Victoria & Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town

4 May 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

© Osvát András

© Osvát András

The Victoria & Alfred (V&A) Waterfront in Cape Town is situated on the Atlantic shore, Table Bay Harbour, the City of Cape Town and Table Mountain. Adrian van der Vyver designed the complex. The Waterfront attracts more than 23 million visitors a year. Situated in South Africa’s oldest working harbour, the 123 hectares (300 acres) area has been developed for mixed-use, with both residential and commercial real estate. Features in the waterfront are Chavonnes Battery, Nelson Mandela Gateway to Robben Island, Nobel Square (with sculptures of the four South African Nobel Peace Prize winners Albert John Lutuli, Desmond Tutu, Frederik Willem de Klerk, and Nelson Mandela), Two Oceans Aquarium, Breakwater Lodge (University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business).   read more…

Theme Week South Africa – Johannesburg

24 June 2017 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

Nelson Mandela Square © NJR ZA/cc-by-sa-3.0

Nelson Mandela Square © NJR ZA/cc-by-sa-3.0

Johannesburg, also known as Jozi, Joburg and eGoli, is the largest city in South Africa and is one of the 50 largest urban areas in the world. It is the provincial capital of Gauteng, which is the wealthiest province in South Africa. While Johannesburg is not one of South Africa’s three capital cities, it is the seat of the Constitutional Court. The city is located in the mineral-rich Witwatersrand range of hills and is the centre of large-scale gold and diamond trade. The city was established in 1886 following the discovery of gold on what had been a farm. The city is commonly interpreted as the modern day El Dorado due to the extremely large gold deposit found along the Witwatersrand. The name is attributed to one or all of three men involved in the establishment of the city. In ten years, the population was 100,000 inhabitants.   read more…

Theme Week South Africa – Pretoria

23 June 2017 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

Union Buildings, seat of the South African government, with statue of Louis Botha © Robbie Aspeling/cc-by-sa-3.0

Union Buildings, seat of the South African government, with statue of Louis Botha © Robbie Aspeling/cc-by-sa-3.0

Pretoria is a city in the northern part of Gauteng Province. It is one of the country’s three capital cities, serving as the seat of the executive branch of government (Cape Town is the legislative capital and Bloemfontein the judicial capital). Pretoria has a reputation for being an academic city with three universities and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) located in its eastern suburbs, the city also hosts the South African Bureau of Standards making the city a hub for research. Pretoria is the central part of the Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality which was formed by the amalgamation of several former local authorities including Centurion and Soshanguve. There have been proposals to change the name of Pretoria itself to Tshwane, and the proposed name change has caused some controversy. Pretoria is situated approximately 55 km (34 mi) north-northeast of Johannesburg in the northeast of South Africa, in a transitional belt between the plateau of the Highveld to the south and the lower-lying Bushveld to the north. It lies at an altitude of about 1,339 m (4,393 ft) above sea level, in a warm, sheltered, fertile valley, surrounded by the hills of the Magaliesberg range.   read more…

Theme Week South Africa – Bloemfontein

22 June 2017 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

Old Presidency © Janek Szymanowski/cc-by-sa-3.0

Old Presidency © Janek Szymanowski/cc-by-sa-3.0

Bloemfontein (Afrikaans and Dutch previously “fountain of flowers” or “blooming fountain;” also known as Bloem) is the capital city of the province of Free State of South Africa; and, as the judicial capital of the nation, one of South Africa’s three national capitals (the other two being Cape Town, the legislative capital, and Pretoria, the administrative capital). Bloemfontein is the sixth largest city in South Africa. Bloemfontein was popularly and poetically known as “the city of roses”, owing to the abundance of these flowers and the annual rose festival held there. The city’s Sesotho name is Mangaung, meaning “place of cheetahs“. Bloemfontein has since 2011 formed part of the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality, having previously been part of the Mangaung Local Municipality.   read more…

Theme Week South Africa – Upington

21 June 2017 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

Upington Central Business District © Rick Walker/cc-by-sa-3.0

Upington Central Business District © Rick Walker/cc-by-sa-3.0

Upington is a town founded in 1884 and located in the Northern Cape province of South Africa, on the banks of the Orange River. The town was originally called Olyfenhoudtsdrif (‘Olive wood drift’), due to the abundance of olive wood trees in the area, but later renamed after Sir Thomas Upington, Attorney-General and then Prime Minister of the Cape. It originated as a mission station established in 1875 and run by Reverend Christiaan Schröder. The mission station now houses the town museum, known as the Kalahari Orange Museum. The museum is also the home of a donkey statue, which recognises the enormous contribution that this animal made to the development of the region during the pioneering days of the 19th century.   read more…

Theme Week South Africa – Ladysmith

20 June 2017 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

Town Hall © Janek Szymanowski/cc-by-sa-3.0

Town Hall © Janek Szymanowski/cc-by-sa-3.0

Ladysmith is a town in the Uthukela District of KwaZulu-Natal. It is 230 kilometres (140 mi) north-west of Durban and 365 kilometres (227 mi) south of Johannesburg. Important industries in the area include food processing, textile and tyre production. Tyres are produced by Sumitomo Rubber South Africa in the nearby town of Steadville. Ladysmith is the seat for both the Alfred Duma Local Municipality and the Uthukela District Municipality. In 1900, the unincorporated town of Oyster Harbour (est. circa 1898) on the east coast of Vancouver Island in Canada was renamed Ladysmith by James Dunsmuir, in honour of the British lifting the siege of Ladysmith in South Africa (28 February 1900) during the Second Boer War. Ladysmith is located on the banks of the Klip River (“stone river”), with the central business district and a large part of the residential areas located within the flood basin of the river. It is on the foothills of the Drakensberg mountains, about 26 km from the Van Reenen pass.   read more…

Theme Week South Africa

19 June 2017 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Theme Weeks

East London - City Hall on Oxford Street © Bfluff/cc-by-sa-3.0

East London – City Hall on Oxford Street © Bfluff/cc-by-sa-3.0

South Africa is the southernmost country in Africa. It is bounded on the south by 2,798 kilometres (1,739 mi) of coastline of Southern Africa stretching along the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans, on the north by the neighbouring countries of Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe, and on the east and northeast by Mozambique and Swaziland, and surrounding the kingdom of Lesotho. South Africa is the 25th-largest country in the world by land area, and with close to 56 million people, is the world’s 24th-most populous nation. It is the southernmost country on the mainland of the Old World or the Eastern Hemisphere. About 80 percent of South Africans are of Sub-Saharan African ancestry, divided among a variety of ethnic groups speaking different Bantu languages, nine of which have official status. The remaining population consists of Africa’s largest communities of European (white), Asian (Indian), and multiracial (coloured) ancestry. South Africa is a multiethnic society encompassing a wide variety of cultures, languages, and religions. Its pluralistic makeup is reflected in the constitution‘s recognition of 11 official languages, which is among the highest number of any country in the world. Two of these languages are of European origin: Afrikaans developed from Dutch and serves as the first language of most white and coloured South Africans; English reflects the legacy of British colonialism, and is commonly used in public and commercial life, though it is fourth-ranked as a spoken first language. The country is one of the few in Africa never to have had a coup d’état, and regular elections have been held for almost a century. However, the vast majority of black South Africans were not enfranchised until 1994. During the 20th century, the black majority sought to recover its rights from the dominant white minority, with this struggle playing a large role in the country’s recent history and politics. The National Party imposed apartheid in 1948, institutionalising previous racial segregation. After a long and sometimes violent struggle by the African National Congress and other anti-apartheid activists both inside and outside the country, discriminatory laws began to be repealed or abolished from 1990 onwards. South Africa is often referred to as the Rainbow Nation to describe the country’s multicultural diversity, especially in the wake of apartheid.   read more…

Sun City in South Africa

13 June 2016 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Hotels

Main entrance of The Lost Palace © Chantal Smith

Main entrance of The Lost Palace © Chantal Smith

Sun City is a luxury resort and casino, situated in the North West Province of South Africa. It is located between the Elands River and the Pilanesberg, about two hours’ drive from Johannesburg, near the city of Rustenburg. The complex borders the Pilanesberg Game Reserve. Sun City was developed by the hotel magnate Sol Kerzner as part of his Sun International group of properties. It was officially opened on 7 December 1979; at the time it was located in the Bantustan of Bophuthatswana.   read more…

Kimberley, the world capital of diamonds in South Africa

18 March 2016 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

Big Hole sign © Conrad88/cc-by-sa-3.0

Big Hole sign © Conrad88/cc-by-sa-3.0

Kimberley is the capital of the Northern Cape Province of South Africa. It is located approximately 110 km east of the confluence of the Vaal and Orange Rivers. The city has considerable historical significance due to its diamond mining past and the siege during the Second Boer War. Notable personalities such as Cecil Rhodes and Barney Barnato made their fortunes here, and the roots of the De Beers company can also be traced to the early days of the mining town.   read more…

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