The Best of Travel Apps South Africa

With so much to see and do, the hardest part of deciding to travel South Africa is figuring out where to start. Luckily, with the exciting travel apps South Africa has to offer, staying connected, up-to-date and orientated has never been easier. We’ve highlighted a few of the best apps to help get you well on your way.

Kruger National Park

Africa: Live
With Africa: Live you can experience the beauty of the African bushveld at your own pace. This game sighting app allows you to track and share location-specific wildlife sightings to get the best out of your self drive safari. The comprehensive map, which was built by park experts, also works when you’re offline, so even miles away from WiFi you can stay in the loop. The map is complete with small icons indicating species and locations, so you can access photos and get real time sighting information within seconds. Listen to 90 minutes’ worth of audio detailing important bushveld and wildlife information, and get the feeling of having an experienced guide ride along with you in the comfort of your own car.

Image Credit- Wendy

Tourism Radio City Guide
Using the best GPS and location tracking technology, Tourism Radio City Guide  offers city maps, and cultural, historical and geographical information, which is great for both local and international travellers. This expansive app works offline and has over 1 500 audio points of interest, which play automatically as you reach specific locations. You can plug into the world of Tourism Radio City Guide and discover so much more than meets the eye. Ideal for navigating any new city, and learning more about it, Tourism Radio City Guide is a travel essential.

Travel Apps South Africa

Aweza
With 11 official languages, to experience the diverse country of South Africa completely takes a lot more than a mere surface level understanding. South Africa’s first multi-lingual phrase translation app, Aweza, aims to bridge the language divide and promote intercultural engagement. Make better connections with the people you meet along the way and learn from crowd-sourced audio pronunciations, which are successful and authentic learning aids. This is one of the first travel apps South Africa has seen of its kind, so don’t miss out and join the conversation with Aweza.

Travel Apps South Africa

Awesome South Africa
The all-in-one-place app, Awesome South Africa uses your location to offer you specials, promotions, news and events that’ll help you make the most of your stay- no matter where you are. Browse restaurants, bars, flights or museums near you, and have the best of your surroundings at your finger tips. This unique app allows you to call and make bookings with one easy click, so you don’t have to waste time behind your phone screen navigating unfamiliar territory. It is endorsed by South African tourism, so you can be assured you’re getting the best deals around with Awesome South Africa.

Travel South Africa

Next time you plan to travel South Africa, whether you’re learning Xhosa in the Eastern Cape or spotting wildlife in the Kruger National Park, Venues4Africa showcases the best accommodation South Africa has to offer. Visit the website today to start planning your next trip now!

Image Credit:
Wendy
Clive Reid
Diriye Amey
Aweza Facebook Page

Route Planner South Africa: Pit-stops on the N2

Planning one last road trip before winter creeps in? Why not attempt the longest and most beautiful road trip South Africa has to offer? Stretching from Cape Town to Ermelo in Mpumalanga, the N2 paves the way to the best East Coast destinations. The road is long, and we know how important it is for you to stretch your legs, so we’ve picked a few of our favourite pit-stops so that you can give the Wimpy coffee a break.

Route Planner South AfricaPeregrine Farmstall

A short drive along from the hair-raising and breath-takingly beautiful Sir Lowry’s Pass, is the popular Peregrine Farmstall. Located in farm country, this essential pit-stop boasts heaps of local produce and unique homemade delicacies. With mouth-watering pastries and dried fruit and nuts on offer, it’s the ideal place to stock up on the car-trip snack stash. Start your trip up the coast with the tasty and affordable all-day breakfasts and coffees served at the on-site cafe. Sit on the deck under cooling misters and enjoy people-watching as travellers stop to stretch their legs.

Open Daily:
Winter – 07h30 to 18h00
Summer – 07h30 to 18h30

Route Planner South Africa

Nanaga Farmstall

Somewhere between Port Elizabeth and Grahamstown you’ll find the Nanaga Farmstall– a welcome oasis after a long stretch of highway. Browse a wide variety of homemade jams, relishes and chutneys, or  take home some straight-out-of-the-oven breads, rusks and the perfect coffee-dipping biscuits. Nanaga is well-known for the flaky, golden deliciousness of their meaty pies and crispy roosterkoek, so make sure to try as many flavours as you can. The charming gift shop is filled with arts, crafts and interesting trinkets, for something to take home that won’t get devoured in the car.

Open Daily: 08h00 – 17h30

Route Planner South Africa

Ou Meul Bakkery, Riviersonderend

For years, roadtrippers have been in unspoken agreement. No South African road trip is complete without a stop at the Ou Meul Bakkery in Riviersonderend for a mouth-watering pie. With filling like chicken, bobotie, venison and steak, its flaky pastry is something you can really sink your teeth into. You can enjoy this buttery delight in the Ou Meul courtyard with a coffee, or you can take it to go. Make sure you check out the selection of sweet treats, and nibble on a milk tart or apple crumble, before you start back on the road.

Open Daily:
Weekdays: 06h00- 18h00
Saturday: 06h00- 15h00
Sunday: 07h00– 18h00

Route Planner South Africa

Blue Crane Farm Stall

Nestled in the rolling hills, 3km west of Heidelberg, you’ll find the bright blue roof of the Blue Crane Farm Stall. Specialising in fresh handmade goodies and farm bread still steaming from the oven, the Blue Crane is an N2 must. Feeling peckish? The restaurant uses only garden-fresh fruit and vegetable, and local ingredients so you can expect home-cooked meals dripping in farm-style charm. If you’re just stopping by, the bakery churns out fresh muffins and scones for a quick snack to tide you over till the next stop. The Blue Crane also boasts an aromatic Fragrance Boutique where you can buy scents imported from France; meaning you’ll leave The Blue Crane with not only a full belly and a backseat full of homemade pies, but you’ll smell amazing too.

Open Daily: 08h00- 17h00

Route Planner South Africa

If you’re going to be venturing out for the best East Coast road trip around, you’ve got to make sure you’ve got accommodation to match. Venues4Africa is the best route planner South Africa has on offer, so let us help you find the best spots to rest your head after a long day’s drive. Choose anything from comfortable Garden Route accommodation, to seaside getaways in Durban. Don’t let summer slip away, start planning now!

Image Credit:
peregrinefarmstall.co.za
bluecranefarmshop.co.za
Masroor Hamid
nanaga.co.za

Top 10 Reasons to visit the Kruger National Park

If anything is on your bucket list, it should be a trip to the Kruger National Park. Just in case you’re unsure of what the fuss is about, we’ve rounded up ten reasons why it’ll be the best decision you make this year.

Image Credit - Wild in Africa.1. The Climate

You can visit the park all year round, and each season brings its own special perks. With its subtropical climate, you can enjoy sunshine for most of the year. As far as wildlife is concerned, the dry winter months are known to be the best time for game viewing, but at the same time, the wet summer months have new-borns, full waterholes and migrant birds to offer.

2. The Size

The sheer size of it is enough to blow your mind. With almost two million hectares of unspoiled African bushveld, and a multitude of safari camps, guest lodges and resorts scattering the area, you won’t be left wanting.

Image Credit - Wild in Africa.

3. The Bird Watching

With a list of over 500 species of bird, some of which are not found anywhere else in South Africa, and hideaways in the most remote places – the Kruger National Park is the birding fanatic’s dream. Look out for the Big 6 of the bird world: the Saddle-billed Stork, Kori Bustard, Martial Eagle, Lappet-faced Vulture, Pel’s Fishing-Owl and Ground Hornbill.

4. The Wildlife

A bucket-list essential is the safari search for the legendary Big Five and the phenomenal creatures that you’ll spy in the process. There are over 145 species of mammals found in the park, so make sure to download a checklist here so you can keep track of your findings.

Image credit- Dren Pozhegu

5. The Walking Safaris

Ever crossed paths with a dung beetle rolling its treasures home? Didn’t think so. With the incredible array of guided walking safaris you can experience nature in real time. Come face to face with the African bushveld and witness the minute details that make the experience all the more magical.

6. The Biodiversity

The Kruger National Park is home to five vegetation zones, each with their own special flair and diverse range of species. From arid semi-desert to thickly wooded areas with flowering trees, it’s a mixed bag of remarkable nature at its best. Be on the lookout for the iconic Baobab trees that pepper the region, and the interesting creatures that make them their home.

7. The Sunsets

Image Credit:  kruger-2-kalahari.comEnough said.

8. The Conservation Efforts

Dedicated to ensuring the extraordinary biodiversity of the park remains untouched, the Kruger National Park is world-renowned for its conversation efforts. Experienced guides and rangers make sure that the beauty of the African bushveld is preserved for many generations to come.

9. The Sense of Adventure

There’s nothing like anticipating the scene of a lion kill around the next bend, or watching the animals flock to a watering hole at sunrise. Add some spice into your daily life with an African safari adventure.

Image Credit - Wild in Africa

10. The Status

Over 1.4 million visitors a year consider Kruger to be the best National Park in Africa, and arguably the world, and it’s no secret why it’s so popular. But don’t take our word for it, book one of the many fantastic Kruger National Park accommodation options on Venues4Africa and see for yourself.

Image Credit - Wild in Africa.

Image Credits: Wild in Africa, Dren Pozhegu, kruger-2-kalahari.com

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 Years Eve Events in South Africa

The end of 2015 is almost upon us. It is a time ripe with change, where energies and hopes are high. Where optimism, positivity and forgiveness are unavoidable and where future prospects for the coming year appear clearer than ever.

Ballito

What do you have planned in celebration of another year gone by and the start of a new one? We all celebrate New Year’s Eve in different ways, but for the most part we like to make this a gathering of some sort – what would a celebration be without the people you care most about? Without good food, drink and music to get the heart racing?

Here are but a few events taking place around South Africa this New Year’s Eve.

New Year’s Eve events in the Eastern Cape:

Billy’s Beach NYE in St. Francis

Billy’s Beach hosts a series of events during the last week of the year. The New Year’s Eve party this year is a compulsory dress-up party with the theme being Boho Surf Disco. With such a theme, on white sand with great music and Sexy Groovy Disco appearing, there is an endless supply of fun to be had.

Tickets are being sold at selected Billabong stores – Port Elizabeth’s Boardwalk, Walmer Park, BayWest Mall, J-Bay Concept Store and St Francis Store, as well as online via Nutickets.

Billy's Beach

Niew Bethesda Festival of Lights:

A joyful, family-friendly event, the Niew Bethesda Festival of Lights is the perfect outing for families seeking a fun, alcohol-free celebration. Held at the Bethesda Arts Centre, attendees can be expected to be a part of the celebration, not only mere spectators. This event takes place throughout the local township, Hightown, where everyone carries their lanterns and sings songs, celebrating the arrival of the New Year. The walk ends back at the centre where a massive braai is held and where you can literally dance into the New Year.

Tickets are R150. To book your ticket you can call on 049 841 1731 or email info@bethsedatower.co.za.

New Year’s Eve Events in Gauteng:

  1. Revolution New Year Open Air Music Festival

This two-day open air music festival takes place in Magaliesberg, where thousands of Johannesburg’s dance fanatics gather to celebrate the New Year. Expect to be electrified at this event, that features international acts and over 40 of South Africa’s psy trance, techno and drum & bass DJ’s sharing their magic on two stages.

Tickets are being sold online via Webtickets at R300. Visit the event’s Facebook page for further details.

Revolution

Masquerade Ball at Chicago Piano Bar

For something a little more elegant, why not try a Masquerade Ball? Taking place in Randpark Ridge at the Chicago Piano Bar, with an interior of chic and sophisticated 1920’s decor. Get your fancy gown and tuxedo out for a night of dining and dancing and welcome in the New Year dressed to the Nines – don’t forget your mask!

Tickets are from R190 at Chicago Piano Bar. Hurry, tickets are limited. For further information, visit their Facebook page.

Chicagos

New Years Eve Events in Kwazulu Natal

Ballito New Year’s Eve Street Party

Ballito’s famous street party is living up to its reputation this year, with four dance floors and cutting-edge design and production. Leading acts include Goldfish and Das Kapital among many others. Durban’s North Coast is frothing in anticipation of the explosion of beats, stomping, lighting and firework displays.

Tickets cost R350 and doors open at 18h00. You can purchase your ticket here.

Ballito

Hunter’s New Year’s Ever Beach Party

Taking place on Southbroom Main Beach, Kwazulu-Natal’s largest and loudest New Year’s Eve beach party brings you South Africa’s very best in electro, progressive, minimal, techno and deep house. The line-up includes Royal K from Johannesburg, Chris Taylor and Jak Skandi from Cape Town among other DJ’s such as Veranda Panda, Hart and Ryan Stylz and more.

Tickets cost R220 and are available on Computicket. For more information, visit their Facebook page.

Hunters

New Year’s Eve Events in the Western Cape

Kirstenbosch New Year’s Eve Concert

For a lovely family friendly New Year’s Eve event, the Kirstenbosch New Year’s Eve Concert is perfect. This year, two of South Africa’s well-known performers – Grassy Spark and Jeremy Loops will be performing. Folk, rock and reggae music are also on the cards. Enjoy your picnic with views of the beautiful national garden and mountains, family and friends – what better way to end off the year? Relaxed, at ease and with loved ones.

Tickets for this concert cost R330 and can be purchase online via Webtickets. For further information, click here.

Kirstenbosch

Kinky Summer New Year’s Eve Party

Franschhoek will be hosting this year’s Kinky Summer New Year’s Eve Party. Two of Cape Town’s top outdoor day-party events, Kinky Disco and We Love Summer, will be hosting this party together. Situated on a lush estate, something of a paradise for nature lovers and festival goers. Featuring five international artists with an extra stage that is a surprise for all who attend and food stalls a plenty to avoid the hunger taking over, Kinky Summer have a fun-filled party planned.

Tickets cost R550 and can be purchased online here.

Kinky Summer

Don’t forget to book your accommodation for this New Year’s Eve on Venues4Africa.com once you have decided where you wish to go.