Text Robyn Alexander, Raphaella Frame, Glynis Horning, Leigh Robertson Photographs Robbert Koene, Gallo/ Getty Images, Shanna Jones, Maropeng, Anthony Smyth, Roy Reed/ © eThekwini Municipality, supplied
1. Discover flower power, West Coast-style.
Go on a road trip to catch the spring wild-flower display around the towns of Clanwilliam and Niewoudtville. And drive out to the fishing village of Paternoster, which has the best lunch options – oysters and bubbly at The Noisy Oyster, or Suzi Holtzhausen’s signature flair at Suzi’s Eatery and second venue, Gaaitjie, right on the beach. saltcoast.co.za
2. Become an orchid obsessive.
Buy orchids from Frank and Jean Wu at Bryanston Organic Market in Jo’burg: find them at Stall 9B. And once you’ve picked your favourite locally grown orchid, grab a bite of breakfast from one of the many fresh food stalls. bryanstonorganicmarket.co.za
3. Update your spring wardrobe while sipping bubbly in the sun.
Shop for one-off decor pieces, handcrafted jewellery and covetable clothing at The Hearth Fair. It’s held on the first Saturday of every month at the Stellenbosch Fresh Goods Market at Oude Libertas, so you can also stock up on organic produce, wine and tasty treats while you’re about it. thehearthfair.co.za
4. Get hippy with it…
At the White Mountain Festival (21 to 24 September) in the central Drakensberg. Pitch your tent, then tune in, turn on and drop out to acoustic performances by local guitar legends like Nibs van der Spuy and US country-folk singer Jaspar Lepak. whitemountain.co.za
5. Take the kids to the (sculpture) park.
The Nirox Foundation, situated in gorgeous parkland in the Cradle of Humankind, Gauteng, hosts artists and exhibits from around the world. Spanish sculptor Enric Pladevall will be in residence from late September and his Nirox show, consisting of 15 large outdoor works, opens on 10 October. Indoor works by Pladevall will be exhibited simultaneously at Circa on Jellicoe in Rosebank, Jo’burg. niroxarts.com, circaonjellicoe.co.za
6. Choose the cucumber sandwiches and the chocolate éclairs at high tea.
Umhlanga Rocks’ Oyster Box Hotel does both sumptuous cakes and savoury treats well. Served under rose-trimmed chandeliers, the spread (R135 a head) is as sensational as the setting, all accompanied by a pianist. oysterboxhotel.co.za
7. Embrace the outdoors on the revamped Durban beachfront.
Check out the stylish ‘development nodes’ created by top local architects for change rooms, loos, life-saving stations and a spate of new cafés. Admire it all from the wide, palm-studded walkway, whether on foot, bike, skateboard or colourfully upgraded rickshaw.
8. Shake up a cool Canary cocktail.
Squeeze the juice of half a lime into a cocktail shaker with ice. Add 2½T orange juice, 2T light rum, 2T dark rum and ½t Galliano, shake well and strain into a glass filled with crushed ice. Dust with grated nutmeg, and garnish with a maraschino cherry.
9. Go stargazing in the Cradle of Humankind.
Join Maropeng’s resident astronomer, Vincent Nettmann, on 25 September for a fascinating journey through time and space. The stargazing presentation includes a three-course dinner at the four-star Maropeng Hotel, starts at 6pm and costs R285 per person. (You can also stay the night, from R620 pp sharing.) maropeng.co.za
10. Boo the baddies at the movies…
Or catch a mind-expanding documentary at the country’s coolest movie theatre: The Bioscope at Main Street Life, Maboneng, in downtown Jo’burg. This great new venue will still be serving up the kind of flicks you just won’t get to see anywhere else. thebioscope.co.za
11. Say it with flowers.
We love NetFlorist’s clever new chalkboard vases bursting with gorgeous blooms, such as the Colourful Notes arrangement (purple Liatris, white irises and white roses) – great for quirky doodles and personalised messages. netflorist.co.za
12. Catch the sunset from Durban’s Moyo uShaka Pier Bar.
Perched above the waves at the end of the pier in front of uShaka Marine World, this clean-lined, glass-walled satellite of the African-themed restaurant serves a great mango daiquiri. moyo.co.za
13. Get your groove on to genre-busting African sounds.
The Pan African Space Station, or PASS takes place across various Cape Town venues and features a lineup encompassing the music of Cameroon to Ghana to Zanzibar and South Africa, with plenty of cool collaborations. Catch it all via audio stream too. panafricanspacestation.org.za
14. Go retro at the drive-in.
Pack a picnic supper and some cold beer and head to the drive-in. Sadly, the management of Velskoen – Joburg’s last working drive-in – have moved it to Hartebeespoort. But never fear: movie-goers will be able to enjoy the same excellent movies and delicious food that was part-and-parcel of the old Velskoen drive-in. To find out more call Johan on 083-728-9002.
15. Learn to play croquet.
With more than 20 clubs registered with the SA Croquet Association, you’re sure to find one close to home – check out the starter packages that allow aspiring players to get the gist of the basics. croquet.org.za
16. Stock up on fresh berries…
To pop into delicious salads and desserts at Hillcrest Berry Orchards, on the Helshoogte Pass between Stellenbosch and Franschhoek. Grab a bite at the restaurant, which serves country-style cuisine. hillcrestberries.co.za
17. Camp out with great local music at Rocking the Daisies.
This annual rock fest (4 to 7 October) is held on the grounds of Cloof Wine Estate near Darling in the Western Cape, so expect some winetasting between bands. We like the ultra-comfy ‘Caviar Option’ at the Kreef Hotel: pre-pitched, lockable tents with mattresses, exclusive hot showers … and room service! rockingthedaisies.com, kreefhotel.co.za
18. Feel the wind in your hair.
The highest point (literally) of a visit to Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium is a swing from its elegant 106-metre high arch – the only stadium swing in the world. Leaping off, you experience a 60m free fall to a speed of 120 km/h, then swing out dizzingly over the World Cup pitch in a massive arc – yee-ha! bigrush.co.za
19. Try the Tuttifrutti ice cream…
Or one of the legendary double-thick milkshakes at Friesland Milk Bar (043-722-3260) in East London. Originally a dairy in the 1920s, it’s been selling ice cream since 1948, so we know it’s good.
20. Go on a vintage-clothing ramble.
Not only a fun and recession-busting way to shop, you’re also guaranteed not to clash with colleagues wearing the same hot-off-the-rails number to work! Some of our favourites are, in Cape Town, Glitterati (off Long Street) and Afraid of Mice (The Old Biscuit Mill/Designgoods market); in Johannesburg, Rags & Lace (Jan Smuts Avenue) and Reminiscene (7th Street, Melville); and in Durban, Itz Mary in Bulwer Road.
21. Dig the Sunday Tribune Garden and Leisure Show in Pietermaritzburg.
22. Wake up and smell the apples.
The Old Mac Daddy Luxury Trailer Park in Elgin is the Western Cape’s new favourite spot for dirty weekends and creative-cell recharging, located in prime wine and apple country. The 12 vintage Airstream trailers boast edgily designed interiors with individual themes, from bees to trees to a Yellow Submarine. Or book Daddy’s Villa for a group of up to six. oldmacdaddy.co.za
23. Cast off winter lethargy by taking part in the Zoo Trot.
It’s a fun run or walk that takes place one Sunday morning each month (16 September) at the Johannesburg Zoo – so you can admire exotic beasts as you jog around the 5km route. jhbzoo.org.za
24. Plant a balcony garden.
Dreaming of the green outdoors but live three storeys above it? A balcony garden is a great way to bring nature into your urban space. Before putting on your gloves consider how much sunlight the space receives, and whether it gets buffeted by wind. Then pick a theme. Mediterranean plants (think rosemary and lavender) are hardy, and herbs such as sage, basil and chives are easy to grow.
25. Mingle with macaws and flamingos at…
Umgeni Valley Bird Park in Durban. Closed last year for lack of funds, the park was saved by the City for the World Cup and renovated. It’s always been a delightful spot, with its waterfall, lush vegetation and feathered inhabitants. End with tea in the Cockatoo Café.
26. Embrace your heritage.
Call it National Braai Day if you will, but Heritage Day (24 September) is all about South Africans celebrating our cultural diversity. You might be feasting on biryani and bobotie, or gathering pals for a boerewors barbie at home, but we highly recommend the braai offering at Mzoli’s Place (021-638-1355) in Guguletu, in Cape Town with lots of pumping kwaito on the side!
27. Make music the food of love.
Rope in some friends, pack a picnic and head for one of the Encounters concerts sponsored by Old Mutual at Emmarentia Dam in Jo’burg. You can expect a line-up of class acts; check for details and dates of upcoming concerts at oldmutual.co.za.
28. Have a whale of a time in Hermanus.
Check into The Marine Hotel, where rooms have full-on sea views so you can watch breaching Southern Right whales from your bed. During the Hermanus Whale Festival (28 September – 1 October) the town becomes a fun, crowded hub of activities. marine-hermanus.co.za, whalefestival.co.za
29. Paint your walls in spring’s liveliest hues.
Give your home the ultimate spring lift with a lick of the season’s freshest paint colours, highlighted in Plascon’s 2013 Colour Forecast.
30. Take time to eat cake.
Book a Saturday afternoon catch-up session with a friend at our favourite coffee shop, Wolves, in Illovo, Joburg. Call ahead to check if their famous red velvet cake is on the menu. wolves.co.za
31. Marvel at the view…
Drom your table on the terrace at Cape Town’s Rhodes Memorial restaurant (a local institution), which serves fabulous scones with jam and cream amid historical surrounds. Then take a relaxed mountain stroll. rhodesmemorial.co.za
32. Take the family for a frolic in Green Point Park.
A legacy of the World Cup is the brilliantly redeveloped public space around Cape Town’s new stadium. Apart from an assortment of sports facilities, the area includes beautiful indigenous gardens to stroll through, and all sorts of exciting future developments to make this a vibrant living space for everyone to enjoy.
33. Go on a shopping tour of the Jozi CBD…
With hip young tour guide Jo Buitendach. Jo adores Joburg and will bring every aspect of the cosmopolitan inner city to life for you – not to mention knowing just where to find great bargains, from fab fabrics to gorgeous bags. Ask Jo to include a trip to the top of the Carlton Centre so you can drink in the amazing view. pastexperiences.co.za
34. Catch a ride up Cape Point’s new Flying Dutchman funicular…
Before braving the elements – and gawping at the views – at this Cape Town scenic wonder. Factor in a visit to Cape Point Vineyards (not at Cape Point as such, but nearby Noordhoek) for a gourmet picnic and a taste of their thrilling Sauvignon Blancs. capepoint.co.za, capepointvineyards.co.za
35. Check out some (very) ancient history in the Free State.
Hike, birdwatch or mountain bike in the Vredefort Dome, the world’s largest verified impact structure (created when a 10km-wide asteroid smashed into the earth two-billion years ago). Then have lunch in nearby Parys (try Feast, 056-811-2397) and take a stroll through the quaint little town afterwards: it’s packed with art galleries and antique stores. vredefortdome.net, parys.info.
36. Have a bit of crumpet in the Durban Botanic Gardens.
The charityrun tea garden in Africa’s oldest-surviving botanic gardens serves the finest crumpets in town for just R15. Diarise wholesome outdoorsy events such as the Botanic Society plant fair (1 – 2 September) and Music at the Lake (30 September). durbanbotanicgardens.org.za