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P-Town Taste – Best restaurants in Pretoria

Far from how its’ often portrayed, Pretoria is actually a stylish and cosmopolitan city filled with vibrant culture, bustling business and delicious cuisine.

In this collection, we’ve highlighted some of the city’s best dining spots as recommended to us by various online and personal sources.

There’s plenty of variety too – from Korean, Chinese and Indian to excellent Italian and fabulous French and even a healthy dose of African tastes.

Top 5 KZN North Coast Beach Wedding Venues

Though we initially aimed to find the best beach wedding venues in Durban, the North Coast in particular proved to be a more popular option – just a few minutes outside of Durban you’ll find unspoiled beaches that stretch for miles just begging for a breath-taking wedding!

1. Canelands Beach Club & Spa

Canelands Beach Club and spa is a stylish and modern beach retreat just metres from Tiffany’s Beach, Salt Rock. With 10 spacious bedrooms that sleep a max of 20 guests & a restaurant serving 3 meals daily, Canelands is just intimate enough to create an exclusive & personal beach wedding for up to 100 guests – all overlooking the magnificent Indian Ocean.

2. Palm Dune Beach Lodge

This stunning yet rustic lodge is a premier North Coast wedding destination with direct beach access and options for an indoor or outdoor deck celebration. The cosy ambience is offset by fine dining cuisine and luxurious accommodation and an in-house spa. Their in-house wedding co-ordinator will make sure nothing goes amiss and the couple can enjoy their day stress-free.

3. Salt Rock Hotel

Expect affordable luxury at the Salt Rock Hotel. Set amongst the leafy green North Coast jungle, this venue is central – just 20 mins from the airport – with plenty of accommodation and amenities close by. There are several different indoor and outdoor venue options, catering to small or large parties, including a unique elevated glass room with a stunning ocean view.

4. The Boathouse

A popular venue with old-world charm, The Boathouse is also known for affordable class in a stunning setting. Ceremonies can take place on the sand or the expansive deck and all will be tailored to the bride’s particular specs. Comfortable & stylish rooms are available on the premises and the in-house restaurant serves top quality food.

5. Fairmont Zimbali Resort

Zimbali is a uniquely luxurious environment populated by decadent homes, stunning 5 star resorts and unbelievable natural beauty. While the Lodge is the most popular venue, there are other venues on the property that cater to the true beach wedding, allowing couples to say their “I do’s” on the flawless sand of the private Zimbali Beach. There are also several restaurants & reception venues that can accommodate a varied number of guests.

Saving Rietvlei for a Summer’s Day

Johannesburg is a city with limited entertainment resources. This densely populated hub leaves one to choose between malls and public parks for any form of amusement – especially for children. While a coastal destination would make an ideal alternative, a drive to the Rietvlei Zoo Farm easily ignites the excitement in anticipation of warmer Summer days.

September 1 marked the beginning of Spring and our enthusiasm as mothers led us to pack our babies and picnic baskets into our cars and spend the day in the outdoors- to Rietvlei Farm, the perfect place for family picnics, provides vast space for chairs, tables, gazebos and picnic blankets.

Situated in the south of Johannesburg on Swartkoppies Road, the farm offers boundless recreation. It receives an influx of visitors during the hottest months of Summer when the grass is beautifully green, the flowers have blossomed and the trees are renewed. The first day of Spring came with great disappointment as the farm was not ready yet to host visitors. The wind was harsh sending dry and flaky grass into our neatly packed baskets. Trees were still dull and the rest of the farm looked arid and barren. It seemed we were too eager for the warmth of Spring.

Nonetheless we salvaged what we could and made the most of the day. The tail end chills of Winter prompted us to steal an unoccupied lapa that became the best solution to keeping the children warm. Continue reading

Heavenly chocolate dippingz in the Midlands

Anything goes with chocolate. This is the philosophy of Kereth & Cindeez Guilbride, the couple who opened Chocolate Heaven in Rosetta in the KZN Midlands.

This wacky, one-of-a-kind store is earning quite a reputation on the Midlands Meander for giving their customers a fresh taste sensation with their favourite ingredient at the centre!

Biltong, gherkins and even olives are some of the crazy components you might find yourself mingling with your melted chocolate delight during their patented Chocolate Dippingz Experience.
“We decided to do things differently,” explains Cindeez, “not your usual truffles, pralines etc. We have gone in a totally unique way with chocolates that contain biltong, curry, and many other combinations that really work. We also make more normal chocolates for the not so adventurous and therefore cater for all tastes.

However, she says, the biggest draw card at Chocolate Heaven is the Chocolate Dippingz® experience.
“This is where we sit you down give you a pot of melted chocolate and come and offer you a variety of different condiments, from your biltong, gherkins, olives to strawberries, fudge and Turkish delight. We have four trays of goodies to choose from, and one rule – YOU HAVE TO MAKE A MESS!”

Although Cindeez admits it takes passion to create such unique products, these wannabe Willy Wonkas only started concocting crazy chocolate recipes seven years ago. Continue reading

Mango’s new mobi hits the sweet spot

I have to applaud Mango Airlines. While all the other low budget airlines are struggling to keep airborne, they’ve come out with something fairly revolutionary (in South African terms) - a mobisite with booking capability!

I’ve said many times how great it would be if more businesses would enable actual booking, ordering and purchasing capabilities on mobile and this is an example of someone thinking ahead and realizing the possibilities!

The question remains whether Mango have done a good job with it. I tend to say, yes. It’s simple and effective with no frills and that’s something we like in a mobisite!

They’ve put all the focus on booking so there’s very little else on offer. When you click on “Book your flight” you can follow the exact same process you would on the main site to do just that. The writing is all legible and the process completely optimized for the mobile platform. They could have simply replicated the web experience but it would have been clumsy and ineffective. Thankfully they realized that.

If you already have a booking you can check your details easily using the “My Booking” link. I think it’s great that they also have an “Important Update” section – presumably for customers who are on the move and need to know if there have been any major delays etc.

I only have one complaint about this very smart and seamless mobisite. The special offers are not displayed or offered anywhere? I know for a fact that Mango are running a 24 hour sale today, but nowhere on the mobisite is there any mention of it.

The mobisite is very new though and perhaps this is something that will be added in the future. Overall I love the clean, hassle-free interface. It’s fast, efficient and extremely handy.

Well done Mango for leading the way and understanding the true power of the mobile market.

9/10

Daily Collection

Braai 4 Heritage – Bond around the fire!

Mix Heritage Day weekend combined with Braai Day and it all adds up to fun times in the sunshine surrounded by friends and family.

We created this unique Braai Day collection in celebration and support of one of our favourite holidays in the year as well as one of our favourite past-times.

Get all the info you need to follow the Braai Day revolution with our links, learn the awesome Braai Day anthem featuring Soweto Gospel Choir, HHP and Die Heuwels Fantasties.

Then use our listings to plot out all your braai requirements – from charcoal to braai equipment and venues where you can stoke your fires.

A wedding with a Vaal River view

An hour long drive to the Vaal River from Johannesburg seemed endless and the excitement could not be contained as we anticipated the celebration of my sister’s wedding. The sky was overcast and the wind was relentless but we were determined to commit to all the festivities.

A convoy of cars snaked along the N1S highway towards Bloemfontein. After driving through the Grasmere Tollgate the open road led the way to one of Sasolburg’s diverse venues. Situated on the banks of the Vaal River, Riverside Beach Club is a paradise for boat lovers and water skiers who have access to over 60 km of waters.

The 70 hectare nature and game farm also offers camping and lapa facilities for private functions. The largest Gemsbok lapa seating a maximum of 200 people was prepared to serve as the reception venue for my sister’s wedding. White draping with fairy lights covered the ceiling and the floor was covered with crisp white Tiffany chairs and white-clothed tables. Crystal centre pieces were delicately placed alongside pearl balls and mirrored flower boxes. This Gemsbok lapa was transformed to fulfil the bride and groom’s wedding dream.

A sign welcoming guests to the boat club appears along a narrow driveway leading to the main area of the farm. One can also see many rows of boat locker facilities. The club has one of the largestboat locker rentalfacilities on the Barrage Reservoir however; it is only members who have access to boat locker facilities that can enjoy more than 1kmof privateriver frontage and additional facilities. My uncle is one of these members and it is his boat that transported me, the bride and groom, the groomsmen and the bridesmaids across the river to the smaller lapa where anexcited congregation waited for the bridal party. Continue reading

How to: Start tweeting for business

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to get new interest in your business from Twitter because you’re not sure where to start. Start here!

Step 1: Go to Twitter, enter your name, email, and a password and click Sign up.
On the second screen where can select a username – the name by which you will be known on Twitter.
Try to stick as close to your business name as possible. You may find it’s not available. If so, try using _ somewhere (logical) in the name or incorporate other prefixes like, “the” or “real”. Use caps for each separate word if possible as this makes your name easier to read. Once you’re happy with your username, click on the “Create my Account” button.

Step 2: Read through the Twitter prompts explaining what a tweet is and take the opportunity to “follow” any friends the network might suggest. If your contacts are in a supported network like Gmail or Hotmail, Twitter will find your friends who are on Twitter. If you prefer to move on, skip these steps for now. You can always add your friends later.

Step 3: Tweak your settings using the Settings link under the Account tab. Set the time zone and make any other changes, for example, how and when you would like to receive updates/notifications via email etc. Click Save.
Under the Profile tab you can upload a picture/logo for your business. Don’t skip this step. Many Twitter users (including me) will not follow profiles without photos. Your photo can only be 700k in size so you may need to resize. Also under the profile tab, you can add a small biog for your business and link to your website or blog. Keep your biog short but informative so that people can easily see who you are and what you do. When you’re done, click Save. Continue reading

Daily Collection

PE Cuisine – The best of Port Elizabeth Dining!

Smaller cities are often neglected in the “best nosh” lists and we don’t think that’s fair! We want all popular establishments to get their dues!

That’s why we created this latest collection highlighting some of Port Elizabeth’s best places to wine and dine.

As a tourist city, PE can’t afford to rest on its’ laurels in the entertainment arena and that’s why it’s no surprise there are a solid group of restaurants, bakeries, delis and bistros that keep the locals and tourists smiling, serving everything from steak to sushi to fresh seafood.

Daily Collection

Route 62 – the Great Karoo!

It’s an area of South Africa that many who live elsewhere may not even have thought of, let alone visited, but this scenic tourist route covering the Western Cape and Eastern Cape is one that could keep you good and lost from civilization for some time.

Adventure is never far away on Route 62 where you’re surrounded by a wealth of natural resources from mountains, passes, rivers to vineyards and orchards.

This collection contains just a small selection of some of the more interesting places, sights and activities you could sample on your Route 62 road trip like adventure activities, wine farms, antiques and collectables, nature reserves, animals and water sports- just enough to peak your interest in the magical Karoo…

Thrill-seekers get a rush with Extreme Scene

When Gavin Pfister’s professional rugby career came to an end after playing at Currie Cup level in South Africa and at premiership and Celtic league level in the UK, there was never any doubt he would return to Cape Town.

As a lifelong adrenaline junkie, it was a logical progression to follow his passion and start an adventure tours company.

In 2009, he opened Extreme Scene Tours and together with his right-hand lady Lauren, they have become a top choice for local & international thrill-seekers in the Western Cape.

Xtra: What makes Extreme Scene unique?
Gavin: We are unique because we are a small team. We are both local, with a passion for the place that we live in and the desire to show guests this by means of extreme activities. We are also both very hands on with all of our clients bookings (from start to finish).

X: Of your achievements as a business, what are you most proud of?
G: I am very proud of the fact that we have become a top agent in a relatively short space of time and in a very competitive market.

X: What kind of person does it take to work in your field?
G: A person that is passionate about the area that they are working in, the outdoors and most of all people! You have to be able to communicate effectively with people across the globe.

X: Would you say your business has a definite target market?
G: Yes and no. You will always find in this industry, that your age group is relatively young. As extreme sports and activities are becoming more visible, we are looking at clients across the board. Continue reading