Zipping Zebra's Blog
Cape Town never gets old

After ten years in Cape Town, the city hasn’t even started to bore me. But when my family announced they’d visit me for the fifth time it got me thinking though: what to show these regular visitors? What is there to do for my sister’s daughter Iris (just a few months short of 2 years old)? They like to see something new everyday they are here and I wanted to give them just that.
Looking back at their 3 week “summer holiday in spring” the concerns proved to be unnecessary. Cape Town has so much on offer, for everyone – from young first time visitors like Iris to frequent flying family members and even residents! 
Iris felt beach sand under her tiny feet for the first time at the aptly named beach resort of Strand (which means ‘beach’ in Afrikaans and Dutch).
While we stood in awe of breaching whales, she looked up at the clear blue sky in amazement “Look. Moon! Moon!” Iris reminded us of the simple beauty of seeing both the moon and the sun on a clear sunny day. While we enjoyed the panoramic views over Table Mountain, Iris went on her knees to pick some of the brightly coloured Cape spring flowers.
Despite having been there numerous times I am glad we decided to drive to Cape Point another time. Not only did it grant us the opportunity to take a nice family photo, we witnessed a sizable zebra family crossing the road. A first for me at Cape Point.
The Cape spring flowers were nothing short of amazing this year. We decided to ‘skip’ Kirstenbosch and visit two of my favourite places in the Western Cape: the Karoo National Botanical Garden in Worcester and Harold Porter in Betty’s Bay. Both were equally impressive and offered a rich diversity. Iris enjoyed watching the penguins at Stoney Point while at Boulder’s Beach we all were too distracted by a group of breaching whales to pay attention to the feathered main attraction. Cape nature never ceases to amaze or impress, often when you least expect it…
My South African wife was most impressed with the sighting of a large group of common dolphins playing in the sunset near Simon’s Town. Can one really get enough of these experiences? 
We didn’t take the cable car up Table Mountain but instead viewed it from Blouberg Beach and the Tygerberg Nature reserve, which in my humble opinion offers the most stunning views of the iconic mountain. Best of all, the park hasn’t been spoiled by mass tourism. As a matter of fact, we were practically the only visitors on a sun-soaked weekend day in the school holidays! The panoramic view encompasses Cape Town stadium, the V&A Waterfront, Robben Island and of course the iconic Table Mountain. You can clearly see the planes approaching and landing at Cape Town International airport.
I am convinced Cape Town and surrounds has something for everyone throughout the year but after a disappointing experience at a Big 5 park which I shall not name here, I have always thought the one thing missing is a proper game viewing experience. After a visit to Buffelsfontein along the West Coast I had to correct this point of view somewhat. During the ride in an open off-road vehicle we saw countless zebras, a huge herd of eland antelope, prancing springboks and most amazingly a group of gemsbok (oryx) on the run. Unlike previously mentioned game park, everything seemed much less ‘scripted’. Entering a cage full of hungry cheetahs flanked by guides carrying raw chicken cadavers was of course a little scripted but nonetheless an experience I will not likely forget soon. 
I go back to work reassured that I live in possibly the most beautiful and naturally diverse city in the world! Even though I live here, I cannot think of a nicer place to spend my holidays than Cape Town.

The Zebra and I

After spending 5 months interning at ZippingZebra’s Hout Bay office, I felt more than ready to hit the road and see more of the African continent. I didn’t travel from my home country Germany to only sit in an office after all – albeit a very pleasant office with nice colleagues. So you can imagine my joy when I heard I was chosen to accompany Zippy on our own Cape to Vic Falls tour! It turned out to be an experience of a lifetime! I got to experience many of the highlights South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe have to offer. I came back with memory cards full of photos and many new Facebook friends from around the globe.

Our tour started at Cape Town’s vibrant Green Market Square. Here Zippy and I met the guides and our international band of travelers: Germans, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Japanese, French, British, Chinese, Zimbabwean and South African people. And one South African zebra.
Our first stop was in the scenic Cederberg. Zippy has gotten quite accustomed to life in the wild but for me using the bush toilet and setting up a tent in the dark formed new but fun challenges.
I could write a book about the experiences we had in 21 days but Zippy advised me to keep it short. I was quite impressed with the included activities but also enjoyed the fact there were so many optional extras. Wouldn’t have wanted to miss quad biking through the Namibian desert dunes but Zippy wouldn’t want to be seen anywhere near those bikes and spent some time at our accommodation.

Sleeping on a mountain near Spitzkoppe under the starry sky was definitely another great experience on tour. Tugged in our warm sleeping bags we exchanged our campfire stories – some embarrassing, others funny but all of them very entertaining.
As the trip went on we gathered more experiences and plenty of stories to tell on future trips. White water rafting down the rapids of the Zambezi and an elephant back safari made it an adventure of a lifetime!
I have particularly fond memories of the two day excursion through the Okavango Delta. We used a mokoro (wooden canoe) to get to our camping spot in the bush, far away from any signs of civilization. With no cell phone reception and without the convenience of a supermarket but who cares… This is the Africa I came to see when I traveled to the other side of the globe! The international group sang around the campfire, we did bush hikes, a sunset hippo cruise and spotted an amazing variety of wildlife.  We also get to meet a kaleidoscope of cultures, from the San to the Himba.
Zippy enjoyed this interaction a lot although he almost stayed behind in a Himba village after the local children discovered Zippy makes a very nice toy.
The tour offered me an adventure of a lifetime and countless photos. I will even miss the bush toilets.
Also want to experience Afrika like Christina did? Take our Cape to Vic Falls tour! (There is an accommodated option for people afraid of bush toilets).
No Spring Chicken Tours

We have people of all ages and backgrounds working at the office. Ages range from early 20 to not so early 60. But our more senior colleagues are by no means fossils or office dinosaurs who spend their days off looking out of a window. Just the other day a female consultant well in her 60s told us about the highlight of her Garden Route holiday: slinging from tree top to tree top in a canopy tour! Others like to go hiking, surfing and diving in weekends. Our active senior colleagues, and the (grand)parents of our younger ones,  prove the only thing that is ancient about today’s senior citizens, is the stereotypes surrounding them. Or as one of our more mature colleagues exclaimed happily the other day: “Life STARTS at 60!”
This inspired us to create some organised bus tours for people over 50 who are still young at heart. The name came to us at one of our vivid lunch break conversations: “No Spring Chicken Tours!”
So are you one of those people who thinks retirement is not the end but rather a new beginning? Do you know people who have matured in age but not in spirit? Then these tours are for you!
We have a great 7 day Kruger Park and Panorama Route Tour departing and ending in Johannesburg and another 9 day tour ex Cape Town that takes you to the Garden Route and the Karoo. The tours are by luxury, air-conditioned coach and are designed so you don’t have to spend long periods in the bus and there are no strenuous activities. This makes them very suitable to those who don’t go hiking or diving every weekend!
Affordable rates from ZAR 4950 per person sharing. Or ZAR 5800 for single travelers. Includes comfortable accommodation, entrance fees and many activities including a game drive.

Sandra’s Safari

Our German marketing intern Sandra just returned from her trip on the Garden Route. Especially the horseback safari in the Addo Elephant National Park left an impression… 
“This is my first time in South Africa. Until now the only place I have seen was Cape Town. A recent trip to the Garden Route gave me the opportunity to see a bit more of the country. It exceeded all my expectations! Everywhere I went I met open-minded, hospitable people, I stayed at very nice accommodations and was overwhelmed by the abundance of wildlife. My personal highlight was a horseback safari in Addo. I love horse riding. Being able to do this surrounded by wildlife was an amazing experience, although at first a little intimidating. I was worried I’d upset or disturb the other animals. But my friendly guide Xholani took all my fear away. He provided me with a lot of information about every animal we saw, the history of Addo and some interesting facts about South Africa. Even though it’s winter time we had a lovely sunny day. The strong wind was a light disadvantage, because the animals can smell the horses easier and possibly run away. But anyway… it was an awesome feeling to ride through the game reserve, watching zebras gallop in front of you, antelopes feeding their babies and not to be forgotten the impressive elephants of course. I will never forget the sight of elephants drinking from one of the rivers in the reserve. While we were watching this group, suddenly another herd appeared in front of us. My heart was beating in my throat and my horse seemed a bit anxious too. But Xholani stayed calm and took a photo of me in front of the elephants before we galloped away. To explore Addo by horseback is an awesome experience – whether you are a beginner or an expert, you should try it.”

Celebrate Africa!

On this day in 1963 the African Union was founded. May 25, known throughout the continent as Africa Day, symbolises hope and unity. To us it is also a day to celebrate the plethora of natural beauty and cultural diversity Africa has to offer. Zippy and his colleagues feel proudly African and would love nothing more than to share its beauty with the world. We do that by offering laid back getaways to our local client base but also by organising scheduled tours that take you to the most beautiful spots the continent has to offer. Take our 20-day overland Cape to Vic Falls tour that takes you from Cape Town, to Namaqualand, the Fish River Canyon, the Namib desert, the Okavango Delta, Chope and Victoria Falls. Meet the people from different cultures in South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Namibia. Want to explore another side of Africa? Zippy now offers a spectacular camping tour from Kenya to Victoria Falls at an incredible discount of 33% (valid for departure on June 11). This tour includes the Ngorogoro Crater, Serengeti, South Luangwe and Lake Malawi.
Just want to celebrate Africa from the stoep of your luxury Kruger game lodge?  No problem! We can even offer you a 45% discount!
There are so many ways to celebrate Africa… You are always welcome to join the party!

Table Mountain Tribute

Table Mountain is one of the most iconic marvels of nature in the world. It holds the Cape Town city bowl in a warm embrace and has charmed countless tourists and locals alike. The Khoekhoen, the original inhabitants of Cape Town, called it Hoerikwaggo, the mountain that rises from the sea. Wherever you are in the Mother City, there ‘she’ is… Whether you are shopping in the Waterfront or doing a township tour in Khayelitsha. If you love Table Mountain as much as we do, please vote for it to be one of the New Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Also, feel free to share your favourite Table Mountain photos on our Facebook page… And tell us, where are your favourite viewing points for Table Mountain?
Some of Zippy’s favourites:
-Beaches in Milnerton area (Blouberg, Woodbridge Island, Melkbosstrand) & West Coast: the classic mountain + ocean view;
-V & A Waterfront: harbour + mountain;
-Canal Walk (near Milnerton): view from the top parking deck;
-Tygerberg Nature Reserve, Panorama suburb – view the mountain + city lights, also clearly visible while driving the N1 approaching Cape Town (keep your eyes on the road when you are driving!);
-Kogelberg Nature Reserve & Gordon’s Bay: view the mountain over the vast bay;
-Bo-Kaap: drive to the higher -Signal Hill / Noon Gun (note these are two different locations!): watch the spectacular daily noon gun fire (except Sunday + holidays) and view the mountain sideways from signal hill.
More suggestions and photos? Please share! The 7 new natural wonders will be announced on 11-11-11 in Zurich, Switzerland.

A priceless prize

Zippy just got feedback from Chris & Charlene who won our Inkwenkwezi safari giveaway. They are over the moon with the prize that enabled them toebrate their wedding anniversary at the beautiful game reserve. “It was an adventure to be remembered forever”, they let us know. “From our special marriage blessing on the Friday afternoon, to every game drive, each deliciously prepared generous meal, riding the quad bikes in the African bush, inter-reacting with the elephants and their trusty guardians, to falling asleep in our tent on stilts under the heavenly peaceful night sky – everything was perfect!.”
Chris & Charlene are very impressed with the staff and facilities at Inkwenkwezi, near Chintsa in the Eastern Cape. “Inkwenkwezi is a unique, special and extraordinary place, manned by dedicated, knowledgeable, friendly people.”
Inkwenkwezi’s main attraction, an abundance of wildlife, left an impression too. “We saw some of the big five up close and personal and the white lions are just beautiful”, the happy couple says. “We loved every moment, even to the shaking about in the land rover as we toured the game reserve. Thank you so very much for this invaluable experience; it was a priceless prize to win! We feel very lucky and blessed.”
Want to be a winner too? Please keep an eye on our competitions page.

Next stop: bliss

Like people all over the world, South Africans often complain about poor public transport. Although there certainly is room for improvement, taking a bus, train or minibus taxi can also be a joyous occasion. The winding ocean drive from Cape Town to Hout Bay surely is one of the most scenic bus routes in the world. It offers sweeping views over the Atlantic and takes you past the beautiful beaches of Clifton, Camps Bay and Llandudno. In season you are likely to spot a whale or two on your bus trip.
On Thursday April 8 the odds of spotting a whale were rather slim as the southern rights have already migrated away from our shores already, but it was a pleasant drive nonetheless. The light of the morning sun was deflected off the spray of the Atlantic, causing miniature rainbows in the surf. But the main entertainment came from a handful of church sisters who spontaneously started praying and singing. In isiXhosa they praised “Jesu” and condemned the works of “Saaatan”. They did so joyfully and with soul. Very soon many of the other passengers in the bus joined in, some of them drumming against the windows on the beat. It’s not the kind of spirit you usually associate with early morning commuters but we believe it is unscripted experiences like these that help make South Africa such a wonderful place to be in. They also make the 16,50 Rand fare excellent value for money…  

Below is a video of the bus ride. If you have any questions about using public transport in South Africa, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

06042011006.mp4 Watch on Posterous
Need ideas for the Easter holidays?

Still looking for ideas on how to spend the upcoming holidays? Don’t worry, Zippy can help. Our ever growing events calendar offers some great suggestions… How about the Oyster & Champagne Festival on the Bloemendal wine estate near Cape Town? Or perhaps you would like to check out the vibe (and the notorious peach mampoer) at the Tonteldoos Country Festival in Mpumalanga? The more active might enjoy running “the Two Oceans”, the most beautiful (ultra)marathon in the world! Or perhaps you would like to experience the mellow vibe at the Splashy Fen Music Festival, in the scenic Drakensberg?
Zippy is currently busy expanding the events guide to give you even more events! If you have any suggestions or want to know what’s happening in your area, please don’t hesitate to contact us…

Photo: SplashyFen
Zippy parties in the park…

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Like countless fellow Capetonians Zippy was present at the official opening of the Green Point park on Sunday. And what a lovely event it was! Zippy enjoyed live performances from acts including Idols winner Elvis Blue and South African pop sensation Loyiso Bala. The vibe was fantastic! It is not hard to imagine that the park, in the shadow of the magnificent World Cup stadium, will soon become one of Cape Town’s most beloved recreation hot spots. Zippy knows he will go again soon. He just hasn’t made up his mind on what he will bring next time… a picnic basket or two pairs of roller skates.