Monthly Archives: November 2013

African sounds at Christmastime

SAEP CollageIt’s still not too late to find that “perfect place” to get away from it all. The team at Africa Places will work hard to find you a unit in a beautiful resort where you and the family can recharge, re-energize and regain your mojo!

One of the projects that Barbie, Gill and Elaine would like to support, is the SAEP Christmas CD. Here’s a unique Christmas gift that is lovely to listen to and at the same time it supports this worthy cause.  The South African Education and Environment Project (SAEP) empowers young people who are neglected by South Africa’s education system. Through tutoring, enrichment and support, they give impoverished learners the tools to reach their potential and uplift their communities.

The Christmas CD is one of their projects developed in response to community needs to help the next generation build academic and life skills, prepare for and succeed in higher education and employment, and contribute as leaders to South Africa’s economic and social development. But at the same time, it has given the artists a tangible product that will help them achieve their goals.

Listen HERE to a sample selection from the CD

Buy this CD direct from SAEP (South African Education & Environment Project) for only R100.00 and show these talented young people that their efforts are rewarded.

Buy it for your own enjoyment and also to send overseas to friends and family – traditional themes set to the sound of Africa! …


I still call it the “Million Dollar” …

Image Colin Bamford
Image Colin Bamford

From the 5th to the 8th of December the golfers of this country will dawdle in front of TV sets in stores. Or they’ll be even more engrossed in their smartphone apps as they follow the progress of the Nedbank Golf Challenge at Sun City.

This annual event has grown over the years and this year’s Challenge has even more prize money than before! $6.5m in total. One of the attractions this tournament delivers to the spectator is the way the pairings are followed from hole to hole and the devoted couch-watcher can see the progress of all the players on all the holes, thanks to the smaller field than you’d find in a typical PGA or Sunshine Tour event. With only 30 players, it’s much easier to keep track of the 15 teams – and the rounds finish pretty close to each other, too.

By the way – I still call it the “Million Dollar” because that’s how it was originally launched! It was so well marketed, that name has just stuck with me!

If you’ve been fortunate enough to secure accommodation at one of the units offered by Africa Places at Sun City you’ll be right on the doorstep of this iconic golf tournament. The golf widows will be able to take advantage of the facilities offered by the resort that will keep the children and the rest of the family occupied while their wannabe golf champions watch the golfing cream battle each other for the purse.

For many though, being in close proximity to such golfing greatness is a dream. We’ll just have to watch the drama unfold courtesy of Supersport and long-suffering TV shops in busy shopping malls. But at least decent accommodation doesn’t have to be restricted to the week when the golf takes place and Barbie, Elaine and Gill will make whatever arrangements are needed to find the perfect place for the family to unwind.

And it also doesn’t matter what time of the year you decide to take your break either. Traditionally, the average family is restricted to school holidays – but for retired folk, or those with empty nests, there are amazing units on call that suit every type of holiday need.

There are even places with golf courses, bowling greens, walks, night life activities, waterslides, beaches, tennis courts and more. What type of holiday do you need? What type of place do you yearn to visit and relax in? It doesn’t always have to be at the Gary Player Golf Course.

It could be anywhere in this “world in one country” … it’s waiting for you!

Tips to make planning your trip easier

Yellow line trafficThere have been a few things mentioned previously about planning your holiday – using Google Maps, asking locals for suggestions and advice and planning your route. Here are some basics to consider before setting off into the “great trek” known as the end-of-year-holiday.

  • Get your accommodation sorted ahead of time! I know that it adds spice to the adventure to rock up and ask whether there is room at the inn but when the computer says, NO! It’s not much fun trying to sleep in the car in the hope that the next day will yield somewhere to lay one’s head. This is where Africa Places can help – Elaine and Jill are experts at sourcing the type of accommodation you are probably going to want to use. Comfortable, with amenities, in great locations, with lots for the kids to do and activities for the mums and dads too.
  • Make sure the vehicle is ready to roll! Check the tyres, get it serviced and checked over. Tell your garage that you’re going to be going on a trip let them advise you accordingly on the state of your vehicle. If they suggest it needs shocks – do it! Carry an emergency tool kit with the type of essential tools you might need if you get stuck between Touws River and Montagu – or on some other road that’s not a main route with lots of passing traffic. Screwdrivers, some spanners some wire, duct tape, some rubber tubing (you never know how useful THAT can be to temporarily seal a broken pipe), jubilee clips. Ask your mechanic what he takes with him, that’ll give you an idea. Don’t forget your wheel spanner and a jack that works.
  • Maps! Yes, even in the days of GPS and Google Maps available on mobile phones, there’s nothing like a good old-fashioned map that you can fold, write on and show to locals when you’re lost. The chances are, the local you ask won’t be au fait with a GPS or Google Maps and will get confused.
  • Local knowledge! Do some online research of the area that you’re going to be visiting. Even if you’ve been there before, there are bound to be new things in place and even some old places no longer there (like a coffee shop that you loved). Search some Facebook pages with the name of the town or resort in, you’ll get a lot of information from very involved locals who contribute to these pages. Local tourist information bureaux will also provide information but be aware that many tourist bureaux will only “actively promote” their members – there are many really good establishments who are not members who also need to be supported. Google blogposts for the area you’re going to – bloggers can give you some really great insight into what’s happening in the area. Narrow your search from “what’s on in Gauteng?” to “what’s on in Northern Suburbs?” to “what can I do in Fourways?” or something similar.

Here’s another tip … keep enough fuel in your tank to reach the next town plus a “contingency” amount of about 25% more (just in case). Some people advocate that you should never let the tank get below 25% full. But don’t carry an extra can of fuel in your car – that’s just dangerous!

In any event, the fuel price comes down tomorrow, 5th November … but I wonder if it will come down on 3rd December or not. Just keep budgeting!