75 More Days: The Stadiums are DONE.

March 27, 2010

A Reuters report on March 26, said South Africa has declared all 10 World Cup Venues to be ready for the FIFA 2010 event. A FIFA inspection tour was held and all is well with the stadiums that will host the biggest event ever held in Africa.

Here’s a video that tells you about each stadium!

I found three very interesting facts about the stadiums.

* The Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg is the largest stadium in Africa. (That’s something.) It has the capacity to seat 94000 spectators. Interestingly, this is where Nelson Mandela gave his first speech after being released from prison.

* The Mbombela Stadium near Nelspruit is unique – it has 18 giraffe shaped roof supports! That is not all: the spectator stands have also been painted in zebra colours! And where is the stadium located? Very near the world famous Kruger National Park. No wonder it is wild. ๐Ÿ™‚ Here’s a picture by Chris Onderstall:

south africa wild stadium

* The Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg is unique too – the outside of the stadium has been designed to look like an African pot! The cladding and colours are such that there seems to be fire under the African pot. Cool. ๐Ÿ™‚ Another fascinating feature of this stadium’s design is that no spectator in the stadium will be more than 100 metres away from the action.

It’s 75 days more to go…:) And then the action will begin.

Click here to learn a bit more about the country that’s hosting it all.


Taj, Cape Town is Now Open!

March 25, 2010

There’s now another Indian Connection to South Africa (apart from Namaste South Africa ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) – Taj, Cape Town. On March 20, 2010, Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces announced the opening of Taj, Cape Town. Yes, the famous ‘Taj hospitality’ can now be enjoyed by Capetonians and visitors to South Africa!

Lets look at some interesting facts about this new hotel:

* On the very day of its opening, all its 177 rooms have been booked. That says something about the credibility of the “Taj” brand.

* The five star hotel has been built at a cost of R500-million with contributions from Taj, Tata Africa and Eurocape.

* The hotel is located near the city centre andย  has been built around two historic buildings. It took 2 years of construction and renovation of the historic buildings to build the hotel.

* The hotel offers 11 different types of rooms – all unique in their own way. There are Heritage rooms in the newly restored buildings and Tower rooms that provide an exquisite view of the Table Mountain. There is even a Presidential Suite which has 2 bedrooms, a massage and steam room, a fully equipped kitchen, office, gym and a top floor deck!

* As part of its introductory offer, The Taj, Cape Town is offering a special R 3500 (USD 474) room for two people including breakfast.

Here’s a video about the hotel.

I would love to stay in the Taj, Cape Town. ๐Ÿ™‚ What about you?

5 Things About South Africa That’ll Make You Say, “Wow.”

March 24, 2010

We’ve always known South Africa is amazing. That’s not the question. But did you know…

1 That South Africa has penguins?

Boulders Beach in the Cape Peninsula, South Africa has about 3000 penguins which can be observed from close quarters!

The first pair of penguins was brought here in 1982 and after that there has definitely been no looking back.

Here’s a picture of one these intriguing creatures.

2 That you can pet Cheetahs in South Africa?

Now we’ve always known South Africa is a treasure trove of wildlife. That’s no secret. But petting ?

Near Cape Town, there is a place where you can pet and caress a cheetah for a small fee! Here’s a picture of Namaste South Africa founder Subhash with a cheetah.

pet a cheetah

3 That South Africa’s premier city Cape Town has been rated the “World’s best city” by Telegraph?

Yes, Cape Town is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It has a table mountain right next to its stunning waterfront.

But who would have expected it to beat Sydney and San Fransisco in the race for the “World’s Best City”? But that’s that! Acclaimedย  London Newspaper Telegraph says its the best.

Here’s a picture of Cape Town’s Table Mountain.

south africa table mountain

4 That South Africa has the world’s best hotel?

The Singita game reserve, near Kruger National Park, was voted the best hotel in the world by the readers of a leading travel magazine (Conde Nast Traveler). Cool!

5 That South Africa has a bar constructed right inside a tree?

The Northern Province of South Africa is famous for baobab trees. And Tzaneen in this province has an entire bar located inside the tree. How does it feel inside this bar? I haven’t really been to that bar, but it must be fun!

Here’s a baobab tree by the way.

baobab south africa

South Africa is enticing.

Until next time, Good Bye from Namaste South Africa. ๐Ÿ™‚

What’s With the World Cup!

March 23, 2010

With only 79 days remaining for the FIFA world cup, the fever has obviously gripped half the planet.

How can we at Namaste South Africa remain unaffected? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Here’s a wonderful video based on the World Cup theme song.

I love the lines – “For the love of the game, we keep on flying.” and “No matter the outcome, we will be victorious.”

By the way, here are some interesting World Cup facts that Namaste South Africa dug up!

* The host team automatically qualifies for the World Cup. So it doesn’t have to participate in the World Cup qualifiers. However, this year’s host – South Africa is the first host team since 1934 to participate in the World Cup qualifiers!

* Zakumi is the official mascot of the World Cup. He’s a leopard with green hair. ๐Ÿ™‚

Where does Zakumi’s name come from? ZA is the internationally used abbreviation for South Africa. And ‘kumi’ means ’10’ in different African languages. “South Africa ’10 ” is what Zakumi represents!

* The match ball for the World Cup has been named Jabuliani. Jabuliani means ‘bringing joy to everyone’ in the language of the Zulu people. Here’s a picture.

soccer ball jabuliani

* The number 11 plays a fascinating role in this World Cup. The World Cup ball is the 11th World Cup match ball manufactured by Adidas. The ball features 11 colours. There are 11 official languages in South Africa. And the World Cup will start on the 11th day of June and end on the 11th day of July!

* This is the first time ever in history that the FIFA World Cup will be held on African soil.

Interesting, isn’t it?

Would you want to learn more about South Africa – now that the “World Cup” is being held there? Then you might like this page which lists the most amazing places to see in South Africa. ๐Ÿ™‚

Until my next post, Totsiens! (Totsiens means Goodbye in Afrikaans).

The Magic of Rovos Rail

March 20, 2010

On March 6th, 2010, India’s newest and costliest luxury train: the Maharajas’ Express embarked on its first ever run.

As luxury travel becomes more varied, exotic and satisfying than ever – let’s have a look at Rovos Rail – the most luxurious train in the world!

Here’s a video on Rovos rail:

Did you notice the suites inside the train?

Here are some more interesting facts about Rovos Rail:

* It has the most spacious suites in the world.

* One of the carriages of Rovos Rail was constructed in 1911 and then shipped to South Africa from Europe!

* Rovos Rail is called “Rovos” rail after its founder ROhan VOS who started it in 1989.

* All the engines acquired for Rovos Rail have been named after the Vos children – Brenda, Bianca, Tiffany and Shaun.

* Rovos Rail won the World Travel Award for being the “World’s Leading Luxury Train.” in 2008. It has won it 4 times and been nominated 6 times.

Interesting, isn’t it. ๐Ÿ™‚

What if you actually wanted to travel by Rovos rail AND explore South Africa? Well, you can definitely have a look at our Rovos Rail packages here.

One package that I love is an 8 Nights/ 9 Days package where you traverse from Pretoria to Durban and back and stop at every attraction on the way. Go for a game drive in Kruger national Park, one of the world’s best Wildlife Parks, watch the Big 5, shop in modern Durban, take a South African Battlefield’s tour, and let go at Sun City – Africa’s Kingdom of pleasure. Andย  do this as you travel from one place to another by Rovos Rail. I haven’t taken this tour yet, but you know what, I would love to, some day soon….

Here’s a picture of Rovos Rail, by the way:

rovos rail

Until next time, ‘bye’ from Namaste South Africa. ๐Ÿ™‚

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March 17, 2010

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