Monday, 16 June 2008

Crocodile Cage Diving - Oudtshoorn



The lesser know 'cousin' to Shark Cage Diving, Crocodile Cage Diving is a land based activity and is offered in Oudtshoorn. To our knowledge, this is the only place in the world that offers this extreme activity. The crocodiles can be up to 4m long and are man-eating predators!!

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Cool Runnings - Part II


I am in Cape Town for a few days on business and have my daughter with me. We were looking for something that both of us could do together and when I mentioned a toboggan ride, she went wild.

The experience was brilliant!! This is the perfect family adventure. We had a couple of rides together and she then plucked up enough courage to go on a few rides herself. Kudos to the owner(s) who have a pricing structure in place that blew me away (literally and figuratively). For kids aged 8-14, you can get a three ticket ride for R30, but R150 buys you a month OPEN ticket!!! - same pricing structure for adult tickets.

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Extreme Skydiving Adventure



In October 2008, a group of Skydivers from across the world will be taking part in a unique Skydiving Experience - a jump from 29,000ft next to the highest mountain in the world. There are places available on the trip and for a tandem jump, no previous experience is required. If you fancy a once-in-a-lifetime experience and have fairly deep pockets, you can find more information The tour is hosted by here.

The entire extreme experience will be captured on film by award-winning documentary producer Leo Dickinson and the film will be made available for world wide distribution.

Friday, 13 June 2008

Bungeeeeee.... World's Highest Commercial Jump


The Bloukrans Bridge Bungee jump is situated along the Garden Route and is about 40km East of Plettenberg Bay. At 216m, it is the highest commercially operated bungee jump in the world. The Bloukrans bridge is the highest and largest bridge in Africa.

While you are there you can also go on the flying fox, a 200m 'foofie' (cable) slide and if you cannot muster up the courage for either of these extreme adventure activities, you can go on a guided tour of the bridge in a specially designed catwalk underneath the bridge.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Ballooning in South Africa


South Africa is well known for it's diverse landscapes and coastline and there is no better way to see it that from a hot air balloon. Balloon flights normally take place at dawn or dusk, where the lighting is picture-perfect for photographers.

Some of our top ballooning spots are the arid Karoo landscape around Oudtshoorn, the rolling hills of the Natal Midlands, the beautifull Cape Winelands and The Cradle of Mankind (West of Johannesburg). The picture above was taken by Juliet James from the UK, on her recent trip to SA.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Mountain Biking and Wine combo?


"Oak Valley, a leading Elgin winery, situated alongside the N2, has recently launched the Oak Valley Mountain Biking Experience, a 21-kilometre mountain biking route on this beautiful 1 786-hectare mountain-side farm. The Experience is the brainchild of Oak Valley’s winemaker, Pieter Visser, an avid mountain biker himself, who has ensured that the route, although a red route (classified as difficult) is suitable for young and old and the experienced biker.

The route rose to prominence earlier this year when the gruelling ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike race from Knysna to Somerset West camped at Oak Valley farm on the race’s penultimate day. The final part of the route that day saw the competitors wind their way up and down steep vineyard- and fynbos-covered slopes of the Groenlandberg, on their way to their overnight stop at the lower-lying oak-strewn section of Oak Valley farm." - Issued by Pozy & Jeremy Hazell. Picture Credit - Fernando Weberich

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Freedom Trail - A Mountain Biking Adventure


The day after 12000 runners will have finished the grueling 87km from Durban to Pietermaritzburg, a mere 60 Mountain Biking enthusiasts (nutters!) will be embarking on a slightly longer challenge.

The Freedom Trail is an ultra Mountain Bike staged event, which starts in Pietermaritzburg and ends in Paarl (near Cape Town), about 2300km away. The race has a 26 day cut-off time and you are well looked after for the duration of the journey.

The organiser have put an extra event on this year, the Extreme Triathalon. Only for those that have been officially certified as insane, this event combines the 87km Comrades Marathon, with the 2300km Freedom Trail Mountain Bike race followed by the 240km Berg River Canoe Marathon. If you have nothing else to do between the 16th June and the 12th of July, why not give this a shot :)

Monday, 9 June 2008

Something Different - Field Guide Training


Are you not happy with seeing the big five from the safety of your rental car? Well this adventure might just be for you. Antares Field Guide Training Centre in Phalaborwa, near the Kruger National Park, offers you the opportunity to become a qualified field guide.

The company is owned by Ian Owtram, who is assisted by his wife Mel. Looking at their website, the testimonials from previous students paint a glowing picture of the course and life skills acquired during the course. Unfortunately Ian has taken up a short term consultancy position for the rest of the year, so book now for 2009.

Sunday, 8 June 2008

Castol Extreme Autoshow


The Castrol Extreme Autoshow is South Africa's biggest autoshow and will be taking place from the 13th to the 16th June at the Coca Cola Dome in Northgate, Johannesburg. The show will be hosted by Bernie Fineman, the star of the UK Discovery Channel show, 'Chop Shop'.

One of the features of this year's show is the VW advanced driving course, which takes place every day. Members of the public will get the opportunity to be a passenger driven by one of the expert drivers from VW Advanced Driving. If you have lucky fingers you can enter the show competition, where you can win a custom Saxon Firestom Chopper valued at R390,000!!

Saturday, 7 June 2008

Glen Dell - Red Bull Air Race Rookie


Eight times SA National Aerobatic Champion and Advanced World Aerobatic Champion (2004) is competing in his first season of the Red Bull Air Race circuit. By all accounts Glen has had an excellent start to the season with 3 races already completed. In the first race he was able to take a remarkable 10 seconds off his first run time - this is like shaving 30 seconds off the mile! Glen is looking to get familiar with his new aircraft (Edge 540) and the pylon racing format this year and hopes to compete aggressively for the title next year. Notwithstanding that, he is currently ranked 11th in this years competition and is tipped as the man to watch. We wish him all the best - keep on flying the South African Flag. If you are looking at some inverted time or would like to hone your flying skills, check out the Aerobatics operators here.

Friday, 6 June 2008

Sardine Run - The greatest Shoal on Earth?


The annual Sardine Run has started. Every year millions of Sardines, followed by a host of predators, make their way up the East Coast of South Africa. Although nobody quite knows the reason behind the migration, it is thought that the Sardines, who like cold water, follow the cold water which moves up the Eastern Cape and Kwazulu-Natal coast. Along with the Dolphins, Whales, Cormorants, Seals and Cape Gannets, many game fish follow the shoal, making it the perfect time of the year to go fishing. Although surf anglers often net sardines, if you are looking for game fish, it is best to charter a boat and head out to sea. There are many fishing charter companies along South Africa's coastline and some even specialise in the Sardine Run.

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Scenic Flights - Fixed Wing, Helicopter and Balloon


One of the best ways to see the beautiful South African landscape and coastline is to take a scenic charter flight. There are many fixed wing and helicopter charter companies that will tailor make a tour to suit your wish-list, adrenalin levels and pocket. If you favour a more gentle ascent into the big blue yonder, there are several hot air balloon operators that will have you floating gently downwind within close proximity to the ground. The cost of each flight is fixed and with the price of fuel rocketing, it will pay you to get a group together - enquire with each operator what the maximum number of passengers per flight is and aim for that.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Cape Town - Adventure City


Table Mountain is one of South Africa's best know landmarks. This unusually shaped mountain has captivated visitors for hundreds of years and is situated in Cape Town in the Western Cape Province. Cape Town has always been a popular tourist destination, but is now fast becoming an adventure activity haven. Helicopter Rides, Kite Surfing, Rock Climbing, Scuba Diving, Shark Cage Diving and Flying in a Fighter Jet are just some of the many activities that are available in and around the city. You will find a complete list of adventure activities in the Western Cape on AdventureEscapades.co.za (Photo Credit - Kyre from sxc.hu)

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

MyADSL - Another excellent resource for travellers


Travelling has evolved over the years and many travellers would now be lost without being able to email, blog and search the web for accommodation and adventure activities. Do you need to know what Internet Access options you will have in South Africa, how much they will cost and what tips and tricks forum members recommend? Then this website/forum should be your first port of call. MyBroadband.co.za (also know as MyADSL) is one of the busiest Internet and Technology forums in South Africa - there are often over 1000 members/guests online at any given time. It has become such a busy forum, that most Internet Service Providers (Fixed Line, Wireless and Mobile) have a dedicated forum member to answer any questions that other members are unable to answer.

Monday, 2 June 2008

Comrades Marathon - The ultimate Road Running Adventure


There are twelve days left until the start of the Comrades Marathon. This annual event is the ultimate adventure for road running enthusiasts and is run between Pietermaritzburg and Durban (Direction alternates each year). The 87km course will be host to around 12000 runners this year and thousands of spectators are expected to line the route. For the record, the top runners are expecting to finish in under six hours!! Watch this space for pictures on the day...

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Fire guts luxury train in Pretoria


On Wednesday evening, a fire destroyed 12 carriages of a Rovos Rail train set. As per the press release below, this train set was only used for special events, so it is business as usual for this luxury train. Rovos Rail caters for the upper end of the market and offers a number of different trips throughout Southern Africa.

"Last night (Wed 21 May 2008) at approx 11 pm a fire broke out in a section of one our 4 train sets, parked at Rovos Rail’s Private Station in Capital Park, Pretoria. Nobody was on board at the time and there were no injuries. A total of 12 carriages were destroyed and the rest of the train set was saved. The cause of the fire is at this stage unknown and is being investigated.

As the fire took place on the 4th train set, which is usually used for special events and private charters, all scheduled departures are currently unaffected. It’s “business as usual” for Rovos Rail. All forthcoming scheduled journeys will operate as per the existing schedules."