Revving Up Rosé Festival

Its summer time and love is in the air. There aren’t many things that spell out romance like a picnic, a glass of Rosé and a spectacular view.

Franschhoek Festival

If you haven’t booked accommodation in the Cape Winelands yet for this Valentine’s Day weekend, you should be getting on it. The Revving Up Rosé Festival, on Saturday, 13th February 2016 at Rickety Bridge Winery, is just around the corner and is the perfect Valentine’s Day date for family, friends, lovers – young and old, and for those seeking a little romance.

Ever wondered where the Valentine’s Day tradition originated? It is believed to have stemmed from the pagan fertility festival, Lupercalia, which celebrated the Roman god of agriculture. With the death of St. Valentine and the advent of the Middle Ages, in an attempt to consecrate this celebration, it became a day associated with love and romance. In addition, the French and British commonly believed that the beginning of birds’ mating season was February 14th, and thus, the date was set.

Accommodation in Franschhoek
Of course this all makes a little more sense after a chilled glass of Rosé at the Rickety Bridge Winery in Franschhoek, a wine farm that is currently showcasing just how diverse and versatile the world of Rosé is. Believed to be the oldest style of wine in the world, Rosé’s global stellar reputation has developed into a summer craze of sorts. Crisp, dry, sweet and modest, it is enchantingly pink in colour.

The Revving Up Rosé festival is also great for those seeking a fun and adventurous weekend, with a 5km, 10km or 20km Rosé Run to be held, and a 20km, 40km or 60km MTB Ride. Whether you are an experienced trail runner or cyclist, new to the scene or just seeking something different to do with loved ones, this Franschhoek festival is for everyone. To clean up afterwards, there will be showers provided for those partaking in these events.

Franschhoek Accommodation
This is an idyllic setting for a romantic Valentine’s Day weekend, where wine tastings, Rosé-friendly food stalls, pre-booked picnics, Paulina’s Restaurant, live music and a picturesque sunset will keep your pallets busy, souls dancing and eyes mesmerised.

There is a competition running where a pair of tickets, lunch and a bottle of Foundation Stone Rosé are up for grabs. Entry to the competition is free when you take part in the MTB race or trail run.

Franschhoek Competition

Alternatively, you can buy them from Webtickets, or pick them up upon arrival for R120 per person, including a wine glass and R150 per person for a pre-booked picnic. The festival takes place from 10am – 6pm on Saturday 13th February 2016. Those partaking in the events receive a complimentary ticket to the festival upon their Rosé Run or Rosé MTB Ride ticket purchase.

Don’t forget to book your Cape Winelands Accommodation at Venues4Africa!

For more information on the festival, please visit this link and for further information on the events taking place at the festival, please visit this link.

Things to Do in Cape Town: Outdoor Markets

With weather like this there’s no reason to be indoors. Cape Town is home to a medley of outdoor markets, each with its own personal spice. Whether you’re looking for tasty food, local produce or second-hand treasures, it’s all right here on your doorstep.

Image Credit ozcf.co.zaTokai Forest Market (Tokai)

When looking for things to do in Cape Town, marketing in Tokai is definitely on the top of the list. The Tokai Forest Market is shaded by leafy trees and show-cases an impressive array of local goods and fresh produce- all just 20 minutes from the city centre. Enjoy a morning snacking on speciality baked goods and sipping on homemade lemonades and ginger beers, or browsing arts and crafts, or interesting jewellery.

When: Saturday, 9am – 3pm, Sunday, 10am – 3pm
Where: Chrysalis Academy, Porter Estate, between Tokai Forest and Table Mountain National Park
Be sure not to miss: The wide range of beautifully handmade leather goods.

Image Credit: tokai forestmarket.co.za

Oranjezicht City Farm Market (Granger Bay)

Head over to Granger Bay and get all your shopping done for the week with an exciting selection of fresh, organic produce, locally made condiments and delicious dairy products. A community run, non-profit organisation, Oranjezicht City Farm Market promotes small-scale food production and is one of the first permanent food bazaars in Cape Town.

Not only is it a great place to get fresh ingredients, it is also home to food stalls that will have your mouth watering. Pop past for lunch, and treat your taste buds to a host of different food styles.

When: Saturday, 9am-2pm
Where: Granger Bay at the V&A Waterfront
Be sure not to miss: Sipping on a freshly squeezed juice with a view of the sparkling harbour

Image Credit: Anna Degenaar

Milnerton Flea Market (Milnerton)

From car parts to t-shirts, telephones to exercise machines, jewellery to pancakes and more, Milnerton Market has every second-hand treasure you could imagine. Search through piles of once-loved merchandise or take advantage of the impressive selection of dried fruit and nuts that come at a fair price. Feast your eyes on the weird and the wonderful, and get lost in the search for prized nuggets.

When: Saturday and Sunday, 07:00 – 16:00
Where: Otto du Plessis Drive, Paarden Island
Be sure not to miss: Freshly laid, organic eggs. Make sure to get them early before they sell out!

Image Credit: milnertonflemarket.co.za

Blaauwklippen Family Market

A mere 30km’s from the City Bowl is one of the oldest wine estates in the region, the Blaauwklippen Vineyards family estate. Set against the backdrop of incredible Stellenbosch winelands, the Blaauwklippen Family Market is the ideal place to fight off those Sunday blues.

Choose from freshly baked breads and olives, while the kids enjoy carriage rides and other fun activities. Browse the crafts, jewellery and fashion on offer, or simply enjoy a craft beer on the lawn, and tap your feet to the beat of the live band.

When: Sunday 10am-3pm
Where: On the R44 between Stellenbosch and Somerset West, opposite the Techno Park, Stellenbosch
Be sure not to miss: Every third Sunday of the month, the Helderberg Animal Welfare Society holds a Vineyard Doggy Walk fundraiser. Walk a pup for a good cause!

Image Credit: Blaauwklippen Market Facebook

With fresh air and fantastic things to see, Outdoor Markets in Cape Town are a perfect way to start, or end, a sunny weekend in the Mother City.

Image Credits:
ozcf.co.za
tokaiforestmarket.co.za
Anna Degenaar
milnertonfleamarket.co.za
Blaauklippen Market Facebook

Hidden Destinations along the Garden Route

The Garden Route, is a magical place and one of South Africa’s most popular stretches of road. It boasts vast white sandy beaches, fairy tale forests, rugged mountains and an abundance of wildlife.

With so much to see and do, there are many hidden gems, often overlooked, simply waiting to be explored.

Image Credit_slack12

Hoekwil

As you make your way along the N2 from Cape Town, you’ll eventually reach a small town named Hoekwil. Here, encounter the ancient Outeniqua Yellowwood tree, or ‘Big Tree’, which is estimated to be 850 years old . The Big Tree rests in the hidden Woodville Forest, which itself is a great destination for a family-friendly expedition. Hiking and walking trails are wheel-chair friendly and offer beautiful designated picnic areas.

Wild Oats Community Farmers Market

While passing through Sedgefield, the town known for its classic cars, why not stop over at the Wild Oats Community Farmers Market held every Saturday between 7:30 and noon. This market supports the principle of small-scale producers, local nature and conservation efforts, as well as fair and ethical pricing.

Image Credit - Andre@ DB

Buffalo Bay

An easily-missed turn off just before Knysna will take you to Buffalo Bay, a small, secluded seaside town within the Goukamma Nature Reserve. Boasting one of the most unique and safe swimming beaches along the Garden Route, it is the ideal location for a seaside holiday.

Image Credit - Harold Kuiper

Nature’s Valley

Nature’s Valley is the last village before entering the Eastern Cape. A small hamlet of about 50 houses, development has been minimised to avoid spoiling the nature of the village, and its peaceful way of life. Despite being situated along the Garden Route, and forming part of the Tsitsikamma National Park, the valley has remained largely undiscovered. Its overwhelming beauty and tranquil atmosphere is sure to enchant you.

Storms River

Nearing the end of the Garden Route is Storms River, another village that echoes fine living in a very raw and natural sense. This is where the famous Otter Trail begins, making it’s away along the Garden Route to Nature’s Valley.

Image Credit- matt knothAdventurous activities available here include canopy tours, bungee jumping, kloofing, and fishing.

To plan your trip along the Garden Route, or to find out more about the above destinations, simply email info@venues4africa.com, visit our website, or contact +27 (0) 21 422 2135.

Image Credit:
slack12
matt knoth
Jochem Koole
Harold Kuiper
Andre@ DB

An Essential Guide to the Okavango Delta

Your flights to Botswana are booked, and the great Okavango Delta awaits you. You’ve heard it’s exceptional in its beauty. You’ve heard it’s wild and luscious. You’ve heard it’s enormous.

Spanning a whopping 15 000 square kilometres, we don’t blame you for not knowing where to start. We picked out a few essential DO’s and DON’T’s to make sure you get the most out of your oasis experience!

Image Credit- venues4africaDO bring a good camera (and extra battery pack)
The Okavango Delta is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa, as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You wouldn’t want to miss the opportunity to boast about it after the fact now would you?

DON’T be scared away by winter
The winter months are actually the best time to visit the Delta. The waters build in the mountains of Angola and flood into the wetlands around May. The water levels are at their highest between July and September, and with the water comes the wildlife. Though the summer months are incredible for the influx of migrating birds, and sprouting new life. So, don’t worry, you can’t really go wrong.

Image Credit- venues4africa

DO pack your binoculars
If bird-watching is what you’re looking for, you’re heading in the right direction. With over 400 different species of bird, you’ll be able to spend hours completing your checklist. Maybe you’ll be lucky enough to spot the rare Pel’s Fishing Owl, which makes the freshwater wetland its home.

DON’T forget the bug spray
While most game drives and campsites will make sure that you’re comfortable, bring your own bug protection to be sure you don’t get bothered by the odd buzz. Peaceful Sleep works wonders, with a smell that isn’t too overpowering.

Image Credit- venues4africa

DO make sure you’re temperature-ready
The heart of the Kalahari is known for being swelteringly hot during the summer months, and bitterly cold when winter hits. Make sure you’re prepared with warm jackets and thick socks for night-time game drives in winter, and light, sun-proof clothing in summer.

DON’T be too relaxed!
Camps like Jao Camp and Thamalakane River Lodge to name just two, are so beautiful it’s hard not to indulge in the luxury of your temporary home. But make sure you take full advantage of the activities on offer! Canoe-like boats called mokoro’s are a Delta treat, so be sure to take a trip on one! Walking safaris are also an absolute must.

Image Credit- venues4africa

For more information on where to find more about these and more Botswana accommodation, visit venues4africa.com.

Image Credit: venues4africa.com

New Year’s Travel Resolutions in South Africa

With every New Year comes new prospects, new adventures, and New Year’s resolutions. This year, make sure to take full advantage of the notion, especially when it comes to travelling. After all, travelling, whether it be local, national or international, is a whole lot more fun and exciting than say, dieting…

Image Credit - Darren Smith

Here are some definite musts for any traveller seeking to centre their New Year’s resolutions around travelling in South Africa in 2016, whether it be a single trip or a multitude of excursions.

Wild Card – SAN Parks

Anyone travelling within Southern Africa should invest in a Wild Card. This will not only provide added incentive to accomplish the New Year resolution of travelling and spending quality time with friends and family, but it will save you money. Instead of paying a daily rate to enter the parks, you can use your Wild Card. With a variety of options to suit your needs, and with 365 unlimited access to the wild spaces of Southern Africa’s best parks and reserves, the wild card is a definite must. Image Credit - Allan Watt

Prices vary between R300-R945 as a once off payment and depend upon which cluster of Wild Card you purchase, and which package. Please visit the San Parks website for further information.

Excursions Bucket List

Create a list of tourist attractions within your local area and throughout Southern Africa that you have always wanted to visit, that you tell your foreign friends about, but haven’t actually experienced. Image Credit - miquitos

These things can range from well-known tourist attractions such as taking the cable car up Table Mountain in Cape Town, or visiting the Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria. Additionally, other attractions that make a statement include the Big Pineapple in Bathurst, and Bungee Jumping off the Bloukrans Bridge.

Take the Road (Or Routes) Less Travelled

With a similar mind-set to creating a bucket list, exploring the various routes throughout Southern Africa is also a great way to keep your travelling-related New Year’s resolutions intact. Choosing a route to drive, instead of flying to a destination, could prove to be life-changing. Image Credit - Malcolm Manners

Along some of South Africa’s most famous routes such as the Garden Route, Route 62 and Namaqualand Flower Route, you find some hidden treasures that make South Africa stunningly unique. What’s more, the drive itself becomes part of the adventure – lending itself to bonding time with friends and family and appreciation of the country.

Don’t forget to check out Venues4Africa when you book accommodation for your travelling New Year’s resolutions!