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Experience the tip of Africa

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No trip to the Western Cape is complete without a visit to the geographic southern tip of Africa, and the place where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet.

Cape Agulhas is located in the Overberg region, 170 kilometres from Cape Town. It was named by Portuguese navigators in 1500 and they called it "Cabo das Agulhas" (meaning "Cape of Needles") after realising the direction of magnetic north (and therefore the compass needle) coincided with true north in the region. 

What can I get up to?

The topography consists of a curving coastline with rocky and sand beaches. The waters of the Agulhas Bank are quite shallow and have some of the best fishing in South Africa. One of the more iconic features is the opportunity to stand with one foot in the Indian Ocean and the other in the Atlantic Ocean at the same time.

Don’t let that distract you from the rest of the area though, it’s a nature lover’s dream! Agulhas National Park boasts around 2 000 species of indigenous plants in its 20 000 hectare area, and birdwatching is also recommended.

The area also lends itself to whale watching in season (July to early December) and there is plenty for the adventurous to do as well.

Activities for the adventurous

Surrounding areas like Struisbaai offer water sports like canoeing, surfing, diving and fishing. If you’re a lover of land you can also experience some spectacular views while hiking or mountain biking.

Maritime history ahoy!

If you want to soak up some local history then you have to visit the Cape Agulhas Lighthouse (South Africa’s second oldest lighthouse, dating back to 1849) and check out the museum.

The lighthouse came about in response to the number of shipwrecks occurring off the coast. The rocky coastline has claimed around 140 ships as a result of strong ocean currents, and gale force winds generating waves that can reach up to 30m high. In fact, this dangerous section of the Southern coast is referred to as the "graveyard of the ships".

You can visit one of these, a Japanese shipwreck, just past the southernmost point.

The Meisho Maru No. 38 was a small Japanese fishing vessel that ran aground in stormy waters in 1982 (all onboard survived), and today has become a bit of a local tourist attraction.

If this history piques your interest then you should stop by the Bredasdorp Museum, a maritime museum whose primary theme is "shipwrecks along the dangerous Southern Cape coast and their influence on the development of the Strandveld".

Food and drink galore

If you’d rather spend your time relaxing with a glass of wine and a full belly, there are plenty of delicious options available.

Seafood is a must in this area and some favourites include Struisbaai Sea shack, L'Agulhas Seafoods and Seagulls Pub and Grill for some of the freshest and most delicious seafood in the province.

If you’re all about quality wine, you can visit Elim Wine Route, the southernmost wine route in Africa, featuring a few wine estates and restaurants.

Check out these cool accommodation deals:

Enjoy a quiet escape to L’Agulhas with a relaxing stay at Agulhas Heights for a family of 4.

A peaceful and rustic 2 night stay for 2 in Agulhas National Park at Pebble Bay Bed and Breakfast.

Please note: All deals were accurate and available at time of publication.

 

Hair botox is your hair's new bestie

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In a world where we’re constantly exposed to Insta-model hairstyles and Beyonce-esque hair flips online, it’s easy to get a bit of hair envy. The good news is that there is a multitude of new and exciting styles, techniques and products that can get you looking and feeling exactly how you want.
 
One of the newer and more trendy solutions is hair botox.
 
What exactly is hair botox?
 
Hair botox is not to be confused with the botox solution used for skin (Botulinum Toxin), but is anti-ageing in the sense that it repairs and rejuvenates hair, restoring fibres and leaving it silky, shiny and more youthful-looking.
 
The treatment is suitable for all hair types and though it might sound quite clinical, is more like a deep conditioning treatment for dry or damaged hair (perfect for the end of a long and dreary winter).
 
While not all salons do things exactly the same, typically the treatment will be applied to your hair after being washed with a detoxing or clarifying shampoo, and will be left for roughly 45 minutes before being washed out.
 
Everyone is different, but the treatment usually lasts between 2-4 months if you treat it right, e.g. using a sulphate-free shampoo.
 
What are the benefits?
 
  • Restores & hydrates dry and damaged hair.
  • Promotes hair growth and length.
  • Strengthens hair.
  • Frizz reduction.
  • Plumps-up the hair.
  • Reduces knots and tangles in hair.
  • Adds shine.
  • Lifts colour.

How is it different from a Brazilian blow wave?

Often promoted as an alternative to Brazilian blow-out treatments, hair botox won’t give you the same silky straight hair, but is a good alternative for people with finer hair who find a Brazilian keratin treatment too heavy. Generally, it is considered a nice touch up in between Brazilian blow waves.
 
Brazilian keratin treatment
 
This treatment specifically aims to defrizz and straighten hair. It first reinfuses and seals the lost keratin content within the hair. The keratin hair treatment mends and strengthens these bonds, and then the formaldehyde solution keeps the hair straight. This treatment takes longer and requires straightening to activate, but lasts longer than hair botox and has a straighter finish.
 
Hair botox
 
Hair botox doesn’t actually contain chemicals. Instead, it is made up of organic materials that regulate the hair’s absorption of vitamins and proteins. Essentially, hair botox is a deep conditioning treatment that moisturises, smooths and defrizzes. The fact that it doesn’t contain chemicals like formaldehyde makes it universally useable – even for pregnant women or women who are nursing children!
 
Check out these cool hair deals:
 
Restore the health of your hair and achieve smoother, glossier strands with Hair Botox from Perfectly Pampered.
 
Achieve smoother, silkier and softer hair with a Brazilian blowout from Bella Donna Hair.
 
Get the smooth hassle-free hair you’ve always wanted with a Brazilian blow wave from Soul Scissors.
 
Please note: deals are accurate and available at time of publication.

Spoil yourself in Sea Point

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Looking for a fun day out without leaving the city behind? Look no further than Sea Point, Cape Town’s star Atlantic Seaboard attraction. A long stroll on the promenade is great fun (and free!) and allows you to stop at a variety of popular attractions paired with some of the city’s best views.

Not sure how to spend your time? We’ve curated the perfect day for you, whether you’re on your own or with a partner.

Have a delicious meal  

Craving delicious chow mein, chow faan or chop suey? Fortune House has some of the best Chinese food in town. For just R89 you and a partner or friend can indulge in a filling meal paired with awesome service.

Not in the mood for something too filling? Why not enjoy some sushi! Fortune House also has a delicious 28 piece sushi platter for two. Enjoy a variety of delicious pieces including maki, California rolls, fashion sandwiches, sashimi, nigiri and salmon roses. Yum!

There’s always space for dessert

Feeling like you need something sweet too? Venezia Ice Cream Parlour, Cape Town’s oldest standing Italian ice cream shop, has you sorted. For just R99 you and another can enjoy a waffle and a latte/cappuccino/ coffee or a milkshake. As a long-standing Sea Point gem, no visit to the area would be complete without stopping by.

Pampering near the promenade

Do you want to take your relaxed day to the next level? Indulge in some affordable spa spoils at one of the area’s most glam spas, Blue Spa at the Radisson Blu Le Vendome (not affiliated). You can indulge with a beautiful manicure if you’re alone or, if you’re with another, book a heavenly 60 minute massage for two. The spa’s incredible location and luxurious treatments will be the cherry on top of a great day in Sea Point.

What you can get up to

Walk around the trendy Mojo market. The space is a new and exciting 7-day-a-week market on Regent Road that has 45 designer retail stalls, a daily fresh goods section, and 25 food vendors. 

If you feel like you need to burn off a few post-lunch calories with activities, you’re in the best area. Options include playing a round off putt-putt, larking about at the open air gym, or, if you’ve come prepared, have a dip at the Pavilion swimming pool area. It boasts an Olympic-sized pool, two kids’ splash pools and a springboard diving pool. All the pools are filtered salt water and overlook the Atlantic ocean.

If that’s still not active enough for you, you can rent bicycles at Up Cycles on the pavilion or join one of the guided kayak tours nearby.

Keep an eye out for sun-kissed salsa which occasionally turns the promenade into a huge fiesta of dancing and fun.

If you’re there on a Monday afternoon/ evening look out for Promenade Mondays, a weekly event that sees a mass public skate celebrating anything on wheels. Bring your rollerblades, roller-skates, scooter, skateboard or long-board and join the fun.

Fun fact: the event was launched to celebrate the lifting of the ban on skateboarding and rollerblading along the Sea Point promenade.

Please note: all deals were correct and available at time of publishing.

Don't mine(d) if I do!

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Looking for the perfect Gauteng day trip that won’t break the budget? Cullinan is a small town bursting with quirky and fun things to do, and its incredible history makes it a must-see for any South Africans looking to experience something different.

The small town is roughly 30 km east of Pretoria and 80km from Johannesburg, and despite its size, is a major player in the diamond mining industry. Named after diamond magnate Lord Thomas Cullinan, the town is home to the mine where the world’s largest diamond was discovered in 1905.

A sparkling history

Cullinan, originally a bricklayer, discovered the Premier diamond fields in 1898 when he found a 3-carat diamond on the surface near a farm fence. He correctly guessed that the gem must have been washed down from a higher diamond-bearing area. Patience was key and the savvy businessman had to wait for the farmer who lived on the precious land to pass away before he could buy it and open the Premier mine in 1902.

On the 26 January 1905, The Cullinan Diamond was discovered. It is still the largest gem-quality rough diamond ever found at 3,106.75 carats (621.35 g). The gem was later cut up, producing 96 minor brilliants and 9 major stones, of which the largest 2 are part of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom.

Fun fact: when the rough diamond was first transported out of South Africa, detectives were assigned to the steamship supposedly carrying it and a parcel was locked in the captain's safe and guarded for the entire journey. This was all a ruse however, the stone on that ship was a fake, and the Cullinan was sent to the United Kingdom in a plain box in the post.

What to do in town

Cullinan is heaven for antique-collectors and there are a number of stores, boutiques and gift shops you have to visit when passing through, particularly on Oak Avenue.

If all your shopping works up an appetite you can pick one of the many restaurants to enjoy a delicious meal, snack or cake and coffee. If you’re really hungry and in the mood for something a bit different, visit Cullinan’s Oppistasie restaurant.

The diner (which was built in 1902) is famous for its whopping 18kg burger, more than enough food for a few people! The beefy treat is only available on pre-order so you’ll need to call a few days before to make sure its available (and then you can skip a few meals in advance to make space for the delicious feast). If you’d like something a bit more manageable, Harrie’s Pancakes is famous for its delicious variety of both sweet and savoury pancakes.

Fun activities

The area is great for outdoor adventures and some of your options include abseiling, zip-lining, horse riding, quad biking and trail walks.

Keep your eyes peeled for diamonds

No trip to Cullinan would be complete without a visit to the mine, and tours are available for entering the mine shaft, hoist room, big hole, and the display room.

Fun fact: the mine has produced more than a quarter of all the world's diamonds that are greater than 400 carats. It is also the only significant source of blue diamonds in the world.

If you’d like to learn even more history you can visit McHardy House, the first building in the town and originally the home of William McHardy who was the general manager of the Cullinan Diamond Mine. These days the house is a museum.

Travel in (vintage) style

Why not pair a day in town with a ride on a 60-year-old steam train? A vintage steam train departs from Friend of the Rails' private Hermanstad Station in Pretoria, and is the perfect way to travel to the historic town Cullinan while taking in wonderful scenery along the way.

You’ll disembark at the old Cullinan Station and have four hours to relax and explore the historical town before heading back.

Explore Cullinan and the surrounds with these great deals:

A self-catering bushveld escape for up to 6 people at Mangwa Valley Game Lodge

Escape to the African bush with a stay for 2 at Zebra Country Lodge

An adrenaline-packed kids quad biking experience at Horse Riding Adventure

An exhilarating quad bike safari for one with Horse Riding Adventure

A scenic horse ride in the country for 2 people with Horse Riding Adventure

Please note: Deals are available and accurate at the time of publishing. 

Fall in love with Vietnam

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Considered one of the main attractions in Southeast Asia, Vietnam offers an incredible variety of natural beauty, cultural gems and historical significance (and it doesn’t hurt that it’s kind on a South African wallet).

While there are plenty of reasons to visit this tropical heaven, we’ve spotlighted a few of our favourites below.

The food

If food is your thing then you can’t go wrong with Vietnam. Often thought to have the best food of all the Southeast Asian countries (no offense, Thai food) Vietnam has everything from fine dining restaurants to delicious and ridiculously affordable street food. The latter is also an incredible cultural experience in the country, and though you do need to be smart (you don’t want to spend your trip looking green) there are some real treats.

Delicacies include Pho, a staple consisting of salty broth,  rice noodles, herbs and chicken or beef; Banh Xeo, giant savoury pancakes that literally translate to 'sizzling cake' because of the way they are cooked; and Chè Chuối, banana with sago and coconut milk sweet soup.

Coffee lovers won’t be disappointed either - Vietnamese coffee is widely regarded as some of the best in the world and is often served with condensed milk; yum!.

Traditional Vietnamese water puppet shows

These shows are among the most popular cultural experiences in Vietnam. Originating in the rice paddies of the Red River Delta in North Vietnam during the 11th century, the shows celebrate the culture, traditions and folklore of Vietnam. Spectators will see puppets acting on a ‘stage’ of water, accompanied by live music played on authentic instruments.

The beaches

Catch a tan and show off that summer body by visiting some of the extremely popular and beautiful local beaches. Vienam has over 3000 km of stunning coastline, with white, powdery sand, tropical islands, and countless coves and lagoons.

A few favourites include Nha Trang Beach, Mui Ne Beach, and Doc Let Beach but you'll need to do some research depending on where you are travelling. Swimming and tanning are the obvious favourites, but you can also look forward to kayaking, snorkeling, scuba diving and gorgeous sunset cruises.

Halong Bay

Beloved for its emerald waters and towering limestone islands, Halong Bay is one of the premier tourist locations in Vietnam. Located in the northeast, the region is a World Heritage Site. Boat tours and kayak expeditions are popular ways to explore and the area is perfect for scuba diving, rock climbing and hiking.

Caves

While there are thousands of gorgeous and cavernous caves to visit on tours, The Tu Lan cave system is one of the ultimate caving destinations in Vietnam and globally.

Made up of twenty caves, the Tu Lan cave system spans 20 kilometres, and exploring them involves swimming through subterranean river caves, so it’s not for the fainthearted. Tu Lan has been used as the film set for the Hollywood film Kong-Skull Island (2017) and tours can last up to a few days if you want.

Other options include Dau Go cave on Driftwood Island- Halong Bay, Thien Cung cave in Ha Long-Quang Ninh, and Huong Tich cave in Perfume pagoda-Ha Noi.

Temples

See something beautiful and learn about culture and religion by visiting Vietnam’s many temples, some of them ancient. Options include The Temple of Literature built in 1070, later becoming Vietnam’s first university; Tran Quoc Pagoda, one of the oldest pagodas in the whole of Vietnam and a favourite among kings and royal families for festivals and full moons; and Ngoc Son Temple, built on Ngoc Son Islet, located in the the Hoan Kiem Lake.

Exploring Vietnam on a scooter

If you want to explore the country like a local, rent a scooter. Vietnam is known for its hundreds of scooters zooming around the cities and the countrysides (though driving in the more urban areas is not for the faint-hearted or those with slow reaction times).

Getting a suit made in Hoi An

Hoi An is essentially the tailoring capital of not just Vietnam, but Southeast Asia in general. Don’t spend money on another novelty fridge magnet, treat yourself to a gorgeous custom outfit that you can cherish forever. Suits, dresses, t-shirts, shoes, you can have it all, there are literally hundreds of shops to choose from.

First time travelling to Vietnam? Here are our travel tips:

Be prepared for crazy weather

Vietnam can have some pretty unpredictable weather and if it’s chilly in Ha Noi it might be boiling in Ho Chi Minh City. While this is all very season-dependant you should pack some warmer clothes along with your shorts for the more humid days. Also pack a rain jacket or two, a sudden downpour can ruin your day (and your shoes).

Get ready to haggle

Haggling is extremely common in Vietnam and will probably be one of the more memorable parts of your trip. While you shouldn’t be afraid to engage, there are some rules. Not every price is negotiable and most legitimate taxi companies and restaurants won’t be friendly if you try to haggle with them. Generally speaking, you should save your haggling for market scenarios and items without price tags.

Dress appropriately.

While you don’t have to dress too conservatively in Vietnam, remember that some situations require more modesty than others. i.e don’t wear your bikini to a religious temple.

Avoid tap water!

Generally speaking it's probably best to avoid drinking the local tap water and stick to bottled water for drinking, brushing teeth and washing food. If you run out of bottled water, you can boil the tap water with an electric kettle.

Explore Vietnam with these incredible travel packages

Enjoy a 10 day tour with Vietnam Real Tours.

Experience Vietnam with a 5 day trip with Vietnam Real Tours.

Embark on an enriching 10 day tour with Halong Tours.

14 nights,15 days in Vietnam and Thailand with Halong Tours.

Please note: deals are available and accurate at the time of publishing.

 

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