Secret Spots in South Africa

Rooms built in caves at Kagga Kamma

Secret Spots in South Africa

South Africa is known for places like Cape Town’s iconic Table Mountain, Robben Island, Kruger National Park, Boulders Bay and many more.  Although these are absolutely well worth seeing, we thought we’d mention a few lesser known places not to be missed.

 

Sunland Baobab

A bar inside a hollowed out 6,000-year-old Baobab tree.

Sunland Baobab in Limpopo, South Africa, is a one stop shop for finishing off a bucket list.

A bar inside a baobab tree in South Africa

 

Physically, the giant tree ranks at the top of many lists. It is one of the largest baobabs in South Africa, and at a whopping 72 feet high and 155 feet around, the widest on the entire continent.

Outside of the Sunland Baobab tree in South Africa

Besides its remarkable dimensions, the baobab is also one of the oldest trees on Earth. According to some estimates, Sunland Baobab is 6,000 years old. While there is some controversy regarding the age, carbon dating has placed the tree easily past the millennium mark, putting Sunland Baobab among the ranks of California’s legendary sequoias.

Amazingly, the rustic bar has 13-foot high ceilings and can comfortably fit 15 people.

Visitors wishing to grab a pint inside Sunland can even spend the night in one of five local Jungalows on the property to complete the full safari party experience.

 

Macassar Beach Pavilion

An abandoned water park overtaken by the dunes.

Signs in the reserve warn of “dunes on the move,” and they don’t lie, as the sand that has wafted into former concession stands and changing rooms confirms.

Macassar Beach Pavilion in South Africa

The pavilion is part of the Macassar Dunes Reserve which is comprised of 2,760 acres.  The Macassar Beach Pavilion was built around 1991, and along with the dunes was named for the Sheikh of Yusuf, a Macassar nobleman who died at the Cape in 1699, whose grave is nearby.

 

Neighbourgoods Market

A growing popular hipster market with over 100 local specialties and live music.

A buzz of food, talk and music fills a packed open-air rooftop market every Saturday in Johannesburg’s CBD. Founded by Justin Rhodes and Cameron Munro in partnership with Adam Levy in 2011, Neighbourgoods Market stands as a beacon of hope in the once dilapidated Braamfontein area.

The Neighbourgoods Market in Johannesburg South Africa

 

Huberta the Hippo

Taxidermy of a famous hippo who spent three years walking over a thousand miles across South Africa.

Over three years, a hippo named Huberta traveled miles and miles over the terrain of South Africa, becoming a national icon and symbol of hope in a time of depression in the 1930s.

 

No one knows why Huberta started walking south in 1928. Some believed that she was looking for a lost mate, others that she was fleeing the killing of a parent, while still others thought she was making a pilgrimage to the places of her ancestors, where hippos had ceased to tread. No matter the reason, she kept walking until 1931, gathering more and more international attention and local love for the roaming hippo.

Huberta was thought to be a male until her death, and was nicknamed “Hubert” by the press (the “a” being later added to fix the gender misjudgment). It’s estimated she traveled over a thousand miles over the years, from her watering hole in the St. Lucia Estuary in South Africa’s Zululand, crossing the Black Umfolozi, swimming at the beach in Durban, bathing at night in the pond of a monastery garden, and even once stopping a train by sleeping on the tracks until she was gently nudged awake by the cattle-guard of the locomotive.

Tragically, her life ended in a rain of bullets in 1931. Although she’d been declared “Royal Game” by the Natal Provincial Council, meaning that she was protected, four farmers killed her near King William’s Town. Public outrage brought the Eastern Cape farmers to trial where her bullet-pocked skull was presented as evidence. They ended up each being charged 25 pounds.

After the trial, it and her skin were shipped to London to be taxidermied, and she’s now displayed as a beloved symbol of the Amathole Museum, and of the spirit of South Africa for its animals.

Owl House

Sculpture park built by a fifty year-old widow

Suffering from depression as she reached middle age, Helen Martins began to channel her boredom with the life around her into creation, embellishing her surroundings with sculpture and painting and bringing light, color and art into her house and garden. She began with the inside of her house, which she soon finished, and then moved on to the outside, where she and Koos Malgas spent twelve years building the “Camel Yard,” the exterior sculpture garden filled with hundreds of stone sculptures.

Sculptures at the Owl House in South Africa

Inspired by biblical texts, the poetry of Omar Khayyam, and the works of William Blake, Martins was also particularly fond of owls, hence the name of the house. By her late seventies, however, she was losing her eyesight and was no longer well enough to work on her house. She ended her life at age 78 by swallowing caustic soda.

Sculptures at the Owl House in South Africa

 

Kagga Kamma

In the Kagga Kamma Nature Reserve is where you will find rooms built in caves.

Kagga Kamma offers ten unique “cave” suites that were skilfully constructed to integrate with the natural Sandstone formations.

Rooms built in caves at Kagga Kamma

Each “Cave” Suite has a terrace with a view and is simply furnished with comfort in mind. The beautiful rock formations can be experienced up close in these man-made suites that blend into their environment seamlessly. Each “Cave” is equipped with a double bed, ensuite bathroom, air-conditioner, hairdryer, coffee/tea making facilities, bathrobes and complimentary toiletries.

Interior of the cave room at Kagga Kamma

 

 

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