Sunday, January 20, 2008

Off The Beaten Track

There are many off-the-track destinations and some wild-at-heart attractions for you to explore in Southern Africa. Sabi Sabi â€" Game Reserve â€" Eastern Cape The choral sounds of birds before morning light, hot ‘boere’ coffee and a muffin, and you’ll be ready to embrace the wildlife of SabiSabi. Land Rovers leave before dawn, and Rangers share information via radio, ensuring the occupants of each Land Rover have the best chance of a wide range of sightings. The Tracker will watch the road for spoor, leaning forward intently to find any print left by a predator during its hunt in the dark. Guests on guided walking trails can experience this natural environment on foot; no two walks are ever remotely the same. Sabi Sabi boasts approximately 350 different species of birds, and their nests and calls are fascinating. There is an endless diversity of trees, shrubs, and flowering plants, whatever the time of year. The dusk period tends to be quieter. There is a lull as the animals sense the transition into a time of increased danger. The nocturnal hunters start stirring, and their prey needs to be alert for survival through the night. The Ranger will choose a spot where you can stretch your legs and enjoy a sundowner alongside the vehicle. If you are lucky, you may be able to watch a lion or his pride prepare for the evening hunt. With the help of the spotlight, a leopard s eyes may reflect back from a tree. Other smaller predators that are often encountered at night include the Genet, African Civet, and African Wild Cat. Bushbabies are nocturnal primates that feed on insects and fruits; their large eyes shine red in the light. Each morning and evening, Safaris in open Land Rovers drive through a wide variety of habitats, allowing you to view the vast interactions of the wild. After breakfast, the dedicated, skilled, and passionate Rangers lead you to discover miracles of Nature you may never have dreamed existed. Cango Ostrich Farm â€" Oudtshoorn â€" Western Cape Would you ever ride an ostrich? Cango Ostrich Farm is located in the lush Cango Valley, 14km outside of Oudtshoorn on the main route towards the world famous Cango Caves. It offers comprehensive and complete information regarding the ostrich - and ostrich industry. You get to see, the eggs, incubators and chicks (in season) and feed the ostriches by hand. Daring types get to ride the ostriches (within weight limits) and to stand on the eggs (no weight restrictions). There is a 45-minute farm tour, every 20 minutes. Multi-lingual guides are available (English, Afrikaans, German and French.) The farm delicatessen stocks Ostrich pate s and biltong. Distinctive ostrich handbags and feather boas are also available and of course, an extensive variety of decorated and plain Ostrich eggshells. St Lucia Crocodile Centre â€" St Lucia â€" Kwazulu Natal Situated some 2 km north of St Lucia village on the road to Cape Vidal, the Crocodile Centre offers an exciting and informative outing for visitors who would like to know more about the lake system and one of the world s oldest and most fascinating animals - the crocodile. The centre interprets the Lake St Lucia system and the habits of the crocodile and serves as a centre for crocodile monitoring and research. Crocodiles are a protected species in Natal, and all the African species of crocodile can be seen in the various ponds; the Nile, long-snouted, and dwarf crocodile plus American alligators. The crocodiles on display range in size from hatchlings to specimens of up to four metres. A series of informative displays on the Nile crocodile provide details about the breeding, feeding, physical structure and distribution of this prehistoric creature. Butterfly World â€" Paarl â€" Western Cape Butterfly World is the largest butterfly park in South Africa. The location of this park is set conveniently at the junction of the main Wine Routes of Stellenbosch and Paarl, on the Route 44 near Klapmuts, just off the N1. Butterflies fly freely in an exotic indoor garden. Tropical plants abound and there are butterfly-friendly birds and water features that complete this idyllic picture. Enjoy a cup of coffee at the Schmetterling Coffee Garden and have a browse in the craft shop. You can photograph or video these beautiful creatures to your hearts content. . The park is open every day of the year except 25th December, and trading hours are 9am to 5pm (except June, July and August) when the opening hours are 10am to 4pm. If you’re looking for a wild-at-heart experience, look no further than the Sabi Sabi Game Reserve . The advantage of the Sabi Sabi Safaris stems from the fact that animals on the Reserve have not been hunted for over half a century. Because they have become habituated, they perceive the outline of a vehicle carrying humans as non-threatening.

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