The Magic of Cacadu & 10 Can't Miss Experiences
By: Travel Cacadu
Check out their incredible website - Excellent source of information and tips about Cacadu: http://www.travelcacadu.co.za
From sun drenched beaches and adrenaline pumping adventure sports to quiet small town living and thriving nature reserves, the Cacadu District is full of places to explore and fascinating people to meet. Stretching over 60 000 square kilometers of spectacularly diverse Eastern Cape landscapes the District is certainly a traveler’s paradise. Here are some of the best places to see and things to do in Cacadu.
1- Marvel at the Big 7 in Addo
The Addo Elephant National Park is home to Africa’s Big 7 – the lion, elephant, rhino, leopard, Cape buffalo, southern right whale and the great white shark. Take a safari drive through the park and get up-close with these marvelous creatures in their natural environment. Stay overnight at the new tented bush camp where you will be surrounded by nature and wildlife in their natural environment. If that’s not enough, take an elephant back safari where you can walk with or ride on the backs of these gentle giants through the diverse African bushveld, a journey you’re sure to never forget. While you’re in the area, visit one of the many citrus farms or take a cruise on the Sundays River.
2- Camp under star filled skies in the Baviaanskloof Mega Reserve
Peace and nature’s own kind of quiet is what you will find in the Baviaanskloof Mega Reserve, the largest wilderness area in South Africa and a National Heritage site. Explore the kloof’s caves and uncover ancient San rock drawings, take advantage of one of the many hiking or 4x4 trails or try your hand at fishing. At night, the stars come out in abundance and fill the sky with magic and wonder as you set up camp at one of the many camp sights and enjoy roasted marshmallows and rusks around the campfire.
3- Soak up the atmosphere at the Grahamstown National Arts Festival
Every year the streets of the “City of Saints” are abuzz with the sounds of music and chatter as the National Arts Festival comes to Grahamstown. Certainly one of the biggest events in the country, the festival features some of South Africa’s top performers and draws in visitors from all over the world who come to enjoy the arts and culture. The spirit of the festival is kept alive by the vendors who line the streets selling everything from home-made jams and tarts to clothes and jewelry, and street performers who show off their talents much to the delight of the gathered crowds. In the theatres, some of the best local and national acts take to the stage and dazzle the crowds.
4- Surf some of the best waves in the world in Jeffreys Bay
It’s known to have the best right-hand point break in the world and is praised by some of the world’s greatest surfers. Every year, the world’s best surfers descend on Jeffreys Bay to partake in the Billabong Pro surfing competition, a much anticipated stop on the ASP World Tour. The event draws in surfers, fans and spectators from all over the world who are treated to 10 days of huge waves, brilliant surfing and exciting competition. For those of us who are lucky enough to call the Eastern Cape home, Jeffreys Bay is the perfect sea-side town, thriving with culture and perfect waves. The famous Supertubes is rated as one of the top ten surfing spots in the world and is a must visit for all surfing enthusiasts.
5- Explore South Africa’s ‘Town of the year’ - Graaff-Reinet in the Karoo
Established in 1786, Graaff-Reinet is home to more than 200 national monuments, the most in any South African town, and boasts a history and heritage which is preserved in its many museums and monuments. The Old Library Museum, Hester Rupert Art Museum and the Valley of Desolation, which is a Natural Heritage Site in the Camdeboo National Park, are must see attractions in the town. Graaff-Reinet recently beat nine other towns to be named South Africa’s “Dorp van die jaar” or “Town of the year” in a competition run by the Rapport newspaper and Kwêla television programme in 2010. Rich in history, culture and charm, this town is a jewel in the heart of the Karoo.
6- The Walter Batiss Art Gallery in Somerset East in the Karoo
This famous building, originally built as an officer’s social quarters in 1818 and later belonging to the Battiss family, now houses the works of one of South Africa’s most famous artist, Walter Battiss. Battiss was born in Somerset East in 1906 and in 1981, left his collection of artwork to “the people of Somerset East and South Africa”. The two-story gallery houses approximately 200 pieces of Battiss’ artwork including paintings, sketches and tapestries. Battiss, who later in his life befriended the famous Pablo Picasso, found his inspiration in the vast plains of the Karoo and the humble people who reside there.
7- The Big Pineapple & oldest pub in South Africa in Bathurst on the Sunshine Coast
Standing at 16.7 meters high, the Big Pineapple serves as a tribute to the success of the farmers from the area in growing this delicious fruit. The pineapple industry in Bathurst is a thriving one with the area producing around 135 000 tones of pineapples per year. Inside the Big Pineapple you will find a gift shop filled with little treats and souvenirs to take home. Climb to the top and you will be treated to spectacular views of the Sunshine Coast or stop at any of the local shops and pick up some refreshing, freshly squeezed pineapple juice or pineapple preserve. Also be sure to stop for a drink at the oldest licensed pub in South Africa, the Pig ‘n Whistle, built in 1831 is now a National Monument.
8- Enjoy fantastic water sports in Port Alfred on the Sunshine Coast
Boasting the most sunshine hours in South Africa, Port Alfred is the perfect place to let down your hair and indulge in some adventure as you partake in the many water sports on offer in this seaside town. There are facilities in place for a host of activities including surfing, canoeing, diving, waterskiing and windsurfing. With the majestic Kowie River, the Royal Alfred Marina and two beautiful beaches including Kelly's Beach, which has blue flag status, Port Alfred offers endless opportunities for fun in the sun.
9- Face your fears at the Bloukrans bridge, the world’s highest bungee, in Tsitsikamma
216 free-falling meters of pure adrenaline, that’s what the Bloukrans Bridge, situated at the Tsitsikamma Forest Village Market, offers you! This is officially the highest commercially operated Bungy jump bridge in the world and is a must do for any adventure seeker. It’s sure to get your heart racing and adrenaline pumping even before you take the leap of faith. If that idea is too much for you, they also offer bridge walking tours where you will learn more about the largest bridge in Africa and will be treated to spectacular views of the gorge. There is also a fantastic viewpoint from which you can watch your loved ones take the plunge.
10- Soar through the Tsitsikamma forest on a tree top canopy tour
The Tsitsikamma Canopy Tour takes you on an unforgettable adventure as you slide from platform to platform through the Tsitsikamma forest. Take in the magnificent scenery as you enjoy a zip-line tour through the forest, fully kitted in your gear and suspended on steel cables as you glide above the forest floor and over flowing streams. The Tsitsikamma canopy tour consists of 10 slides, the longest of which is 100 meters. The forest is an indigenous rainforest filled with thriving animal and plant life and including giant Outeniqua Yellowwood trees, some of which are up to 700 years old. Adventure awaits in the Tsitsikamma forest!