Monday, January 26, 2009

Eclipse in South Africa

Over the past few years we were very lucky to see once in a lifetime events. Like the full eclipse on 4 Dec 2002 and today 26 Jan 2009 we had a 65% eclipse. There is a lot of tales in Africa based on an eclipse but none of them is true. In 2002 a lot of people visited SA to see the full Eclipse and the ascent path of the moons shadow was clearly seen.

 Unfortunately I have missed it in 2002 because of rain I was on the border of Swaziland at that stage. Today we nearly missed it again with fog clouds covering the sun but in a way it was also beautiful because we could look at the sun for short intervals without special glasses the fog act as a filter. The sad part of it was that I was not able to take photos of it therefore I have tried to draw the turning point for you. The people in Cape Town were at the best spot to see it and you might get nice photos on the web that was taken there

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Sunset in Africa

I always say one day I want to go and visit Norway to see the Northern Lights one dream that might come true when I retire one day. Well on the other hand we have the most beautiful sunsets in the world. Someone asked in the comments of my last story if I’m in the tourism business, No I’m a normal middle class worker in SA and I’m working at one of the biggest Petrochemical plants in the world. The company is called SASOL and we make a variety of chemicals from coal, and our main products is Petrol, Diesel, Airplane fuel, Polypropylene and a lot more. Like Wine  this plant is also very special. The plant was build in the apartheids years when SA had sanctions against it and it generate jobs for more then 30000 people. You can read more on the plant on the SASOL web.


Now the Sunset: This photo was taken by my wife just outside town (Secunda) looking at the sunset over the factory. You can see about 50% of the Plant sticking out with all its lights. It is a pity we are located on the grass and wetlands of the Highveld and not on the route of overseas tourist therefore they never see this huge plant that generate fuel for the car they driving. The biggest structures you see on the photo are cooling towers that is big enough for a 12 story building to stand in. No it is not smoke it is steam coming out of them.  

The next photo was also taken by my wife on the same evening standing in front of our house.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Cape, Wine and where to visit.

This week most of the people that were on holiday in South Africa are back at work facing the challenges of 2009. But I’m going to talk about one of South Africa’s products that are world famous and one of the things we are proud of. Yes we make some of the best wines in the world. If you have not yet taste it you must get hold of a bottle. Most of the wine is made in the Cape province where the history of wine started in 1659 when Jan van Riebeeck the first person to set foot in South Africa and to stay here made the first wine. Ever since it has grown into the leaders in the wine market. On 8th January 1918, growers in the Western Cape founded the Koöperatieve Wijnbouwers Vereniging van Zuid-Afrika Bpkt (KWV). KWV came to dominate the industry until the end of the apartheid. I’m enjoying a 5 year KWV Brandy right now while I’m typing this story and believe me it tastes desirable nice mmm.

Now, what does this have to do with traveling in SA? Well if you traveling in SA and particularly in the Cape you must visit a winery. Winery’s I will suggest to visit is Spier, KWV, and my favorite to visit is the Berg Kelder, a cellar hollowed out of the heart of a hill in Stellenbosch about 45 km from Cape Town. Close to it is Simomsberg Cheese factory a must to stop for some cream cheese.

You must taste wine on your visit to a winery it will cost you between R20 and about R60 and you can taste the different wines just make sure someone else is driving the car back to your apartments. You can also order SA wine at WineWeb I have checked their prices and it is almost the same as a direct purchase from a cellar. If you love sweet wine go for the Orange River Hanepoot. I bet you want to book in at a nice place in Cape Town see E-Bookings for accommodation bookings in the Cape and the rest of SA. Cape Town also offers a lot of other things to do and I plan to blog on that once I have finished my holiday plans for December 2009 with in the coming weeks. I will give you my tour plan so that you can see how we do it in SA.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A Quick Holliday Destination in SA

I hope you going to have a great 2009 and keep on planning your next holiday. Let’s talk about quick holiday to South Africa. Some times people visit SA for a short time or business and want to see the Big Five but there time is too short to go to the Kruger National Park. The place to go is the Pilanesberg National Park that accommodates virtually every mammal of Southern Africa. Also home to the Big Five. The park is about 200Km from liver Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg and the roads to the park is in very good condition.

My quick tour to South Africa will look like this:

I will stay in one of the Pilanesberg National Park camps for 3 days spending one day driving through the national park. One day visiting Sun City to see the Kwena crocodile farm and then enjoying the rest of the day at the Valley of the Waves relaxing in the water. On my last day before you move on visit the Predator World also close to Sun City. And in a short time you have seen nearly all the wild animals in SA and had a lot of fun. My wife will obviously recommend you to stay longer.


Remember wild animals are with a reason kept in nature parks they are wild and can be dangerous. Keep with in the rules of the parks and stay out of trouble. Never leave you luggage unattended and keep your money at a save place on you. Never wander of into suburbs that are not on you touring plans and first ask advice at information centers before going into rural areas. The mosquitoes in the Pilansberg region do not carry Malaria therefore is this one of the safest wilderness areas in SA to visit. I will suggest you use insect repellent when the mosquitoes start to bite to keep the irritation of itching away.

These Photos was taken at Sun City’s Valley of the Waves when I was there on 26 Dec 2008