Let’s Go down to the Waterhole

The beauty of South African travel is how friendly the locals are! Most people who visit the gorgeous South African peninsula are more likely to talk about how their travels made them feel as opposed to the sites they saw.

Part of this local rapport is being able to go down to the watering hole in any South African region and feel right at home!

We’ve gone ahead and put together some of Mzansi’s finest and most iconic pubs. If the brews don’t draw you, the camaraderie definitely will! Read on for where to make your trip extra memorable!

1. De Akker, Stellenbosch, Western Cape

Photo credit: @de-akker via Instagram

While we can’t pinpoint exactly when De Akker was built, word around Stellenbosch is that the establishment first started serving liquor circa 1872. If you’re looking for a relaxed, old-style atmosphere with great food and a large array of craft beer for sale, De Akker is the place for you. If local rave reviews are anything to go by, this iconic pub is a community staple and haunt to students and grown folk alike.

2. Gino’s Sky Bar, Durban

Dubbed one of South Africa’s best rooftop bars, treat yourself to expertly prepared drinks and panoramic views of downtown Durban. Perched atop the famous Roma revolving restaurant, Gino’s oozes cosmopolitan style and endless photo opportunities. This Durban gem is perfect for gathering your girlfriends for some Sex and the City meets Durban atmosphere or picking up your significant other for a romantic date night.

3. Radium Beerhall, Johannesburg

The Radium Beer Hall is the current oldest bar and grill in Johannesburg. This infamous waterhole opened its doors in 1929 when the Khalil family saw fit to sell liquor to patrons of colour even though the then Apartheid government had forbidden it. Step inside this preserved time capsule and take in the pre-war photos and other memorabilia while you treat yourself to live jazz music and authentic Jozi cuisine.

4. Mzolis, Cape Town

Photo credit: @serisha_barrat via Instagram

As most success stories go, Mzolis has humble beginnings. In 2003, Mzoli Ngcawezele started selling meat from his garage in Gugulethu, one of Cape Town’s many vibrant townships. Before he knew it, the township community culture of socialising around a braai made its way inside his establishment and grew wings. Mzolis is an internationally acclaimed established that his been graced by the likes of celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, and DJ Fresh alike. Come to Mzolis for an impressive meat selection paired with traditional side dishes such as pap or chakalaka.  Bring your own booze and pack your dancing shoes because chances are you’ll find one of Cape Town’s top DJ’s playing a set or two while you wait for your food. Are you hungry yet?

5. Khuwana Tavern, Pretoria

When the name of the establishment literally translates to “beer pot”, it comes as no surprise that, of all South African pubs, the Khuwana Tavern sells the most beer. Head to Khuwana for scrumptious food cooked on an open fire, and one of the many beer selections that make the locals proud to be South African. Kick back as you listen to the live music and take in the murals that adorn these African walls. Located in the Pretoria Mandela Village Settlement, visiting the tavern makes for a memorable day trip where happy travellers can satisfy their sense of culture as well as their palates!

6. The Jolly Roger, Johannesburg

Does the idea of clay oven-cooked pizza and ice-cold beer tickle your fancy? Make your way down to the Jolly Roger in Parkhurst, Johannesburg for exactly that! This fine establishment has been wetting the throats of tourists and locals alike for little over a decade now and has fast become a City of Gold landmark. The Jolly Roger offers patrons two decidedly different sections. Upstairs is where those in search of an outdoor atmosphere can go to relax and look down on 4th street in Jozi. Downstairs is where those who don’t mind a more boisterous crowd can try out an array of international beers and catch a sports game or two. Sound like a great idea? We think so!

7. Fireman’s Arms, Cape Town

Step right into a piece of History! Established in 1864, the Fireman’s Arms is one of the longest standing pubs in Cape Town, and as such, provides thirsty travellers with an ambience depicting the Cape Town of yesteryear. Couple this with noteworthy pub grub and an excellent beer and wine selection and you’re in for an old-style treat. For those with a more competitive streak, drop in for Quiz Night on a Thursday. It’s the perfect opportunity to gather your squad and flex your trivia skills and get some bragging rights!

8. The Historic Pig and Whistle Inn, Bathurst, Eastern Cape

Located in Bathurst, just 12kms out of beautiful Port Alfred, the Historic Pig and Whistle Inn has been delighting patrons for over 180 years. Feel free to book beautiful accommodation here, or drop in for a drink or two with a hearty meal. Whether you pop in during Winter or Summer, the Pig and Whistle will feel like home. Treat yourself to a roaring fireplace and traditional Sunday roast during Winter, or cool down with an ice-cold beverage and delicious pub grub during Summer, either way, this iconic inn is renowned for its familial atmosphere and unique whiskey experience.

9. Perseverance Tavern, Cape Town

Make your way to Buitenkant Street in the eclectic Cape Town Gardens district for a stop at Persies Tavern. Established in 1808, Persies, or Perseverance Tavern is the official oldest pub in South Africa. Take a trip down memory lane with walls adorned with pictures of old Cape Town and the colourfully vibrant District Six community while you open your throat to some traditional pub food and drinks galore. We definitely recommend this gem of a tavern and South African landmark.

10. Randlords, Johannesburg

If exclusivity paired with glitz, glamour and rooftop ambience is what tickles your fancy, then Randlords is the spot for you. Loftily perched atop the highest point in fair Braamfontein, Randlords doesn’t skimp on the panoramic view opportunities. Order a cocktail and whip out your camera for some Instagram worthy snaps. Ready yourself for a melting pot of diverse patrons and a true reflection of the younger, more finger-on-the-pulse South African crowd. Indulge your palate with delicious canapes and a varied selection of wines and cocktails. We guarantee an evening for the memoirs!


Well then! Thus, concludes our list of the best and most iconic pubs and bars in lovely Mzansi where we lay our scene. Friendly locals, world-class food, ambience and beverages that don’t go down without a satisfying “aah”  – what more could you ask for?

Have you visited any of the gems mentioned above? We’d love to hear from you! Let us know about your experiences in the comments. Are you planning to pop by any of these awesome spots? We have the perfect flight deal for you!


The post Let’s Go down to the Waterhole appeared first on Travelstart Blog.

Neuschwanstein Castle: Expert’s Guide on Visiting the Fairy-Tale Castle

Along with Burg Eltz, Neuschwanstein Castle is one of the fairy-tale castles in Germany, located in the Bundesland of Bavaria in the town of Schwangau. It’s one of the most popular tourist attractions in Germany, with more than 1.3 million annual visitors who admire the beauty of the castle and its natural surrounds.

The post Neuschwanstein Castle: Expert’s Guide on Visiting the Fairy-Tale Castle appeared first on HotelsCombined Blog.

Choosing The Best Time To Visit The Philippines

Long days relaxing on the beach, taking a boat out to sea and swimming with whales and enjoying exotic food at quaint little restaurants, this is all that you can expect and more from a visit to the Philippines! The country sees wonderfully warm temperatures all year long, making it an ideal location at any time of your preference. The Philippines is your ideal location which is great for shopping and enjoying the exotic nightlife scene in Manila, enjoying a yacht cruise and snorkelling in Cebu and exploring the white beaches of Boracay Island.


Image courtesy of @pocahoontaz via Instagram

The Philippines is well known for not only its number of gorgeous beaches but also for great treks up the country’s colourful hills, expansive rice paddies to marvel at, underground river tours to explore and a hundred reasons more! One of the country’s main attractions, diving with whale sharks, allows visitors a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of getting up close to a gentle giant in their natural environment from December to May. What more reason would you need to book your flight to this beautiful country?


The best time to visit the Philippines is between the months of November and April which are the summer months in this Southeast Asian country. The wet season is from June to October and brings about quite a bit of rain with warm temperatures. The Philippines, with its more than 7,000 islands to explore, experiences only two main seasons: wet and dry. The wet season starts in June and continues until to October and travel is still recommended if you don’t mind your hot days sprinkled with some rain. Typhoon season, however, generally starts in September and lasts until October, so you may want to avoid travelling during this time.


Image courtesy of @ceejayeleven via Instagram

The dry season, from December to May, is a very popular time to visit the Philippines and with blue skies and perfect beach conditions, its hard not to see why! The hottest months are April and May, and during this time you will experience daytime highs of around 34 °C – perfect for days spent at El Nido Beach or a hike up Mount Batulao, but make sure to pack in plenty of sunscreen lotion!

Average Temperatures for the Philippines

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Low °C 21°C 22°C 23°C 24°C 25°C 24°C 24°C 24°C 24°C 24°C 23°C 22°C
High °C 30°C 31°C 32°C 34°C 34°C 32°C 32°C 31°C 30°C 31°C 31°C 30°C
Rainfall (mm) 10 10 10 20 60 90 120 140 110 80 50 20

Image courtesy of @mmesajr via Instagram

What to pack

The Philippines has a tropical climate with warm temperatures all year. With that in mind, packing for your trip to this phenomenal archipelago is easy-peasy as you won’t need much, just a few basics to get you going in the mornings and ready for your day ahead.

  • Plenty of sunscreen lotion (minimum SPF 30)
  • A pair or two of flipflops for walking around town or going down to the beach
  • Hiking/walking boots for your adventures into the highlands
  • Mosquito repellent
  • A quick-dry towel
  • Your swimsuit and a spare to dry out
  • Snorkel mask (though you can hire one almost anywhere)
  • Water bottle to stay hydrated
  • Breathable, light layers of clothing
  • Waterproof camera and charger/power bank
  • Waterproof day bag for all of your island-hopping adventures

Image courtesy of @rubyjien via Instagram

Daylight hours

The dry season is a popular time for tourists with the long, sunny days to blame! The sun rises just after 5:00, giving early birds the chance to set off on their day trips with plenty of daylight hours to spare. Visitors can enjoy 13 hours of daytime bliss during this time, peaking between December and January.

Dry season: 5:30 to 18.30

There is only about an hour and a half difference from the daylight hours in the wet and dry seasons so you’ll still get plenty of daylight hours to enjoy throughout the slightly wetter months of June to October.

Wet season: 6:00 to 17.30


Image courtesy of @beach_and_sunkissed via Instagram

Sea temperatures

Water temperatures throughout the majority of the Philippine region is a blissful average of between 26 – 28 °C during the dry season and just a tad bit cooler in the wet season, around 24 – 26 °C. Perfect temperatures yearlong for snorkelling, scuba diving and little dips in the ocean while working on your tan!

The best months to go diving in the Philippines fall in the dry season, between the months of November to May.


Image courtesy of @ann.rhea via Instagram

How much are flights to the Philippines?

High season: December – April

The Philippines has become an increasingly popular holiday destination as it is known for its great weather, island life and most importantly, affordability. The high season to visit this beautiful destination starts in December and continues to the end of April. You can expect to pay between 5 -10% more tfor flights and accomodation than during the low season.

Low season: May – October

Due to the wet season, the Philippines becomes an even more affordable destination between the months of May and October. Of course, it might not be in your best interest to visit during the monsoon period (July to September) but the months of May, June, and October are more likely to see quick, daily showers rather than extensive downpours.

Flights during the low season are only slightly cheaper (up to 10%) than during high season as the Philippines is popular all year.  It’s best to book your flights at least three months in advance to take advantage of cheaper flight deals that are available.

See all our current international flight specials and get booking today!


Image courtesy of @beach_and_sunkissed via Instagram

Annual Events in the Philippines

If there’s one thing that the Filipinos know how to do then it’s how to celebrate life! The vast amount of festivities held in the Philippines are a testament to how much fun you can have in this beautiful country at any given time. The people enjoy showcasing their native culture in the form of dancing, singing and street parades, and you can also indulge in the local cuisine at a number of activities too. Different regions of the archipelago celebrate various events throughout the year, so depending on what you’re most keen to see, book your trip to visit the Philippines to coincide with some of these annual events.

Ati-Atihan, Kalibo – January

Known as the biggest and most opulent of all the festivals in the Philippines, the Ati-Atihan festival celebrates Santo Nino, a holy representation of the Catholic church. Visitors can expect only the best and most wonderful of floats during street parades, food and dancing to tribal music.  Painted bodies, extravagant tribal costumes and loads of dancing and festivities are the order of the day!

Sinulog, Cebu – January

A beautiful blend of religion and culture come together in this annual festival. This event brings about thousands and thousands of visitors every year as the amount of splendour, colour, and vibrancy is captivating. The festival celebrates the pagan past of the country, as well as the introduction of Christianity to the region.


Image courtesy of @jasmadabouttravel via Instagram

Panagbenga Festival, Baguio – February

Let’s celebrate the season of flowers! What better way to celebrate this blooming occasion than with colourful street parades, dancing and an overall few days of joyous entertainment! Officially, the festival is held to mark the beginning of flower season but it also plays tribute to all of those lost during the 1999 earthquake that hit the Luzon region, bringing a sense of new beginnings to those families affected.

Pahiyas Festival, Lucban – May

This particular festival celebrates the harvest from the Earth and all across Lucban, houses are decorated in not only bright colours, but are also adorned in vegetables! If you’re attending, bring your basket as participants are encouraged to pick some of the bounty from the decorated houses – adding to the sense of appreciation for what the Earth provides. Pahiyas is one of the most celebrated festivals in the region and the sheer display of colour and bites to eat will get any festival-lover excited.

MassKara, Bacolod – October

Join in the fun at this festival of smiles held in Bacolod – the City of Smiles. This annual event was originally held to lift the spirits of the locals during a, particularly tough harvest. These days, you will find smiling masked faces during the festivities and be invited to join in on all of the dance, music and excitement that you’ll find on display!


Image courtesy of @neil_sado via Instagram

Giant Lantern Festival, San Fernando – December

Visitors to the city are in for a real treat as the city comes alight with colourful, giant lanterns that brighten up the streets in all directions! The festival starts the week before Christmas and because of the excitement that it brings, the city of San Fernando is referred to as the Christmas Capital of the Philippines. For the festival, the extravagant lanterns are displayed across the city and are lit with LED lights to add to the flair.

Need more reasons to visit the Philippines? Check out our blog on why Palawan in the Philippines should be your next vacation destination and get those flight tickets booked!


Image courtesy of @joycemossel via Instagram

Book your cheap flights to the Philippines with Travelstart to start your travel adventure!

Interested in more amazing flight deals and insight into these international locations? Do yourself a favour and sign up for the Travelstart newsletter for the latest travel news and flight specials first!



The post Choosing The Best Time To Visit The Philippines appeared first on Travelstart Blog.

Where to Stay in Ubud: Best Spa Hotels

Ubud lures you in with its rich culture and traditions, verdant nature and gourmet food offerings, while the local art scene, laid-back locals and jungle excursions keep you coming back for more. However, one of the best parts of staying in Ubud is the opportunity to indulge in pampering spa treatments while being surrounded by lush flora and fauna.

The post Where to Stay in Ubud: Best Spa Hotels appeared first on HotelsCombined Blog.

An epic guide to South Africa’s World Heritage Sites

Only a fool would contest the fact that South Africa is host to an extraordinary amount of natural and cultural variety. This year, South Africa laid claim to its tenth UNESCO World Heritage Site.

While we may not have the most heritage sites (Italy takes that accolade with a staggering 53), we sure do know a thing or two about exceptional diversity.

Whether you’re into breathtaking mountain views, magnificent botanical displays, desert isolation, warm-water snorkelling, ancient history or simply lying on the beach there’s a heritage site everyone can enjoy.

Here are our top tips and an epic guide for exploring South Africa’s 10 UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Cultural World Heritage Sites

1. Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape


Photo credit: @Melaniejanevz

Province: Limpopo
Closest city: Alldays and Musina
Cost: Entry fee to Mapungubwe National Park costs R55 per adult per day.

The magnificent Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape is thought to be the site of the earliest known indigenous Southern African kingdom and was occupied between 900 and 1300 AD, which precedes the Great Zimbabwe Ruins further north. We don’t know exactly why the people of Mapungubwe moved away, but the ruins give a good idea of how they lived and how their society functioned thanks to expert archaeological findings. We know for example, that these people were trading with the rest of the world because glass beads and gold was found here, the most famous artefact is the tiny golden rhinoceros with just one horn (intriguing because both our local rhino species have two).

Don’t miss: Walk the hill where these ancient people lived and see where the rhino was found. You can’t visit the site alone and having a local guide interpret the site is essential. From R258 per person.
Inside tip: A high-clearance vehicle is best for properly exploring Mapungubwe in the wild north of South Africa.

2. Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape

Orange River

Photo credit: @Melaniejanevz

Province: Northern Cape
Closest city: Port Nolloth
Cost:  Entry fee to |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park is R71 per adult per day.

Botanical landscape? In the desert? Yep. The Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape is a World Heritage Site thanks to its diverse plant life. Covering an extraordinary 160,000 hectares, the Richtersveld is an area of dramatic landscapes – rugged mountains cut by the linear oasis of the Orange River. It’s also classified as a cultural landscape because it sustains the semi-nomadic pastoral livelihood of the Nama people, who have lived this way for as long as two thousand years. Here, the Nama people still construct portable rush-mat houses and collect medicinal and other plants.

Don’t miss:  Experience the area’s floral splendour between June and October, depending on good rains.
Inside tip: You can only explore this remote park with a 4X4.

3. Robben Island

Robben Island

Image courtesy of Brand South Africa.

Province: Western Cape
Closest city: Cape Town
Cost: R360 per adult, which includes the ferry trip out to sea. This departs from the V&A Waterfront departing at 09:00, 11:00, 13:00 and 15:00.

All self-respecting South Africans know the importance of this infamous island. Robben Island has a multi-layered 500-year-old history and was used as a prison, a hospital for socially unacceptable groups and a military base. Most famously though, the maximum security prison on Robben Island was used for political prisoners and witnessed the triumph of democracy and freedom over oppression and racism.

Don’t miss: Watch these moving personal prisoner stories before visiting.
Inside tip: If you are prone to seasickness then take sea sickness tablets an hour before boarding the boat.

Book cheap flights to Cape Town

4. Fossil Hominid Sites of South Africa

Cradle of Humankind

Image courtesy of Brand South Africa.

Province: Gauteng
Closest city: Johannesburg
Cost: Entry to the Maropeng Visitor Centre is R120 per adult.

It’s not odd to feel strongly attached to South Africa, it might just be a million-year-old homing instinct. Fossils found in the Cradle of Humankind have enabled the identification of early hominids, dating back to 4.5 million years. Yup, this sure is home. This easy-to-visit World Heritage Site includes Sterkfontein, Swartkrans, Kromdraai and Environs, and the Makapan Valley and Taung Skull Fossil Site. All of these fossil sites are critical in showing the origins and then the evolution of humankind. Interestingly, there’s even evidence of how humans domesticated fire 1.8 million to 1 million years ago.

Don’t miss: The Almost Human exhi­bi­tion is the largest-ever pub­lic dis­play of hominin fos­sils in the world and shares the story of Homo Naledi.
Inside tip: Get the combo ticket and visit the Sterkfontein Caves as well as the Maropeng Visitor Centre for R190 per adult.

Book cheap flights to Johannesburg

5. ǂKhomani Cultural Landscape

Province: Northern Cape
Closest city: Upington

One of the more recent World Heritage Sites, the ǂKhomani Cultural Landscape is located at South Africa’s border with Botswana and Namibia, including the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. The striking red Kalahari sands contain evidence of human occupation from the Stone Age right up to present day and the proclamation of this area is to honour the culture of the formerly nomadic ǂKhomani San people and the incredible strategies that allowed them to adapt and thrive in these harsh desert conditions. At the south-western tip of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, 28000 hectares of land was restored to the ‡Khomani San in the historic settlement of one of democratic South Africa’s most significant land claims. Together with a similar area granted to the neighbouring Mier Community, a Heritage Park was established. Visitors can now learn about Kalahari life through various activities on offer in the park.

Don’t miss: The chance to walk with a local and learn the time-honoured skill of tracking. Walks and trails are conducted on the traditional farms of Witdraai and Erin and include tracking animals, looking at medicinal plants, a heritage trail, or a combination.
Inside tip: Ask Aunt Koera for freshly-made ash bread. Aunt Koera’s Farm Kitchen is located on Erin farm near Andriesvale.

Natural World Heritage Sites

6. Barberton Makhonjwa Mountains


Photo credit: @Melaniejanevz

Province: Mpumalanga
Closest city: Barberton
Cost: free!

Our newest UNESCO World Heritage Site features mountains that are older than entire continents. Just four hours from Johannesburg, the Barberton Makhonjwa Mountains were formed between two-and-a-half and four billion years ago. You can see these impressive mountains (and the wonderful views that go with them) on the Barberton Makhonjwa Geotrail. The winding mountain route starts in Barberton and ends at the Swaziland border. On the way there, are interpretive information boards to teach you about these important hills.

Don’t miss: Visit the quaint village of Kaapsehoop nearby and try to spot on the wild horses.
Inside tip: Although the Geotrail drive is under 40 km, the return trip plus reading all the info boards and taking photos can easily take up to three hours – pack padkos.

7. Cape Floral Region Protected Areas

World Heritage Site

Photo credit: @Melaniejanevz

Province: Western, Eastern and Northern Cape
Closest city: Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Clanwilliam.
Cost:  Park entry fees vary, but you can see many of these flower species for free on roadsides and hiking in the Table Mountain National Park.

Declared as one of the world’s great centres of terrestrial biodiversity, the unique Cape Floral Region Protected Areas include national parks, nature reserves, wilderness areas, State forests and mountain catchment areas. It is also one of 35 biodiversity hotspots and one of the richest areas for plants when compared to any similar sized area in the world. Not convinced? Well, the Cape Floral Kingdom represents less than 0.5% of the area of Africa but is home to nearly 20% of the continent’s flora. The outstanding diversity, density and endemism of the flora are among the highest worldwide. Some 69% of the estimated 9000 plant species in the region are endemic and 1736 plant species identified as threatened.

Don’t miss: South African winter is the best time for seeing this incredible floral kingdom in bloom.
Inside tip: For the latest update on the best flower fields, check the Cape West Coast Tourism website or call 0729388186. You can also sign up for alerts.

Book cheap flights to Port Elizabeth

8. iSimangaliso Wetland Park

World Heritage Site

Photo credit: @Melaniejanevz

Province: KwaZulu-Natal
Closest city: St Lucia
Cost: Entry to the Western Shores section costs R53 per adult and R58 per vehicle.

South Africa’s first World Heritage Site, iSimangaliso Wetland Park stretches across 220 kilometres of coastline and includes pristine marine, coastal, wetland, estuarine, and terrestrial environments which are scenically beautiful and basically unmodified by people. An incredibly diverse park, here you can find coral reefs, long sandy beaches, coastal dunes, lake systems, swamps, and wetlands, providing critical habitat for a wide range of species from Africa’s seas, wetlands and savannahs. In one day, you can find leopards in the morning, snorkel with rays and colourful fish in the midday sun after beach lounging and keep an eye out for elephants in the afternoon.

Don’t miss:  Discover diversity by ticking off the 10 Jewels of iSimangaliso Wetland Park.
Inside tip: Base yourself at affordable and sunny St Lucia

Book cheap flights to Durban then rent a car and take a mini road trip to St Lucia.

9. Vredefort Dome

Province: Free State
Closest city: Parys

Just an hour from Johannesburg, the Vredefort Dome is a representative part of a larger meteorite impact structure or astrobleme. It dates back 2023 million years and is the oldest astrobleme yet found on Earth. Essentially a giant crater, the Vredefort Dome stretches 300 kilometres wide. To achieve this impact, the meteorite must have been about 10 kilometres in diameter across (as big as a mountain) and travelling at 36000 km/h.

Don’t miss:  Book a tour with Jan Fourie to fully understand the complexities of the Vredefort Dome.
Inside tip: The crater as a whole is best seen from the air, why not skydive to see it?

Book cheap flights to Bloemfontein

Mixed World Heritage Sites

10. Maloti-Drakensberg Park

Drakensberg Mountain

Photo credit: @Melaniejanevz

Province: KwaZulu-Natal
Closest city: Durban
Cost: Entry fee to the various protected area varies. Here is a full list of KZN Wildlife tariffs.

Crossing borders, the Maloti-Drakensberg Park encompasses both the uKhahlamba Drakensberg National Park in South Africa and the Sehlathebe National Park in Lesotho and is composed of 12 protected areas. The site has exceptional natural beauty in its soaring basaltic buttresses, incisive dramatic cutbacks, and golden sandstone ramparts as well as visually spectacular sculptured arches, caves, cliffs, pillars and rock pools. These magnificent mountains also protect some ancient art galleries. The rock art of the Maloti-Drakensberg Park is the largest and most concentrated group of rock paintings in Africa south of the Sahara and is outstanding both in quality and diversity of subject.

Don’t miss:  Hiking is the best way to appreciate the might of these incredible mountains. Strap on your tackies and tackle the heights.
Inside tip: In winter, this is one of the best places to find snow. Here are more top places to find snow in South Africa.

Choose from a variety of cheap flight options and tell us which World Heritage Site you can’t wait to explore.

Visited any of these sites recently? Share your experiences in the comments section below.


The post An epic guide to South Africa’s World Heritage Sites appeared first on Travelstart Blog.

15 Amazing Cultural Traditions From Around The World You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

[Updated: 26 September 2018]

Ever heard of the popular Swedish drinking game pen-in-bottle? Do you know what Jarping is? Or the reason why a bunch of people choose to hurl themselves down a steep hill in pursuit of a large wheel of cheese each year? In no particular order, Travelstart brings you 15 weird and wonderful traditions from around the world.

15. Make your way to the city of Oulu in Northern Finland for the annual Air Guitar World Championships

Photo credit: @_ykpii via Instagram

Rate your air guitar skills? There’s only one place to test them internationally and that’s at the annual Air Guitar World Championships each August in Finland. Each participant has to play air guitar on stage in two rounds, each lasting 1 minute. Their motto is, “Make air, not war”.

Find cheap flights to Finland and see the Northern Lights plus attend the Oulu Music Video Festival which hosts the Air Guitar World Championships!

Need a Schengen visa? Find out how to apply for a Schengen Visa.

14. Take along your umbrella if you’re in Poland on Śmigus Dyngus

Photo credit: @savchuk.sergey via Instagram

Aka wet Monday, Śmigus-dyngus is an opportunity to stage the ultimate water fight. Held each year on Easter Monday in Poland and Ukraine, participants blast each other with water to celebrate Easter.

Find cheap flights to Poland!

Also read:

13. Bali’s Day of Silence

bali new years

Photo credit: @tinaowyeah via Instagram

New Year is celebrated in Bali with a 24 hour period of silence and meditation known as “Nyepi”. No fires may be lit, minimal talking is allowed and no travel, work or leisure activities are permitted. The only people you’ll find outside the home are the Pecalang, the traditional security men checking to see the prohibitions are being followed. On this day the usually bustling island comes to a standstill with no flights in or out of Denpasar airport. The day following Nyepi is known as New Year’s day and is filled with socialising and celebrations.

Find cheap flights to Bali!

Also read:

12. Professional finger-pulling competitions in the Alps

Image courtesy of @ad_nl via Instagram

Finger-pulling is no laughing matter in the Alps. Finger wrestling was once used to settle disputes but is now a competition that is taken quite seriously by the contenders. The winner is the person who manages to pull the other contestant across the table, using only his or her finger! Contenders pick their digit carefully and subject it to rigorous training regimes involving crushing tennis balls and doing one finger pull-ups!

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11. Lanna’s Lantern festival, Yi Peng

Image courtesy of @venxsu via Instagram

Watch thousands upon thousands of rice-paper lanterns take to the night sky on Yi Peng. One of the best places to watch this beautiful festival is in Chang Mai. The festival takes place on the full moon of the 12th Thai month (usually November).

Find cheap flights to Chang Mai!

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10. Join in the Cheese-chasing near Gloucester, England!

Photo credit: @spoonme via Instagram

Every Spring Bank Holiday near Gloucester sees the annual Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake take place. Participants line up in groups of about twenty to chase after a substantial wheel of cheese as it descends perilously down a steep incline. This “world-famous event” often results in injuries to onlookers, a great lump of cheese is quite a hazard when rolled down a hill at speed!

Find cheap flights to London!

Also read:

9. Play Ruzzola in Tuscany and Umbria

Photo credit: @carolronca via Instagram

This popular game consists of throwing a wooden cylinder, roughly resembling a wheel of pecorino cheese, as far as one possibly can!

Find cheap flights to Italy!

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8. Jarping is a serious sport!

The egg jarping final #Northumberland #pubs #easter #jarping

A post shared by The Feathers Inn (@thefeathersinn) on Apr 17, 2017 at 12:01pm PDT

Jarping is a game where you try crack someone else’s boiled egg without cracking your own. This is very popular in North-East England and there’s even a World Jarping Championships in Peterlee, Durham, each Easter.

Photo credit: @ashaling via Instagram

7. Flag-throwing in Tuscany

Photo credit: @debrakolkka via Instagram

In Medieval times in Italy, a guild’s banner or flag was never allowed to touch the ground as it was considered a symbol of purity. The tradition of acrobatic and classical flag-throwing lives on with both boys and girls participating in this skillful sport.

And try out the food in Italy when you’re not tossing flags. See our Beginner’s Guide to the Best Food Spots in Italy!

6. Songkran

Photo credit: @_ykpii via Instagram

Songkran is the water festival which marks the beginning of the Thai New Year. Everyone takes to the streets on the 13 April with whatever water weapons they can muster. This has to be one of the most fun ways to welcome a new year!

Find cheap flights to Bangkok!

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5. Finland’s wife-carrying championships

Photo credit: @wifecarrying via Instagram

It may be a little outdated however the Wife-Carrying World Championships are held annually in Sonkajärvi, Finland with great fanfare and the prize is dependant on the wife’s weight in beer. Contestants have to carry their wives over a series of obstacles in the shortest amount of time. Different lift techniques are used ranging from piggy-back to fireman’s lift to the Estonian carry (seen in the above photograph).

4. Pen-in-bottle, Sweden

This ridiculous but fun drinking game involves securing a pen on a length of string tied around one’s waist and then competing to be the first person to lower one’s pen into an empty bottle using one’s waist.

Find cheap flights to Sweden!

3. Galette de Roi, France

Photo credit: @talhausen via Instagram

In France Epiphany is celebrated in January with a “King cake”. This cake is made with a pastry crust and a dense centre of sweet frangipani. The person who gets the piece of cake with a porcelain figurine inside gets to be the king for the day and wears the paper crown which accompanies the cake!

Find cheap flights to France!

Keen on a trip to France? Find out how to get a Schengen Visa in 48 Hours!

2. Sitting down for a few minutes before leaving on a trip, Ukraine

In the Ukraine and Russia, it is traditional to sit down for a few minutes as a family before leaving on a trip. This is meant to grant you good luck on your journey (it’s also a good opportunity to remember anything you may have forgotten).

Find cheap flights to Ukraine!

1. Jump over seven waves at New Year’s in Rio

Photo credit: @billycole3 via Instagram

Celebrate New Year’s Eve on Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro with fireworks and a midnight swim in the sea for good luck. 2 million people descend on this beach for New Year’s all dressed in white and ready to party the night away. Part of the fun is the tradition of jumping over 7 waves while making 7 wishes for the new year.

Find cheap flights to Rio de Janeiro!

Don’t have a passport, or need a new one? Check out our Guide to Your South African Passport Application and Renewal and start planning your trip!

Do you know of any cool or weird cultural traditions around the world? Have you attended any of these? We want to hear from you in the comments section below!

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The post 15 Amazing Cultural Traditions From Around The World You’ve Probably Never Heard Of appeared first on Travelstart Blog.

14 Best Hakone Ryokans with a Private Onsen

Located in Japan’s sprawling Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, Hakone is a peaceful town nestled amongst undulating mountains, tranquil lakes and verdant forests. However, this town is best-known for its array of hot springs, also called onsens. These mineral-rich baths offer a variety of health benefits while letting your body, mind and soul rejuvenate.

The post 14 Best Hakone Ryokans with a Private Onsen appeared first on HotelsCombined Blog.


Nothing drives your heritage home quite like tasting it. Go on an urban taste safari this Heritage Day and indulge your palate in scrumptious, uniquely South African cuisine.

Confused about where to start your cheat day? Have no fear! We’ve gone ahead and picked the best delicacies from each spectacular South African province.

1. Urban Taste Safari – First stop

When in Cape Town, one must have Gatsby forthwith. Picture yourself before a foot-long sandwich stuffed full of “slap chips” (French fries) and a range of deliciously seasoned fillings of your choice. Choose from deep-fried calamari to masala (curried) steak or traditional Cape Malay bobotie (curried lamb mince). A Gatsby is more than a meal. It is a social occasion. Cut it in four and invite your Chinas (friends) to get in on the fun! Pair your Gatsby with an ice-cold beverage of your choice and settle down to a deliciously different culinary experience. We recommend Wembley’s Road House or Mariam’s Kitchen for the best Gatsby in Cape Town.

2. Fish & Chips

Kalk Bay Harbor

Nothing says “local is lekker” quite like fish and chips. Couple this with a view of one of the many gorgeous beaches Cape Town has to offer and you’re in for quite the meal occasion! Try the local “snoek parcel” and consider yourself officially Capetonian. For the more adventurous among us, deep-fried fish roe is considered to be as much of a delicacy as caviar! We also recommend a “fish cake” or mashed fish and potato seasoned with coriander. Make your way to Mariner’s Wharf in Hout Bay or Kalky’s in Kalk Bay and make a day of meandering around the picturesque harbours before settling down to a Fish and Chips meal. Sounds yummy right?

3. Shisa Nyama/Pap en Vleis

Loosely translated, Shisa Nyama/Pap en Vleis means meat and pap. Thickened maize porridge or pap is a staple across many South African indigenous tribes and is usually coupled with a saucy meat or chicken dish and a cold beverage of your choice. Head to Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape, home of the Xhosa tribe of South Africa, and be spoilt for choice! Pair meat “braaied” (barbequed) or basted to sticky perfection with pap or “samp and beans” (a mix of cracked dry corn and sugar beans). We recommend Chesa Nyama in Uitenhage for a great introduction to the proud “pap en vleis” South African tradition.

4. Potjiekos

Potjiekos is a traditional South African game day staple and is usually an excuse for men to huddle around a roaring fire and drink beer. Directly translated, Potjiekos means “Pot food”, which is a very apt description of the dish. Turn up to watch a local rugby or soccer game and cook a hearty stew on a fire for a few hours. Sounds fun right? Get yourself a drink and watch the men meticulously layer meat and vegetables in the pot with all the conviction of a pope performing a benediction. Once the pot is filled to the brim, the lid comes down and the stew is left to simmer in all that juicy goodness. Recipes are often regarded as priceless manuscripts with many a debate on which recipe is the best one lasting well into the wee hours! Head to Soweto in Johannesburg for some of the best Potjiekos spots, or simply try it out for size in your own backyard!

5. Bunny Chow

Next on our Urban Taste Safari is Durban, South Africa’s spice capital and home of the bunny chow. With Durban boasting the largest Indian population, outside of India, in the world, it comes as no surprise that the local cuisine is packed full of delicious spices and that the aromas are enough to have any happy traveller ravenous in no time. A must-try local dish is the traditional Durban bunny chow. A bunny chow consists of either a whole or half loaf of hollowed out bread that is filled with your choice of curry. Choose from a myriad of curries at various heat levels, and earn some serious bragging rights for being able to finish the hottest bunny in town! Make your way to Can Cutters in Glenwood or Danny’s House of Curries in Blue Lagoon and eat your fill!

6. Boerekos


Head to Bloemfontein in the Free State for some delicious comfort food or boerekos. Steeped in Afrikaans tradition, Bloemfontein eateries do not skimp with the portions. With meals designed to make you feel like you’re sitting down to something made by a kind, warm natured grandmother, its no wonder Bloemfontein is the South African boerekos capital! Make sure your tummy needs filling before heading to “Get Together” on Nelson Mandela drive. Warm up with a cup of “moer koffie” (ground coffee brewed in an enamel coffee pot on an open fire), and couple it with a range of traditional dishes! Choose from deliciously decadent milk tart to roosterkoek (bread rolls cooked on a fire) or vetkoek (deep-fried dough bread) filled with anything from meat to homemade jam! Be sure to try the melk kos, a milk thickened, warm milk drink flavoured with cinnamon sugar, for a desert second to none!

7. All Roads Lead to Limpopo

Head to Polokwane in Limpopo for a crash-course in traditional Venda eats. We recommend coupling your dishes with a traditional drink and an African sunset! Look out for numerous road-side braai stands where you can pick up deliciously braaied meat or chicken at a steal! For the more adventurous, try Umqombothi or traditional African beer. Made from maize, maize malt, sorghum malt, yeast and water, Umqombothi has a distinctly sour taste and creamy texture. Unforgettable is the name of the game! Next, move on to chicken feet and cow heels. This traditional staple is cooked in a seasoned broth and served with pap or bread rolls. Locals swear by it, and tourists can’t help but come back for more! For the brave at heart, Polokwane is a goldmine of Mopani worms and roasted termites. While it may not sound delicious, it has a yummy salty tang and is more palatable than most people think. Are you brave enough? We believe in you!

8. South Africa’s Bush Kitchen

Mpumalanga is famed for traditional bush cooking which largely involves socialising around a fire and cooking anything from pot bread to bacon or tea and coffee! Head to the Potluck Boskombuis restaurant in Graskop and try some venison potjiekos or treat your palate to freshwater trout in Nelspruit. Couple this with African spinach and rooibos tea and you’ll be writing home to any and every one! Why not see if you can spot the Big 5 at the Kruger National Park before leaving Mpumalanga? Feast your eyes on the breath-taking African landscape and create memories to last a lifetime!


9. Cooler than the North Pole

South Africa’s Northern Cape Province is where Karoo flavours meet some delicious Portuguese and Mediterranean culinary influences. The Cluster D’hote restaurant in Sutherland is definitely bucket-list worthy. Located in a renovated Victorian-style dollhouse built circa 1880, patrons can expect expertly prepared Karoo lamb, a flavour synonymous with South African tradition. Paired with something from the extensive local wine selection, this is something you won’t want to miss! For some whimsy, head to The Occidental Restaurant at The Big Hole in Kimberley where you can feast in an old-style pub and enjoy some preserved 16th-century architecture and signage.

10. Beef it Up

The last stop on our urban taste safari is the North West. South Africa’s North West province has a something for every palate. Head to Beef Boys in Potchefstroom for interesting local delicacies like chicken livers, marrow bones and foot-long garlic bread. Who wouldn’t want foot-long garlic bread? Alternatively, make your way to Mafikeng or Maf-Town and try a “boerewors/boerie” roll. This consists of a braaied or grilled piece of sausage on a hot dog bun and topped with a relish of your choice. Enjoy traditional chakalaka relish on your boerie roll as you turn up with music and enjoy the Maf-town atmosphere! It’s as good as it sounds!

South Africa’s multi-cultural landscape makes for an unforgettable culinary journey, and with 12 traditional languages, you can be sure that each dish tastes as unique as it sounds. Thus, concludes our Urban Taste Safari! Are you hungry yet? We sure are!

Planning a taste adventure? We have flight deals to make sure you don’t break your budget! Have you eaten at any of the spots mentioned? Tell us all about it in the comments!



The post GO ON A HERITAGE DAY FOOD SAFARI appeared first on Travelstart Blog.

20 Of The Best Beaches In South Africa

[Updated: 25 September 2018]

We recently asked our fans on Facebook what they thought were the best beaches in South Africa. We had quite a large number of responses and had votes for spots all the way up the West Coast to the wild, subtropical dunes of northern KZN. Here are the 20 receiving the most votes from our sun, sea and sand worshippers:

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20. Umhlanga

One of KZN’s most popular beaches for locals and holiday-makers alike, the warm Indian Ocean draws millions the world over to Umhlanga’s gorgeous golden sands. It doesn’t hurt that the town has great nightlife, hotels and shopping too!

umhlanga beach

Photo credit: @eilenberg14 via Instagram

19. Hobie Beach

Port Elizabeth has a wealth of stunning beaches and Hobie Beach is one of the best, especially considering its location, near to all the most popular restaurants, the casino and hotels. The flat beaches of “the Windy City” are hugely popular with sailing enthusiasts with the eponymous Hobie Cat being a firm favourite here.

Go see for yourself with cheap flights to Port Elizabeth!

hobie beach

Photo credit: @nmbt via Flickr

18. Bloubergstrand

Home to one of the most iconic views in the world, Cape Town’s Bloubergstrand is a lovely spot to ogle at one of the New 7 Wonders of the world – Table Mountain. The long beach has gentle waves, lots of beautiful white sand and many restaurants and bars nearby to sip a sundowner and kiss your worries goodbye.


Photo credit: @jule_ham via Instagram

17. Gonubie

East London is not the first place you generally think of when looking for a great beach town, but the Buffalo City and surrounding towns are full of stunning sandy stretches. The town of Gonubie is set on the river with the same name, and the beach can be found at the mouth of the river as it enters the warm Indian Ocean. With hillsides covered in lush vegetation and only a few houses peeking through, you would hardly know that you were a mere 10km from the city.

Go to Gonubie with cheap flights to East London!

gonubie beach

Photo credit: @dvdmerwe via Flickr

16. Plettenberg Bay

Okay, so while Plettenberg Bay doesn’t have just one beach, this Western Cape town does offer a lot for a range of different interests. Beaches like Keurboomstrand and Robberg offer long quiet walks while Central Beach is great for families with lifeguards on duty in season and loads of activities to keep everyone busy.

plettenberg bay beach

Photo credit: @rian_botha via Flickr

15. Buffels Bay

Another Western Cape gem, this often forgotten about beach is just a stone’s throw from busy Knysna and is a great place to escape the stresses of daily life. The long beach stretches some 5km between the village of Buffels Bay and Brenton on Sea and is part of the Goukamma Nature reserve. Keep a lookout for dolphins in late winter and spring!

buffels bay beach

Photo credit: @andrew_c_russell via Flickr

14. Durban, South Beach

Another great one which needs no introduction, Durban’s South Beach is right in the heart of the city’s famous beachfront and is a great spot for swimming or just lazing about people watching.

south beach durban

Photo credit: @Alwin Murugen via Flickr

13. Strand

What could be better than a beach simply called “beach”? Well, meet Strand, technically a suburb of Cape Town, the town itself looks like a mini-Dubai with its skyscrapers and its own Burj al-Arab lookalike. The beach is wonderful for kids, its incredibly flat and the water is often unusually warm for Cape Town.

strand western cape

Photo credit: @daniellejamie91 via Instagram

12. Paternoster

Also home to a few beaches, this West Coast fishing village is the definition of quaint. Popular with Capetonians looking to escape the hecticness of their lazy craft-beer swigging city lives, Paternoster is just about 2 hours from Central Cape Town. The beach is long, flat and usually devoid of much human life making it ideal for unwinding and catching your breath.

paternoster beach

Photo credit: @chrisfoxinc via Flickr

11. Ballito

KZN’s Dolphin Coast may be rockier than the Hibiscus Coast in the south but what it lacks in big open space it makes up for in festive atmosphere and probably more importantly great surf conditions – no wonder then that the annual Mr Price Pro surfing contest is held here.

ballito beach

Photo credit: @mrpriceheroes via Flickr

10. Diaz Beach, Mossel Bay

Come December there may be more people on this beach than are left in the whole of Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Northwest, Limpopo and the Free State combined, but they come for a very good reason! The amazingly warm water, the flat, rock-free beach, and gentle waves make Diaz a firm favourite for many.

diaz beach

Photo credit: @hostelscom via Flickr

9. Sodwana Bay

Northern KZN is something special, those long wild swathes of coppery sand flanked on one side by lush sub-tropical forest-covered dunes, and on the other by the balmy Indian Ocean. Sodwana is probably the crown jewel in the province’s ribbon of beautiful beaches and is ever popular with 4x4ers, fisherman and really anyone wanting to get as far away from the bright city lights as one can get in KZN.

sodwana bay

Photo credit: @nadialynn_africa via Instagram

8. Muizenberg

No surprises here! Muizenberg’s wide, flat, white sandy beach is popular with all sorts of people. It’s great for kids since the waves which break on the shore are rather small, it’s great for surfers too as further out some bigger waves break and the town has grown quite the reputation as one of the best places in the world to learn how to surf.

muizenberg beach

Photo credit: @paoletta_dav via Instagram

7. Cape Vidal

Another Northern KZN beach and Cape Vidal really is a mighty sight to behold. This wild beach right next to Lake St Lucia and is an adventure lover’s dream. ‘Nuff said!

cape vidal beach

Photo credit: @photoshoq via Flickr

6. Gordon’s Bay

Gordon’s Bay has 2 main beaches and offers some great variety for visitors. The beach in the centre of town is wide, flat and great for kids wanting to wade or paddle in the warm water (warm for Cape Town). The second beach is Bikini Beach, next to the naval harbour; it’s smaller but more popular with students coming down from Stellenbosch – there are plenty of bronzed beach bodies to check out here!

gordons bay beach

Photo credit: @slack12 via Flickr

5. Clifton

Cape Town’s famous Clifton beach is actually a set of 4 beaches, creatively named 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th. This is a great retreat when the wind is howling elsewhere on summer days and it’s almost entirely wind-free. It’s a great spot to watch the sun set, both in summer and in winter.

Clifton beach, Cape Town sunset - 20 best beaches in South Africa

4. Nahoon

You may be surprised to see this East London beach at number 4, but there’s a reason it’s the city’s most popular beach. Whether it’s lazing on the soft sand, swimming in the warm Indian Ocean, surfing some of the epic waves or taking a stroll on the boardwalk through the dunes, this is a beach which won’t disappoint.

nahoon beach

Photo credit: @m.monk_photography via Instagram

3. North Beach, Durban

Bodyboarders, beach bums and skaters, Durban’s North Beach is what it is: the king of holiday beaches. Also how epic is this night shot?

North Beach is calling. Find cheap flights to Durban!

durban north beach

Photo credit: @chothia via Flickr

2. Santos Beach, Mossel Bay

Yes, another Mossel Bay beach, and it’s at number 2. This one is hugely popular with local tourists. Why? There’s quaint little tram, you can stay in a train carriage on the beach, there’s an old Victorian pavilion and a wonderful stretch of sand slung across a bay which is warm and great for a nice long swim.

santos beach

Photo credit: @hostelworld via Flickr

1. Camps Bay

If Durban’s North Beach is the King of Beaches, Camps Bay would be the Emperor, getting into number 1 spot with a landslide of votes, there are plenty of reasons why this is SA’s most popular spot. Sip on a cocktail at any one of the trendy spots like the iconic Caprice Bar, grab an ice-cream at Sinful and gawk at the bodies playing volleyball on the sand. Sandwiched in between the spectacular 12 Apostles and the sparkling Atlantic Ocean, the postcard picture image of Cape Town, is Camps Bay.

Camps Bay Cape Town - 20 best beaches in South Africa

And for something a little different, South Africa also has a small collection of nude beaches for those wanting to bare it all.

What is your favourite beach in South Africa? Tell us in the comments section below. And sign up for our newsletter to stay in the loop about the latest flight specials and travel articles.

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The post 20 Of The Best Beaches In South Africa appeared first on Travelstart Blog.

Fun Things To Do In Port Elizabeth For Free And Under R150

[UPDATED – 25 September 2018]

South Africa’s friendliest city is also its most underrated. Port Elizabeth is a city on the sea with little to no traffic, great undercover restaurants, fresh sea air and easy access to incredible wildlife. In no particular order, here are our 34 fun things to do in Port Elizabeth and plenty of reasons to get up, out and exploring this special city.

Good to know:

It is well worth buying a Nelson Mandela Bay Pass, which offers many free activities and discounts.

1-day unlimited activities pass – R400 adults, R300 kids

2-day unlimited activities pass – R475 adults, R350 kids

3-day unlimited pass – R575 adults, R400 kids

7-day unlimited pass – R800 adults, R500 kids

Or get a pass that’s valid for 3 months, but limited to 5 activities only at R600 for adults and R450 for kids. Children’s passes are valid for kids aged 3 to 12 years. You can order a pass online.

1. The Valley Market


Image courtesy of The Valley Market via Facebook

On the first Saturday of every month, head to the Valley Market for spicy paella, gourmet boerie rolls, crisp pizza bases, freshly-baked artisan bread and smoothies. The market brings together the best of Port Elizabeth’s unique food venues, so you’ll be sure to find something for the entire family.

Address: TBA
Phone: 079 444 5666
Email: info@lovestory.org.za
Times: 09:00 – 14:00


Adults: R10
Children under 12 years: FREE

2. Hip Stanley Street

stanley street things to do in port elizabeth

The undisputed king of street cool, Stanley Street is Port Elizabeth’s answer to Jozi’s Maboneng, Durban’s Rivertown Precinct and Cape Town’s Bree Street. Choose from over 15 excellent restaurants. Set in Richmond, one of Port Elizabeth’s oldest suburbs, there is a friendly atmosphere with restaurant tables spilling out onto the sidewalk and fairy lights in the trees.

3. Patido’s Pub and Grub

patidos things to do in port elizabeth

The best place for a friendly beer and great vibe, you’ll find Patido’s in New Brighton, less than a 10-minute drive from the city centre. Patido’s is a laid-back, no-frills spot where you can ask for your deposit back when you return your empty bottles.

Address: Jabavu Road, New Brighton 1, Ibhayi
Phone: 041 454 0663 / 082 968 0540

4. The Wreck of the Sacramento

wreck of sacramento things to do in port elizabeth

Images courtesy of Pembba

Visit the cannon of the wreck of the Sacramento and relive a piece of P.E.’s swashbuckling history. The Portuguese warship, the Sacramento, ran aground here at Schoenmakerskop outside Port Elizabeth on 30 June 1647. The 72 survivors attempted a perilous journey to a Mozambican port. Hire a guide for the day or go it alone with a copy of the “Guns of Sacramento” by David and Geoffrey Allen. Entrance is free and there are wonderful coastal trails to do between Schoenmakerskop and Sardinia Bay (we recommend the 8km trail).

5. Fresh Pastries at Grass Roof Farm

Grass Roof Restaurant things to do in port elizabeth

Images courtesy of the Grass Roof Restaurant

This farm stall/patisserie/restaurant with literal grass growing on the roof and an array of delectable breakfast, lunch and tea options will win over your heart and your stomach. Don’t miss their pizza evenings on the last Friday of every month.

Address: Corner of New Seaview and Heron Road, Sardinia Bay
Phone: 041 366 2379
Email: grassroof@olivetreefarms.co.za
Website: www.grassroof.co.za
Hours: 08:00 – 17:00

6. Cheer at Nelson Mandela Stadium

Nelson Mandela Stadium things to do in port elizabeth

Image courtesy of EGU

Watch South African soccer clubs battle it out in this 46,000-seater, five-tier stadium. The stadium is home ground to the EP Kings, Southern Kings and Chippa United and also hosts Bafana Bafana and the Springboks. Your NMB pass entitles you to a free stadium tour, prior booking required. Contact the stadium to book and request the NMB Pass special.

Address: 70 Prince Alfred Road, North End
Phone: 041 408 8900
Website: www.nelsonmandelabaystadium.co.za

7. Free Tour of the Volkswagen Auto Pavilion

volkswagen autopavillion things to do in port elizabeth

Car lovers will be in heaven on a pre-booked tour at the Volkswagen Factory in Uitenhage. You’ll encounter the oldest kombi in South Africa, meet Herbie and see a car sliced in half by a laser! Enjoy a free tour of the Autopavillion, which is the only automobile discovery centre on the continent and only the fifth worldwide. The NMB pass makes this one of the free things to do in Port Elizabeth!

Address: 103 Algoa Road, Alexander Park Industrial, Uitenhage
Phone: 041 994 5941
Email: autopavilion@vwsa.co.za
Website: www.autopavilion.co.za
Hours: Weekdays, 08:30 – 16:00
Every first Saturday of the month, 10:00 – 13:00


Access to the factory is available at the following prices:

Adults: R10
Children under 16/Senior citizens: R5

8. Take a Horse Ride in the Sardinia Bay Nature Reserve

Heavenly Stables things to do in port elizabeth updated

Image courtesy of Heavenly Stables

Kick up some of P.E.’s golden sand and surf and go for a saunter along the beach. Heavenly Stables offers a one-hour free horse ride through the Sardinia Bay Nature Reserve with your NMB pass. Bookings essential at least two days prior (make sure to request the NMB Pass special). The rides are weather dependent.

Address: Plot 431, Sardinia Bay Road, Lovemore Park
Phone: 081 890 7080
Email: jackie@heavenlystables.co.za
Website: heavenlystables.co.za
Hours: 08:00 – 16:30

9. Rhinos at Kragga Kamma

kragga kamma wildlife things to do in port elizabeth

Image courtesy of Kragga Kamma Game Reserve

Just a short drive from the city is Kragga Kamma, a haven for free-roaming white rhino, buffalo, cheetah, giraffe, zebra, nyala, bontebok and lechwe. It’s possible to take a reasonably-priced game drive or do a self-drive. Even better, this is one of the free things to do in Port Elizabeth with your NMB pass!

Address: Kragga Kamma Road
Phone: 041 379 4195
Email: kraggakammagamepark@telkomsa.net
Website: www.kraggakamma.co.za
Hours: 08:00 – 17:00


If you don’t intend to get an NMB pass, the cost of entry is as follows.

Adults: R90
Scholars (3-18 years): R40
Pre-School (0-3 years): FREE

10. Visit the Algoasaurus at Bayworld


Image courtesy of NMBT

The bones of the Algoasaurus, a unique dinosaur to the Nelson Mandela Bay Area related to the Brontosaurus, were discovered near Despatch in 1903. The Port Elizabeth Brick and Tile Company was quarrying for brick-making materials when the brickmakers stumbled across the bones. Unfortunately, they didn’t realise what they’d found and ground up some of the bones for bricks. Luckily, quite a few remained which enabled the archaeologist Robert Broom to construct a likeness of the dinosaur. The museum is the third oldest of its kind in South Africa. Other interesting exhibits include a skeleton of the last southern right whale harpooned in the bay, and a replica of the Dias Cross. With your NMB pass, you get free entrance to Bayworld.

Address: 23 Beach Road, Humewood
Phone: 041 584 0650
Email: pr@bayworld.co.za
Website: www.bayworld.co.za
Hours: Weekdays, 09:00 – 16:30*


Should you not have an NMB pass, the costs for entering Bayworld are:

Adults: R45
Children (3-17 years): R35
Children under 3 years): FREE
Students / Senior citizens: R40

*Take note when purchasing tickets, you will only be able to do so until 15:45.

11. Visit the original Vovo Telo


Image courtesy of Jonker Fourie via Vovo Telo Facebook page

South Africans all over the country have fallen in love with the fresh bread and pastries at Vovo Telo. It all started in Raleigh Street, Richmond Hill with wafts of freshly-baked artisanal bread drawing hungry customers. Inspired by an experience in Vovo Telo, a hotel in Madagascar, this bakery has become a series of popular slow-food restaurants. Choose from fresh ciabatta, sour dough, coconut loaf, brioche, rustic and rye to take away or enjoy breakfast, lunch, tea or dinner sitting down. The coffee comes highly recommended.

Address: Corner of Raleigh and Irvine Street, Richmond Hill Street, Port Elizabeth Central
Phone: 041 585 5606
Email: feedback.vovotelo@famousbrands.co.za
Website: vovotelo.co.za
Hours: Weekdays, 07:15 – 15:15
Sat, 07:15 – 14:15

12. Explore Van Staden’s Flower Reserve For FREE

kouga day trips van stadens flowers things to do in port elizabeth

Image courtesy of Kouga Day Trips

40km out of PE, Van Staden’s Flower Reserve protects rare and endemic plants. There is no entry fee. While there, be sure to visit the traditional Xhosa umzi (homestead) and learn about traditional Xhosa culture.

Address: Uitenhage Farms
Phone: 041 956 0155
Email: friendsofvanstadens@gmail.com
Website: www.vanstadens.co.za
Hours: 07:30 – 18:00
1 May-31 Aug, 07:30 – 17:00

13. Big 7 at Addo

addo things to do in port elizabeth

Image courtesy of Mickey Van Zeelt via Flickr

Where else in the world can you see the big five plus the southern right whale and great white shark! This wide-spanning reserve also boasts the best elephant viewing in the country. If you are a frequent visitor to San Parks and have a wildcard, you’ll have free entry. Your NMB pass makes this one of the free things to do in Port Elizabeth for one day.


Address: R335 Paterson Road, Addo
Phone: 042 233 8600
Website: www.sanparks.org/parks/addo
Hours: 07:00 – 18:00


If you aren’t able to get an NMB pass, the costs for entering the reserve are:

Adult: Child:
South African citizens and residents (with ID): R69 R35
SADC Nationals (with passport): R138 R69
Standard Conservation Fee (foreign visitors): R165 R90

Please note that the above prices will change from 31 October 2018.

14. Mundy’s Second Hand BookSecond-Hand Book Shop


Image courtesy of Brittany Stevens via Flickr

There’s nothing better than a well-stocked second-hand book shop. Bookworms are guaranteed to find some gems here.

Address: 73A Cape Road, Port Elizabeth Central
Phone: 041 373 8520

15. Donkin Lighthouse for city views

donkin lighthouse things to do in port elizabeth

Image courtesy of Reinette Minnie

There are awesome views of the city from the top of this lighthouse in the Donkin Reserve, which now serves as a tourist office. Built in 1961, it’s over 150 years old. The reserve also includes a pyramid-shaped monument. Not only will you get great views of the city, but also excellent photo opportunities!

Address: Belmont Terrace – Donkin Street, Port Elizabeth Central
Phone: 041 585 8884
Website: nmbt.co.za
Hours: Weekdays, 08:00 – 16:30
Sat, 09:30 – 15:30

16. Grillers Diner

grillers diner things to do in port elizabeth updated

Image courtesy of @sexy.heksie via Instagram

A great place to get together with friends over milkshakes and club grillers. Full on nostalgia. From Monday to Thursday, you can enjoy awesome specials on their burgers, all under R40!

Address: 330 Cape Road, Newton Park
Phone: 041 365 1688
Email: andre@cassies.co.za
Website: www.grillers.co.za
Hours: Mon – Thurs, 08:30 – 21:00
Fri, 08:30 – 22:00
Sat, 08:30 – 21:30
Sunday, 09:00 – 20:30

17. Njoli Market, New Brighton


Image courtesy of Jonker Fourie

Visit the traditional Njoli market in New Brighton for fresh veggies and a vibrant atmosphere. The NMB pass makes this one of the free things to do in Port Elizabeth, with a free township tour. Prior booking is required and the tour is subject to availability. Minimum of two people per tour.

Address: New Brighton
Phone: 041 583 2030

18. South End Museum


Image courtesy of NMBT

The museum, run by volunteers, commemorates the tragic destruction of the once diverse South End community as a result of Apartheid. The floor of the museum traces the streets as they used to be and pays homage to broken lives and a ruptured community. This is one of the free things to do in Port Elizabeth with no entrance fee but donations are encouraged for the maintenance of the museum.

Address: Corner of Walmer Blvd & Humewood Road, South End
Phone: 041 582 3325
Website: www.southendmuseum.co.za
Hours: Weekdays, 09:00 – 16:00
Weekends, 10:00 – 15:00

19. Hobie Beach

Coast Hobie Beach Summer things to do in port elizabeth

Image courtesy of NMBT

Blue flag status belongs to the Kings and Humewood beaches, however, Hobie Beach is a great spot to launch a boat, play an invigorating game of volleyball, wind surf, swim or bask in some sun. The small rock pools are also interesting to explore, especially for kids.

Address: Marine Drive, Summerstrand

20. Summer Shakespeare in the Park


Image courtesy of PEEP – P.E.Enchanting People via Facebook

Celebrated playwright Athol Fugard’s hometown has a full schedule of cultural activities on offer. In the summer months, you can attend open-air Shakespearean productions at the Manville Theatre in St George’s Park. Find out about forthcoming events by calling the head office for Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism on 041 582 2575.

Theatre Address: St Georges Park, Park Drive, Port Elizabeth Central

21. Summerstrand Boardwalk


Image courtesy of Michael Steffen Photography

How many cities in the world have this many blue flag beaches a stone’s throw from the hum of urban life? Enjoy one of the relaxing things to do in Port Elizabeth: a scenic stroll along the boardwalk. Summerstrand is sure to impress.

Address: Marine Drive, Summerstrand

22. Ginger

ginger things to do in port elizabeth

Image courtesy of Ginger via Facebook

Unstuffy fine dining with a sweeping view of the Indian Ocean. Great service and a visual and gastronomic feast, this is one of the best restaurants in the city with outside and inside seating options. This is Michelin chef Jonathan Hodder’s pièce de résistance. Their cocktail menu is a mixologist’s dream.  Don’t miss their gourmet food and wine pairing evenings. Their meal selection includes items under R150 while you can get glasses of wine for as low as R28.

Address: The Beach Hotel, Marine Drive, Summerstrand
Phone: 041 583 1229
Email: info@ginger-restaurant.co.za
Website: ginger-restaurant.co.za
Hours: 11:00 – 15:30
18:00 – 22:00

23. Mellas Dim-Sum and Noodle Bar


Image courtesy of @ctmylove via Twitter

The rest of South Africa is only now figuring out what locals knew all along – Port Elizabeth has one of the most enticing and diverse foodie scenes in the country. For fresh, authentic dim sum, head to Mellas.

Address: 15 Bain Street, Port Elizabeth Central
Phone: 041 582 2736
Website: restaurantwebexpert.com/
Hours: Mon, 18:00 – 22:00
Tuesday – Saturday, 12:00 – 15:00 & 18:00 – 22:00

24. Pearson St George’s Park Conservatory


Image courtesy of Leo_za1 via Wikimedia Commons

Known as the oldest park in Port Elizabeth, St George’s Park has the second-oldest cricket club in South Africa, which has hosted countless test matches to this day. The conservatory was opened on September 12, 1882 and is an exquisite example of Victorian architecture. It has been preserved to this day despite threats of demolition, and still hosts interesting hot-house flowers and orchids when they are in season. Pupils from St George’s Prep school still dress up for their annual Victorian tea and walk in the park.

Address: 11 Consulate Place, Port Elizabeth Central
Phone: 041 392 4187

25. Do the FREE 5km Hobie Beach Park Run every Saturday

park run hobie beach things to do in port elizabeth

Image courtesy of Park Run Hobie Beach via Facebook

Get the blood pumping, air in your lungs and take part in P.E.’s favourite Saturday morning activity. Every Saturday morning at 08:00, hundreds of runners from the community come together to enjoy the city, sun and sea views. It’s one of the free things to do in Port Elizabeth! Just register online before your first run.

Address: Marine Drive, Summerstrand
Website to register on: www.parkrun.co.za/pehobiebeach

26. Old Library

old library port elizabeth

Image courtesy of @red.foxx via Instagram

This beautiful Victorian Gothic building is the only historic building in South Africa built as a Public Library which still operates as a public library today. Easy on the eyes on the outside, spend a thoughtful afternoon browsing the collection inside.

Address: Baakens Street, Port Elizabeth Central
Phone: 041 506 3466
Hours: Mon, 10:00 – 17:00
Tues – Thurs, 09:00 – 17:00
Fri, 09:00 – 13:00

27. Bridge Street Brewery For A a Cold One

bridge street brewery things to do in port elizabeth

Image courtesy of Bridge Street Brewery via Facebook

Not keen on the beer tour? Visit this brewery any time for the excellent thin-based pizzas, burgers and live music

Address: 1 Bridge Street, South End
Phone: 041 581 0361
Email: info@bridgestreet.co.za
Website: www.bridgestreet.co.za
Hours: 10:00 – 22:00

28. Penguins at SANCCOB

African Penguin St Croix things to do in port elizabeth

Image courtesy of NMBT

This is definitely one of the most memorable things to do in Port Elizabeth! Visit these wonderful birds in tuxedos at the SANCCOB marine bird rehabilitation centre situated in the Cape Recife Reserve. Visitors can visit the hospital to learn more about caring for the injured birds. Visitors to SANCCOB are exempt from the entrance fee to Cape Recife Nature Reserve.

Address: Schoenmakerskop
Phone: 041 583 1830
Email: info@sanccob.co.za
Website: sanccob.co.za
Hours: 09:00 – 16:00

29. Cape Recife Reserve and Lighthouse

Cape Receife Lighthouse things to do in port elizabeth

Image courtesy of Suzi-k via Wikimedia Commons

You can do the 9km walk around the reserve taking in unspoiled beaches, wildflowers and you might even spot some whales. The lighthouse is also a fascinating location in the reserve. If you wish to explore the interior, you will need to contact Alan Tours (041 378 1486), although the cost of the tour (which includes a visit to the Grysbok Nature Reserve) exceeds our budget (currently at R680, or R780, for the sunset special).To enter the reserve by car, you need to buy a permit at the entrance to Pine Lodge Holiday Resort. A weekly permit costs R72.50 per vehicle. Alternatively, you could park outside, and enter the reserve on foot. That way, you won’t need to buy a permit. Contact the Pine Lodge Holiday Resort for more information.

Address: Schoenmakerskop
Phone (Pine Lodge Holiday Resort): 041 583 4004
Hours: 07:00 – 21:00

30. Ice Skating at Bay West Mall

baywest mall ice rink things to do in port elizabeth

Image courtesy of Baywest Ice Rink via Facebook

Visit the impressive new ice rink at Baywest Mall. This is the only rink in the Eastern Cape and one of the best things to do in Port Elizabeth, promising hours of rambunctious fun for kids learning how to skate. The rink will also foster the growth of ice-hockey in the region. The price of entering is R80 and an extra R35 to hire skates. For group rates contact the Bay West Ice Rink for more information.

Address: Baywest Mall, Baywest Boulevard, Hunters Retreat
Phone: 041 492 0318
Email: baywest@theicerink.co.za
Website: theicerink.co.za/wp
Hours: 10:00 – 17:00
19:30 – 22:30

31. Cool off in McArthur’s Pool & Leisure Centre

McArthurs Swimmingpool things to do port elizabeth

Image courtesy of Holidays and Kids

Take the kids to McArthur’s Swimming Pool for one of the family-friendly things to do in Port Elizabeth: a water chute, splash pool, two open-air freshwater pools, change rooms and a couple of restaurants. Life guards are always on duty at the complex giving parents that extra peace of mind. In season, the pools are open seven days a week, from September to the following April.

Address: 33 Beach Road, Humewood
Phone: 041 582 2285

32. Beer Yard

beer yard pe things to do in port elizabeth

Image courtesy of @cnick825 via Instagram

Burgers, pizza and beer, need we say more? On Tuesdays get any pasta dish for just R49. Enjoy excellent live music and beer tastings.

Address: 1 Cooper Street, Richmond Hill
Phone: 041 582 2444
Email: beeryardpe@gmail.com
Hours: Mon – Sat, 12:00 – 00:00

33. Africa’s Longest Double Zipline

africas longest double zipline things to do in port elizabeth

Image courtesy of NMBT

This is the longest dual zipline experience in Africa and one of the most fun things to do in Port Elizabeth! For safety purposes, they have an automated stopping system so that you can chill out and take it all in without worrying about slowing down. NMB pass holders will receive a free zipline experience. If you’d like to try out their swing, it’s R150 per person while canoeing is only R100. Booking ahead is essential. When you call to make a booking, remember to ask for the NMB pass special.

Address: Happy Lands Farm, 1 Prospect Avenue, Summerville
Phone: 078 911 1619
Email: info@adrenalinaddo.co.za
Website: adrenalinaddo.co.za
Hours: Tues – Sun, 09:00 – 16:00 (incl. school holidays)

34. Shark Rock Pier

shark rock pier things to do in port elizabeth

The only pier in the city, iconic shark rock pier stretches out languorously into the bay. It’s the best place to watch the sun dip below the horizon, capture that perfect photo, and the views of the city and the bay are remarkable. Beautiful P.E. is one of the best-kept secrets in SA.

There are so many interesting things to do in Port Elizabeth. we’re sure we’ve left out a few favourites – let us know your P.E. must-do’s in the comments below.

While we might not get you to P.E. for under R150, you can take advantage of our cheap flights to P.E. Sign up for our newsletter for more travel tips and discounts!


Many thanks to Tim Abel for the inside info.

Also read:

10 Reasons Why Port Elizabeth is One of the Coolest Cities in South Africa

Top 10 Cafés and Restaurants in Port Elizabeth

The Coolest New Things to Do in Port Elizabeth

The post Fun Things To Do In Port Elizabeth For Free And Under R150 appeared first on Travelstart Blog.