Blog : things to do in south africa

2017 in places

2017 in places

Anyone feel like you have been holding your breath this whole year? January kicked off with a customary underwear dip in the pool. A fresh start. So much promise. So many wonderful things were right in reach.  February brought change. Change we were all ready for and change we have been learning to live with since. 2017 had the highest of highs (no really, loads of drugs were involved) and the lowest of lows. To mention but one it was having to be sedated in ICU after attempting to pull out all drips.

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5 things to buy the average traveller for Christmas

5 things to buy the average traveller for Christmas

A gift guide for the traveller girl who doesn’t like receiving gifts.

It’s no secret that I am not a fan of Christmas. In fact the older I get the more I actively dislike it. I don’t put a tree, I don’t decorate anything. For one, I go home to Cape Town for Christmas. But I genuinely dislike the idea of decorating and then having to take everything down again. I am not particularly religious and do not feel connected to that aspect of the whole festive thing. I sound bitter, I know. But I promise I am quite happy. I think getting gifts makes me extremely uncomfortable.

I get immense joy from giving things and I don’t tend to wait for Christmas or Birthdays to give people little things or do or plan something really cool for them.

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Say KUNJANI to my day job

Say KUNJANI to my day job

“if you love what you do you will never work a day in your life” 

I agree, but I also don’t. I love what I do for a living (even though it is very hard to explain it to people) But I have also never worked harder in my entire life. I have never worked longer hours, learned more, managed more and I have never felt more accomplished.

I have touched on what I do but never really explained it. I am Lydia Afonso and I am the Ops Manager for Kap Vino Estate, Kunjani Wines. (And accommodation and restaurant). Oversee all operations of the estate, from the wine-admin to the running of the day to day all the way through to exports and the accommodation and venue hire. I do, well, a little of everything with the help of an amazing team.

Just over 2 years ago, a friend (who also works in the industry) sent me a tweet with a link to a new wine they found. The USP was “A wine made by men, for men” and I was too intrigued not to pick up the phone and hear if it was for real. Turns out it was and it was actually being run by an AMAZING woman. I asked her if she was crazy with a slogan like that. It was actually an export brand and she was dying to change it.

Fast forward 6 months and I found myself saying yes to opening up a “small, intimate wine tasting” that will never serve food.

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WHAT TO PACK FOR THE MOTHER CITY

WHAT TO PACK FOR THE MOTHER CITY

GB GREEN LYDIA – WHAT TO PACK FOR THE MOTHER CITY

 

There are few places on the planet that combine progressive innovation and world-class entertainment with the backing track of an African rhythm; where culinary bliss is rivaled only by some of the most beautiful vistas imaginable. This is Cape Town, and it is one of the world’s most exciting destinations. To get the most out of it, pack well so that you are comfortable while you shop, taste wine, explore historical sites, and indulge in some of the prettiest beaches and finest restaurants in South Africa.

 

Here are some top packing tips for the Mother City:

 

Summer Clothes

Cape Town summers can get really hot and sunny. So, in addition to a range of cool clothes, always wear sunglasses, sunscreen and, preferably, a wide-brimmed hat. These are also fabulously glam, so you’ll fit right in. Remember, Cape Town is the trendy home of some of the top fashionistas in the country. It also has a number of beaches; including the spectacular Camps Bay and Clifton beaches, which have all of the white-sand-and-turquoise-water essentials for the perfect summer vacay. So, your luggage will need to include:

 

  • Cotton sun dresses
  • Shorts / minis
  • Cotton palazzo pants
  • Tees and vests
  • Bikinis or full costumes
  • Sandals

 

Winter Clothes

As hot as the summers are, winters can get chilly in Cape Town, especially at night. It’s best to layer your outfits so that, as the crisp morning air lifts and the day warms up, you can just remove a layer or two. Some winter essentials include:

 

  • Jeans (skinnies work well as they can be transformed into something a little more formal for evenings)
  • A hoodie and a wind-breaker
  • A raincoat
  • A formal jacket
  • Jumpers or jerseys
  • Tights
  • Long-sleeved and short-sleeved tops
  • Umbrella
  • Comfy boots
  • Sneakers
  • Warm PJs

 

Toiletries

Cape Town is well-equipped and most guesthouses and hotels have all of the essentials. Still, any traveller should have a few basic essentials to make their stay in South Africa even better. These include:

 

  • Bug spray or mosquito repellent
  • Sunscreen
  • Headache tablets
  • Antihistamines
  • Anti-nausea tablets
  • Any chronic medication (including a copy of the script)

 

Other

Of course, you can’t prepare for everything, but here are some helpful extras that will leave you feeling more prepared:

 

  • Camera (with extra memory cards)
  • Plug adapters
  • Chargers for phones, cameras, tablets and laptops
  • All your documentation (driver’s licence, passport, ID book, and so on)
  • A travel and map app on your device to help you to get around
  • Comfortable walking shoes

 

 

Packing well could be the difference between having the time of your life and being really uncomfortable. Cape Town is special; it’s a destination that will stay with you forever. Make sure that you’re comfortable and have everything you need so that you can sit back, relax and really savour its magic.

 

 

Blog post in association with SA Venue

Hot Air Balloons

Hot Air Balloons

I once saw a bunch of hot air balloons being inflated in a field in Bath, in the UK. It was the clearest day. Not a cloud in the sky right in the centre of Bath in Victoria Park a whole bunch of air balloons were slowly being inflated. Eager passengers waiting in anticipation for the basket to just-just lift off the ground for them to jump in.

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5 Famous Filming Locations in South Africa

5 Famous Filming Locations in South Africa

Did you know bits of SA often feature in blockbusters? Cool right? Have a look below at the 5 most used spots to film in South Africa.

South Africa is currently enjoying a boost in economy thanks to it being frequently used as a hotspot for filming Hollywood movies. With support from the government, as well as low costs and diverse geography, foreign producers tend to be attracted to our country. Some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbuster movies were filmed here, not to mention countless TV shows and commercials. 

Today, let’s take a look at some of the most popular places in SA that have appeared on screen.

1. Johannesburg

Johannesburg is a popular location for science fiction and post-apocalyptic movies.


Photo credit: Wikipedia


The premise of 2009 science fiction film District 9 captures a population of aliens whose ship crash-lands in Johannesburg. The government isolates them in one neighbourhood until it becomes overcrowded years later. The entire film crew consisted of South African locals. 

Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron also featured our nation’s largest city. The CBD area is where Iron Man battled the Hulk. The Citizen recalled the level of traffic congestioncaused by road blocking to accommodate the film’s sequences.

2. Sun City


Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler’s Blended involves a couple taking a vacation at a family resort. Their trip included scenes which took place at the vast Sun City hotel resort, and its glamorous amenities were featured. The AFK Insider mentioned that it was especially popular with South African audiences, but more importantly, it was an international success, meaning it helped display the beauty of the country to more people worldwide.

3. Cape Town

The San Junipero episode of the TV series Black Mirror, which featured a paradise where people can visit before they die, utilized the coastlines of Cape Town as its backdrop. Critics dub it as the best episode of the series, a recognition further validated when it won two Primetime Emmy Awards.


Photo credit: Wikipedia

The 2012 comic book movie Dredd also used locations in Johannesburg, however, it was the first project to be produced at Cape Town Film Studios. But although the film earned $41 million in total and garnered positive reviews from critics, it was released at the height of audiences’ obsession with Marvel and DC superhero movies.

While Dredd is also a comic book character, its big screen reboot was overshadowed by the movies from the two comic juggernauts, which already had a massive following and several other creations tied to their property such as toys and video games. The toymaker Funko, for one, created vinyl figurines of numerous Marvel and DC characters. Superhero-themed video games like Injustice continue to draw players, as well as the creations of the slots platform Slingo which ports a wide array of thematic titles including Wonder Woman and Thunderstruck that feature familiar characters. Because of this, Dredd went down in the annals of cinema as an underrated movie.

Den of Geek ranked it number 2 in its “Top 25 Underappreciated Comic Book Movies”. What it did for Cape Town Film Studios, however, was nothing short of heroic, as the studio complex continues to get requests from major Hollywood production companies even to this day.

2012 science fiction title Chronicle was also filmed at the Cape Town Film Studios. It followed the story of 3 high schoolers who gained powerful abilities after encountering a strange object. The movie, which placed actor Dane DeHaan on the map, gained critical praise and was even nominated for Best Science Fiction Film at the 2013 Saturn Awards.

4. Port Edward

Filming locations for Leonardo DiCaprio’s Blood Diamond included areas in Cape Town and Port Edward, a resort town situated on the south coast of KwaZulu-Natal. The film depicted a country torn apart by a war between government supporters and rebels. It grossed a total of $171 million worldwide and racked several accolades, including 5 nominations at the 79th Academy Awards.

5. Karoo


The recently released The Dark Tower featured The Karoo, a desert region in South Africa. Its narrative involves two dimensions, one being modern New York. The other realm, called Mid-World, is a wasteland that once housed ancient civilizations, and Karoo was the perfect stand in as mentioned in a KFTV article. Its barren landscape provided the otherworldly feel the production designers were looking for.

 

 

* Contributed post

Advice from a plane

Advice from a plane

I saw a thunderstorm from above today. I fly often. More than most. I have flown through some teeth shattering turbulence, a few odd passenger situations (one including a man being in the bathroom during a landing) and I have seen breathtaking sights from a window seat. But today I saw thunder. Brief flashes of bright light backlighting dramatic clouds. It was beautiful.

I never get too personal on my blog, for a multitude of reasons. Mostly because contrary to popular belief my life really isn’t that interesting. It’s average. Just like me and that is totally okay with me. The last few months have thrown things my way that I had no idea I would ever have to deal with in my lifetime, never mind before my 30s. But in all fairness, none of these recent events were even that interesting. Millions of people cope with worse while wearing much larger smiles than myself. But much like most self-indulgent people who overcome small things, I like to think I have learnt a few things. I will dispense this advice now. You never know when someone else’s journey might need it.

1.Never take health for granted. Easier said than done. But let me tell you. You miss the normal when its no longer there. When the worst thing that happened to you medically was a cold. I miss that.

 

2. Weightloss isn’t always good. Stop assuming because someone lost a bunch of weight that they weren’t happy before. Or that they are happier now. Believe it or not, some people don’t mind being a size 14.

 

3. Always travel light. You really don’t need that extra pair of jeans you are carrying around.

 

4. Buy a power bank, keep it charged, use it.

 

5. Use Google Music. (Or iTunes) just pay the monthly subscription and carry the soundtrack to your life in your pocket.

 

6. Show appreciation. Show appreciation for a good meal, a nice day out, a compliment or even a smile.

 

7.  Not everyone will understand your circumstances and you won’t always understand theirs. People differ and this is ok.

 

8.  Avoid eating meat on planes. Just trust me on this.

 

9. Work hard. Regardless of what you read on click-bait posts, regardless of the famous Netflix power point. Hard work DOES pay off. Not always in the way you expected, but it really does. Even when you hate what you do. Use your hatred to fuel it and work harder.

 

10. Share things you like. Songs, food, a good view or even a podcast you found interesting. Don’t keep things that bring you joy to yourself.

I hope one day you find one or more of these useful.