Some of South Africa's best-known mountain bikers are preparing to do battle deep in the mountains of the Eastern Cape during the three-day PwC Great Zuurberg Trek, which starts near Addo on Friday. Leading the charge for overall honours in the 200km stage race, and a share of the R100 000 worth of prizes, will be KwaZulu-Natal's defending champion Andrew Hill alongside new partner Chris Wolhuter, who hails from Wynberg. The TIB-Altech Autopage duo will have work to do as they fend off challenges from the likes of six-time national marathon champion Kevin Evans, who will be determined to shake things up in one of his last professional appearances before hanging up his helmet in September. Plettenberg Bay-based Evans teams (Biogen-Volcan) up with an on-song Pieter Seyffert (Altech Autopage), who claimed the runner-up spot at the nine-day Old Mutual joBerg2c alongside Hanco Kachelhoffer earlier this month. "The racing is going to be much faster and more competitive this year," said Hill, who won last year's inaugural race with Adriaan Louw. "We have got to look at capitalising on any mistakes or weaknesses we might see as the race progresses." Hill believes he will have a strong ally in Liberty Cape Winelands MTB Encounter winner Wolhuter, with whom he finished sixth overall at the sani2c earlier this month. "Chris has some good form coming into this event, which I'm sure he'll put to use out on the trails, especially after our bad luck with mechanicals at sani2c." Hill is on the hunt for another stage race win after a string of recent misfortunes that started when teammate Tyronne White crashed out on day six of the joBerg2c. The two were lying second overall at the time. "That was a serious rollercoaster for us as we had some very strong results and then it all ended very quickly." Hill said Wolhuter's technical riding skills would be put to good use on the challenging Zuurberg route, which also traverses the northern section of the . . .
Want to enjoy a stress-free vacation and some uninterrupted R&R? A yoga retreat gives your mind, body and soul the break it deserves. To help you channel your inner Yogi, First Car Rental has listed our top 10 Yoga retreats in South Africa. 1. Little Samadhi Karoo Retreat, Western Cape The Little Samadhi Karoo Retreat is a beautiful B&B overlooking the village of Barrydale in the Little Karroo. The retreat offers regular yoga classes, meditation, massages and even personalized Kundalini Yoga sessions for individuals or groups. Along with enriching your spirit, Little Samadhi strengthens your body with healthy, wholesome and, whenever possible, organic vegetarian meals. 2. Hearth and Soul Eco Farm, Western Cape Hearth and Soul Eco Farm in Stanford is a peaceful place set among the trees and mountains that provides a comforting retreat for meditation, reflection, healing and transformation. The farm offers a selection of retreats, often over weekends, with independent trainers in a number of disciplines, yoga being one of the popular choices. The farm also offers daily classes in Korean immune-system strengthening exercises, which are open to residents on request. 3. Bodhi Kaya, Western Cape Set in 217 hectares of the famed fynbos of the Overberg region, Bodhi Kaya gives weary travellers a spiritual home. The warm and welcoming centre has modern and comfortable accommodation steeped in old-world charm. Visitors can choose from a number of stimulating and spiritually-enriching retreats scheduled throughout the year that include fusion yoga, guided meditation and personal development workshops. 4. Blue Butterfly Retreat, Western Cape The Blue Butterfly Retreat is a gorgeous hideaway in the middle of the 400-acre Welbedacht Nature Reserve in Tulbagh Valley that offers an interesting mix of activities. Along with yoga, meditation and massages, visitors can also enjoy swimming in the nearby dam, nature walks and game viewing. The real attraction is . . .
‘Green’ is the word in 2015 and everywhere, people are trying to make a positive impact on the earth and the environment to preserve its future. Travellers are also getting eco-conscious and are taking measures to reduce their carbon footprint during their vacations. South African hotels are making efforts to preserve and protect the planet by utilizing and promoting green practices. To help you get your green 2015 started, here is a list of the best eco-friendly hotels in South Africa. 1. Go green in Cape Town Cape Town is pioneering eco-tourism and has a number of ‘green’ accommodation options to suit every budget. For a luxurious green vacation, stay at the Grootbos Nature Reserve in Hermanus. Grootbos is involved in a number of environmental projects and is invested in protecting the natural flora and fauna of the surrounding areas. If you are looking for affordable accommodation in Cape Town, book your stay at The Backpack. This trendy backpackers is located in the heart of the city and uses a range of eco-friendly practices from solar heating, to aerated taps and worm farms! 2. Enjoy the best of the Wild Coast Bulungula Lodge is an exceptional eco-lodge / backpackers located off the beaten track along the Wild Coast. The lodge is not only invested in eco-friendly practices, powered entirely by solar energy, but is also owned and managed by the surrounding Nqileni village. The lodge overlooks one of the most spectacular remote beaches in the Wild Coast and nature lovers should not miss the chance to stay here. 3. Hideaway in the mountains Located high in the Monk’s Cowl Reserve of the Central Drakensberg, iKhayalamafu (meaning House in the Clouds) offers you a slice of heaven. This eco-estate generates all its power from solar energy and hydro-generation; there isn’t a single electric line in sight to spoil the seamless views of the mountains. iKhayalamafu is dedicated to protecting the surrounding indigenous forests by removing all alien plants . . .
Greg Stroebel has joined the RE/MAX of Southern Africa team to spearhead the brand’s national expansion and franchise development. Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, says that with more than 15 years of experience within the real estate industry and franchising, Stroebel brings about a wealth of experience and value to the brand as RE/MAX continues to grow its footprint across Southern Africa. “It is a priority for RE/MAX of Southern Africa to continue to grow its agent base and brand reach over the next four years. We currently have over 2000 agents working throughout the Southern Africa region and we have plans to increase that number to 3000 agents by 2018. In order to accommodate the growth, we will need to open more franchises throughout the region and expand our market share within the real estate industry. This requires having the right people in place to ensure the success of the brand’s vision moving forward. Our goal has been to assemble the finest, most experienced team for RE/MAX of Southern Africa,” says Goslett. Stroebel has distinguished himself within the property industry with experience in both selling property and owning a property franchise. Starting his property career in 1999 in London, Stroebel initially worked as a rental agent, however a year later he had moved into property sales in central London. Moving to South Africa in 2003, he started working for the second largest property group as an agent, selling property throughout Cape Town’s Southern suburbs. During 2004, Stroebel presented a proposal to start the group’s development division, which was approved. A year later the group had over R1 billion in stock and a significant market share. Due to the economic conditions of 2008, Stroebel says that trading conditions and the property market changed and he was forced to make a career decision. “Most of the office was retrenched and it was a very difficult time to move forward in the real estate industry. At the time . . .
A strong tidal push, deep water channels as well as shallow sandbanks all had to be negotiated in the Keurbooms River the past weekend during the 5K Pulse Swim in Plettenberg Bay. Race organiser Kyle Harris got the incoming tide spot on and swimmers took to the 16 – 17 C water at Poortjies Beach, near the mouth of the Keurbooms River, aided by the strong tidal pulse and literally saw them flying upstream. Navigation became critical during the Pulse, as the shallow sandbanks were waiting, similar to sand traps on a golf course, for the unwary swimmers. Finding the channels and sticking in the fast flowing water saw veteran Eastern Cape swimmer PJ Duffy take victory in the inaugural Pulse swim in 56:33. It’s been a great year for Duffy who won the Shipwreck Swim in Cape Town earlier in 2014; as well complete the Robben Island Crossing. “It was a great swim and it fun swimming with the strong currents,” said Duffy after the event. Duffy, who was one of the representatives of the WWW Club, the crew who wear traditional Safari Suits to open water swims, said they will all be back next year. The first woman home was the formidable open water swimmer from Port Elizabeth, Rebecca Newman. Fresh off her victory at the 7.5K JBay Cold Water Classic, Newman stuck with Duffy the entire swim, to finish in 56:50. Jeffreys Bay swimmer JC Van Wyk finished 3rd in 57:08. South Africa’s two open water butterfly swimmers, Brenton Williams and Kyle Harris also completed the swim, flying the whole distance in 1:22:13 “Kyle knows the Keurbooms River really well, so I was able to swim off him and enjoy the visual spectacle of swimming up the river towards Stanley Island and the Outenique Mountains,” said Williams, who rates having being able to sight as one of the main advantages of swimming butterfly in open water. The conditions got the better of 8 year old Jesse Goodal, who decided to watch the swim from the comfort of her dad’s paddle craft said it was . . .
Former champion Kevin Evans and new partner Max Knox will be aiming to stay the course to victory in the nine-day Old Mutual joBerg2c mountain bike race that starts on the outskirts of Johannesburg on Friday. Evans, who rides in the colours of FedGroup-Itec, is aiming to make amends for last month's Cape Epic disaster where an illegal shortcut cost them an hour time penalty and their lead in the African jersey category. "Staying the course will be a relative term this year," said Evans wryly, "especially in a race that's now self-navigated. I can apparently hardly find my way around a marked course!" The 880km race from Heidelberg in Gauteng to Scottburgh on the KwaZulu-Natal south coast will employ GPS navigation instead of traditional route marking for the first time this year. "This could be the biggest factor to influence our race upfront," said Evans, who won the 2012 event alongside former teammate David George. "Whether it's a good change or not, we're sure to find out soon enough. But given my apparent fondness for 'shortcuts', this new format might just be right up my alley." The fifth Old Mutual joBerg2c will see 750 riders roll out from the Karan Beef feedlot and cross the Vaal Dam on a 400m pallet bridge during the neutral opening stage. The journey continues across the Free State before dropping off the escarpment into KZN and finishing on Scottburgh's main beach next Saturday. The last three days trace the world famous Nedbank sani2c route but Evans, a five-time winner, said the race could be won or lost from the outset. "In 2012 we arguably won the joBerg2c on the first stage. But I do think that endurance counts and you need to conserve over the nine days." With the national and world marathon championships still in their sights this year, Evans and Knox are set to adopt a more conservative approach. "From a form point of view, it's a bit of a balancing act but I think we're both on the same page in terms of what we . . .
4 days of sailing and 9 races later Blaine and Roxanne Dodds sailing for Knysna Yacht Club finally clinched the 2014 Boardwalk Hobie 16 Nationals - a title that has eluded them for the last three years of keen competition in Algoa Bay. The three days of sailing presented a range of conditions but Port Elizabeth saved the best for last. A mid morning start for bridge and officials saw the support team dotted around the still bay in the windless conditions whilst the fleet waited for the call for the final race which came at 1:30 pm as the promised South South East made it's appearance over Cape Receife and settled into 9 to 10 knots. An over eager start saw the dreaded Black Flag being raised for the restart and the slow jostle for the line began - two boats were adjudged over at the start; Andrew and Angela Ward from Algoa Bay Yacht Club and David and Rebecca Scott from the Dar Es Salaam Yacht Club earning them an OCS and maximum points of 31 points each. The Dodds pair sailed a faultless and conservative race - getting ahead of the second placed William and Lucinda Edwards and covering them the whole course. Belinda and Ryan Hayward slipped in between the Edwards' and Dodds' boat to gain second place and a clear winner was apparent with Blaine and Roxanne finishing the regatta on 13 points with the Edwards' 2 points behind and the Haywards' trailing a further 20 points behind in third place. The top Port Elizabeth based boat finished in 4th place sailed by Robert Archibald and daughter Alexa. Despite two OCS' Andrew and Angela Ward sailed to 7th place in the 30 boat fleet. The top three finishers overall: Blaine and Roxanne Dodds - Knysna Yacht Club on 13 points William and Lucinda Edwards - Knysna Yacht Club on 15 points Belinda and Ryan Hayward - Fish Hoek Beach Sailing Club on 35 points. Author: Alan Straton from ABYC. No of Images Uploaded: Three More Info link: http://abyc.co.za Twitter: Facebook: Images: For high res . . .
Two South African sailing teams completed a one-two finish at the recent Hobie 16 World Championships held in Jervis Bay, New South Wales, Australia sailed between 31 January and 10 February 2014. William and Lucinda Edwards finished in first place and 4 points ahead of second placed Blaine and Roxanne Dodds also from Plettenberg Bay. Both teams will be returning to Algoa Bay, Port Elizabeth to sail in the Boardwalk Hobie 16 National Championships from 20 to 23 March 2014. The keen rivalry between these two champion teams is expected to continue as they finished the 2013 Hobie Nationals also in the same one-two placings. Local sailor, Andrew Ward has been puting in time on the water and slimming down as he and his crew, Angela Ward look to improve their 3rd place in last year's event. Racing starts not before 11:00 am on Thursday 20 March and the Hobies will launch from Hobie Beach to sail offshore yet visible from the Shark Rock Pier and beachfront in front of The Boardwalk. Racing will continue each day thereafter - weather dependent - until Sunday when the new champions will be crowned. The Boardwalk Hobie 16 Nationals Regatta is organized by the Hobie 16 Class in conjunction with the Algoa Bay Yacht Club (ABYC) under the auspices of South African Sailing (SAS). Notes: Any media wishing to take advantage of being on the water can confirm daily with Paula Archibald on 0823736901 or report to the regatta office on Hobie Beach and ask for Paula who will organise a trip out for them. Alan Straton will be putting out a daily report with images. 2012 results: http://hobie16nationals.co.za/2012-boardwalk-hobie-16-results/#more-89 2013 results: http://hobie16nationals.co.za/category/2013/results-2013/ The 505 Worlds practise regatta is taking place at the same time - on a different course - and will feature some World Champions ahead of the staging of the 505 World Championships in Algoa Bay in 2015. Author: Alan Straton from MyPE. No . . .
Premier Hotels and Resorts, one of South Africa's leading independent hotel groups, has just launched a new package, exclusively for Passover. The package is offered at Premier Hotel Knysna - The Moorings, one of their top hotels and includes, for the duration of Pesach, a kosher kitchen (supervised by the on site Rabbi), a Shul on the premises and Seder accoutrements. Says Sigal Nassimov-Geva: "There is a large Jewish community in Plettenberg Bay and surrounds and with our Knysna hotel being so accessible, we felt that by offering our Passover packages at this property, we would make observing this tradition simple for families who want to celebrate with convenience and style. This package not only offers amenities to make Pesach as meaningful as possible, it also gives families the opportunity to relax and unwind at a gorgeous hotel in one of the most beautiful parts of South Africa." The full programme includes: Seder accoutrements including Shemurah Matza, wine and more A Shul on the premises A tour of the Garden Route during Chol Hamoed Daily children's entertainment Packages are available from April 14th to 23rd and include a long weekend, Seder only or the full week. Anyone interested can contact the Premier Hotel Knysna at 043 705 5033 for individual packages. More information is available at www.premierhotels.co.za or via firstname.lastname@example.org. Ends. Issued by MANGO-OMC on behalf of Premier Hotels and Resorts. For more information or comment, please contact email@example.com or 021 447 8048. About Premier Hotels and Resorts Since 1991 Premier Hotels and Resorts has built a fine reputation offering a range of service-orientated luxury hotels and conference venues carefully situated in the mainstream of regional business and travel destinations in South Africa. Premier Hotels & Resorts is one of South Africa’s growing independent groups, focusing on key destinations with properties in Cape Town, Knysna, East . . .
With Cape Town selected as World Design Capital this year, the Cape Craft & Design Institute (CCDI) reminds craft producers and designers of its value-added, highly affordable business, creativity and product support training programme. The not-for-profit CCDI was set up in 2001 to promote and grow the economic sustainability of the Western Cape craft and design sector. Its wide range of workshops, tried and tested over many years, help to smarten up business skills, stir creativity and refine products. Even better, the only cost is a registration fee of R30 per Cape Town workshop, for enterprises that sign up (free) with the CCDI. There is no charge for rural workshops. The highly-subsidised training programme is made possible by funding from the provincial departments of Economic Development & Tourism and Cultural Affairs & Sport; the national Department of Trade & Industry; and the City of Cape Town. The courses are mainly held at the CCDI’s Creative Enterprise Training Unit in central Cape Town. This quarter, the topics include (among others) an introduction to drawing, getting ready to retail your product, and techniques to stimulate creativity during the innovation process. The CCDI also offers a user-friendly environment called the Product Support Space. Here, during free one-on one consultations of 50 minutes each, users can experiment and progress from idea conceptualisation to physical manifestation. Tools and processes range from design computers to 3D printing and scanning, digital embroidery to laser engraving and cutting. Out-of-town craft producers and designers also benefit from the organisation’s service offering. The CCDI is running a two-day workshop (at no charge) in 12 towns in the province during February and March. These will introduce participants to biomimicry and design thinking: getting inspiration from nature in order to design answers to human problems. The dates for the rural workshops are George (3-4 . . .