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Travel

Affordable accommodation in East London

January 17, 2017
affordable accommodation in East London

I’ve only been to East London a few times and haven’t really thought much of visiting the area even though I’ve never gone deep into the city before. A few days ago, I had an impromptu visit to East London and realised how big the city actually is. I was in awe at the size of the Buffalo river as we drove over it. There are also a number of buildings in the city with beautiful Victorian architecture. Due to a family member getting married in the city, I’ve had to search for affordable accommodation in East London. Everyone who travels knows that accommodation can easily be one of the most expensive parts of travelling, which is why it’s important to look for inexpensive options.

Tips on finding affordable accommodation in East London

Compare prices online

Check out AccommoDirect and take advantage of their different filters. The site allows you to narrow down your budget. The site also has a nifty “Must Have” feature, which allows you to only filter in facilities that have the services and add-ons that you want. This helps keep costs low, as you’ll only be paying for what you want and need.

AccommoDirect also allows users to filter which type of facility they’d like to stay in. From hostels to hotels, bed and breakfasts to self-catering, this site has it all. They have over 50 listings in East London, which can be seen here, and a number of them have been rated and reviewed by users. You’d be able to select a facility that meets your comfort standard and your budget.

Choose self-catering

Choosing a self-catering facility keeps costs low. You pay less for the accommodation and it’s much cheaper to make your own meals. If you don’t have the time or willpower to make your own meals, chat to some locals, they’ll be able to direct you to delicious and affordable eateries.

Choose your season carefully

In most cities, most if not all accommodation facilities rates are based on the seasons. East London is pretty busy during summer and the festive season, so expect to pay premium prices during these periods. Visit the city from mid-‘s February and March when the weather is generally still quite good as it’s before winter sets in. You’re sure to find some good deals and still be able to enjoy good weather but without high prices or the crowds.

More about AccommoDirect

AccomoDirect can help you find affordable accommodation in East London that will fit your budget and your comfort needs. They have over 50 listings in various areas in the city. The site is one of South Africa’s largest accommodation portals and has over 20 000 accommodation listings across 2 000 destinations and has 10 000 reviews on it. Browse through their easy to navigate the site to find accommodation for your next trip.

Click here to find out more about AccommoDirect’s listings in East London.

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by AccommoDirect. All of the views expressed in this post are my own.
Featured image: by BfluffOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link; Queens Park By BfluffOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Travel

Fun activities and accommodation in Port Alfred

January 10, 2017
Accommodation in Port Alfred

Like many people, I really want to travel abroad. I’ve been toying with the idea of visiting Thailand for my birthday in March, but I’ve decided against it. For me, it’s not so much due to cost, but due to opportunity cost. So I’ve decided to keep my birthday travels local. I haven’t yet decided where I want to go, but I do know that I want it to be a road trip. As much as I love the ease and convenience of flying, there are a lot of small town gems that I’m missing out on. I’ve begun looking around at places and one of the places that I’m considering is Port Alfred. My brother lived in the town for a while, but I haven’t been there since he left. This is why I’m looking into fun activities and accommodation in Port Alfred for a trip away.

Port Alfred is a coastal town, which is about an hour and a half’s drive from Port Elizabeth. I like to think of it as a holiday town. It has great weather and a lot of activities for holidaymakers. Whether your idea of a fun holiday is action packed with water sports or lying on a beach with a good book, this town caters for individual and family getaways.

There is a wide range of options for accommodation in Port Alfred.  This town boasts accommodation in the form of guest houses, backpackers self-catering, guest farms and game lodges. All of these options and more can be found on the AccommoDirect website, which has over 20 listings in Port Alfred.

Looking for accommodation in Port Alfred

It is a small town, so distance is not a big issue when looking for accommodation in Port Alfred.  From my time in the town, I experienced that it never takes more than 10 minutes to get from one point to another. So there’s no need to stay in a central location. Staying nearby the beach or the river mouth would be the best bet for me.

AccommoDirect lists a number of options that suits every budget. If you’re looking for a luxurious getaway, a resort or hotel on the beach or river bank is a must. Waking up to the waves breaking is amazing. There are however, more affordable options for individuals on a budget. The site also makes it easy to book, due to the instant confirmation feature.

Port Alfred Canal

Activities in Port Alfred

As a holiday town, Port Alfred has many fun activities. The town has great weather for most of the year and idyllic beaches.

Canoeing on the river

The Kowie River runs through the centre of the town. There’s a canoe trail that can be done, but if you’re not keen on an adventure you can leisurely float on the river.

River Cruise

If canoeing seems like too much exercise, there’s always option of going on one of the river cruises. This seems a bit more like in my line, especially considering that I threw away every swimsuit I own (I need to get new ones).

Sandboarding

I’ve never been sandboarding before and there are a number of beaches in Port Alfred where you can try it out.

AccommoDirect makes booking your accommodation in Port Alfred so easy, you’ll have more time to focus on having fun.

Click here to find out more about AccommoDirect.

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by AccommoDirect. All of the views expressed in this post are my own. Photographs are attributed to their respective owners.

Featured image: A3albOwn work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link; Port Alfred Canals by NJR ZAOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Things to do & Places to visit

Tips for finding accommodation in Port Elizabeth

December 19, 2016
accommodation in Port Elizabeth

The skies are bluer, air warmer and days longer. Summer has officially arrived in Nelson Mandela Bay. If you’re coming to the region, but haven’t yet found accommodation, best you read this post and get booking soon! Here are some nifty tips on finding accommodation in Port Elizabeth. These will suit your budget and holiday plans.

Where you’d want to stay would be dependent on whether you’ll be coming for business or leisure and what your activities will be. Port Elizabeth like every other coastal city gets crowded in the summer with visitors from other countries and provinces.

To make the most of your experience, it’s best to ensure that your choice of accommodation in Port Elizabeth is aligned with the activities you plan on doing. If you’re visiting the Bay, you should choose accommodation in or nearby the area where most of your activities will be taking place. You’ll save on petrol and you’ll have more time to focus on having fun.

How to book accommodation in Port Elizabeth

You can easily book your accommodation for your next trip, online over here on the AccommoDirect website. As you can see, AccomoDirect offers a number of different options, including hotels, bed and breakfasts and guest lodges. Each listing lists the different services that the facility offers. You can also find award winning facilities on their site. If you’re heading to PE soon, here’s some tips on finding accommodation in Port Elizabeth for your next trip.

humewood-water-park

Humewood Water Park

For the beach dwellers

The city has a number of public swimming beaches. Some of the most popular beaches are King’s Beach, Hobie Beach and Pollock Beach. These beaches are all found in the suburbs of Humewood and Summerstrand. These beachfront suburbs have a plethora of options for accommodation in Port Elizabeth. During the year these suburbs have relatively low traffic. However during summer it is busy, which is why it’s best to stay in the area. You won’t need to leave either suburb as grocery stores, restaurants, cafes and entertainment facilities are all in walking distance. Exploring a place by foot is the best way to discover new things about the area.

hobie-beach-pool

For business trips

There’s a variety of options for people travelling on business trips. The beachfront strip is home to many of the city’s larger hotels and guest houses. The beachfront is often a popular choice for accommodation for business trips. However, many superb boutique hotels, lodges and guest houses can also be found in the central suburb of Walmer and the surrounding area. Much like the beachfront suburbs, Walmer has a number of amenities in walking distance.

donkin-houses

Houses by the Donkin Reserve

For art and history lovers

The CBD of Port Elizabeth has a lot of history and culture. The area is home to heritage sites, including the iconic Route 67 and the main public library. Using public transport in this area is easy, as it contains main taxi routes, is close to the city’s main bus station and train station.

If you want to spend your days soaking up the city’s history, heritage and wandering around art galleries, then Richmond Hill is where you’ll want to stay. Here you’ll find the renown Stanley Street, with it’s strip of popular restaurants and stores.

donkin-reserve

The Donkin Reserve

Situated next to Richmond Hill and the CBD is St George’s Park. Much like the former suburbs, St George’s Park is rich in history, as it contains (amongst other things) the oldest park in the city. The area is home to the famous Park Drive, which contains galleries, the Nelson Mandela Art Museum, Settler’s Park nature reserve and quaint coffee shops. The park is the second oldest park in the country and it is a woodland with gorgeous walkways, monuments, the city’s largest stadium and an open air theatre. If you’re looking for accommodation in Port Elizabeth that is central, but without the buzz of city life, stay in St George’s Park.  In addition, there’s so many things to do in St George’s Park that you won’t need to leave.

pearson-conservatory

The Pearson Conservatory in St George’s Park

More about AccommoDirect

AccomoDirect can help you book accommodation in Port Elizabeth without hassle. They list various facilities in these areas, many other suburbs and areas in the region. As one of South Africa’s largest accommodation portals, AccomoDirect has over 20 000 accommodation listings across 2 000 destinations and has 10 000 reviews on it. Browse through their easy to navigate site to find accommodation for your next trip.

Click here to find out more about AccommoDirect.

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by AccommoDirect. All of the views expressed and photographs used in this post are my own.

Things to do & Places to visit

A dazzle of zebras at the 2016 SANParks Open Week

September 12, 2016
2016 SANParks Open Week

Thanks to Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism and SANParks, yesterday I was amongst a group of photographers, instagrammers and bloggers, on a day trip to Addo Elephant National Park for the launch of the 2016 SANParks Open Week.

I might be biased in saying this, just kidding I’m totally biased, but the Addo Elephant Park was the best location for the launch of the 2016 SANParks Open Week. Addo Elephant Park is the third largest national park in the country, and is roughly the size of Belgium. The park is home to thousands of animals, not only elephants.

Basically what the 2016 SANParks Open Week, is an initiative where SANParks grants South Africans free access to nearly all of their parks in the country. This runs from 12 September to 16 September 2016, but selected parks will also have free access on the weekend. More information can be found on the SANParks website.

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When we arrived at the park, we got to wander around the main camp. Before the activities started, two elephants passed us by on the viewing deck. They put on quite a show, as they intertwined their tusks, giving us ample opportunity to photograph them.

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Ryan, was our guide for the tour of the park. He knows the park, probably better than the palm of his hand. He guided us via sight, sound and quite literally, smell. Within 15 minutes of starting our tour, he took us off the beaten path and found two of the park’s lions. Gibson, the park’s alpha male, and his brother Melvin, laid napping under the shade of some thorn trees. Seeing them was amazing. What intrigued me was where we found them. They were less than 100 metres from a busy road. Dozens of cars zipped past, its inhabitants unaware that they were only a stone’s throw away from the Kings of the jungle. It made me think about Addo itself, so many people in Nelson Mandela Bay are zipping past the park, not realising how amazing it is and it is literally a quick ride out of the city. We don’t need to spend thousands of rands to travel  to see all of these amazing creatures. They’re literally in our backyard, and that is amazing.

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We saw so many animals including the only type of flightless dung beetle in the world (I got to hold one actually), warthogs, red hartbeest, more than one dazzle of zebras and a dozen of elephants. Ryan had mentioned that visitors are not always guaranteed to see the gentle giants. Sometimes you can take a trip and see none, or see dozens of them. Fortunately for us, it was the latter. It was also fascinating to see an elephant disappear behind a seemingly small bush.

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Ryan explained that the safety of the animals, visitors and staff is of extreme importance to the park. This is why visitors are not allowed to leave their vehicles when going on tours. He went onto explain that because the animals are accustom to vehicles passing them, visitors often assume that they are tame. This is simply not the case. These are wild animals. Getting out your car puts you, your family and the animals at risk as they could charge you or you could be attacked by a predator lurking in the bushes, while you’re trying to get a good photograph.

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We left the park, sun kissed and satisfied with an arsenal of beautiful photographs and memories. Thank you to Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism and South African National Parks for an amazing day trip.

Don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity and take advantage of the 2016 SANParks Open Week.

2016-sanparks-open-week-19

Disclaimer: I was invited to the event by NMB Tourism and views are my own, always.

Travel

A day in Franschhoek with Vintage Local Tours

May 4, 2015
Franshoek Valley, Western Cape, South Africa What happens in Franshoek

On Saturday 28 March 2015, during my short vacation in Cape Town  I went on a one day wine tour with Vintage Local Tours. The start up is based in Cape Town, and it focuses on providing affordable wine tours to the surrounding areas.

The trip started early, if my memory serves me correct, at 7 and ended probably around 3. I could be wrong about what time it ended, it was a wine tour after all. The tour included a trip to 3 farms, a buffet brunch, wine tasting and chocolate tasting.

Departure

The tour bus departed from Vanguard Estate. This is where most of the people boarded and then we headed onto Stellenbosch, where the rest of the day trippers were picked up. We were a fun mix people, all South African but from different parts of the country. Once everyone was on board, we road through some parts of Stellies, while the conductor and owner of Vintage Local Tours, Wynoma Michaels, explained the history of the town and various buildings. We then headed onto Franschhoek, where we first done some sightseeing and took some photographs. We were then taken to the Organic Market, which was held in the grounds of a church.

Market and Breakfast

The market was small, but enjoyable as no two stalls were the same. Nearly everything on sale was either handmade, organic or artisanal. Once everyone was done shopping, we headed to the Protea Hotel for a buffet  breakfast. As a food lover, I love anything with a buffet breakfast. Buffet breakfasts beat buffet lunches and dinners any day.

After eating, everybody loosened up and we headed headed to quaint wine shop (I forgot its name). The shop had a cellar which contained bottles that probably haven’t been dusted in touched in the last 300 years. It also had a number of interesting wine memorabilia.

Chocolate tasting

We then headed to Huguenot Chocolates to do some chocolate tasting and of course I couldn’t whip my card out fast enough to purchase one of nearly every chocolate on display. I will shamelessly admit that once I returned to PE, I ate every single one of them by myself. Those 2kgs I picked up, yes I’m blaming these chocolates deliciousness for every single gram I gained. Once the chocoholics in the group finished cleaning out the shop, we headed over to our first farm, the world renown, La Motte. On La Motte, we learnt about the history of the farm, its owners and view the museum, which houses artwork by JH Pienaar and other contemporary artwork.

The Franschhoek Motor Museum

Once we where done on La Motte, we went to L’Ormarins, which houses the Franschhoek Motor Museum. Despite not having much of an interest in cars, I took photographs of nearly every vehicle on display, cause most of them were stunning. By this time, a lot of us were getting anxious to get to the farm where we’ll be doing our wine tasting. We’ve done a lot of walking. The day was blazing hot and we were thirsty for something other than the water and snacks were were given on the trip so far.

Franshoek Motor Museum Vintage Cars Franshoek Motor Museum Shelby

Solms Delta Wine Estate

After trotting through the motor museum, we headed to the event that everyone was looking forward to, the wine tasting at Solms Delta Wine Estate. When we got there, we first visited their museum, which displayed the history of the people in the Franschhoek area. The wine tasting was held on the porch of the restaurant.We also had some sweet and savoury treats to pair with the wines.

The wine tasting was hosted by Leon and he was a hoot and a half. We were howling in laughter with the endless jokes he made.  I think we tasted all their wines they had on offer and nobody went home with less than 2 bottles of wine. Some of us bought 11 bottles of wine, others 5, but hey no judgement. They had a special with their Rose, Chenin Blanc and Shiraz in a kit. I picked up a kit, a bottle of Amalie and a bottle of Perry for a friend. I didn’t pick up a bottle of the wine that I thought tasted the best, a shiraz called Africana. Unfortunately, Africana was also the most expensive wine they had on offer. I told myself I will try and find a bottle some other time when I’m back in PE.

Looking back, tipsy Odette was not the brightest. I should have probably just bought Africana instead of the kit or Amalie, because if I can find it in PE, I’m going to pay a lot more for it that what I would have at the farm. Actually I should I have taken all of the wines I wanted, which was basically everything with the exception of one.

I had a great time on the tour and at R320 per person, it was definitely value for money. No two tours are the same, so if the opportunity arises I will go on another one again. For more info about Vintage Local Tours, check out their Facebook page. Excuse the terrible pics. I managed to forget to take my camera the morning of the tour.

Accommodation in Franschhoek

Franschhoek has so many things to do, great food to taste and wine farms to visit. This tour makes me want to visit the area again. I yearn to relax under an oak tree providing shade over the cobbled stone floor of a restaurant on a wine farm. AccommoDirect.com has over 70 accommodation listings in and around Franschhoek. The listings contain a number of luxurious living options. There are also budget options, but it’s Franschhoek and as the saying goes “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”. The great thing about the listings on AccomoDirect, is that some of the listings are wine farms. So it’s possible to go wine tasting without leaving the facility. That’s a win-win situation for me.