velvet | south africa
grootbos-floral-safari-photo

Finding paradise in Grootbos

Grootbos is a private nature reserve near the southernmost tip of the African continent. Nestled between the mountains and the ocean, Grootbos is a two-hour drive southeast of Cape Town and a short 30-minute drive from Hermanus, the premier destination for land-based whale-watching in South Africa. Literally translated, Grootbos means ‘big forest’ in Afrikaans (or […]

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aerial-view-cape-town-photo

Plane views: Cape Town

When I published a post a while back on airports you must book a window seat for, I received various comments from readers saying that I should include Cape Town in that list. I’d flown to Cape Town quite a few times previously but I’d always arrive at night (direct flights from Amsterdam arrive in […]

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scenic-flight-walker-bay-photo

An awe-inspiring flight tour along the Western Cape

“I have a surprise for you”. We stood on a dirt road surrounded by mile upon mile of fynbos, a shrubby vegetation found in the Western Cape of South Africa. In the distance, I could see the Atlantic Ocean and its pounding surf. The air was heavy with a heady mix of salt and floral […]

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dornier-wine-scenery-photo

Six Stellenbosch wineries to visit

Stellenbosch (map) is a picturesque university town in the Cape Winelands, a 45-minute drive from Cape Town, filled with historic Cape Dutch buildings, ancient oak trees, art galleries and laid-back cafés. A short drive in any direction, along one of the many Stellenbosch Wine Routes, will take you through gorgeous vineyards and imposing mountains. Nestled […]

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wine-tasting-boeretapas-middelvlei-photo

Wine-blending at Middelvlei Wines

It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. Almost every time I take a sip of a white or red blend, I try to differentiate the different grape varieties that have gone into the wine and their specific impact on the resulting bouquet, taste and finish. I’ve often wondered what my perfect wine would be and […]

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A Stellenbosch winery.

Discovering the magic of Stellenbosch

Stellenbosch is a small university town in the heart of South Africa’s Cape Winelands, a short drive from Cape Town. I first visited Stellenbosch (map) more than ten years ago and I’ve been back a few times since then. The Cape Winelands, with picturesque towns like Stellenbosch, beautiful Cape Dutch architecture, dramatic mountain scenery, gorgeous […]

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sunset-mandela-bloemfontein-photo

My favourite travel moments of 2013

2013 was an incredible travel year for me. If I counted correctly, I visited 20 countries across six continents. More importantly, I had the opportunity to experience some of the most amazing places (and food!) and meet some truly inspiring people along the way. Here are some of my favourite travel moments in photos from […]

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mandela-statue-bloemfontein-photo

Never forget

It’s a sad day for the world. With the passing of Nelson Mandela, we have lost one of the most inspiring and courageous figures of our time. Madiba, your courage, determination and messages of forgiveness and reconciliation will never be forgotten. You were and always will be a beacon of peace and hope. My thoughts […]

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free-state-road-trip-scenery-photo

Free State road trip

The Free State is a province in the heart of South Africa, southwest of Johannesburg and bordering the Kingdom of Lesotho on its southeastern fringe. It’s a vast province of expansive fields, rugged mountains, historic towns and charming villages and can best be explored on a road trip. Its capital, Bloemfontein, lies on the main […]

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pilanesberg-safari-leopard-photo

Unforgettable encounters at Pilanesberg National Park

The Pilanesberg National Park is one of South Africa’s largest and is located in the Northwest Province, near the border with Botswana. Set in an extinct volcano, the park is home to thousands of animals, including the Big Five (elephants, rhinos, leopards, buffaloes and lions). The park is a few hours’ drive northwest of Johannesburg […]

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