“Every year nature plays a magic part in transforming the normally arid dry area in the Northern Cape into a glorious tapestry of colour and beauty.”
Each turn you take in the road will yield a different picture which you will treasure for days and months to come. These tours are very popular and it is most important that you secure you place on this tour ASAP. We have to book accommodation 12 months in advance!
We travel up the west coast through Clanwilliam and Vanrhynsdorp into Springbok, where we spend 3 nights. Visits are planned into Hester Malan Garden in the Goegap Nature Reserve,
Namaqua National Park, Skilpad Wildflower Reserve near Kamieskroon.
Sunday 7th saw 12 passengers eagerly gathering at CTIA for their 11:15 flight to King Shaka International in Durban. On arrival at 13:10, we were joined by Derick and Jackie (Durban residents) who were keen to explore the area with us. The drive to Nottingham Road is about 160km through lovely countryside; arriving at Fordoun Hotel & Spa, just before 16:00. Breakfast on Monday was at 07:00 for Alan and Lyn who had booked a battlefields tour. The rest of the group visited Ardmore Ceramics in Lidgetton, Culamoya Chimes and Piggly Wiggly for lunch, and some gathering.
Hogsback is a magical world of mountains and forests. It is situated high up on the Amathole mountains of the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa, and is surrounded by centuries-old
indigenous Afro-montane forests.
Spring, of course, is ‘the’ time when Hogsback puts on its prettiest clothes and it will astound you with flowers and beauty. Lilies grow everywhere and all their
gardens are a paradise of colours. The annual Spring Festival runs from 23rd
September to 14th October so our timing is perfect!
We have visited Sutherland 6 times over the past 8 years and have spent various periods from 1 to 3 nights in the coldest town in South Africa. Our planned tour this year will see us staying two nights, with the tour duration being 3 days. The main purpose of our visit is of course to see Matjiesfontein, the SALT telescope and to experience star gazing in the Karoo with Jurg Wagener and his computerized telescopes.
The period chosen to do this tour falls into the NEW MOON period and is an excellent time to view the stars. Winter is also the very best time to be in Sutherland as the winter skies are at their clearest and offer the best time for viewing! You will certainly enjoy your evening with Jurg, the local Astronomy
expert. A number of computerized telescopes allow you to get first hand information (and viewings) of some stars and planets!
Be pre-warned that the temperatures can plummet in Sutherland at night, so make sure you bring along warm jackets, beanies, scarves and gloves.
Each Our Natal Midlands tour in May has only one room available, so if this is something you would like to do, please contact us as soon as possible.
Other items which may be on your bucket list are: Sutherland / Hogsback and the West Coast /Northerm Cape annual flower spectacle. All of these are detailed in this newsletter.
|· 2-4 April: Aquila Private Game Reserve (3 Days) –Short Break|
|· 7-12 May: Natal Midlands (6 Days) (Including Optional Battlefields)|
|· 27-29 May: Sutherland-Short Break|
|· 6-9 June: Nuy Valley / Leipzig (4 Days) – (was 7-10 February)|
What happens when you put 45 people on a coach and head into the blue yonder on a Mystery Tour? First off, you have that wonderful expectation from those who didn’t enter our annual
competition – “Hey, where are we going” “I hear it’s Langebaan” “Is it close to the beach?” “Hope it’s not too HOT” With a predicted temperature of 31+ degrees, many were worried about where the lunch would be. We headed out of Tableview (on schedule) at 10h00 and had a 20-minute stop at Vygevallei Farm Stall. On leaving the stop we phoned the venue and gave our expected time of arrival as “within an hour”!
Join us and enjoy three nights in this wonderful valley. Make lasting memories with good people, good food in a GREAT setting at Leipzig Country House in the Nuy Valley.– visiting Willowcreek Olives (they have won countless awards for their olives and olive oil) ; come and meet Dihanna Kloppers who makes wonderful preserves from her farm within walking distance of Leipzig – she will serve us morning tea ; and enjoy lunch at a stunning new restaurant called Nuy on the Hill with great views of the surrounding area. We also have to explore the area around the Nuy Valley – close to the Nuy Valley are several wine estates and wonderful pad-stalletjies; Dinner at Leipzig is always an ‘affaire of note’!
Spend 3 days / 2 nights with friends on this short break tour and enjoy a great dinner (and dance if you wish) on the last night of 2016; explore the surrounding areas and reminisce on years gone bye. We have secured accommodation in the Montagu Country Hotel where rooms and décor are a tribute to the Art Deco period. The available restaurants have been “inspected” and we have made our selection for the first nights dinner.
Aquila Safari Lodge is a 4 star establishment in the Southern Karoo near Touwsrivier. The reserve is a 10,000 hectare conservancy and home to the big 5 legends of the wilderness – elephant, lion, buffalo, leopard and rhino. A leisurely 2 hour scenic drive from Cape Town through Worcester, De Doorns and Touws Rivier brings you to the entrance of Aquila Private Game Reserve.
We had arranged a 2 night stay in the new (October 2015) Aquila Lodge, boasting Standard,
Mountain View and Luxury Family Suites. Separate cottages are also available on site. Prices, as with many game lodges, are structured to attract overseas visitors, which there were many on the 3 days we spent at Aquila. Having said that we were able to take advantage of the reserve’s decision not to charge a single supplement for visitors over 60 years of age.
The first tour to Springbok was from the 10th to 15th August when we had 13 people on tour. Sadly two people had to return to Cape Town due to ill health after the first day! On our Springbok tour we used Letsatsi Lodge on the N7 outside Vanrhynsdorp for our first and last night on tour.
Each turn you take in the road will yield a different picture which you will treasure for days and months to come. These tours are very popular and it is most important that you secure your place on this tour ASAP.
We travel up the west coast through Clanwilliam and Vanrhynsdorp into Springbok, where we spend 3 nights. Visits are planned into Hester Malan Garden in the Goegap Nature Reserve, Namaqua National Park, Skilpad Wildflower Reserve near Kamieskroon.
We will also visit the Kokerboom Nursery in Vanrhynsdorp and the Ramskop Wildflower Reserve in Clanwilliam on our return to Cape Town.
Winter is upon us – a good time to go to Sutherland. When you star gaze you need the clear skies of winter for the best viewing. Also it is best to go star gazing in the period of the “New Moon” – not wise, obviously, to go in “Full Moon”
Twelve ladies excitedly left the Airport holding bay at 09:30 on Thursday headed to Sutherland. It was a clear day – the day before had been unbelievable weather in Cape Town – lunch time temperature of mid 20’s with a ‘Berg Wind’- this always signifies the coming of cooler weather and predictions were for severe storms for the weekend.
We left the city on Sunday morning 8th May (Mother’s Day) which is always such an easier option – no traffic of any sort. We were able to leave the Airport holding bay at 09h30, with our first stop being Peregrine Farm stall and not too much later we were in in Swellendam (Tredici Restaurant) for lunch. Next stop was the Aloe shop in
Albertinia – and the final stop was Knysna where we checked in at the Knysna Log Inn. Dinner was at the Sirocco Restaurant – a real treat! The service was excellent and by 10:30pm everyone was ready to ‘hit-the-sack’. Comfortable beds ensured a peaceful night’s rest and we all enjoyed an early breakfast on Monday 9th May – full of anticipation of the day ahead.
24 April at 09:31 Facebook message
MSC Cancels cruise for Monday 25th April to Walvis Bay
Due to heavy storms on her journey from Durban to Cape Town, the MSC Sinfonia re- routed to Port
Elizabeth to avoid the rough weather This has resulted in her delayed arrival in Cape Town as she waits out the heavy seas. All passengers who were scheduled to depart on this cruise are being advised not to proceed to Cape Town as this cruise will have to be cancelled. All passengers will receive a full refund for this cruise , and MSC sincerely regrets that the high storms prevented the safe passage of the Sinfonia continued journey to Cape Town. MSC will be contacting all passengers affected directly,
Very excitedly 11 of us set out “on-the-road-again” – this time to Prince Albert in the Karoo. Our route followed the N1 through the Du Toits Kloof Tunnel through Worcester, De Doorns, Touws River and then by lunchtime we arrived at the Lord Milner Hotel in Matjiesfontein. The hotel was buzzing with people, many of whom were on their way to do the Cape Argus cycle race on Sunday .
Pity that despite the interest in Matjiesfontein, one comes away disillusioned with the food!
After lunch and a short re-fuel stop in Laingsburg we were, once again on the N1 headed to Prince Albert Road where we turned off to Prince Albert! On arrival we into their accommodation, Two establishments Saxe Coburg Guest House in town and Karoo View Cottages up on the hill overlooking Prince Albert. Both 4* and very comfortable!
March to December 2016 will see us “on the road again” to some new destinations as well as some old favourites—come along and join us on these excursions with current friends, or make some new ones!
In May 2016 we will explore the game parks of the Eastern Cape. Cape Town to the Addo Elephant Park is 907km. This necessitates us having stop-overs on our first & fifth day of traveling in Knysna and Plettenberg Bay.
There will be 2 nights in the Addo area at a 4* graded guest house with open vehicle game drives
included, into the Addo Elephant Park. Learn a bit more about the Addo area by exploring the area on one day. The Addo Elephant Park is now the third largest National Park in South Africa and also now boasts having the Big 5. The very beautiful game park surrounded by the Zuurberg Mountains will immediately make you relax.
The Best things in Life are the PEOPLE we LOVE, the PLACES we’ve been and the MEMORIES we’ve made ALONG THE WAY
Mystery Venue Tour – 6th December 2015
Sunday 6th December dawned with a cloudy but clear sky! Our coach started in Tableview with mist rolling in over the sea …..”Wow it’s going to be a cool day” was heard on the coach! After our second pick up in Constantia everyone was in a festive mood. Our coach traveled along the ‘beach road’ and the sea was a fantastic color – “What a treat to live in Cape Town”!!
A short stop at Peregrine Farm Stall – and we then headed to our final destination – South Hill Wine Estate in the Elgin Valley where owner Kevin King was on hand to direct the coach into the most accessible place for everyone to disembark.
Each year seems to pass faster than the previous year. 2015 is no exception; it seems impossible to think Christmas is just 25 days away. Where did the year go? The saying “Time flies when you are having fun” is very apt to our situation. Carol & I enjoy our travels with everyone who participates in our tours. Without the fun, laughter and companionship we would be at a loss. Thank you one & all for travelling with us. We look forward to many more “ Happy Days” in 2016
Within driving distance of one of South Africa’s busiest cities, lies a region of contrasts and wonder. The Overberg has rugged mountain ranges, fynbos, rolling wheat and canola fields, and splendid coastal vistas. It is for you to reflect, discover and maybe even have the adventure of a lifetime.
The Overberg has always fascinated me…..as the years have gone by, more and more establishments are springing up and I feel it’s time to ‘get-going’ again into this delightful area!
We have two tours remaining for 2015 and 9 tours scheduled for 2016. Yes, some are in the planning stages, but full details will be available shortly.
Our year end Mystery Venue tour competition kicks off with the first clue. See page 3 of the Newsletter.
We will shortly begin our 2016 planning in earnest and would like to consider some of your bucket list items for inclusion as future Traveltime tours.
Yes seriously, send us some of your list items and we will categorize them and select the most original (and practical) for inclusion in our 2016 offering.
There may even be some form of “reward” on offer. Watch this space
Tuesday 7th July: Our flight, destination Windhoek, left timeously at 5.00 pm – there was much anticipation and excitement as we sat waiting in the departures lounge at Cape Town International. This capital city is said to be pulsing with life, and adds a sparkle of adventure to your ‘base’ before we head on our travels. On our arrival at Windhoek Country Club we met with Meghan and Eva of Sense of Africa. Meghan has been such a part of our planning over the past 9 months. The Windhoek Country Club notorious buffet dinner followed by comfortable accommodation really made our first night very memorable.
Wednesday 8th July: Early this morning we met Carlos Mauers, our coach driver / guide for our tour. Carol was particularly pleased with the vehicle to be used for the tour – “Another tick off my bucket list” she said……
”I have always wanted to go on one on these ‘overland vehicles’.
Leaving the Windhoek Country Club at 08h00 we headed into Rehoboth along the C24 eventually passing
Rietoog and arriving at our lodge – The Hammerstein Lodge – delicious toasted sandwiches under the trees and everyone was starting to really relax and enjoy Namibia. Dinner tonight was particularly good – served in their dining room and a highlight was the Ohimba dancers dancers – ‘Amarula’ being a favorite song!!
“WHAT GOOD IS THE WARMTH OF SUMMER, WITHOUT THE COLD OF WINTER TO GIVE IT SWEETNESS”
A few days before we left Cape Town, several cold fronts hit The Western Cape. This brought anxiety & joy at the same time. Anxety that enough warm clothing had been packed and Joy that ‘just perhaps’ the cold front would bring snow to Sutherland.
We had marvelous sightings of snow in the Hex River Valley and our first stop at the Veldskoen Padstal for lunch had the mountain tips covered in glistening snow. Glistening because now the sun was out! A joyful lunch with a table of farmers alongside us had the ladies jokingly trying to pair a few of the farmers off with our ‘single ladies’!!
Very soon we were back in our vehicle heading to Matjiesfontein. We stopped there for ¾ of an hour – a few ladies went into their bar and enjoyed a sherry (wards off the cold for sure!) whilst a few discovered the chapel on site and also enjoyed looking at the hotel and gardens.
By 16h30 we had arrived in Sutherland – just over 100kms from Matjiesfontein. Everyone checked into the two guest houses booked for them. KambroKind where 8 ladies stayed and Skitterland where 2 of our ladies stayed!
Friendship is always a sweet responsibility, never an opportunity – Khalil Gibran
Some tours start with some passengers unknown to you ; the sweet responsibility ; but at the end of sharing 6 days in the bush one realizes what an opportunity you’ve had to meet them and to share time with them – differing personalities, but each with unique qualities!
We left Cape Town on Sunday 10th May (Mother’s Day) with a surprise gift hidden in each passengers tour presentation package—a slab of Lindt Chocolate to celebrate the day. First stop was the Lord Milner Hotel in Matjiesfontein where we settled in for lunch in the pub, with the pianist playing his honky-tonk tones in the background. We arrived in the small town of Prince Albert just after 16h00 and settled into two pre-booked guest houses– Saxe Coburg and the Karoo View Cottages.
Dinner was at a new restaurant, Simply Saffron.
We have visited Sutherland 4 times over the past 8 years and have spent various periods from 1 to 3 nights in the coldest town in South Africa. Our planned tour this year will see us staying two nights, with the tour duration being 3 days. The main purpose of our visit is of course to see Matjiesfontein, the SALT telescope and to experience star gazing in the Karoo with Jurg Wagener and his computerized telescopes. Read previous tour reports on our old website: (1) http://traveltime.co.za/old_site/traveltime/previous/sutherland_09.htm and (2) http://traveltime.co.za/old_site/traveltime/previous/Sutherland131.htm.
“Life is like a camera. Focus on what’s important, capture the good times, develop from the negatives and if it doesn’t work out, just take another shot!”
The following schedule is an updated version of this and we will continue to provide additional information in future newsletters, as planning progresses: (Tour dates in blue are confirmed).
Time & Tide waits for no man!
Here we are again preparing the next Newsletter. There are a few changes and one
cancellation (28th February day tour to the Muratie Harvest festival was cancelled due to low numbers). Please continue reading and contact us for additional information you may want or if anything is unclear.
In our February newsletter we released some fixed and provisional tour dates.
The following schedule is an updated version of this and we will continue to provide additional information in future newsletters, as planning progresses: (Tour dates in blue are confirmed).
Time marches on; I can’t believe January is already behind us. Perhaps the old adage “the older you get the faster time passes you by” has some truth in it?
As birthdays come and go, they seem to get closer and closer together. It’s a common feeling across all cultures. As you get older, time feels as though it’s going faster.
But why? Well, the only correct answer to this question is: nobody knows. The brain is a complex instrument and time perception is the result of many areas of the brain working together. We just don’t know how it works. However, here is one hypotheses:
Proportional time: A proposed explanation is that when you’re 5 years old, an extra year of you life is a massive 20% of your memories. When you’re 50, another year is only 2%. Therefore that extra year feels less significant as it accounts for a much smaller proportion of your memories.
Sunday 7th December dawned with the promise of a hot day, temperatures peaking in the early 30’s. As our coach left Tableview we noticed the mist gathering over the sea, a sure sign of a hot day ahead.
On the collection of the Constantia passengers it was very evident that everyone was in the mood for a good party to celebrate the coming of the Christmas holidays.
Our destination was “ELL at Spookfontein Restaurant” in the Hemel en Aarde valley.
The West Coast always conjures up images of people living the laid-back life of this area. I have always wanted to do a tour of this area, in depth. November is a great time in the Western Cape in that the winter storms are a thing of the past, and the day temperatures are starting to warm with the promise of summer coming. We will base ourselves in Paternoster at good 4* self catering accommodation.
!Khwa Ttu We have often driven right past this new area on the R27. Today you will learn more about the San during the tour of a replica cultural village. You will see the intricacies of making beads from
ostrich egg shells, witness San pipe smoking and the art of making a fire using a rotating stick. Lunch will be enjoyed in their restaurant.
Muisbosskerm – Voted one of the “Top Ten Sea Views to Dine For” by National Geographic. Also “Getaway’s Top Ten” by Readers Digest. What started off as a hobby to entertain family and friends in Lamberts Bay soon turned into a business. I strongly believe this to still be the ‘best’ outdoor seafood lunch along the West Coast.
Ten of us headed out of the city of Cape Town at 10 am heading up the N2 to Hermanus / De Kelders.
A quick stop at Peregrine Farm Stall for their famous coffee / sweet snack / sausage roll before we made our way to Stanford arriving at about 11h45. We had made a booking at Brunia Wines 20km outside of Stanford to do some wine tasting and enjoy a light lunch. We were all blown away – yes, it was 20km, but after about 25 minutes on a gravel road with scenery to-die-for, we reached the Brunia property.
We left the City on Wednesday in inclement weather with a few drops of rain en route to the West Coast National Park. Arriving by about 10h30 we still had overcast cloudy weather!
However, this did not deter the enthusiasm of the people in the coach. We spent a good hour and a half ambling through the flowers; enjoying the healthy animals in the background of the park as well!! Of course, the vantage point where one can overlook Langebaan is always good and this was enjoyed by us all. (The sun shone through here for a brief moment).
Lunch was enjoyed at Geelbek Restaurant and the meals were delicious! Mid afternoon saw us all heading to Paternoster and we settled into aH Guesthouse where we were warmly welcomed by Arnold and Annelise. A short rest and then a short drive around Paternoster before sundowners in the famous Panty Bar at the Paternoster Hotel, and everyone was in excellent ‘spirits’ when we went back to aH Guesthouse for dinner.
Where do we begin?
The day before we left for the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, we had warnings of freak weather. This left us in a quandary with our passenger pick ups – however it rained early morning and we managed to get everyone on board our 44-seater coach at the Holding Bay at Cape Town International Airport, without a problem.
Driving out of Cape Town we saw snow capped mountains in the distance, but at Riviersonderend and
Swellendam the local mountains were covered in snow. This added to the atmosphere and whilst we had lunch at Tredici, many photographs were taken.
On Saturday 5th July the Coach rolls out of Cape Town bound for Grahamstown and the 40th anniversary of the National Arts Festival! If you missed the ‘coach’ this year – PLEASE do an early booking for 2015 as we intend to book the same accommodation and make this an annual pilgrimage to the Festival.
To those of you who are lucky enough to be going—BON VOYAGE—SAFE TRAVELS and come back with wonderful memories of a fabulous trip!
Sunday 11th May dawned with the promise of a break-away from the city to the Karoo. The 15 excited passengers on this tour were collected at their homes and transported to our meeting place at the Cape Town International Airport from where we left in our coach, direction Matjiesfontein.
It was an easy drive to Matjiesfontein where we had pre-arranged a pub lunch at the Lord Milner Hotel. Johnny who is their resident piano player of note was already entertaining a group of people; the fire was crackling and very soon we all tucked into warm food. A short tour of the rooms of the Hotel with Johnny’s usual ‘ghost’ stories and we headed back into the bar for a bit of a sing along and ‘dance’. Then it was time to continue our journey to Prince Albert, where we would spend the night. We had traveled 408 km and everyone was in high spirits. Accommodation was arranged at Karroo View Cottages, Saxe Coburg Lodge and Bougainvilla B&B.
Our Bright New Website. In keeping with new technology, the Traveltime & Time Out website has been upgraded.
Work started in March and the site went live in early April. For those of you who have not visited the site, please do so and experience the bright new appearance and ease of navigation.
The Home page provides easy access to the main parts of the website, ie Upcoming and Past tours and Newsletters for both Time Out & Traveltime.
For the un-initiated, further information is available by clicking on the photos and even more detail is available by clicking on the links at the bottom (in blue) of each opened report / outing information. Please note that all photos taken on each tour / outing are available by clicking on the link at the bottom of each report. (View All Photos).
Meerkat Magic was a DSTV program which sparked our interest in visiting Oudtshoorn. Our pre-tour research revealed that there were two persons involved in Meerkat conservation. Further study showed that only one of the two was reliable.……
We headed off from the city to the Durbanville Wine Estates and a very pleasant wine tasting @ Klein Roosboom was enjoyed (in fact, more of a ‘catch up’). We had not seen each other since the first week of December and there was much to say……
There are 17 participants; we have secured tickets and we are seated at two tables near the front of the theatre. (One table is shared with others not from our tour). By general consensus we will be ordering two platters……
Our last extended tour for 2013 saw us flying with Kulula to Lanseria airport where we met Hylton Ross transport for our onward 340km journey to Clarens. Accommodation had been arranged for our 5 night stay at the Clarens Golf and Trout Estate, situated within 3km of the town centre……
This being the last Newsletter of the year, we will be looking at what we still need to do and also offer a glimpse into 2014 tours; yes planning has already started……
Visitors buy a ticket for a route ; 7 routes in total. You travel to 3 different homes in Darling & experience a truly South African experience……