South African Travel Tips when Visiting Gauteng

Gauteng is the smallest province in South Africa, is also its industrial, financial and commercial hub and a gateway to southern Africa. It was here where the cradle of humankind is found, where gold was discovered, apartheid fell, the new constitution was written and Nelson Mandela was inaugurated as President. A hefty history for any place, but in Gauteng anything is possible.

A sense of excitement prevails in this technologically advanced, culturally diverse, vibrantly artistic destination which beckons the visitor with a multitude of opportunities to discover and experience its precious life spirit.

CLIMATE:

Situated at an average altitude of 1500 m above sea level, Gauteng falls in a summer rainfall area with afternoon thunderstorms an occurrence. Daily temperatures range from an average midsummer maximum of 26 degrees Celsius to an average winter maximum of 16 degrees Celsius.

SHOPPING:

Excellent shopping facilities ranging from exclusive, luxury or trendy items at modern malls to art and craft bargains at ‘flea markets’ and roadside stalls. Visit Sandton City, Rosebank (Mall, The Zone, galleries, Rooftop Market on Sundays), Menlyn Park Shopping Centre, Oriental Plaza, Market Square Precint (on weekend), Jewel City (for diamonds directly from the cutters) and Michael Mount Organic Market. Special purchases include designer wear and fashion items; jewellery (especially gold and diamonds); decor items and traditional African masks, craft items e.g. bead work and sculpture.

TOP TEN ATTRACTIONS DESCRIPTION:

Sterkfontein Caves:

World Heritage Site, known as the Cradle of Humankind, where our human ancestors walked over 4 million years ago. It is the richest site in the world for fossils of ‘Australopithecus’ (a lineage of hominid).

Soweto:

South Africa’s most famous township and the centre of the Freedom Struggle during the Apartheid years. Visit Nelson Mandela’s old home, Freedom Square, the Hector Peterson Memorial and other Struggle sites.

Johannesburg:

‘The City of Gold’ is a vibrant, eclectic city with a pulsating heartbeat. The economic powerhouse of the country, ‘Joburg’ or ‘Jozi’ offers not only business opportunities, but history, culture, shopping and entertainment. Visit Sandton, Rosebank, MonteCasino, MuseumAfrica, Newtown Cultural Precinct, Johannesburg Art Gallery and Melville Koppies.

Magaliesburg:

Small village at heart of beautiful region of mountains, valleys, rivers and indigenous woodland; enjoy fly-fishing and visit the country guest houses, lodges, art & craft studios, various trails (hiking, horse, mountain bike), Magalies Express Train and historical war sites.

Gold Reef City & Apartheid Museum:

Great fun is to be had at this family-friendly amusement park with countless breath-taking rides, built on an authentic Victorian Gold Mine site. Adjacent to Gold Reef City is the Apartheid Museum with its haunting exhibitions portraying South Africa’s turbulent history..

Lesedi Cultural Village:

An amazing experience of tribal dancing and traditional African villages showcasing the cultures and crafts of the Zulu, Ndebele, Sotho, Pedi and Xhosa tribes.

Pretoria:

Seat of South Africa’s administration and foreign missions, Pretoria is a stately city that bursts into a profusion of purple Jacaranda blossoms in October. Don’t miss the Union Buildings; the National Zoological Gardens, Aquarium and Reptile Park; the National Botanical Gardens; Church Square; Melrose House; Pretoria Art Museum and the Voortrekker Monument.

Hartebeespoort:

Against the backdrop of the Magaliesberg Ridge, the town and dam of Hartebeespoort offer the visitor water-based leisure options, an aquarium, snake park, roadside stalls, game drives and a cableway. This region is the last sanctuary of the Cape vulture.

Cullinan:

The world’s largest diamond was discovered in Cullinan in 1905 worth 3106 carats; visitors can go on a Cullinan Diamond Mine tour and purchase diamonds at the Cullinan Diamond Market; the town also has many turn-of-the-century houses.

Tswaing Crater Site:

where a massive meteorite hit earth more than 220 000 years ago, leaving a crater of about 1,13km wide and 200m deep. This area boasts 320 bird species and 420 species of flora.

12 Tips for the Corporate Traveller

Chances are if you are an executive in today’s business world, you have seen enough airport restaurants and ‘fasten seatbelt’ signs to last a lifetime. Regular air travel has become a standard part of the job for many executives, with meetings, trainings and seminars being held all over our nation and the world.

For those that love to fly, this is just another career perk. While for others, a root canal sounds better than being trapped in a metal tube 30,000 feet above the ground. Although you might not be able to control whether or not you have to fly, you can choose how all that travel will affect you.

Travelling comes with its’ own set of health challenges so it is important for you to be aware of what they are and what you can do about them.

Low Air Pressure

Even though the inside of an airplane cabin is pressurised, it is still much lower than what you would experience at sea level. This can have several effects on your body including clogged ears and swollen hands and feet. Because less oxygen is being absorbed by the blood, it can also cause dizziness or faintness, particularly upon standing.

Dehydration

Many frequent flyers are unaware that the humidity inside an airplane can fall as low as 20%. This is substantially lower than what most people are used to and can cause you to easily become severely dehydrated. In addition to leaving you feeling thirsty, it can also dry out your eyes, nose and throat.

Confinement/Blood Clots

You know how you have been told you should get up from your desk and walk around the office every hour to keep the blood flowing in your legs? The same goes for when you’re flying. Staying in one position for a long period of time, particularly in a cramped space like an airplane seat, can increase your risk of blood clots in the legs which can be fatal if they travel to your heart or lungs.

Jet Lag

Long flights that take you across time zones can leave you feeling disoriented, sluggish and even sick to your stomach. In fact, your body takes approximately one day to readjust its natural rhythm for every time zone you cross. You obviously can’t prevent jet lag from happening altogether but there are some things you can do to lessen its effect on you.

Food Choices

Airline food can sometimes taste bad or be bad for you. It is generally loaded with preservatives and unnecessary fat. So your choices are limited. It is important to eat well leading up to your flight and include lots of colourful vegetables, fruits and plenty of fibre to keep the digestive system in good working order. This ensures your body is loaded with the nutrients it needs to fight off any potential nasties.

When next travelling, consider these tips:

12 Tips for the Busy Traveller

  1. To combat ear stuffiness and pain, chew sugarless gum that will help your ears to pop. You can also pop them by yawning or swallowing.
  2. If you are prone to swelling, be sure to wear loose-fitting clothes and remove your shoes during flight.
  3. Drink plenty of water before and during the flight. Don’t rely on the beverage service since it may take a while for the attendants to get to you or they may have to forfeit service if there is severe turbulence. Always bring your own bottle of water onboard with you – where possible.
  4. Avoid beverages that have a diuretic effect such as coffee, tea and alcohol. If you absolutely have to have them, compensate for their effects by drinking water with them as well.
  5. Get up and move. Don’t worry about being the weird guy that keeps getting up. You’ll be the healthiest guy on the plane!
  6. Avoid crossing your legs. You should also avoid staying in the same position for a prolonged period of time.
  7. For long hauls, wear compression stockings that add extra pressure to your legs. You can purchase them at your local chemist.
  8. Start adjusting to your new time as early as you can. If possible, change your clocks at home a couple days before your flight to start getting your body’s sleep cycle closer to where you’re headed. If that’s not possible, set your watch to your new time as soon as you board the plane.
  9. Once you arrive at your destination, try to stay awake until your normal bedtime and stay in bed until it is time to get up. It may be difficult but will help your body to readjust faster.
  10. Take Melatonin supplements at bedtime which may also help you to fall asleep at your destination and helps regulate sleep patterns.
  11. Why not pre-order the low-fat food options online to ensure you get the healthiest meal possible.
  12. Oversized and overweight bags are a sure way to stuff up your neck or back so it’s a good idea to pack light and/or ensure not only your suitcase, but your carry on luggage has wheels on.

As you can see with some forward planning and by adhering to the 12 Tips above, will ensure your transition into a new destination or time zone will be seamless, creates less stress on your body, protecting you from lethargy thus producing a successful trip!

Racquetball Tips and the Rules of Racquetball

Racquetball can be played three different ways. Versions include Singles Play (between two players), Doubles Play (between two teams of two players), and Cut Throat, which involves three players. Tournament play usually involves either Singles or Doubles play. Regardless of the type of play, these are the basic Rules.

Play begins with the server standing in the serve zone and serving the ball to the opponent. To serve, the server must first bounce the ball and then strike it with the racquet. The ball is put into play after making contact with the Play Wall first and then passing into the rear half of the court. In it’s flight, the ball may strike one side wall, but no more. If it hits three surfaces including the ceiling or back wall before bouncing, the serve is not good (called one fault) and the ball is not in play. Also, a serve that does not carry beyond the Short Line of the Service Zone is also not good (fault). Additionally, the ball cannot hit a side wall, floor or ceiling before the Play Wall when attempting to serve. The server is given two opportunities to put the ball into play. If the server hits two faults in a row, the player returning serve takes over in the service zone and the original server assumes the return of a serve position.

To return serve, stand in the middle of the court (equal distance between each side wall) approximately one arm and racquets length away from the backwall. Return serve by striking the ball before the second bounce. The ball must travel to the Play Wall for it to be a good return of serve. The ball may hit ANY surface except the floor on the return as long as it hits the Play Wall before bouncing.

The Rally

Once the ball is in play, each player alternates hitting the ball until one misses the ball or hits an illegal shot. Players try to earn points or win the serve by putting an end to a rally. Often this is done when a player’s shot hits the front wall at its lowest point, causing the ball to roll out, rather than bounce back into the playing area (called a killshot or rollout). Points are also earned when rallies end with an error, or a “Skip Ball,” i.e. when the ball makes contact with the floor before reaching the Play Wall.

Once the ball is in play, the walls and ceiling can be used for shot variations. Points are scored when after serving the ball, the server wins the rally. If the player returning serve wins the rally, the result is a sideout, no points are scored for either player and the player who won the rally gets to serve. Whoever wins the rally always serves next. Matches are typically two games to 15 points and a tiebreaker to 11 if needed.

Hinders are stoppages of play, and result in the replay of the point. It is your responsibility to give your opponent enough room to hit the shot the way they want to hit. You must hive them a straight shot to the front wall as well as the angle, which would result in a crosscourt shot to the opposite back corner. Typical hinders are: A ball striking any part of the court, which results in an erratic rebound (fan vents, door knob, lights, etc.), Accidentally hitting opponent with the ball as it is heading toward the front wall, Unintentionally contacting opponent while attempting to make a play on the ball, Screening opponent’s view of the ball or having the ball pass between one’s legs. Basics to remember once you have started playing a game are: Only the server scores points, The ball can only bounce once, The ball must return to the front wall after being hit.

Some powerful tips for excellent racquetball play are Dominating center court will allow you to capitalize on every mistake your opponent makes. At center court you have maximum scoring options from effective shots and you can also cover your opponent’s best shots easier. However, there are times when you must relinquish center court. The rules state that you must always give up your position to give your opponent a fair chance to hit the ball. Also, Two of the best shots for enabling you to take control of center court are the ceiling ball and the pass or down the line shot. Both these defensive shots will require your opponent to move to back court to return the ball, thus allowing you to move to center court.