cape town tour

The Seven Passes Route

Out in the pretty beach town of Wilderness, South Africa, lies the beautiful Seven Passes Route. Way before the N2 highway was built, a much older road connected the towns of George and Knysna along the base of the Outeniqua Mountains: now mostly a dirt road, this wonderful 60km will leave you open-mouthed at the scenery around you and (strange as ...
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Who could ignore the power of Greta Thunberg's speech?

The fact is that globally, 13% of greenhouse gas emissions are aviation-related. On the other side, it's almost impossible to get anywhere in Africa without a flight.    So how can you visit South Africa, but still be a responsible, global citizen? It's a very, very difficult and multi-layered question (which we'll be exploring in bite-si...
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Marvel at Marloth Reserve, Swellendam South Africa

  An oasis of waterfalls, ponds and streams set in verdant, virgin forest awaits you just outside the town of Swellendam, South Africa. This diminutive reserve offers four main hiking trails (none too strenuous) and a chance to encounter porcupine, hyrax and mongoose. Now a World Heritage Site since 2015, it was named after the pioneer South A...
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Twitter – a dangerous weapon or instrument of democracy?

A fascinating case is playing out in South Africa this week: Trevor Manuel, seasoned ANC politician of great standing and Finance Minster under Mandela and Mbeki, was this week accused of nepotism and worse by Julius Malema, young blood firebrand of the EFF, a far left party with huge youth-vote support.   What is interesting is that Manuel cl...
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Hope springs eternal at De Hoop

Seldom visited as it sits too far for a day trip from Cape Town but too close for an overnight stop on the Garden Route, De Hoop is a unique offering, even for South Africa, and now a World Heritage Site. The Potsberg mountains in the north, the rolling hills and wetlands in the centre, the cliff tops to the south and then the marine section in the...
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South Africa's crazy personal railway

30 years ago this month, Rohan Vos decided that what he really wanted to do with his life was have his own private railway in the middle of Africa. That may sound like the most insane idea you could ever dream up but today, you can ride on not just one but seven separate routes across Southern Africa on the Rovos Rail. This little video (one of six...
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The Forest That Shouldn't Exist

Indigenous forests are rare the world over but Platbos is particularly special in that it shouldn't really exist: the environment is totally unsympathetic to large trees (no river, sandy soil) but nonetheless the forest houses large trees many hundreds of years old.  Francois and Melissa Krige sold everything they owned to buy the land on whic...
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Is the ANC finished?

With just over a month to go before the next South African general election, the ANC, Africa's oldest liberation movement, is seriously at risk of losing power.  Whilst the ANC still holds a massive majority particularly amongst the poor and rural voters, there are several headwinds which are stopping the ANC from gaining any ground against th...
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What are the protests in South Africa really about?

One of South Africa's best exports, Trevor Noah, in this video debates the issue of reparations (i.e. compensation paid by the state to victims of past injustice). Interestingly, he is here talking about America's racial injustice but he is also talking from the standpoint of South Africa's racial injustice (which he personally experienced). We're ...
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How to visit South Africa's marine Big 5 ethically

How ethical is shark cage diving?  It's a difficult question to answer but normally, the answer starts with the words 'It depends on how it's done....'   Offering a truly sustainable alternative to the adrenalin-fuelled baiting practices of most shark cage diving companies, Marine Dynamics in Gansbaai, South Africa allows you to see a wid...
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A hidden valley filled with wonderous discoveries

 It would be hard to find a better way to describe Anna and Chris Whitehouse's place than the site's own description: 'we seek to promote the wonder and enjoyment of God's world'.Whatever faith you have, even if it's purely in the natural beauty of this planet, you'll find Philipskop captivating. Set along the mountains of the Klien River, you...
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Country kitchen or fine pairing?

What would your perfect country lunch be? An informal farmhouse kitchen or an eight-course pairing experience?   In the Hemel en Aarde Valley between Hermanus and Caledon, South Africa, you don't need to choose: hidden away in the amazingly fertile Hemel en Aarde valley is a hidden-away farmstead offering a whole lunch-into-lazy afternoon expe...
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Africa's ultra-sustainable form of transport

Whilst there are many people and places offering horse rides in South Africa, Howard and Randal are about much more than just a ride. Their raison d'etre is to bring the horse-human relationship back into our contemporary way of living, not just for leisure and pleasure but also as a partner and friend in sustainable living.  As such, they off...
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Greyton's Saturday Market - a living, breathing event

Greyton is a small village set high in the Riversonderend Mountains, South Africa.  Just under two hours from Cape Town, Greyton's market manages to seamlessly combine the essential with the creative so this is a living, breathing market where locals shop and meet, not a tourist pastiche. ​ Expect a wide range of really high quality ...
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Village to village hiking in Riversondend, South Africa

The three villages of Greyton, McGregor and Montagu form an almost perfect line across totally unspoilt nature reserves in the Western Cape, South Africa.  To this day, there isn't a better way to get from Greyton to McGregor other than along the beautiful Bosmanskloof hiking route over the Riversonderend Mountains. We'd recommend st...
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Walking through Waterford Wines

Inventive and understated, Waterford Estate near Stellenbosch, South Africa, produces a superb range of ten, mainly red, wines. Unusually, the estate only gives half its terroir to vines and the rest to nature, arguing that one cannot exist without the other.

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Making wine culture inclusive in South Africa

Wine culture does not have to be snobby and nor should it be: but the Cape Winelands in South Africa have a dark past of exclusion and repression by the rich of the poor.

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Meet and eat at this McGregor retreat

The towns of Montagu, McGregor and Greyton form and almost perfectly straight line across the Breede River, and are connected by their artistic, leftfield and untouched nature. 

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When you've tasted the grape, taste the olive!

Out in the Nuy Valley, just under an hour's drive east of Cape Town, lies Willow Creek.  The region is most famous for its excellent small-scale wine production but in fact, the olives are now almost eclipsing the wine.

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Donkeys - the surprising key feature of South African history

When one thinks of South Africa, the kind of animal that springs to mind most readily is probably a lion, giraffe or rhinocerous - probably not donkey!

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Cape Town's hidden manor house

Uncovering one of Cape Town's best kept secrets means getting out of the city centre and heading south.

Situated at the end of a suburban street is the oasis of Stellenberg Gardens.  Originally a 60 acre farm dating back to 1697, it’s now home to wonderfully ornate formal gardens that are a delight to stroll in.  Set out in a series of 19 'rooms', the garden actually is the lifework of not one but three professional gardeners who owned and lived in it particulalry over the last 200 years.

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Visit the rebirth of a kingdom in Tokai Park

If you've ever been to the southern suburbs of Cape Town, you'll have heard of Tokai Forest, the pine plantation that comes off the southern side of Table Mountain and along the bottom of Constantia.

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Addiction warning! Tembe Elephant Park webcam

Now this is rather wonderful, even if it's just for the sound track - a live webcam at Tembe Elephant Park. Be warned, this is addictive!

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Colonial-style splendour with beach and golf on tap

When life hands you lemons, make lemonade. This is exactly what Sarah Swanepoel, owner at Dune Ridge Country House has done, turning a little-known guesthouse into an award-winning country lodge, complete with once-a-month fine dining food and wine pairing menus, Sunday lunches, spa treatments, an award-winning wine selection and afternoon teas (on prior request).

 

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What's the difference between and game drive and bush walk?

We were asked an interesting question by one of our travellers yesterday: what's the difference between a game drive and a game walk? The obvious answer is that one involves a vehicle and the other involves your legs - but the distinction is actually a little more subtle.

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Tranquil beach and nature reserve - only 20 minutes from the city

Thunzi Bush Lodge manages to achieve something rather special: located not even 20 minutes’ drive from the heart of an industrial city but utterly tranquil, private and 10 minutes from a beautiful unspoilt beach and river mouth.

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Putting the 'ah' back into 'villa'

Rural does not have to mean rustic – if you’re a lover of the countryside and wide open space, but don’t like basic accommodation, Barton Villas in Caledon, South Africa may be just the place for you.

Situated right between the western winelands, the beautiful Overberg coastal region and the Atlantic Ocean, yet under an hour from Cape Town International, you really do get the best of both worlds here.

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An inspiring South Africa story - domestic worker to graduate

If it’s your first day back at work today after the Festive Season and you need cheering up, you’ll love the story of Ntombizodwa Mahlangu: with support and encouragement from her family, employer and colleagues, she made the transition despite being a single parent from domestic worker to graduate in under ten years.

That’s a huge achievement in South Africa where educational standards between the rich and poor vary vastly and as such, the gap between school and university for most is a chasm that’s simply too big to cross.

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A dream safari in Limpopo

“Once you walk in here, the rest of the world disappears”.  So said one guest of the wonderful Toro Yaka Bush Lodge (meaning ‘my dream’ in Sotho, one of South Africa’s many official languages). 

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Deep space meets Planet Earth in South Africa

Southern Africa has a habit of playing host to many 'world's biggest', 'world's oldest', 'world's most...'.  It's a region of amazing things found nowhere else in the world, one of which is the world's largest evidence of Earth's collision with an object from deep space.

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Contact Us

Exceed House
Springfield Office Park
Belleville, Cape Town
7450

Office +27 21 424 5347
Cell +27 72 136 9096

WhatsApp +27 72 136 9096

Email: travel@whereitallbegan.co.za

Skype: philrendel

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About

We’re an ethical private travel planning company focused on Southern Africa.

We offer ready-made and also customised holidays and journeys across this unique region of the world.

When our clients travel with us, they are assured that their travel spend is directly supporting local African companies that offer sustainable products and services, both in terms of people and planet.

Ethos

Our logo is an image of a skull found in the Rising Star Cave System in Gauteng, South Africa in 2013. It was named ‘homo naledi’, meaning ‘human of the stars’.

The cave system has so far given rise to the remains of over 15 individuals, making it the largest hominid fossil remains site ever discovered.

Travelling to Southern Africa is truly a return to the source of humankind, to Where It All Began.