Winter Travel warmers by:Alan Hawkins
It's winter in South Africa, the day time average temperature is around 22 deg. C and the evenings are chilly by African standards with most areas between three and twelve degrees centigrade. Here is a quick aside, South Africans always drink cold lager, normally out of a 2-4 deg. Fridge, even in the coldest of weather, unlike the European beer drinkers where the beers, except perhaps in summer, are normally served at room temperature This has little however to do with winter travel in South Africa, what do we advise. Firstly, camping is not really an option, I am an avid camper but to most South African travellers this also means a barbecue (or braai as it is referred to in South Africa) every day or evening and the cold weather doesn't make this appealing. For the game reserve visitors, winter is really the absolute best time to visit, in summer most animals find shade and some form of shelter during the period between nine in the morning and four in the evening, as with humans, they get hot, using the coolers morning and evening hours for the gathering of food and hunting. Our first suggestion then is to pack your woollies and head for the many game reserves, enquire first about electric blankets, heaters, wood fires and other winter comforts, we certainly recommend this as an option, the reserves and their different accommodation options are well geared for this. A top for travel in winter is that wherever you go, pack a knee rug and an old fashioned hit water bottle that you can fill in the evenings and take it along to bed with you, the knee rug is warm if chilly air hits an open game viewing vehicle and it can double up as an extra blanket when you are sleeping.
Winters are generally dry in South Africa, this is a really nice time to take a drive-yourself tour along the less travelled roads, the Prince Alberts Pass, connecting the Garden Route to the Karroo is a good one, Route 62 from Worcester, running through the old fort toward Montagu and along through the Robertson wine area, a great place to stop, to taste the wonderful wines, this area is producing some extremely good Chardonnays, wooded and un-wooded. The wine estates are extremely hospitable, welcoming visitors with open arms, many have accommodation units on offer, well worth a stop over.
The road winds along through quaint towns such as Calitzdorp a dorp is the name for a small town in Afrikaans), Barrydale and Ashton, all offering accommodation, good food and comfortable tourist services. Toward the Eat is the larger town, still small by many standards, of Oudtshoorn, the home of the Cango caves, not to be missed and the many ostrich farms, famous for being the home of the ostrich feather industry, many a product adorning the hats and dresses of a time gone by. Ostrich meat is becoming more and more popular, give it a try, particularly an ostrich steak, low in fat and cholesterol, a tasty and healthy alternative.
A little further North is the beautiful Eastern Transvaal as it was known a while ago, now named Mpumalanga. A self-drive trip along the N4 through the beautiful scenery of Waterval-Boven, Pilgrims rest and the many pretty towns along the way toward the Kruger National Park, the largest and most stunning of the South African National parks. Travellers are advised to make accommodation well in advance, particularly during the South Africa school holidays when accommodation in the Parks are scarce.
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Alan Hawkins - CEO
About the author
Alan Hawkins is the CEO of StaySA.StaySA is a leading South African Accommodationportal.Visit Staysa next time you are looking for a kind of Accommodation in South African