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About Staff Writer

Staff writer for An Exploring South African.

The Top Car Brands for Long Distance Travellers
[Partner Content] 05 NOV 2016

If you are a long distance traveller, you need a car that will be powerful, durable, and reliable. After all, the last thing that you’d ever want to deal with is a breakdown in the middle of your journey, as that would leave you stranded and cause you to waste time and money. So, if you are planning on looking through the many used cars for sale to find the perfect car for your travels, consider the following car brands.

duelling-cars-kia-versus-mazda

Toyota

Toyota is a hugely popular carmaker because it produces vehicles that will go the distance and last for many years to come. These cars hold onto their value as well because they are built so strong. But if you want to have a car that isn’t just capable, but also fuel efficient, opt for models like the Prius or the Camry Hybrid. In this way, you can spend more time driving to your destination than fuelling up at the pump. Plus, you will be doing something great for the environment by getting into a car that uses so little fuel, especially if you are going to be driving for a long time. But if you are in search of something larger that will comfortably fit your entire family, you can go for the Sienna, which is a hugely popular minivan model.

Subaru

Subaru is yet another carmaker that is known for producing high quality cars that are meant to last for many years. These cars also come with all-wheel drive capabilities, so you can take them over a variety of terrain and into a variety of weather conditions and still be confident you will not get stuck. Popular models include the brand’s SUVs, which are the Outback, Forester, and Crosstrek.

Kia

Kia is a brand that has come a long way. You can find affordable models from this carmaker, but you will be surprised by the quality of these vehicles and their ability to really get you places. SUVs like the Sorento and the Sportage are great choices for travellers who pack a lot and want to have some extra headroom and legroom for themselves and their passengers. Known for being safe and reliable, these vehicles are also surprisingly luxurious, so give them a test drive and see how you like them.

Audi

If you have the budget for an Audi, you can take your road trip in a luxurious vehicle that will keep you comfortable throughout your journey. Drivers who prefer SUVs can opt for the Audi Q7, which provides a quiet and comfortable ride. The handling is also highly responsive, and the vehicle is large enough to fit three adults comfortably in the second row, so you will have room for your family and your luggage.

black-hyundai-ix35-suv

Avid travellers who are planning on going on long distance road trips should stick with these top car brands that are designed to help you get to your destination safely and efficiently, no matter how far you are planning on going.

Pick ‘n Pay’s Stikeez are Splashing back into Action!
[Partner Content] 25 OCT 2016

Oh dear. Those hit squishy toys from Pick ‘n Pay that so enthralled the kids so last year are back… and this time they’re rising up from the depths!

pick-n-pay-stikeez-2-logo

Right. Same story as last year, if you head out and do your shopping at Pick ‘n Pay then for every R150 spent, you will receive one free Stikeez figurine.

This time around there are 24 sea-themed monsters/Stikeez to collect, and just as before, they come in sealed pods, so you never know who will pop up next.

In addition to the toys which no doubt your kids will now beg you incessantly for, there is also a free app available on both the iPhone and Android platforms.

And yes, just like last year, we are already sitting on a mountain of these things. One of the perks when you work at a guest house and pretty much have to shop every day!

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Also: Available at Pick ‘n Pay from 24 October for eight weeks, or while stocks last.

Related Link: Stikeez | Pick ‘n Pay

Say hello to Monopoly Mzansi
[Partner Content] 23 OCT 2016

So, Monopoly Mzansi, South Africa’s very own Monopoly board game is now finally here!

south-african-monopoly-mzansi-version-release

Hasbro’s Monopoly, which has now celebrated its 81st brand birthday, has been enjoyed by over a billion people worldwide and now South Africans will have the opportunity to “own” their piece of this beautiful country.

Ever fancied purchasing Kruger Park or Kimberly’s Big Hole or daydreamed of building a hotel on Cape Town’s Boulders Beach? Monopoly Mzansi could make these dreams come true – just make sure you have enough Mzansi moolah in the bank, and a handy ‘get out of jail free card’ in your stash… especially for when you land on a friend’s property and the rent is due.

south-african-monopoly-mzansi-version-board

Over the past few years numerous regional country versions of Monopoly have been produced and to date the game is licensed in 103 countries, with Monopoly Mzansi being the latest addition.

The special localised Mzansi edition features 4 transport hubs and 22 landmarks.

Excitingly, the newest transport hub to make it on board is the Sandton Gautrain station. V&A Waterfront and Table Mountain scooped the most expensive spots followed by Boulders Beach, Chapman’s Peak Drive and Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden. Other locations highlight South Africa’s natural heritage with the Big Hole and Addo Elephant Park making it on board.

Additional beautiful nature landmarks highlighted on the Monopoly Mzansi board include The Cradle of Humankind and St. Francis Bay with Durban Beach front (The Golden Mile), Florida Road and uShaka Marine World also joining the in the fun.

south-african-monopoly-mzansi-version-game-box

Monopoly Mzansi, which will be available in all leading toy stores nationwide from 1 November, makes a perfect gift for the festive season and provides an opportunity for family and friends to come together and enjoy some quality time together in Mzansi style!

(Tip: For a full list of the locations, check out the Monopoly Mzansi Facebook page!)

Related Link: Monopoly | Hasbro | Wikipedia

South African Hotels Worth Visiting Travel Attractions 02 OCT 2016

South Africa is a country that has just about everything a tourist could want. From bush to mountain to oceans, all of which are packed with the best that mother nature has to offer, so there are many places to add to your bucket list. If you’re looking for somewhere to stay on your trip, here are five awesome suggestions.

Toro Yaka Bush Lodge

Meaning “My Dream”, ToroYaka is an elegant safari lodge that is to be found right in the heart of the Balule Nature Reserve, a 38,000-hectare portion of the Kruger National Park. The lodge boasts a modern elegant yet relaxed style, encouraging guests to sit back, relax and enjoy the amazing nature on offer. And we are talking serious nature, all of the African bush favourites can be enjoyed from here, including the hippo and crocodile filled Olifants River which flows nearby. Activities to be enjoyed here include morning bush walks, bird-watching, bush picnics and dinners and game drives. For the thrill seekers among you, there is white water rafting available close by in the Blyde Canyon, as well as abseiling or hiking up to the Mariepskop Rain forest, hot air balloon rides and horseback safaris, all of which come highly recommended in order to truly take in everything this magnificent region has to offer.

toro-yaka-bush-lodge

Villa Afrikana Guest Suites

With free Wi-Fi and panoramic views of the nearby Knysna lagoon and the Knysna Heads, the Villa Afrikana Guest Suites offers 6 spacious rooms, allowing its clients to experience world-class service in a unique location. Also on site is a truly gorgeous swimming pool that comes complete with a sun deck and a well-stocked library. The rooms, or suites, all feature a neat blend of both African and modern contemporary décor and deluxe bedding. Most rooms have private balconies, where you can enjoy views of the aforementioned lagoon. For those keen on the links, the Pezula and Simola Golf Courses are a mere 15-minutes’ drive away. Make your stay at Villa Afrikana an unforgettable experience and truly fall in love in everything that Knysna and the Garden Route have to offer.

villa-afrikana-guest-suites

The Andros Deluxe Boutique Hotel

Suitably located in Cape Town’s beautiful southern suburb of Claremont, against the backdrop of Table Mountain, the five star Andros Deluxe Boutique Hotel, is actually a superb Cape colonial homestead that was originally built in 1908. Set in lush, green gardens and its secluded garden pool area, the hotel provides a gymnasium, a beauty salon and an award winning restaurant, all on top of fifteen super-sized suites, complete with complimentary Wi-Fi. In terms of location, things really could get much better. The hotel is just a short stroll to both the iconic Newlands Rugby and Cricket stadiums as well as being within walking distance of the magnificent Cavendish square shopping centre and its stunning line up of upmarket Boutiques, Restaurants and shops.

the-andros-deluxe-boutique-hotel

Sun City Casino Resort

Up in the Rainbow Nation’s Northwest Provence, Sun International’s flagship destination, the Sun City Casino Resort, is an everything you can want resort. Built in 1979, this all in one venue sits just a 2-hour drive from Johannesburg, on the border of the Pilanesberg National Game Park meaning that, although there is no need to leave the site, there are lots of great facilities nearby. Enjoy a round of golf at either of two Gary Player designed 18-hole golf courses, splash in the Valley of Waves, visit the bird aviaries and animal sanctuaries and explore the beautiful surrounding gardens. Within the resort, there are numerous hotels, such as the family-friendly 3-star Cabanas hotel, the luxury 5-star Cascades hotel or the 4-star Sun City Hotel and Casino. The casino offers 24/7 gaming that includes hundreds of the latest progressive slot machines and 43 popular table games, including Blackjack, Punto Banco, American Roulette and various disciplines of poker. For anyone looking to visit the casino during their stay, the best pre-game strategy you can employ, is to get some practise in first. A great way to do this is to invest some time in perfecting your game at an online casino. Most of these offer games to play with either real money or play money so you can sharpen up your skills and develop your strategies with very little risk.

sun-city-casino-resort

Tsala Treetop Lodge

Down on the southern coast, you’ll find the unique Garden Route boutique resort that is the gorgeously lush Tsala Treetop Lodge. Sitting among some of South Africa’s finest forest canopies, the lodge provides visitors with breath taking bird’s eye views of some of the continent’s best geography, all from a luxurious stilted hut. Said huts all come with wraparound decking, private infinity pools and flat screen TVs. There are10 suites and 6 two-bedroom villas in all and the suites all come with private decks and infinity plunge pools. As for the two-bedroom Villas, they both come with kitchenettes, dining rooms, fully stocked minibars, satellite TV, private pools and a decked outdoor dining area. All this, just 10km from the beaches, bars and boutiques of Plettenberg Bay.

tsala-treetop-lodge

How to Organize Your Tea Towels and Other Kitchen Tools
[Partner Content] 30 SEP 2016

As they say, keeping your kitchen organized is one of the ways you can have a simple and easy life. But why do many people allow their kitchen to be filled with clutter, filthy surfaces, and unwashed tea towels? If you want to turn things around and make your kitchen better, why not try out these following tips:

Tip #1 – Clear your kitchen cabinets and rearrange the content.

Take all the contents of your kitchen cabinets and check what the items you have there. Eliminate the stuff that are not useful, especially all the broken items you have there. When you empty your cabinets, create separate groups on the floor to make it easier for you to put similar items back in the cabinets.

Tip #2 – Put similar things together.

After emptying your storage areas, the next step is to group items that are alike. Put together your baking tools, your tea towels, and others. You can also group the dishes you use regularly, and those that are used occasionally only.

Tip #3 – Store items in clear containers.

Small clear containers are perfect for organizing small items in your cabinets. For example, put your packets of sauces, gravy mixes, and other stuff in individual jars or containers. Doing this will make it easier to find the things you are looking for in your kitchen. For you collection of tea towels, you can have them in the same keeper.

Tip #4 – Put lids and containers together.

It is recommended that you just throw away your containers that don’t have lids. You want to keep only those containers that have lids with them.

Tip #5 – Make use of vertical space.

You may install hooks under your cabinets so you can hang your mugs on them above your countertop. You can also attach a rack where you can keep your Luxura tea towel or your wine glasses. This can surely help save you a lot of cabinet space.

Tip #6 – Have dividers in your drawers.

Drawer dividers are perfect if you want to organize your cooking tools. You always want to have enough space for your other items. But see to it that you do not put all your stuff in there so your drawers won’t look messy.

Tip #7 – Keep a tea towel on your countertop.

Every kitchen needs tea towels. These towels are very useful in so many ways. Luxura cotton tea towels are also available in a variety of colors and patterns, so you can choose what will make your kitchen more attractive.

cotton-tea-towels

How to Tell If a Girl Wants to Be Kissed
[Partner Content] 27 SEP 2016

Probably, the toughest part of every first date is the moment when you should say goodbye. Romantic dates should end with kissing, right? But what if she doesn’t feel like it and your kiss will just scare her off? Or what if she does feel like it but you fail to notice? Before you go for a kiss you should quickly analyze your date and decide whether there was a connection between you two. If you think that you managed to get her interested in you and melt her heart, have a closer look at her by paying attention to small details. Russian Brides Dating Site has prepared the list of subtle signs signaling your woman might want you to kiss her.

Couple kissing

Communication. First of all, review your date and gauge the level of her interest in you and your conversation. If a girl doesn’t initiate topics and seems rather indifferent, it means she is not that interested in you and consequently in a kiss. What’s the solution? Just say goodbye without kissing her. But if she seems to be having a great time with you, she expects a goodnight kiss.

Touching. Watch your date’s reaction when you touch her accidentally or on purpose. If she doesn’t take her hand away or doesn’t step back from you, she likes it. This is the sign that she will not push you away when you lean in to kiss her. If she tries to keep a safe distance between you during the date, it’s better to end your first date without kissing.
Eye contact. Now, let’s get to the part where you stand in front of each other at the end of your date. Pay attention to how she looks at you. If she maintains a steady eye contact, then suddenly shifts her gaze to your lips, and then looks you in the eyes again, she’s ready to be kissed.

Lips. Apart from looking at your lips, she’ll subconsciously start licking and biting hers as if preparing them for an upcoming kiss. This isn’t a surefire sign since she might lick her lips just out of nervousness. You should look for other signs to be sure she wants it.

Submissive looks. If a woman feels man’s superiority, it will make her behave in a girlish way. Her body language will communicate her inner state: she’ll lower her eyes and then look up at you in a charming or flirtatious way. It means that she likes you and she is ready to surrender in your arms.

Primping. Another sign that your date is ready for a kiss is her attempts to appear more attractive to you. For this, she will adjust her hair, primp her clothes, or play with her accessory to get your attention. She may also touch her face and even apply some lipstick in front of you.

Distance. One of the best ways to understand whether a woman doesn’t mind kissing is to test the waters first. People have their personal zones where they let only those people who they are comfortable with. Kissing means penetrating all zones and becoming intimately close. To know that she is ready for such closeness, just move forward to her. If she doesn’t step back, she’s OK with that proximity. Then, step back and watch her reaction: if she makes a step forward, she’s romantically drawn to you. Lean in and go for a kiss.

A note on Apple’s Timing
[Partner Content] 14 SEP 2016

Amazing timing for Apple, am I right? As we are approaching the 16th of September, I just had to mention what’s going on in the news. Apple certainly struck it lucky in terms of the timing of their iPhone 7 and 7 plus devices hitting the shelves!

iphone-7-plus-silver

After all, it’s only been a short while since they revealed their wireless Airpods which got absolutely ridiculed. OK, fair enough, absolutely ridiculed might be exaggerating a little too much, but having gone on for about 5 months talking about how brave it is to go wireless across the board with their new phones, the very first, perfect, accessory that Apple offers for these wireless headphones are… wires! You really can’t make this stuff up.

Nevertheless, you have to give it to them. They have great timing.

Around the same time as when the first Airpod news starts spreading, Samsung had a serious exploding battery issue and needed to recall about 2.5 million waterproof high-end Galaxy Note 7 devices from about 10 countries – and are now dealing with the fallout of this across the board.

Seriously though, the iPhone 7 really does look to provide some serious upgrades on the already well performing iPhone 6/6s. If you are a fan of the 6s, moving up to the 7 is going to be a smooth transition as it basically is the “case of ‘fast’ versus ‘stupidly fast’” marking the difference between them. The Apple A10 Fusion chipset really is taking it to the next level in terms of performance and usability.

True, speed isn’t everything, but the side-effects of the increased speed are actually increased longevity and an overall positive shift in user interface with the device. You don’t have to go far back in time to find smartphones that had really clunky interfaces and performance so bad that one could barely play… Angry Birds, for example. These upgrades should really allow for the gamers out there to hit the sweet spot!

So yes, thanks to Samsung’s blunder, Apple’s timing worked out just right!

Why Pokémon Go Turned Out a Big Hit
[Partner Content] 10 AUG 2016

It doesn’t matter if you’ve not downloaded Niantic Lab’s Pokémon Go, you must have heard of it. Such is the near ubiquitous nature of the game. There have been millions of downloads, thousands of headlines, thousands of memes and hundreds of brands scrambling to align and partner with the brand. What are the ingredients that have pushed Pokémon Go to a viral and financial success?

pokemon go on phone

Mobile Technology

The first main ingredient for Pokémon Go’s success was launching the game on mobile. At a time when the number of smartphone owners continues to soar around the globe, this was a smart move.

Smartphone technologies of years past were already good enough to allow high level mobile gaming. From first person shooters to mobile casinos, there was no limit. Some of the best mobile casinos, including those on www.casinoroller.co, had super realistic casino games that only endeared users further to their smartphones.

Improvements in technology brought us mobile apps as well as augmented and virtual reality. Pokémon Go tapped into these by using computer generated sensory input to display on a smartphone, virtual Pokémon in physical, real-world environments. This gave users a fascinating experience.

Nostalgic appeal

Pokémon first launched 20 years ago and in that time, they have amassed millions of fans. The game launching this year therefore resonated with older millennials who enjoyed Pokémon gaming on their Game Boy as well as younger people who have only lived in a world of smartphones, internet and mobile apps. The two demographics made for more success than you would expect from a typical modern day game.

A blend of physical and digital

Location-based technologies are becoming more mainstream so the relationship between the physical and digital world will only grow. Pokémon Go, however, has been able to blend the physical and digital on a wider scale. First, they released the game during the nicest days of summer. Secondly, they got many business owners to tap into the phenomenon by inviting players into their establishment. Customers are offered discounts for Pokémon caught whilst being encouraged to play more.

All embracing mechanics and design

The external forces discussed already are not the only reasons for the success of Pokémon Go. The design and mechanics are also key contributors. Pokémon Go as a game prioritises time above skill or ability. This means a 40-year old player than hasn’t been a regular smartphone gamer has the same chances of success as a 20-year old gaming wizard. The game features a balanced environment where users can work together and help one another to succeed.

Modern day video games have a competitive edge which can discourage casual players and force them to quit a game minutes after downloading and starting. However, Pokémon Go does not have this problem because you don’t need any special skills to capture a Pokémon and you don’t have to be the first player out of the gate. This has turned the game into a welcoming one for both newbies and veterans.

Pokémon Go’s success therefore can be attributed to a perfect blend of various factors that encourages collaboration and exploration instead of competition and strong emphasis on gaming skills.

The Recipe of the Wonderful Family Holidays
[Partner Content] 07 JUN 2016

The Recipe of the Wonderful Family Holidays. (Guest post courtesy of Karl Wittgenstein)


Of course, we all love holidays and vacations. Many of us went camping with friends or went to the sea. However, family holidays are a little different, especially if you already have a child; it must become more responsible and, let’s say – “grown-up”.

Holidays spent with family are wonderful! You get to spend all your free time with people who take first place in your heart, so such vacation just can’t disappoint you, but it still should be approached seriously and planned. Before a note of independence was always present in your actions. However, now you need to take into account preferences of each member of the family, even the youngest ones; after all, the best family holiday means comfort, fun, and pleasure for the whole family, without exceptions.

How to spend your family vacation?

For sure, it is high time to think how to spend your long-awaited family vacation. Since we all are waiting for the summer to pack suitcases and finally have some rest – you do not want to spend time needlessly and realize after a while that it was not what you wanted.

For example, mom would like to distract from everyday problems. Dad wishes to forget about office routine, and children have an overwhelming desire to have fun and see something new.

pink car in the desert

Types of family vacations

There are different variations of family vacation options, so before planning your holidays try to decide which one from the following is more suitable for you:

  • Active or passive;
  • Winter or summer;
  • Vacation at home or abroad;
  • Outdoor recreation or cultural activities (trips to museums and sightseeing);
  • Family camping;
  • Vacation in sanatorium / boarding house;
  • Sea cruise;
  • Hunting, fishing, entertainment clubs, bowling, etc.

Family holidays abroad

Without any exaggeration, you should take responsibility for the choice of country and resort. This type of holiday favorably affects all family members and especially children since at their age they are extremely curious and can easily adapt to new surroundings. At some point in their lives, they will have to deal with many different people, and sometimes with foreigners as well, so by arranging a trip to another country you give them the opportunity to broaden their horizons, learn the new culture and become more sociable.

Plan your trip in advance.

If you are a student complete your homework or use essay writing service. You will need to choose how you want to organize your flight and accommodation. On the one hand, it is better to leave all worries to some travel agency and don’t overload yourself with planning and booking because such agencies will normally take care of everything. On the other hand, it is cheaper to organize everything yourself using the Internet. Nevertheless, if you choose the second option, you have to do everything right and make sure that you didn’t miss anything important. A trip organized through a travel agency will be a bit more expensive. However, if you take into account the fact that everything will be organized on the highest level and all you need to do is simply pay for these services and enjoy your vacation, it doesn’t seem such a bad idea!

Winter family vacation

Winter vacation can be divided into two types: it can be a trip to warmer countries to enjoy the sun while it’s cold at your home, or, on the contrary, you can enjoy all beauty of winter landscape during your holidays. Both of these options have some advantages.

Choosing a place to relax in winter, keep in mind that children need a warm room with all necessary conditions and regular meals; for fun activities, you can choose skiing, walking in the mountains, skating, snowboarding, etc.

Conclusion

As at the end, I would like to add: No matter what type of holiday you choose. Let it be a family vacation on a weekend in nature, in a boarding house or a sea cruise; most importantly is that you spend all the time together, enjoying a joint vacation!


Guest Post by: Karl Wittgenstein blogger, freelance writer and traveler. Nowadays Karl likes to write custom essays. Karl believes that the best vacations are ones spent with beloved people.