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Struik Travel & Heritage

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Archive for the ‘Lifestyle’ Category

“You Don’t Get that Stress” – Table Mountain’s Baker Describes Working on a Wonder

British Airways’ inflight magazine High Life recently ran a feature on Cape Town’s beloved Table Mountain, asking seven Capetonians what the landmark means to them, accompanied by some fantastic photography by Michael Ellis.

“The Mountain”, as it is affectionately known, is an ancient icon – as Hoerikwaggo, the Khoisan word meaning “mountain in the sea” – and one of the seven natural wonders of the world.

Octavia Tumeka Nkomombini, a baker who works at the lower Cableway station, supplying the café on top of the mountain and the kiosk, first visited the mountain as a baby with her father. Her next visit was 35 years later, for a job interview.

Nkomombini has to wake at 3.30 AM to prepare breakfast for her three children before leaving for work, but says: “Working here has changed me. One, it’s given me peace. [...] I feel like I’m blessed to work here, to have a place like this. You just don’t get that stress.”

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‘I don’t get used to the cable car trip; every time I go, it’s like, wow! I still want to walk up one day; that’s in my plans. It is a wonder, Table Mountain. Everyone who comes here wants to come back; people from all walks of life. And the mountain influences us: it gives you peace, it makes you feel close to nature. I brought a friend from Kimberley last year. We took the lift up to level five. And there was this tourist by the cable car, and she grabbed him to pose [for a picture]. I thought, “What if he has a wife or girlfriend?” But he seemed to enjoy it.

For more on Cape Town and its wonders, see:

Seven Days in Cape TownThe Cape Town BookMy Cape Town ABCCape Town Then and NowWalking Cape Town


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History from a Different Angle: Nechama Brodie Commandeers a Red Bus to Launch The Cape Town Book

Cape Town City Hall

Nechama BrodieThe Cape Town BookWith The Cape Town Book, Nechama Brodie has written a deserving biography of the Mother City – telling the often forgotten stories and revealing magical hidden gems about the place where so much of South Africa’s history has taken place.

This book is much more than just a tourist handbook, and anything but a history lesson. It builds a bridge between old and new, contrasting contemporary settings with their origin stories. Brodie highlights the people that played a role in creating Cape Town, from the slaves and slave owners to modern-day celebrities and political figureheads, and paints a fresh picture of the city everybody loves so much.

The Cape Town Book aims to be an inclusive and comprehensive document of history, focusing on the individual, unique spaces of the city. This includes the entire peninsula, from the Cape Flats and Northern Suburbs to Simon’s Town and Kommetjie. Brodie also covers topics such as “What Came Before?” and “Who Came Before?” – the first two chapters in the book – and consults experts and archival material to tell the full story.

To launch her new book, the sister publication of the bestselling The Joburg Book, Brodie took a small group of avid bookworms on a special sightseeing trip on board one of the famous Cape Town City Sightseeing double-decker red buses. As we jolted through the city she shared facts about the things that could be seen from the top, sowing a thread from street to street and leaving no stone unturned.

“Everywhere we go history stalks us,” Brodie said as the group gathered in the Company’s Garden to start the day’s adventure. “With The Cape Town Book I want to help you notice where and when it happens.” Armed with coffee and pastries, we learned more about the living museums and preserved relics that bear testament to the very beginning of the colonisation of the Cape.

From the Company’s Garden Brodie commandeered the red bus, sending us travelling past UCT Hiddingh Campus towards parliament – where history-in-action could be witnessed as students gathered for the historic #NationalShutdown as part of the #FeesMustFall campaign – with the author acting as a bespoke tour guide.

From parliament the bus drove down Spin Street, which Brodie revealed to have been the location of South Africa’s failed silk industry, towards the Castle of Good Hope and Grand Parade. After a brief pause to take in the surroundings and all that it represents, we travelled up Buitenkant Street and onto De Waal Drive where strong winds, which have shaped Cape Town in their own remarkable way, could not deter Brodie’s captivating voice-over.

It’s fascinating to take into account that Table Mountain was at some point the bottom of what was once a much larger mountain, and that Robben Island used to be a hill on a coastal plain, the author mused as we looked towards the famous landmarks in the distance. People would have been able to walk across.

The next stop was Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, albeit briefly, before the bus hit the road again, following it to Hout Bay via Rhodes Drive and past Constantia. Travelling on Victoria Road back to the city a group of whales could be seen playing in the distance, emphasising the diversity of life in the Mother City.

All along the way Brodie shared a wealth of information on the city, from the story behind the bitter almond trees planted by Van Riebeeck to logic behind the well-known Cape Dutch architecture. If the tour and is anything to go by, The Cape Town Book is sure to be an indispensable read for anyone interested in the true story of the Mother City.

Cape Town


Helené Prinsloo (@helenayp) tweeted live from the launch, using the hashtag #TheCTBook:



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Scroll through the Facebook album for photos taken during The Cape Town Book red bus tour:



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From Lion’s Head to Table Mountain – Discover Cape Town’s Beauty from Above (Video)

How well do you know Cape Town? Have you ever climbed Lion’s Head or appreciated the view from Table Mountain? When you bustle through the city centre on your way to work, do you stop to admire the architecture?

If you’ve always wanted to have a birds-eye view of Cape Town, this video will blow your mind. The Two Wheels Across film crew spent six weeks filming the breathtaking Cape Town scenery, from above!

The result is a 2:37-minute video called “Rise Above Cape Town!” that features all the splendour the city has to offer, from Lion’s Head, Table Mountain and V&A Waterfront Marina to Camps Bay, the Cape Town Central Business District and much more.

Watch the video to see if you can spot your favourite landmarks in Cape Town:

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To supplement you Cape Town experience, have a look at the following books from Struik Travel and Heritage:

Seven Days in Cape TownThe Cape Town BookMy Cape Town ABCCape Town Then and NowWalking Cape Town


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Join Nechama Brodie and Lester Kiewit at the Launch of The Cape Town Book at the Iziko Slave Lodge

Invitation to the launch of The Cape Town Book

The Cape Town BookStruik Travel & Heritage would like to invite you to the launch of The Cape Town Book by Nechama Brodie.

Brodie will be in conversation with Lester Kiewit on Thursday, 22 October, at 5:30 for 6 PM. The event will take place at the historical Iziko Slave Lodge, one of the oldest buildings in Cape Town. RSVP by Tuesday, 20 October, to avoid disappointment.

The Cape Town Book is Brodie’s compelling account of South Africa’s first city, its landscape and its people.

Don’t miss it!

Event Details

  • Date: Thursday, 22 October 2015
  • Time: 5:30 for 6 PM
  • Venue: Iziko Slave Lodge
    Corner of Adderley and Wale Streets
    Cape Town | Map
  • Interviewer: Lester Kiewit
  • RSVP: 011 327 3550

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Presenting a Revised Edition of Sean Fraser’s Bestselling Guidebook – Seven Days in Cape Town

Seven Days in Cape TownA revised edition of Seven Days in Cape Town by Sean Fraser is now available from Struik Travel & Heritage:

Seven Days in Cape Town – a bestselling guidebook on the Mother City – has been given a new cover and is fully revised to include the very latest information.

• The body of the book contains seven day-tours in and around Cape Town. Each tour is accompanied by a full-colour map covering the recommended itinerary.

  • Following the day routes are six specialist itineraries further afield – comprising the West Coast and Namaqualand, Southern Cape Coast, Stellenbosch, Paarl, Franschhoek, and the Garden Route.
  • More than 200 colour photographs, including aerials, accompany authoritative text that covers historical background, useful facts and engaging anecdotal information.
  • A handy directory listing covers shopping, nightlife, cuisine and events, giving useful names, addresses, and relevant additional information.

About the author

Sean Fraser is a graduate of Journalism and Media Studies from Rhodes University and the author of a number of glossy coffee-table books, as well as reference, travel and guide books on the people and places of southern Africa. His titles to date include Picturesque South Africa, published by Penguin Random House, as well as Scenic South Africa, Scenic Cape Town and the National Geographic African Adventure Atlas. Sean is also an established editor and publishing consultant. He is married with two sons and works from his home in Cape Town.

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The Cape Town Book by Nechama Brodie – A Fresh Perspective on the Mother City

The Cape Town BookNechama Brodie’s latest city biography, The Cape Town Book, is now available from Struik Travel:

The Cape Town Book presents a fresh picture of the Mother City, one that brings together all its stories. From geology and beaches to forced removals and hip-hop, Nechama Brodie, author of the best-selling The Joburg Book, has delved deeply into the hidden past of Cape Town to emerge with a lucid and compelling account of South Africa’s first city, its landscape and its people.

The book’s 14 chapters trace the origins and expansion of Cape Town – from the City Bowl to the southern and coastal suburbs, the vast expanse of the Cape Flats and the sprawling northern areas.

Offering a nuanced, yet balanced, perspective on Cape Town, the book includes familiar attractions like Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch and the Company’s Garden, while also giving a voice to marginalised communities in areas such as Athlone, Langa, Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha.

Many of the images in the book have never been published before, and are drawn from the archives of museums, universities and public institutions. This beautifully illustrated, information-rich book is the definitive portrait of the wind-blown, contradictory city at the southern tip of Africa that more than three million people call home.

About the author

In a career spanning nearly two decades, Nechama Brodie has worked as a journalist, magazine editor, publisher and talk-show host. Nechama is the editor and co-author of the best-selling The Joburg Book and Inside Joburg. She is currently completing her MA in journalism, and is head of Training, Research and Information at Africa Check, an independent fact-checking agency.

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Celebrate Tourism Month by Taking a Sho’t Left to Limpopo and Discover South Africa

Discover South AfricaSeptember is Tourism Month – the perfect time to Discover South Africa!

This year the National Department of Tourism (NDT) has decided to focus on the Limpopo province to showcase all it has to offer. This is the home of the Waterberg Biosphere, a UNESCO-designated Biosphere Reserve; the biggest Baobab tree in the world; the ancient Kingdom of Mapungubwe and the rain queen Modjadji – to name but a few.

The NDT has teamed up with the “Sho’t Left Away” campaign, which will be the driving force of Tourism Month. This campaign advocates domestic travel before anything else, inviting South Africans to discover the unlimited greatness and beauty of our own country. They facilitate this with an incredibly useful website and beautiful documentaries.

Naturally, the #ShotLeft guys have also created an incredibly inviting documentary on the luscious Limpopo province, revealing some of it’s most spectacular spots.

Watch the video for an epic road trip through the northernmost province of South Africa:

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Watch the #ShotLeft promo video, then visit their YouTube channel for more:

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Press release

September is Tourism Month in South Africa, and this year’s celebrations were kickstarted with an official launch on August 16 by Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom, at Euphoria Golf Resort in the Waterberg region of Limpopo province.

“During Tourism Month, we focus our efforts on domestic tourism in particular, using the period as an opportunity to encourage all South Africans to get out and explore this unique, beautiful and diverse country,” said Hanekom.

As part of his address at the Tourism Month launch, Hanekom pointed to a new domestic tourism marketing campaign – A Million New Experiences are a Sho’t Left Away – which will be the theme for this year’s Tourism Month as well.

The new domestic campaign, informed by consumer insights research conducted by South African Tourism, encourages South Africans to take a leisure break away from home and start travelling their own country. The campaign premise is about the joy of discovering new experiences for the first time, thus highlighting that South Africa has myriad tourist experiences to be discovered, whether one is a new or a seasoned traveller.

Tourism Month celebrations rotate among the provinces each year, with a different province given an opportunity to host the celebrations. During this month all provinces are encouraged to showcase their leisure experiences on offer so as to inspire domestic travellers. Tourism Month coincides with Heritage Month in South Africa, fitting for this year’s choice of Limpopo as the host province.

Limpopo is a culturally rich and diverse province that boasts attractions such as the Modjadji cycad forest, the Mapungubwe Heritage Site and the Ribolla Cultural Route, to mention but a few.

“Limpopo is a wonderful region of the country to explore. Its warm, friendly culture makes one feel truly at home. It is a must-visit destination for any South African who wants to learn more about South Africa’s cultural heritage,” added Hanekom.

He explained that domestic tourism is critical to the long-term growth and sustainability of South Africa’s tourism industry.

In 2014, tourism contributed some 9.4 percent to the nation’s gross domestic product and accounted for close to 10 percent of all employed people in South Africa. Last year, 35 percent of all adult South Africans took a trip domestically. Domestic trips increased by 11 percent to reach 28-million last year. The revenue generated by domestic tourism alone in the same year was R26.8-billion in 2014, an increase of 11 percent on the previous year.

“We have ring-fenced significant budget to invest in growing this specific sector and to enhance our marketing efforts. It is important to us that all South Africans become ambassadors of their own country, and the first step to achieving this is to travel, discover, learn, and fall in love with South Africa’s beauty and tourism offerings. Making domestic travel affordable and accessible will encourage South Africans to explore and experience their own country,” concluded Hanekom.

Take advantage of great special offers this Tourism Month by doing the following: follow @shotleft on Twitter; tweet the #sharelimpopo and #shotleft hashtags; like shotleft on Facebook; visit the Sho’t Left website; or log onto the mobisite.


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A Crocodile doing the Tango with a Sunhat on its Head: Anecdotes from a Long-distance Hiking Trip

Hiking Trails of South AfricaWalking Cape TownMike Lundy\'s Best Walks in the Cape PeninsulaPaths to Pubs

Liesl Ravenscroft recently wrote an article for Wild Card Blog about a journey from the Cederberg to the Outeniqua Mountains, a 650 km trip that takes place from September to November each year.

Ravenscroft writes about the experience of long-distance hiking and shares special anecdotes from the places she saw and the people she met. She explains the allure of embarking on such a long, challenging voyage, shares photographs and imparts wisdom for first-time hikers.

For more information on walking and hiking activities, have a look at the following titles:

Hiking Trails of South Africa by Willie Olivier; Walking Cape Town: Urban walks and drives in the Cape Peninsula by John Muir; Mike Lundy’s Best Walks in the Cape Peninsula by Mike Lundy and Paths to Pubs: A Guide to Hikes and Pints in the Cape Peninsula by Tony Burton.

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John, with his vivid imagination and razor sharp wit can finally look up from his feet and start naming rock sculptures. “There, there next to the rock that looks like a kangaroo. Can’t you see it?” This said with amazement. “It’s a crocodile doing the tango with a sunhat on its head.” And Andrew looks around with a soft smile and says, “Beautiful, beautiful,” so that you don’t know if he means the dancing crocodile or the dramatic landscape.

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Win One of Three Wonderful Winter Warmer Getaways

Country Life is giving away three wonderful “winter warmer” get-aways. You could win a two- or three-night stay for up to four people at the Nottingham Road Hotel in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, Reedsdell Country Guest Farm in Wartrail in the Eastern Cape or the Sanddrif Holiday Resort in the Cederberg.

To stand a chance of winning all you have to do is pick which resort you would most like to visit (this is definitely the most difficult part of the competition) and answer an easy question about it.

For great things to do around these destinations and for more getaway ideas, check out these books from Struik Travel and Heritage:

Picturesque DrakensbergHiking Trails of South AfricaBeen There, Done ThatDiscover South AfricaPicturesque Winelands


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Good-bye Loadshedding, Hello Winter Bush Getaway!

Are you yearning to leave the cold, loadshedded city behind for a place where traffic doesn’t matter and darkness is merely a means of being closer to nature?

Look no further than Getaway’s list of splendid destinations for affordable winter breaks in the bush. The selection includes everything from camping spots and camps with tents to mid-range and luxury lodges:

11. Langkloof campsite, Karoo National Park

A roofless ruin of red mud bricks stands in front of a rhythmically squeaking windmill, a tower of water tanks and a newly built concrete kitchen and ablution block. Together, these form a small outpost in the upper regions of the Tankwa Karoo’s Langkloof Valley. The bed of the Rhenoster River, less than 50 metres away from camp, gives life to a belt of lush acacias brimming with the chirps and whines of LBJs.

The camp’s two sites are positioned on either side of the simple amenities building, which contains two basic kitchens with sinks (you’ll need to take all utensils and cooking equipment), two hot showers and two flushing loos. This means campers at the respective sites don’t have to share facilities, but we advise booking out the whole camp; it would be a shame to end up with neighbours after travelling to somewhere so remote.

Whether you live in KwaZulu-Natal, the Western Cape, Limpopo or the Karoo, or you wish to visit these places, there is something for everyone. Listen to your inner adventurer, pack your books, flashlights and hip flasks, and head into the wilderness this winter!

To help you prepare for the trip, here are a few Struik Travel titles for the avid researcher. Enjoy!

Picturesque Cape Town Picturesque Durban and SurroundsPicturesque Drakensberg
National Parks and Nature ReservesTimeless KarooKwaZulu-NatalBest Walks of the Drakensberg

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