A Mini-Guide To Cape Town, South Africa

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If you’re thinking about where to go on your next vacation, you might not have considered South Africa. With a number of cities that bring their own flavour to the game as well as several beautiful national parks that feature the standard African wild animals that can be seen on safari, South Africa has a little bit of everything for everyone. Check out this quick mini guide for a trip specific to Cape Town.

Cape Town – A City

Cape Town, aptly named for its location is the capital city of South Africa and is near the Cape of Good Hope with a number of fantastic attractions and sights nearby. The Cape of Good Hope itself is one such attraction, as is the world famous Table Mountain, named for its flat topped appearance akin to a table top. Visitors that head up the mountain are rewarded with stunning views of both Cape Town and the surrounding area including a few of the wine regions to the north. The Mountain can either be climbed in the old fashioned way or you can also take a cable car up to the top for those not up to the fairly lengthy hike.

The Castle of Good Hope is South Africa’s oldest surviving building and is worth a look for those who are into military memorabilia and history. Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens is perhaps the world’s most spectacular botanical garden, teeming with various species of plants and flowers all set against the impressive Table Mountain, almost overhead.

For those interested in the history of Cape Town and area, check out Robben Island – home to political prisoners such as Nelson Mandela – tours available. You can also check out the District Six museum which highlights the struggles of the area during apartheid.

Wine Regions and Floral Tours

South Africa is known around the world for being the growing and producing region for a multitude of wine varieties. Throughout the country there are numerous vineyards all with their own unique takes on wine making and featuring different flavours, blends and vintages and the Cape region is no exception. Wine tasting and vineyard tours are available throughout the area and many can be booked from your hotel or other accommodation in Cape Town itself. Some of the well known towns and cities for wine making and tours include Somerset West, Paarl and Franschhoek. Picnic tours can also be enjoyed for a romantic twist.

Safari Options

Not only is South Africa awash with wine and vineyards, but it’s likewise well stocked with safari companies and options for those looking to go out on safari to catch some of Africa’s big game in their natural habitats. Safaris can be booked direct in Cape Town if desired, or those looking for something special can head to almost any of the National Parks in the vicinity to book safaris that might be more luxurious or have specific aspects that the traveller is looking for. One popular option near to Cape Town is Tankwa Karoo National Park, with a number of safari options for all budgets. Kruger National Park is another option, but being on the other side of the country, this would be a good option for those who are perhaps planning a trip into neighbouring Mozambique or planning to spend some time in Johannesburg as well as Cape Town.

So there you have a quick run down on Cape Town and all it has to offer to help you plan your next (or first!) visit to the area. With so much history as well as nature around, it’s easy to see why this is a favourite amongst travellers the world over.

Food World – What To Try When You Visit Mauritius

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Visiting any foreign country is always a great time to give new things a try. Whether it’s an activity you haven’t tried, a local beer you’ve been itching to taste, or most commonly (and perhaps importantly!) the food! Food is one thing that every country on Earth has their own variation on dependent on what’s available to them. Countries that are large swathes of land may focus more on agriculture and farming based foods such as grains and beef, poultry or pork with regional variations on spice while island nations will have a more fish-based diet. Here we look at the top foods to try in Mauritius – an island nation off the coast of eastern Africa so you can be prepared for when you finally set foot there!

The first thing to know about Mauritian food is that it has a huge variety of influences due to its location – Creole, Indian, Chinese and French influences mean Mauritian fare is filled with variety of not just style but taste as well. Here are some of the best:

Dholl Puri (or Dholl Pori)

This is considered to be the dish in Mauritius. Sold throughout the nation by street vendors, this Indian inspired dish is made of fried flatbread stuffed with ground up yellow split peas, chutney, atchar and curries.

Curry

Of course! But Mauritian curry is different to your traditional Channa Masala or Masala Dosa you’d get in India – or even in other parts of the world. Here there are a number of other influences at play – such as Creole. Creole curry isn’t typically overly hot as the chillies are served on the side, letting the eater control the heat (thankfully!) and it is tomato based. Lentils and chickpeas are the usual culprits in most of the curries – both Mauritian and Indian. If you aren’t brave enough to try a new curry, you can always stick with your favourite Indian ones that you can find as well, served with rice or Mauritian breads.

A Taste of the Sea

Being an island nation, inevitably Mauritian cuisine has a number of fish based dishes featuring almost every seafood you can imagine. For something unique, give the octopus curry a try!

Gajak

A typical street food/snack, these fried delights are great to stave off the hunger pangs after swimming. You can find them sold in most places, usually off carts or the backs of motorbikes. Some of the examples include eggplant fritters, cassava chips and potato fritters.

Mithai

A variation of the Indian sweets, the Mithai are buttery and sugary goodness wrapped up in weight gain waiting to happen! Delicious and sweet, these are almost indsescribably good and if you hit up one of the local shops – such as Bombay Sweets Mart in Port Louis – chances are you will get to sample a few before committing to any one flavour!

Mine Frites

A variation on the traditional Chinese fried noodles, Mine Frites are another food you will likely find on the streets of Mauritius. The best place to get these is unsurprisingly Chinatown, but mix with a bit of regional Mazavaroo chilli paste to give it a real Mauritian island feel.

So there are a few examples of the great varieties of Mauritian food you can find throughout the island. Don’t forget to try some of the Victoria pineapple – sweeter than other varieties and available right on the beach after a swim, or the fresh coconuts for a real island treat.