Africa is so amazingly diverse, if you can imagine it - we have it somewhere. (As well as a lot off stuff that people find hard to imagine!) Be it a lazy, tropical Island breakaway or a hard core, adrenaline filled adventure - I will do my best to help you get the most out of your holiday. Seeing that this blog is a brand new project - it will take a while to grow. If you have a particular destination in mind that has not been featured yet, just send me a mail and I will assist in any way possible. Postings on this blog are based on personal experience. I plan to rate places and venues visited on a 'must go' or 'avoid' basis. I will also give a Lemon Award to the very worst festering pits that I have had the misfortune of stumbling across... If you have a comment, or your own input - lets have it! Complaints and compliments received from readers will be forwarded to the relevant venue for comment and/or follow up action. Please bear in mind that opinions expressed in this blog are my personal views only and I do not presume to know everybodys tastes... Any other advice dispensed is based on personal experience, and may not be factually correct. I therefore will not be held responsible if you do something silly after reading my advice on the matter. My main purpose here is to help you to think and plan in the right directions. I trust that you will have as much fun visiting this blog as I plan to have while writing the posts.

Friday 12 October 2007

Wilson's Wharf - Durban

This little jewel hidden away within the very busy Durban Harbour is my absolute favourite stop when down in Durbs.

Wilson’s Wharf is situated on a boating marina with working slipways, tucked in next to the yacht club. A decent selection of restaurants, a craft market, shops and even a theatre are what can be found here.

What I really like about this place is that even though they attract their fair share of tourists, it is not a ‘tourist trap’ by any means. A lot of the local Durbanites go there for lunch, dinner or a few drinks on a regular basis. The best part of the day for me to sit and enjoy a few glasses of wine and something fishy is late afternoon and over sunset.

I have not been to all the restaurants there yet, so I will only mention the ones that I normally frequent:

The Pirates Arms serve the best fish and chips, UK style, in SA as far as Tony’s palate is concerned. Very generous, fresh portions are always on offer. This is by no means all they serve, the menu is varied but I seem to always choose either the hake and chips or the eisbein… Although the service is good, they take extra care when preparing your meal so the wait is often a bit longer than one may be used to. This allows one to first soak up the atmosphere and imbibe a few drinks before eating, the way it should be done... I also give them top awards for the best themed restaurant on the Wharf, filled with odds and ends from the seafarer’s trade.

The Oyster Bar is my absolute favourite – it boasts the best view for one thing. There is a counter all round the outside of this little restaurant where one can sit and enjoy the view, as well as a deck area. The menu offers a decent range of fresh oysters, mussel dishes and sushi. The wine list will also not be found wanting, a lot of thought has gone into offering the perfect selection of wines and champagnes to accompany the setting and menu. Waitresses like Tsidi deliver perfect service coupled with a smile.

I enjoy the view most over sunset, when the working harbour’s skyline slowly transforms into a fairy tale playground because of the lights on all the cranes. A very romantic setting! Take your partner, order a bottle of wine and bulk up on some oysters – the rest will be history…

Charlie Crofts A little more up market, this is also one of the bigger venues on the wharf. Many a pleasurable afternoon has been spent there over a few bottles of wine. They often have live entertainment so this one is a must if you like to listen to a bit of live jazz while enjoying a good meal.

When in Durban, if left with only one choice of where to go for a few hours I will always pick Wilson’s Wharf – a definite ‘must go.’

For more info, visit the website:

Wednesday 10 October 2007

Oribi Gorge

If you ever find yourself on the Kwazulu Natal South Coast, a visit to the Oribi Gorge is an absolute must! Only a short drive away from Port Shepstone (29km’s) one will find the Oribi Gorge. Another jewel in South Africa’s heavily adorned crown… Although there are many places to visit in this relatively unknown area I am going to focus on the Oribi Gorge Hotel and Wild 5 Site in this post.

The Hotel

This little country hotel offers everything I always look for in an area like this. Even though one is in a setting with an extremely relaxed atmosphere, there is absolutely no compromise made when it comes to the service delivered by Amanda and the rest of the hospitality staff. Friendly smiles, prompt service and good food are just a few of the highlights. I have not been to many hotels where absolutely everybody is constantly smiling and willing to assist. I suppose it must be the beauty of the area that inspires them so…
The hotel rooms are spacious and comfortable and there is also a little pub, restaurant and tea garden where one can relax and breathe in the clean air (along with a good meal, or just a few drinks of course!)

There are quite a few activities available at this lodge – my favourite is the Wild Swing…

Flyin’ Wild

The Wild 5 site offers as main attraction, a 100m gorge swing, the highest swing of its kind in the world… The free fall is a mind numbing 75 meters!
For somebody with a natural fear of heights, it constantly amazes me that I have fallen in love with ‘getting some air.’ (Thanks for the phrase Noel!)

Standing on the edge of a 130 meter high cliff, just before you launch yourself over the edge is a very sobering experience indeed. Questions about mortality, responsibility and the meaning of life in general flash through your brain like lightning, all to be pushed aside when the jump master starts to count ‘THREE! (You must be crazy – I’m not going), TWO! (Didn’t you hear me!? This is madness!!) ONE! (Oh no, please don’t say it…) BUNGEE!! (Aaaaaaaarrrrgghhh….)
Panic, total panic sets in for a moment as the earth falls away in front of you while feet and arms scramble for a non existent hold on terra firma. After what feels like and eternity, the cable starts to tighten and the lateral acceleration starts (the story that your body experiences a jerk is an old wives tale and promoters of this theory should be hung, drawn and quartered.) By this time one has normally recovered from the first shock, as you realise that ‘It’s holding! I’m not going to hit the ground!’ Skimming the tree tops at close to 180km’s an hour is really something one should try at least once in your life. Scared? Nothing wrong with that – if you’re not, go see a shrink… I believe the whole success of this kind of activity is the complete turnaround between total panic and euphoria. Do this, and you will see life in perspective again. All the obstacles in your life suddenly seem small and insignificant. You will often hear people say – ‘if I can do this, I can do anything!’ Complete with the broadest smile they’ve had in years…

The Wild 5 site also offers Abseiling, the Wild Slide (for the more cautious), off-road go-carting, horse riding- and walking trails as well as White Water Rafting in season. Just sitting back and enjoying the beautiful scenery, or watching the braver souls do their thing is also worthy way of spending the day. Just watch out, you may find yourself joining the fun sooner than you expected… It's exhilirating even for the watchers!

Noel (who runs the Wild 5 site) breathes exuberance into the whole experience with his vibrant and enthusiastic approach, clearly indicating a passion for this part of the world and the operation he is running. Talking to him there is no mistaking that he is someone with a serious ‘lust for life.’ His excitement about the Gorge and the beautiful natural resources of the area is highly contagious and I found leaving the area quite hard after spending some time with him on the edge of the gorge… This same attitude is also very prominent in the rest of his crew who also do their best to make one’s experience as pleasurable as possible. Two thumbs up for Noel, the crew and the Wild 5 site! Thanks for a great time guys!

So, no more dilly dallying – get there as quick as possible and earn your wings…

All of the best and happy trails until we speak again.


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