Be A Tourist In SA This Spring

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Wild flowers in the Western Cape

September heralds the start of Spring and it’s also the month we celebrate our country’s diversity on Heritage Day. If you can, make the most of this month by getting away with family and friends, because it promises to be particularly special.

A big focus for the month is Heritage Weekend – a long weekend from Saturday, 23 September to Monday, 25 September. South Africa celebrates the cultural diversity of the nation on Heritage Day and there are loads of special activities scheduled for this year’s Heritage Weekend.

Art

Zeitz Mocca

Big on the 2017 calendar is the scheduled public opening of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (the Zeitz Mocca) on 22 to 25 September 2017, the first significant museum in Africa to focus on contemporary art. Says Avukile Mabombo, Group Marketing Manager for Protea Hotels by Marriott® and African Pride Hotels, “For art lovers the world over, this is hugely important – a facility dedicated to the art of the continent that will rival the world’s best art museums. And its location alone will astound, with its exciting, innovative architectural design reflecting the conversion of the museum building from a disused grain silo in Cape Town’s Waterfront, to the backdrop of stunning Table Mountain.” South Africans will appreciate the incredible artistic and contemporary design talent from our country and the wider continent, and the museum promises to offer a host of wonderful opportunities to educate younger citizens about their immediate world.

Avukile Mabombo: Group Marketing Manager for Protea Hotels by Marriott® and African Pride Hotels

Food

Another great cultural experience that will stimulate your senses is food. Learn how to prepare Cape Malay cuisine at one of the many cookery experiences on offer in the Bo Kaap area of Cape Town (see https://youtu.be/VDHceOVlWMI) or savour the unique flavours of the African menu offered by Protea Hotels Fire & Ice! by Marriott® in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town. “Use the occasion to try different things,” Mabombo explains, “and get into the heart of African food. Try something you haven’t eaten before and you could be won over completely. That’s what we find with many of our guests who try the tripe for the first time!”

Learning about the fragrant spices during a Cape Malay cooking lesson | Cape Malay cooking class: folding pastry for a samoosa

Natural history

Heritage Month is also the time for a focus on the country’s wonderfully diverse natural history. Coastal attractions, incredible fauna and flora, and the beauty of the semi-desert regions can be enjoyed by all during the springtime in September. Highlighting the beauty of our spectacular country for everyone is evident in the South African National Parks Week, an initiative that gives free access for day visitors to most of the country’s National Parks. So, whether you’re from Bloemfontein, Botshabelo or Bellville, you’ll find a national park to visit – and it’ll cost you no more than your petrol to get there. Other special September experiences are the wild flowers of the southwestern Cape and the whales that visit the shores of the country to calve during the August to October period. A visit to the West Coast National Park near Saldanha Bay will be a treat – and South Africans will enjoy free entry from 18 to 22 September. “Capture special moments there against the backdrop of the stunning wild flowers, enjoy your Heritage Month braai, and you may even spot a southern right whale in the bay. Bliss!” Mabombo enthuses.

Whale-watching has become an attraction all on its own and, while the most popular spots are on the Cape Coast, these giants of the deep can also be spotted along the Garden Route and KwaZulu-Natal. See the southern rights to the south and the humpbacks in the sub-tropical regions further north and east. Hermanus, the most well-known of the whale-sightings spots, holds its annual Whale Festival from 29 September to 1 October, and you’re bound to spot whales and beautiful spring flowers at Cape Point, which also offers free entry to South African citizens from 18 to 22 September. If ever the time was ripe to be a tourist in your own country, it’s this September. So, get out and enjoy.

Source and images: Irvine Partners

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