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Struik Travel & Heritage

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Join in the Fun (on a Yacht) at the Harken Round Robben Island Pursuit Race

Robben Island: Mandela's prison and place of inspirationHarken and the Royal Cape Yacht Club would like to invite you to the Harken Round Robben Island Pursuit Race.

The event will take place on Saturday, 17 October, at 11 AM. The prize-giving ceremony will be at 5 PM and drinks and snacks will be provided.

The Round Robben Island Pursuit Race in partnership with Harken is an annual yacht race and this specific event will be a pursuit race, meaning that the teams will chase one another. For more information on the historical island, read Robben Island: Mandela’s prison and place of inspiration by Charlene Smith.

To compete, fill in your details on the online form.

Don’t miss it!

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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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There’s More to Robben Island than Imprisonment of Political Prisoners – Sibongiseni Mkhize Explains (Podcast)

Robben IslandDuring the month of September, celebrated in South Africa as Heritage Month, CapeTalk asked listeners to nominate their favourite museums to be featured on the Fabulous Finds programme.

Many people asked for the Robben Island Museum to be discussed, so on 22 September Pippa Hudson chatted to Sibongiseni Mkhize, museum CEO, to find out more about this historical site.

“The museum is about more than just one layer of history, because the imprisonment of political prisoners is but just one aspect of Robben Island,” Mkhize said, explaining that the landmass west of the coast of Cape Town tells many important narratives relating to the history of South Africans.

Robben Island: Mandela’s prison and place of inspiration by Charlene Smith also explores the island’s history, and charts the evolution of its political and social history, from mail station, place of exile, and military defence post to maximum security prison and World Heritage Site.

Listen to the podcast to find out more about the museum, their activities and future plans:


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Meet Lee Berger, the Man who Introduced the World to Homo Naledi (Video and Podcast)

Field Guide to the Cradle of Human KindLee Berger, paleoanthropologist and co-author of Field Guide to the Cradle of Human Kind, recently made history as the lead scientist in the Homo naledi project.

The discovery and investigation of the early human species is a very important moment in the field of paleoanthropology and, according to Berger, was a pleasant surprise for scientists in the field.

Berger spoke with Psychology Today about the find:

“I do believe that the field of paleoanthropology had convinced itself, as much as 15 years ago, that we had found everything—that we were not going to make major discoveries and had this story of our origins figured out.”

The new project has documented over 1500 individual bones—a small population, enough to begin talking about social life, with 15 distinct individuals represented.

Wits University shared a podcast of Berger introducing the new find last month:



Berger was also featured on News24, where he shared the story of when he first saw a Homo naledi jawbone, and why he sprang to action immediately.

Watch the video:

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Also read:

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Vineyard Tempations of the Klein Karoo: David Bristow Wines His Way Along Route 62

Riding the Dragon's SpineDavid Bristow, author of Riding the Dragon’s Spine, recently wrote an article for Wine Magazine about a memorable trip he took along Route 62.

In the article, Bristow speaks about the Port region of the Klein Karoo, which would be worth traveling for on their own, particularly in the colder months when he visited.

Bristow writes about the history of Port wine-making industry, postulating that it began “one particularly blustery night that the incumbent winemaker Nel added a splash of their famous potstill brandy (exported to London since 1800) to his Muscadel”.

Read the article

Route 62 begins in delightful old Montagu, and then undulates through Barrydale, Ladismith and Calitzdorp before reaching the historic feather capital of Oudstshoorn, heart of the Little Karoo. From there it whizzes past De Rust (a two-donkey dorp) before finding its eastern terminus at Uniondale, from where the Langkloof extends the adventure to the coast.

Midway on the journey is Calitzdorp, which on first sighting will not beckon as the most comely attraction of the region for a little overnight R&R, but this viniferous wench conceals her temptations well. In any storm it is the ports of Calitzdorp to which you want to anchor your vessel.

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What Does Robben Island’s Renewable Energy Strategy Entail?

Robben IslandThe Department of Tourism announced earlier this year that Robben Island will soon operate completely on solar energy.

Anine Vermeulen wrote, in an article for Engineering News, that the initiative is part of the Department of Tourism’s three-year plan to introduce renewable-energy technology to key tourism destinations in the country. The plan is currently in the pilot phase.

Vermeulen spoke to the leader of the Tourism Incentive Programme, Bernhard Meyer, about what the pilot programme on Robben Island entails and how the energy retrofitment programme will work. Meyer also explains the procedure of the bidding process for the renewable-energy installations and what kind of skills they require to get the project started.

What would Nelson Mandela say about the island’s renewable energy strategy? For more insight on Madiba’s time spent in prison, read Robben Island: Mandela’s prison and place of inspiration by Charlene Smith.

Read the article:

Bidding Process

Meyer adds that there will be a bidding process for the manufacturing and installation of renewables, and government standard procedures will be followed.

A request for information for local renewables manufacturers was put out in July.

“We want to embark on a procurement process for the pilot phase. We don’t have the technical expertise and are looking for technical advisers,” he says.

He notes that there is a strong emphasis on local content and the green economy with regard to this project.

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“This Species is Remarkable” – Professor Lee Berger Introduces Homo Naledi

Field Guide to the Cradle of Human KindProfessor Lee Berger, of the Evolutionary Studies Institute at Wits University, introduced Homo naledi, our human ancestor that was discovered at the Cradle of Humankind in the North West Province recently.

Besides shedding light on the origins and diversity of our genus, the new species appears to have intentionally deposited bodies of its dead in a remote cave chamber, a behaviour previously thought to be limited to humans.

Berger says: “It is the most significant and extensive discovery of early human relatives ever made on the continent of Africa.

“This species is remarkable.”

Watch the video:

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Visit Any National Park for Free During the 2015 South African National Parks Week

National Parks and Nature Reserves: A South African Field GuideSouth African National Parks Week will take place from 14 to 18 September this year and for the whole week South African National Parks (SANParks) will be opening their doors to the public – for free!

The annual event forms part of the ongoing “Know Your National Parks” campaign and any person with a valid South African ID book will be allowed to enter our wonderful national parks free of charge.

SANParks acting head of communications, Reynold Thakhuli, says the aim of the week is to instill a sense of pride in South Africans of our natural heritage and resources: “When people start to take pride in the national parks, then we believe that they will start to understand the importance of conservation.”

All the parks will also be hosting activities focusing on education. Read the article:

All of the parks will be hosting activities during the week which will be aimed at education. “We are focused on involving young people and communities, to cultivate knowledge of the importance of conservation and an appreciation for the country’s natural heritage”, said Thakhuli.

The Garden Route National Park (GRNP) will launch the week in Knysna on 14 September which will focus on conservation initiatives, activities in the forestry and estuarine areas and business opportunities in the Park. Karoo National Park outside Beaufort West in the Western Cape will host two groups from the local community to a special programme every day. This will kick off with an entertaining presentation about the search and recapture of Sylvester, the lion which went on a walkabout from the park for 24 days. The Kruger National Park will host two seminars for traditional leaders from the surrounding communities bordering the park and also strategic media executives for the purpose of exposing them to the tourism products that exist in the Park.

In the run-up to National Parks Week SANParks have been tweeting images of famous landmarks and urging nature lovers to guess which park it is:

Join the conversation on Twitter by following @SANParks or by using the hashtags #SANationalParksWeek and #KnowYourNationalParks.

So now the only question remains, which park(s) will you be visiting next week?

To help you make the decision, read National Parks and Nature Reserves: A South African Field Guide by Chris and Mathilde Stuart, and tell us about the experience on Facebook, Twitter or in the comments below.

Don’t miss it!

Event Details

  • Date: Monday, 14 September 2015
  • Place: South African National Parks
  • Cost: Absolutely free!
  • RSVP: Not required, but remember your South African ID


Book Details

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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Jeffreys Bay to be Made South Africa’s First World Surfing Reserve (Video)

Discover South AfricaKnysnaBeen There, Done ThatPicturesque Garden Route

Jeffreys Bay is being made a World Surfing Reserve. The spot is well known for its popularity among surfers, and will be the first surfing reserve in South Africa.

World Surfing Reserves are selected for their iconic status, environmental importance and sporting value. In a recent article for News24, Monique Basson found out from Andrew Short, chairman of the National Surfing Reserve in Australia, why Jeffreys Bay has been selected:

“Key points in the criteria are quality and consistency of the waves, a place considered sacred by the international surfing community, and a history of recognition as a prime surf location by national and international surfers,” says Short.

“Jeffreys Bay ticks all the boxes.”

SABC News reported on the news:

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