About South Africa

A visit to the Dragon Mountains – SA’s breathtaking Drakensberg

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Running for a thousand kilometres along the eastern side of South Africa, the Drakensberg mountain range is a sweeping escarpment of unspoiled beauty that is the highest in the southern half of the African continent; the tallest peak near being Thabana Ntlenyana or “beautiful little mountain” in local language Sesotho is 3 482 meters (or 11 424 feet) above sea level.

The Drakensberg is a treasure waiting to be discovered by international tourists. It is well worth taking a detour off the usual Cape-Town-Garden-Route-Johannesburg beaten track for, and escaping to one of the many charming B&Bs and hiking trails. From great budget stays, to family friendly accommodation, to a five-star luxury city break – the Drakensberg has something for every kind of traveller.

 

Bungee in SA – from Bloukrans Bridge to Orlando Towers

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The idea dates back to the Aztecs: throwing yourself from a great height with nothing but a cord strapped about your ankles to suspend your fall.

Comparatively, commercial bungee-jumping is an extreme sport still in its infancy. This hair-raising activity is so popular today largely thanks to New Zealander AJ Hackett, who has been bungee-jumping from famous landmarks the world over since 1986 – including the Eiffel Tower, the Macau Tower in China, and an almost 1500m jump from a helicopter.

 

Shark cage diving in Gansbaai – up close with the Great White Shark

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Just off the fishing village of Gansbaai in the Western Cape of South Africa, lies what some call the Great White shark capital of the world: Dyer Island.

Thousands of African penguins live on Dyer Island, and the smaller island of Geyser Rock nearby is the home of a high concentration of Cape Fur seals. No wonder the channel between these two islands is called ‘Shark Alley’ – with seals being a particular favourite on the Great White sharks menu.

 

Ingrid Jonker, The Escape

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Ingrid Jonker was born in September 1933 on a farm in Douglas in the Northern Cape, to Beatrice and Abraham Jonker. Shortly before she was born, Abraham, in a fit of jealous rage, accused his wife of carrying a child that wasn’t his. Beatrice left him that night and moved in with her parents.

This would not be the last time that Abraham Jonker would disown his daughter.

All her life Ingrid would search for her father’s acknowledgement and approval, often replacing him with the affections of much older men. Loved by both Andre P. Brink and Jack Cope, and adored by countless other men, Ingrid would never lose her childlike vitality and aching vulnerability that so enchanted everyone that met her.

 

Daisy De Melker - SA's Poisonous Femme Fatale

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When Daisy Louisa Hancorn-Smith was born on the 1st June 1886 at Seven Fountains, near Grahamstown, nobody suspected that she would rise to fame as South Africa’s first recorded serial killer. DAISY DE MELKER was charged with the murder of two husbands by strychnine poisoning and that of her twenty-year-old son, Rhodes, by arsenic.

Her murder trial in 1932 at the Johannesburg High Court attracted unprecedented public interest. Queues of spectators lined up for hours each day before the proceedings began. On the final day of the trial, some spectators reportedly paid up to 30 shillings each to secure a prime seat in court. Daisy greeted the crowds with the elegant wave of a movie star, noticeably revelling in the attention. She wore the same modest black dress every day and her light-hearted behaviour throughout the course of the trial belied that of someone who honestly believed she would be acquitted. And she almost got away with murder, were it not for a surprise witness and an imaginary cat...

 
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