The 7 Wonders of old Cacadu

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Tuesday, 3rd March 2015

2015-02-12 08:32 Traveller24.News24.com

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The Cacadu district in the Eastern Cape is known as the World of 7 Wonders, which might be a bit misleading since there are many more than 7 things that make this one of the most wonderful places in the world. 

Situated in the Sarah Baartman District, it covers an area of 60 000 km2 of diverse, malaria-free landscape in South Africa, the region includes different biomes like that of the Karoo, natural forests, thicket and grasslands - making it one of the most diverse habitats and scenic places in the world. 

The newly named Sarah Baartman District has grouped together the must-sees in the area in 7 different categories. Whether you're on an adventure to explore all of them, or only after one place specifically, the World of 7 Wonders is certainly worth packing the car for, and driving off to. 

1. See the Big 7 in the massive Addo Elephant National Park 

Spend a day or a weekend in the third biggest national park in South Africa and catch some of the 600-strong elephants enjoying a mud bath at one of the watering holes. Addo Elephant National Park is home to the Big 7 including the southern right whale and great white shark. Apart from the game drives, you can also take a hike in the park, and sleep over in one of their lodges on the reserve. 

Over the years, many people have spotted some incredible displays of the elephants in the park's highly maternal behaviour, and the park has become famous for sightings of this nature. If you're lucky, you might even see something like this elephant cow and her herd rescuing a tiny calf from a mud pool

2. Ride, bike or hike out in the Baviaans 

Explore South Africa’s biggest wilderness area – the Baviaans and Gamtoos Valley. The Baviaanskloof Mega Reserve is a world heritage site and is rich in biodiversity, including seven of South Africa’s eight Biomes!

As the largest protected site in the country, the Baviaans area offers 4x4 enthusiasts and nature lovers the perfect surroundings for adventure. Families will especially enjoy this area, as one there are hikes varying in difficulty and range and splash pools are a plenty for cooling off. 

The Baviaans is considered a playground for adrenaline junkies of all sorts, and the challenge of the Baviaans always leaves you wanting for more. 

Annually, the Trans Baviaans Mountain Bike race takes place over 230km. This race is considered to be the longest race in the world. 

3. Get cultural in the culture capital 

Be a part of the biggest cultural festival on the African continent which takes place annually during June and July in Frontier Country. Grahamstown celebrates culture and heritage through drama, dance, music, film, student theatre, a craft fair, workshops and tours of the city and surrounding historic venues. 

It is one of the few major festivals in South Africa where you will find nothing but good, local South African products for sale and productions on show.

The Grahamstown festival committee is so strict in approving stalls that you will never find market vendors selling any poor quality, factory-made products that have been imported from north Africa and South East Asia. 

4. Go surfing in world-class waves 

Jeffreys Bay, more commonly known as JBay by the locals and surfers, can be found in the 4th Wonder and includes the surrounding coastal towns of St Francis Bay and Oyster Bay.

JBay is also home to the Billabong factory shop in South Africa, and you'll be sure to find a good bargain on surf gear, especially in the off season. 

Top JBay surf hotspots include The Supertubes, where the annual international contest - The Billabong Pro - is held. Head there and you too can surf in world-class waters! 

While many people from all corners of the world descend on this area each year to experience the water sport offerings, some visit for conservational purposes.

Cape St Francis is home to a Penguin Rescue & Rehabilitation Centre. This Centre focusses on the rehabilitation of African Penguins following injury, offering visitors the experience to see these animals up close and personal. Although the conservation focus is on this specific animal, the centre deals with all sick, injured or oiled marine birds. 

5. Experience the vastness of the Karoo 

The boundless and mysterious Karoo allows one to escape and connect with nature at it truest sense. The area is home to the Camdeboo National Park and offers history buffs an eclectic range of museums to visit including the Owl House in Nieu Bethesda - an artist hub found off the beaten track. 

The Owl House mesmerises visitors with sights of cement sculptures of owls and camels, as well as interior and garden decorations done in glass and wire by creator, Helen Martins. The Owl House is often seen as the best example of outsider art in South Africa. 

Also see: MAP: 53 Fabulous Farmstalls you have to stop at

Small Karoo towns and iconic farm stalls on the long open roads give this part of South Africa character, and you'd be a fool not to stop over in Graaff-Reinet for a refreshment and a view of the church. Willowmore also offers some of the countries best farm stalls, and a welcoming insight into what true Karoo hospitality is all about. 

6. Head into the Tropics! 

With more sunshine hours per year than any other part of South Africa, the Sunshine Coast is also home to the world’s tallest pineapple, standing at 16.7m high in Bathurst. This structure offers visitors a beautiful view over the valley where pineapple and chicory farmers grow their crops.

Other outdoor adventurers will revel in the ocean activities which include the annual Boat Race Festival in Port Alfred. 

The Indian ocean coastline in this part of the country is sublime. Big waves, massive sandy shores and the best part - warm water! You'll be surfing till the sun sets. 

7. Jump off the highest bridge IN THE WORLD! 

Adrenalin junkies can enjoy the 7-second free fall from the world’s highest commercial bungy – the Tsitsikamma and Langkloof area. The Bloukrans Bungy is also the highest natural bungy in the world and the area is renowned for its adventure sports.

Our beloved Miss World 2014, Rolene Strauss, also dared to take the plunge here, and says it was the most memorable experience of her life!

Water lovers can kayak up the Storms River Gorge with experienced guides, while nature enthusiasts can visit The Big Tree – a 100 year old Outeniqua Yellowood standing at 36.6m in height. 

The World of 7 Wonders is located about 700km from all major South African cities - Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg. 

For original article and photographers: http://traveller24.news24.com/Explore/WeekendEscapes/The-7-wonders-of-the-old-Cacadu-20150212

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