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my little boy with place to visit in South Africa

Sun City, the place to visit

Sun City is a luxury resort and casino that is situated in the North West Province of South Africa. This wonderful resort is located about 2 hour’s drive from Johannesburg near the city of Rustenburg. It is nestled between the Elands River and Pilanesberg. It borders the Pilanesberg Game Reserve.

Sun City was developed during the 70’s by the hotel magnate, Sol Kerzner as part of his Sun International group of properties. It was officially opened on the 7th of December 1979 and was located in the Bantustan of Bophuthatswana. South Africa’s government at the time declared Bophuthatswana an independent state although no other country recognised this. During the 70’s gambling and topless shows were banned in South Africa, but it was allowed in Bophuthatswana which ensured that Sun City became a very popular holiday and weekend away destination.

The United Nations imposed a cultural boycott on South Africa in condemnation of apartheid. Kerzner offered substantial financial incentives to performing artists to use Sun City as a venue. Many artists performed at the venue including the Beach Boys, Cher, Linda Ronstadt, Frank Sinatra, Status Quo, Rod Stewart and Elton John. Queen also performed here in 1984 which caused lots of criticism in the British music press.

This venue has hosted a heavyweight boxing championship fight between American Mike Weaver and South African Gerrie Coetzee as well as Miss South Africa, Miss South Africa Teen and Miss World pageants.

Sun City continues flourishing since Bophutatswana was re-incorporated into South Africa in 1994. The resort has four hotels including Sun City Hotel, Cascades Hotel, The Cabanas and The palace of the Lost City. The complex includes time-share facilities, which is a popular self-catering facility.




There are also two international standard 18 hole golf courses. The first on is The Gary Player Country Club which is home to the prestigious Nedbank Gold Challenge and the second is the Lost City Golf Course which is noted for the 38 crocodiles in the water feature of the 13th hole. Both were designed by Gary Player.

In 2014, the movie Blended with Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler, premiered after being filmed mostly at the resort.

A brand new water slide was installed in 2016 and expanded accommodation choices to countryside like Cabanas Chalets was just completed. The new Chalets are located 750m from the Cabanas hotel, nestled beside the Letsatsie bush which is close to the Cultural Village of the resort.

The Valley of Waves re-opened after its annual winter maintenance with another heart stopping ride to try. The new water slide, White Water, sees visitors have the ultimate 17m plummet body slide adventure in a capsule. It sends riders sliding at 40mph (65km/h) before being swept upwards into a near-vertical loop. G-force pins the riders as they slide up, over and then down before crashing into the splashdown lane. It is not for the faint hearted…

Sun City also has the largest permanent maze in the Southern Hemisphere, The Maze of the Lost City. It was constructed from artificial stone and wood which creates the illusion of an ancient archaeological discovery. It covers half an acre. The maze is accessed via a 100m suspension bridge from the Entertainment Center and offers the most spectacular views of the resort. At night time flaming torches light the paths along the chambers…

my little boy with place to visit in South Africa

What to see in Pretoria Gauteng

Pretoria didn’t develop as quickly as Johannesburg did over the years but two of the most impressive buildings are located in this beautiful Jakkarandastad (city, filled with the most beautiful purple flower trees called the Jakkaranda).

The first building is The Union Building that was built on Meintjieskop, Arcadia, named after Stephanus Jacobus Meintjies. Arcadia was farmland, originally belonging to Andries Francois du Toit, who then sold it on. Sir Herbert Baker was the architect of The Union Building and it was built from light sandstone. The building was completed in 1913, 3 years after the colonies united, forming the South African Union.

The building is 275 m long and has a halve-round shape with two wings at the sides, representing the English and Afrikaans (Boer) population of South Africa separately at that time. The gardens of the Union Building consist of roses imported from England, plants from Rotterdam and others from South Africa. Today, tourists from all over the world come to see this building.

Parliament spends the winter months in Pretoria at the Union Building, while they spend their summer months down in Cape Town.

The Voortrekker Monument is the second great building and can be seen from almost any location in Pretoria. It was built in honour of the Voortrekkers who left the Cape Colony and embarked on the Great Trek back in 1836. This monument is the icon for all Afrikaans South Africans. The architect for the monument was Gerard Moerdijk and construction started on the 13th of July 1937. The monument was inaugurated on 16 December 1949 and stands 40 metres high with a base of 40 m by 40 m.

An amphitheatre which seats 20 000 was built to the north west of the monument in 1949. The focus point of the monument is the cenotaph. On top of the Hall of Heroes is a dome from where you can view the inside of the monument. The sun shines through this dome only one day a year at exactly 12 o’clock on the 16th of December, onto the middle of the cenotaph and the words “Ons vir jou, Suid-Afrika” (we for Thee South Africa).

This ray of sunshine symbolises God’s blessing on the lives of the Voortrekkers. The 16th of December is the day of remembrance, a promise that was made to God to always remember this day, treating it as a Sunday, every year, because He was with them when they fought and defeated the Zulu’s at the Battle of Bloodriver. Lots of lives were lost on that day and at present, we remember those who lost their lives.

People in South Africa have different views and it means something different to everyone in regards to the Monument as well as the Battle of Bloodriver. Doesn’t matter what your opinion is these days, these two building are very impressive and has to be visited! Go there, see the buildings, read about the history and learn a little more about how South Africa became the country it is today!

my little boy with place to visit in South Africa

Visit Table Mountain

Table Mountain is probably the biggest tourist attraction in the Western Cape Province. Whenever anyone lands, the first port of call is most definitely this magnificent mountain with its “table top”.

The base of Table Mountain consists out of granite while most of the mountain is sculpted from sandstone and rises about 1 086 m above the bay. Its flat summit measures around 3 km from one end to the other. Table Mountain has been declared a national monument and is home to more than 1 470 species of plants. This is more than all the plant species put together in the whole of the British Isle! Many of these plants appear nowhere else on earth including the rare Silver Tree.

On a clear day, the mountain is visible from over 200 km on the open sea. Most definitely a sight worth seeing. Take a boat out on the open sea and experience this breathtaking sight. It is unbelievable to think that people say Table Mountain was formed under the see, and because of erosion over millions of years (and many other reasons), it takes on the shape it has today.

Devil’s Peak and Lion’s Head appear on the eastern and western side of the “table”. Table Mountain is as well known for its “tablecloth” as it is for the flat top shape of a table. You might ask what this tablecloth is, so let met quickly explain. During the summer months (December – February, but sometimes longer), a great amount of cloud cover appears over the top of the mountain when the southeaster blows. This causes a white cover that looks exactly like a tablecloth, used in the kitchen or anywhere else.

Safe access to the summit of Table Mountain can be obtained by the cable car that was opened in 1929. This cable car has expanded and changed so much that the newest car is even rotating! You can see a 360°C view without having to move, or push other people around you.




More than 600 000 people are conveyed to the top of the mountain every year and the total time it takes to reach the summit, is an unbelievable 6 minutes! On the summit is a restaurant and souvenir shop from which letters can be sent, bearing the Table Mountain postmark.

If you prefer walking and enjoying nature, you can opt to climb the mountain. There are more than 350 recognised paths to the summit you can choose from, ranging from easy and comfortable to extremely difficult. When you choose one of these paths, please do make sure you are accompanied by someone experienced who knows the route very well. It is very easy to loose your way if you don’t know the area.

In the past, lions, leopards and buffalo used to live in these mountains. Over the years they died out and were killed as the Cape became a city, inhabited by many people. Only baboons, small dear and rabbits remain.

Going to see Table Mountain is a great experience, relaxing for the soul and giving you the chance to live and breath the magnificent views once you reach the summit. The tremendous beauty can not be described in words, so please make sure you visit this great “flat top” Table Mountain. Try to visit when the skies are blue, with no cloud cover around.

Lizel Salter is a keen cooking fanatic, loves to bake and is the author of Simply South African, a traditional recipe book. Read more about South Africa and cooking at http://www.recipesfromsouthafrica.com

my little boy with place to visit in South Africa

The Kruger National Park

South Africa has dedicated more than three million hectares of its total land mass to the conservation of its natural heritage. You will see a great variety of habitats and wildlife when you visit these amazing sites.

The Kruger National Park covers around 2 million hectares and is the largest game reserve in South Africa. It is roughly the same size and shape as either Israel or Wales! It covers 20 000 square kilometres and it stretches 350 km from north to south and 60 km from east to west. To the north of the Park is Zimbabwe and to the east is Mozambique. The Kruger National Park will be extended into the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park by taking some fences down between the Gonarezhou National Park in Zimbabwe and the Limpopo National Park in Mozambique. This will then cover more than 36 000 square kilometres and will be larger than Switzerland.

In 1896 the rinderpest virus wiped out most of the region’s game and cattle, leaving the area crippled. Hunters decimated the originally rich game stock between the Crocodile River in the south, Sabie River in the north, Lebombo Mountains in the east and the Drakensberg in the west. Therefor President Paul Kruger opened the National Park to protect and ensure the survival of the remaining animals. Funds for the Sabie Game Reserve were allocated in 1898, but then war broke out.

After the second Boer War, James Stevenson-Hamilton, a Scottish born individual, was appointed the first warden in 1902 and a few months later the area from the Sabi River all the way to the Olifants River was added. He removed all human inhabitants from the reserve and began to shoot all predators in order to protect the antelope herds. By 1905, the Sabi Game Reserve had expanded to include more than 17 000 kilometres.

In 1926 the reserve was named after President Paul Kruger and was declared South Africa’s first National Park. In 1927 the park was opened to the public and they were charged a £1 entry fee. Only a few people came to visit the park during that year, but by 1935 more than 26 000 people passed through the gates.

Today more than 1 million people per year visit this magnificent park. Stevenson-Hamilton was very surprised when lions became one of the biggest attractions and he stopped the shooting of predators. The extended Kruger Park was only fenced in for the first time in 1962. On the 31st of May 1972, the Sabie and Shingwedzi reserves together with 70 privately owned farms were consolidated into the Kruger National Park, one of the greatest parks in the whole of Africa.

Altogether there is about 1 982 species of plants, 517 species of birds of which 253 are residents and many other animals. Some of them are the African buffalo, African hunting dogs, cheetahs, eland, bushbucks, zebra, black rhinoceros, white rhinoceros, giraffes, kudus, hippopotamus, leopards, lions, impalas, mountain redbucks, nyalas, redbucks, antelopes, sable antelopes, hyenas, elephants, warthogs, waterbucks, wildebeest, baboons, monkeys, duiker, steenbok and klipspringer.

There are also 120 species of reptile including the Nile crocodile, 52 species of fish and 35 species of amphibians. The best time for observing all these animals is the dry winter season (during the months of April to September). The Kruger National Park is a summer rainfall area and during the winter months, the grass is low and bushes don’t have leaves, so you will have an unobstructed view.

It virtually does not rain during the winter months which forces the animals to come to the water holes and six rivers that feed this magnificent Park to drink in the mornings and evening. The animals can easily be watched from the comfort of your car. During the summer months the rain transforms the earth into a lush green haven, a flowering paradise and watching birds during this time is excellent.

There are also 130 recorded rock art sites in the park you can go and see while you spot the animals on the way. Make sure to take your malaria tablets though before you visit the Kruger National Park. This is malaria area although it isn’t as dominant as in earlier years. Take the necessary precautions by taking tablets, wearing light long sleeved clothing and also protect your ankle area. Read more about malaria before travelling to any malaria destination.

my little boy with place to visit in South Africa

Namaqualand

Namaqualand is located north of the fertile and prospering Cape Peninsula. It is bordered in the south by a small town called Garies, the east by the arid Pofadder, in the north by the mighty Orange River and in the west, it reaches the rugged coastline of the Atlantic Ocean.

This is an arid, dry semi-desert located in south-western Africa and extends more than 600 miles along the west coast. To get to this area, you first need to drive through the Swartland (named after it’s rich black soil) which is filled with healthy wheat fields, over the Olifants River Mountains into a valley, dense of citrus farms. North of this, you will encounter the extremely dry and harsh wilderness of Namaqualand where life is just to dry for anything to grow, or so you would think!

But after a short winter’s rainy season, a miracle occurs. This dry arid strip of desert on the west coast of South Africa, is transformed into an amazing rainbow wonderland of beauty, displaying desert wild flowers. The countless wildflowers spread over the wide plains like a very colourful carpet to mark the start of spring (August-October, depending of the rains). Most of these flowers belong to the different species of daisies.

These groups of flowers have no equal anywhere else on earth. Packed into this area is more that 3000 different plant species of which 40% are endemic, found nowhere else on earth. Thousands of tourists flock to this area during this time of the year to witness the stunning celebration of spring. Within 2 months, the season changes again, bringing dry and hot sunny days with scorching winds which turns this area back into it’s desert appearance.

This area is also rich in wildlife, anything from mammals, insects and reptiles to amphibians and great bird life. You will also find the rare bat-earned fox and even see the blue head lizard.

The Northern Cape is a very harsh world. The sun is extremely warm, baking the ground so it is rock hard. There is very high unemployment and poverty, but the people that were born here, has a great love of their place of birth. You can’t help but fall in love with this amazing place.

Botanists make trips to Namaqualand the same time each year for research or just the experience. Many rare species of succulents are found here, and many wish to study them.

Namaqualand is also valuable from a mineral point in history. Simon van der Stel sank a shaft in 1685 near Springbok and discovered copper here. This shaft still stands as a national monument together with the copper smelting chimney built in 1866.

Namaqualand is beautiful, a rare paradise beauty that has to be seen by the naked eye. No brush or camera can capture this amazing experience…

my little boy with place to visit in South Africa

Namaqualand

Namaqualand is located north of the fertile and prospering Cape Peninsula. It is bordered in the south by a small town called Garies, the east by the arid Pofadder, in the north by the mighty Orange River and in the west, it reaches the rugged coastline of the Atlantic Ocean.

This is an arid, dry semi-desert located in south-western Africa and extends more than 600 miles along the west coast. To get to this area, you first need to drive through the Swartland (named after it’s rich black soil) which is filled with healthy wheat fields, over the Olifants River Mountains into a valley, dense of citrus farms. North of this, you will encounter the extremely dry and harsh wilderness of Namaqualand where life is just to dry for anything to grow, or so you would think!

But after a short winter’s rainy season, a miracle occurs. This dry arid strip of desert on the west coast of South Africa, is transformed into an amazing rainbow wonderland of beauty, displaying desert wildflowers. The countless wildflowers spread over the wide plains like a very colourful carpet to mark the start of spring (August-October, depending on the rains). Most of these flowers belong to the different species of daisies.

These groups of flowers have no equal anywhere else on earth. Packed into this area is more that 3000 different plant species of which 40% are endemic, found nowhere else on earth. Thousands of tourists flock to this area during this time of the year to witness the stunning celebration of spring. Within 2 months, the season changes again, bringing dry and hot sunny days with scorching winds which turns this area back into it’s desert appearance.

This area is also rich in wildlife, anything from mammals, insects and reptiles to amphibians and great bird life. You will also find the rare bat-earned fox and even see the blue head lizard.

The Northern Cape is a very harsh world. The sun is extremely warm, baking the ground so it is rock hard. There is very high unemployment and poverty, but the people that were born here, has a great love of their place of birth. You can’t help but fall in love with this amazing place.

Botanists make trips to Namaqualand the same time each year for research or just the experience. Many rare species of succulents are found here, and many wish to study them.

Namaqualand is also valuable from a mineral point in history. Simon van der Stel sank a shaft in 1685 near Springbok and discovered copper here. This shaft still stands as a national monument together with the copper smelting chimney built in 1866.

Namaqualand is beautiful, a rare paradise. Beauty that has to be seen by the naked eye. No brush or camera can capture this amazing experience…

 

my little boy with place to visit in South Africa

Cradle of Humankind

The Cradle of Humankind is a World Heritage Site located about 50 km (45 minutes drive) northwest of Johannesburg South Africa in the Gauteng Province. It was first named by UNESCO in 1999 and occupies about 47 000 hectares of land mostly privately owned. It contains a complex of a strip of a dozen dolomitic limestone caves, including the Sterkfontein Caves where the 2.3 million-year-old fossil (Australopithecus africanus, nicknamed “Mrs Ples”) was found in 1947 by Dr Robert Broom and John Robinson.

The Sterkfontein Caves are located within the Isaac Edwin Stegmann Reserve and was donated to the University of Witwatersrand by the Stegmann Family, which was mainly responsible for the excavation of this World Heritage Site. A section of the caves is open to the public and there is a gravel platform from where you can view the excavation site. You will also find a tea-room and small museum where information and significant findings are displayed. There are many things to enjoy whether you are a tourist, local or overseas, or a school group wanting to learn more.

The dolomite in which the caves formed, started out as coral reefs growing in a shallow sea about 2.3 billion years ago. As the reefs died, they were transformed into limestone which were much later converted into dolomite. At least 7 of the 12 sites have yielded hominid remains. Together these caves have produced over 850 hominid fossil remains. To date it represents one of the world’s richest concentrations of fossil hominid sites. These sites provide us with a window into the past, a time when our earliest ancestors lived.

Other caves include Swartkrans about 1.5 km north west of the Sterkfontein Caves. The oldest controlled use of fire was discovered here and dated back to over 1 million years ago! The roof of the Plover’s Lake located north east of Sterkfonein Caves disintegrated due to erosion and faunal remains were discovered including antelope and extinct Zebra.




Kromdraai is 1.5 km north of the Sterkfontein caves and current excavations are being carried out. The Wonder Cave chamber has a volume on 46 000 m and is about 2.2 million years old. It contains drip stone formations just like in the Cango Caves. Bolt’s Farm is 2.5 km south west of Sterkfontein and discoveries from this site include fossil elephant, pig and antelope.

Coopers is 1.25 km from Sterkfonein and became the third South African cave to yield hominid fossil when a single ape-man molar tooth was found in 1938. Gladysvale includes three underground caves and it yielded a wolf skeleton as well as the skull of a giant hyena. Lee Berger of the University of Witwatersrand discovered the first hominid specimens from here in 1991 which makes this the first new early hominid site discovered in South Africa in 48 years. Discoveries were also made at Hassgat and Gondolin.

This is a great place where you can escape to for a holiday or just a day trip. Enjoy a lovely day out or the magnificent experience of staying over for a few days.

 

my little boy with place to visit in South Africa

Cango Caves

The Cango Caves is located 26 km north of Oudtshoorn in die Little Karoo, a very warm part of the Western Cape Province. The Cango Caves is a breathtaking underground wonderland and is one of the greatest natural wonders in the world, sculptured by nature itself through the ages. These limestone formations in many different colours were formed over millions of years. The exact time it takes in making these many formations depends on the supply of both water and carbon dioxide

In 1780 a farmer named Van Zyl discovered the caves and lowered himself into the darkness with very poor light of self made candles showing him where to go. He braved the pitch darkness lowering himself 10 meters down into the first chamber, which is about 98 meters long, 49 meters wide and 15 meters high. Stalagmites and stalactites glow everywhere.

The Cango Caves was declared a natural monument in 1938 and one of the caves were opened for tourists. The first chamber was named after Van Zyl, the farmer that discovered this cave. The chamber consists of a variation of dripstone formations including Cleopatra’s Needle (9 meters high and at least 150 000 years old). The roof is a wonderful dark grey with its smoothly sculptured hollows and pendants.

In the second chamber called Cango One you can see a completed column which is about 0.5 meters in diameter and 125 meters high from the ground to the ceiling in the middle of the chamber. Some areas of the cave are so low that you have to bent your knees to walk. The route continues via Jacob’s ladder, stairs that lead to the top, over a chamber that leads to a group of smaller chambers. Here you have to climb a steep ladder that leads to a small hole where you have to crawl through on your hands and knees. At the end you have to sail on your stomach through a letterbox. This is a great experience for those that feel adventurous!




In 1972 three professional cave guides broke through to the second cave and name this Cango Two. An indescribable fairytale world that stretches another 270 meters. In 1975 another extension of about 1 600 meters were discovered and is known as Cango Three. Both Cango Two and Three is not open to the public so its pure crystal beauty can be preserved and protected. The colours are as beautiful and bright as it was when first discovered.

One negative consequence of Cango One being developed and opened to the public is that warm air breathed out by tourists has caused the bright colours to fade over the years. The temperature in the Caves is a warm and humid 18°C.

You can watch a documentary program about Cango Two and Three when you visit the caves. Even though you are not allowed in, you can still experience it …