CNN Recommends South Africa

CNN Recommends South Africa - The Place To Holiday

While the Department of State alerts U.S. citizens to the continued threat of terrorist attacks throughout Europe, CNN is recommending South Africa as THE place to holiday.

Titled 23 beautiful reasons to visit South Africa CNN’s post features a slideshow of spectacular images that celebrate what they consider to be the best places to see in the Rainbow Nation.

“From surf-ravaged beaches to big game-roaming national parks, towering mountains to flooded wetlands, stunning coastal drives and the junction of two oceans — the Atlantic and Pacific — at the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa is blessed with treasures.

Then there are the man-made attractions, from rolling vineyards to plunging diamond mines, poignant Robben Island and Johannesburg’s Apartheid Museum to cosmopolitan Cape Town and Table Mountain and buzzing Jo’burg itself.”

Among South Africa’s glorious natural wonders, CNN lists Kruger National Park, one of the largest game reserves in South Africa, famous for its Big 5 inhabitants: elephants, lions, buffalo, rhinos, and leopards.

Elephants Walking - South African Holiday

Another named natural treasure is Hermanus, one of the best land-based whale watching spots in the world. The area becomes the mating and breeding grounds for Southern Right Whales between July and November.

Whales in Hermanus

Stellenbosch Vineyards grace the heart of the Cape Winelands and represent one of the country’s finest man-made attractions. Surrounded by majestic mountains, it’s no wonder this outstanding acreage made CNN’s list of South African “bests.”

Stellenbosch Winelands - South African Wine Tours

We wholeheartedly agree with CNN’s selections, however, with all due respect to the illustrious news network, “23” barely scratches the surface of beautiful reasons to visit South Africa. There’s also romantic Franschhoek, the Food and Wine Capital of the country; trendy Camps Bay Beach – the place to see and be seen; the adorable Boulders Beach Penguin Colony, and the bustling Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, the most visited attraction in Cape Town, to name just a few.

Hop over to our homepage to learn about our Exclusive Tours, Add-On Tours and Recommended Excursions, treasure-filled experiences, everyone.

IN TOUCH: Interview with Stephanie Toale

Stephanie Toale - InterviewMeet Stephanie Toale, our Executive and Accounting Administrator. Keeper of payments and payroll, she is also as quick with resolving computer issues as she is gentle and kind. Miss Toale will soon become Mrs. Lynch.

Q: What do you enjoy most about your job at Go Touch Down?

Stephanie: The energy. There is always something going on and something to be done. It is great to be at a job where you stay busy and do not have much idol time.

Q:  Where was your most memorable vacation destination?

Stephanie:  One of the most memorable vacations would be a two-part destination trip I did. We spent the first part of the week snowboarding in the Pyrenees Mountains and then the second half of the week sunbathing in the Canary Islands. It was just really unique and sometimes I still do not believe we did it.

Q: What is your favorite kind of food?

Stephanie: I would probably have to say Thai food. Lots of vegetables, flavors, and spice.

Q: What is your dream honeymoon destination?

Stephanie:  Italy. Neither of us have been and it just seems like a classic honeymoon destination.

Q: What do you like to do in your spare time?

Stephanie:  I spend a lot of my spare time with my family. I am lucky that most of them close by, so we are always doing something fun with them.

Paying Tribute To The Past

Nobel Peace Prize winner, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, coined the term “Rainbow Nation” to capture the extraordinary diversity of races, tribes, creeds and landscape that characterizes modern South Africa. Getting to know South Africa’s amazing people may be the most enduring memory of any visit.

South Africa’s varied museums are a good place to get a feel for the history of the country and learn more about what makes the people here so special. Here is just a sampling that highlights a few of the country’s many outstanding museums.

Paying Tribute To The Past

The Apartheid Museum gives visitors insight into the country’s turbulent past and ultimately it illustrates the triumph of the human spirit over adversity. A unique interactive system where you can assume the identity of an individual who lived during the struggle lends an emotional poignancy to a visit.

Apartheid-Sign - Paying Tribute To The Past

The District Six Museum in Cape Town is another stirring tribute to the past, a remembrance of the once vibrant mixed-race community of 60,000 people, including many artists and musicians, forced to relocate during apartheid. Live music performances and first-hand narratives add to the affecting atmosphere.

We Serve With Pride - Paying Tribute To The Past

Robben Island, the former prison where Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners were held during apartheid, is easily reached by boat from the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town. It is, however, an emotional voyage to the UNESCO World Heritage site, and one you’ll find yourself remembering long after you return home. Former inmates of the notorious penal colony lead the guided tours and the entire island is a moving symbol of the inhumanity of apartheid and the great sacrifice made for freedom.

Mandela House - Paying Tribute To The Past

The Mandela House is located in Mandela’s birthplace of Umtata. Although the area is one of the poorest in the country, its residents are rich with pride for their native son. You’ll learn about Mandela’s life, from childhood to present, through powerful exhibits that explore his book, “Long Walk to Freedom.” Also on display: a collection of gifts that he received when he was Head of State.

It Takes A Village

It Takes A Village - Pretty Little African Girl

Why “It Takes A Village” is so meaningful. Food on the table, clothes for the kids, and some extra bucks in the piggy bank. These essentials have gotten easier to come by for one lucky locality in South Africa. Since The Touch Down Group revitalized and re-opened Humala River Lodge nearly two years ago, the villagers are bringing home the bacon.

South Africa is Always in Season

South Africa is Always in Season

The best time to go to South Africa? Anytime between January and December! South Africa has a delightfully temperate climate year-round, so your decision about when to go should rather be based on the types of experiences you would like to have.

IN TOUCH: Interview with Deon Barnard

Interview with Deon Barnard

Meet Deon, our colorful Chief Operating Officer. Also known as “The Safari Guy”, Deon is extremely knowledgeable about his native South Africa, and after 28 years in the travel industry, it comes as no surprise that he is considered an expert in his field. He is a passionate speaker and skilled trainer;  he draws from his roots plus experience in business and in life to show us not what can be done, but more importantly why it should be done. His enthusiasm is contagious, and his compelling talks are energy-infused and laced with sharp wit and unexpected humor.

Rock On!

Ancient Rock Formation - Humala River Lodge

Humala River Lodge is tucked away in a most extraordinary spot, a magical 124,000-acre African wilderness – Songimvelo Game Reserve. Though wonderfully remote, there is much to do: Witness elephants and other magnificent wildlife on safari; angle for wild Yellow Fish in the river; catch some rays at the pool, and be pampered at the bush spa. But a unique highlight here is the opportunity to view Stone Age art carved and painted on rocks that are 3.5 billion years old.

Cheers to South African Wine – The Healthy Choice

Cheers to South African Wine - The Healthy Choice

When your doctor recommends a glass of wine a day for good health, if it’s South African wine, you can enjoy two! This is because while sulfites are present in all wine, South African wine has the lowest amount. As we all know, sulfites can trigger allergies. Travelers often tell us that they don’t get the headaches from South African wines that they often experience with wines from other regions.

Don’t Fence Me In

Elephants Walking

If wild animals could sing, they might just be found bellowing the lyrics of this classic Cole Porter song:

Oh, give me land, lots of land under starry skies above, don’t fence me in…

Wildlife needs a whole lot of room to roam. This is especially important during migration, when they trek great distances to find food, water and safe areas to birth and care for their little ones. In the case of the African elephant, their “little ones” are about 200 pounds when born.