Kosi Bay is a series of four lakes interlinked in the Maputaland area of Kwazulu-Natal in South Africa. There’s no bay specifically, but the town, which is referred to as Kosi Bay is 30km away from the coast.
Maputaland is located in the northern part of Kwazulu-Natal which is nestled in between Mozambique, Swaziland, and all those gorgeous white beaches of the warm Indian Ocean coast. It’s a remote place of forests, lakes, bushes, and untouched beaches.
This secluded island paradise offers diverse tourist attractions including diving, hiking, and turtle tracking. The mild subtropical climate makes it a perfect location to visit all year round.. Tourists can explore and discover lakes and forests by foot, in a canoe, or by boat during the day. If you have ever been one to take interest in this beautiful place, here is a list of the best things to do in Kosi Bay.
Turtle tracking is usually offered in the evening during the summer months. Some accommodation facilities offer transfers to and from the beach. These excursions will normally last 3 to 4 hours, ending late night. But it is worth all the effort!
The turtles that are tracked include the giant leatherback and loggerhead turtles. These magnificent animals venture out of the oceans on land during the summer months of October toFebruary to lay their eggs in batches on the beach. Loggerhead turtles are endangered, so this is a once in a lifetime wildlife experience you shouldn’t miss.
Snorkeling and Scuba Diving
Kosi Bay is home to some of the best diving sites in South Africa. It’s filled with stunning coral reefs, crystal clear waters, and a rich colourful marine life.
There are a lot of places at Kosi Bay that offer diving lessons if you are still a beginner. If you do not want to go too deep or are not comfortable with diving, you can still appreciate the marine life by snorkeling near the shoreline.
Hiking at the Kosi Bay Trail
There are various Kosi Bay hiking trails to choose from, suitable for a variety of fitness levels. There are trails that take roughly four days to complete, but there are also flexible trails suitable for those who prefer a more leisurely hiking experience to just appreciate the scenery.
One of the most popular trails unfortunately fell into disrepair. It’s possible however to walk along the same route again, but the accommodation options have changed. On average, if you choose to walk the entire trail, you’ll walk for at least three to four hours each day. If you are up for a little fun on the side, there’s also the option to go horse riding, canoeing, turtle tracking, or a boat cruise.
The trail will expose you to some of the most beautiful landscapes, dune forests, deserted beaches, open savannahs and wetlands.
Raffia Palm Forest Walk
Enjoy guided walks early in the morning or late in the afternoon through the beautiful Raffia Palm Forest during your Kwazulu-Natal Holiday. There’s all sorts of things to appreciate during this walk, which include the harmonious chirping of birds, or perhaps a glimpse of the rare palm nut vulture. It will all depend on the time of day you choose to go on a walk. This is a highly recommended activity.
Kosi Bay is truly one of a kind. After exploring all these great activities, it’s impossible not to fall in love with the place. You will not regret booking a trip to Kosi Bay!
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South Africa is home to a wide variety of edible indigenous plants. The Botanical Society of South Africa is responsible for encouraging indigenous gardening, conservation awareness, and the proper use of indigenous plants in Southern Africa.
Planting some of these edible delights in your garden will give you easy access to fresh ingredients. If you want to use these ingredients in the kitchen, it is important to know what part of the plant can be used for cooking and how it can be prepared because some of them are only edible after certain preparation and in certain seasons.
Spice up your recipes with these these garden-fresh ingredients. Here is a list of 12 Edible Indigenous South African Plants for you to experiment with.
Wild Garlic (Tulbaghia Violacea)
This edible plant is great if you love making a lot of stews and roasts. It will also add a burst of colour to your garden. The plant shoots out striking purple flowers on top. In addition, the plant can be used in various ways:
The leaves can be used as a substitute for spinach.
It can help with fighting esophageal cancer and sinus headaches.
The bulbs on the plant can be used as a substitute for regular garlic.
The plant can be used to ward off fleas, ticks, snakes and mosquitoes.
Confetti Bush (Coleonema Pulchellum)
This herb can be used to add more than just flavour to your cooking, it also adds a sweet aroma. Traditionally used as a deodorizer, the Confetti Bush can be used in any savoury or sweet dishes — strip the little leaves from the stems as you would with thyme.
Also known as False Buchu, this pretty little shrub grows up to one meter or even more in width and height. They also grow faster and healthier when placed in a little bit of compost, drained soil, and when under a lot of sunlight. Take note that a bark or a mulch of compost will keep the shallow root system cool, which is very beneficial to the growth of the plant.
Garlic Buchu (Agathosma Apiculata)
This edible plant is superb for those home chefs who love experimenting with infused oils and making vinegar. The Garlic Buchu is a densely leafy shrub, which forms a single stem from the base and grows into an upright and bushy shrub.
The branchlets are covered with many finer hairs. The younger stems are usually light brown but eventually turn into a darker colour as they start to mature with white flowers that sprout from the tip of the stems.
When any part of this plant is touched, it releases a powerful garlic scent, which is how it got its name. Since the plant is jam-packed with natural essential oils, the oils in the leaves are used to manufacture various cosmetics, medicines, and food colourants. You can also munch on the leaves to get a quick fix of its organic healing remedies.
African Wormwood (Artemesia Afra)
The African Wormwood is known for its strong flavour, which is why it’s widely used in a lot of cocktails, iced teas, and herbal drinks. This plant grows in clumps, with woody and ridged stems reaching up to 0.5 meters to 2 meters in height. The leaves are soft in texture with dark coloured green leaves, similar to the shape of a fern.
This plant blooms late in the summer, and produces butter coloured flowers. The African Wormwood releases a sweet, pungent smell when crushed or bruised. Aside from it being used for cocktails, it can also treat colds, flu, fever, asthma, coughs, sore throats, headaches, and pneumonia.
Crushed leaves can be used as a poultice for wounds and sores, while rolled up fresh leaves can be inserted in the ear for a quick earache remedy.
Wild Sorrel (Oxalis Pes-Caprae)
Also known as the Bermuda Buttercup, Cape Sorrel, English Weed, Goat’s Foot, Sourgrass, Soursob, and Buttercup Oxalis. This effervescent yellow plant can also be found all over California. The good news is, the entire plant is edible and tastes a little bit like lemon, which makes it a great addition to fresh salad ingredients.
Technically, this plant is considered a weed so it will spread like wild fire in your garden if not maintained properly. It has a reputation for being hard to eliminate once it has taken over an area of land. Although it is difficult to maintain, it will still make a wonderful edition to your garden.
Take note that the plant is sour because of the oxalic acid present in the petals, so it’s best not to eat too much of it as it can be hazardous to your health when taken in large quantities.
Num-Num (Carissa Macrocarpa)
The Carissa Macrocarpa is a shrub commonly known in South Africa as the Natal Plum or the Num-Num. The berries are what makes this plant unique, and why it was given the interesting nickname. It’s full of delightful flavours, which is why it is used for making jams. The berries can be eaten raw and taste a little like cranberries.
For better growth, the plant should be exposed to salty wind or planted in a coastal area. Other than the fruit that grows from the plant, some have claimed that the plant itself is actually poisonous to humans and dogs. The berries can also be used to improve nutrition, and is very rich in Vitamin C.
Balderjan (Mentha Longifolia)
Otherwise known as Horsemint, the Balderjan is known for its peppermint aroma. You can use this plant as an alternative to mint leaves. You can add it to raw or fruity salads for an interesting blend of flavours, or mix up a batch of homemade syrups with it. Like all other mint leaves, the Balderjan has a creeping rhizome, with creeping erect stems 40 to 120 cm tall. The flowers are 3 to 5 mm long, purplish in color or white on tall-branched spikes.
This plant will grow well and thrive in damp areas like marshes. It has been known to help alleviate a number of health issues like asthma, respiratory ailments, and colic stomachs. It can also help with stinky breath, teeth whitening, a stuffy nose, and dandruff.
Sour Figs (Carpobrotus Edulis)
Also known as the Hottentot-fig, Highway Ice Plant, or the Pig Face. The Sour Fig is a creeping, succulent, mat-forming species. Although it is loved in South Africa, other parts of the world consider this plant as invasive especially in Australia, California and the Mediterranean, which all have very similar climates as the Cape.
At the top of it’s moist leaves sprout bright flowers which make it a pretty sight to enjoy in your garden. There are approximately 30 species of this plant and it grows delicious fruits that are excellent for homemade jams. The leaves are also used to cure a number of health related issues like sores. The juice from the leaves can be used as an antiseptic, or can be consumed for treating a sore throat and stomach issues.
Many-Petalled Jasmine (Jasminum Multipartritum)
Also known as the Starry Wild Jasmine or the Imfohlafohlane. It is a crawler and can grow in areas where there is a lot of sunlight or semi-shade. The plant produces a lot of white, star shaped flowers that are scented like a perfume.
The flower that grows from this plant is used for different teas as a flavouring, salad ingredients, and it can also be used for baking and potpourri. If you are looking to impress your dinner guests, the flowers make a nice garnish on top of a mouth watering dish. But it can discolour easily, so it has to be used quickly and fresh.
Aromatic Sage (Salvia Africana)
The Aromatic Sage is a aromatic heavy-branched shrub that is native to the Cape provinces, along the coast of South Africa. This plant can be found on rock hills and coastal dunes. It can grow up to 60 to 90 cm, with grayish round stems covered with hairs. When touched, the plant releases a strong scent.
A delectable herb to use in the kitchen. It works well with pasta, vegetable dishes, sauces, roasts, stews, and chicken. When eaten alone it is quite bitter, so only add a little bit of this herb into your dishes to add a dash of interesting flavour. To get rid of some of the bitterness, you can dry the leaves and store it inside a glass jar or you can add a little salt to the mix. If you are feeling creative, you can use the flowers as a garnish on your salads.
Wild Malva (Pelargonium Culullatum)
Otherwise known as Hooded Leaf Pelargonium, but more commonly called the Wild Malva. It is a species of plant from the Geraniaceae family. In the summer, this attractive plant produces masses of purple and pink flowers, which has been used to create a number of Pelargonium hybrids.
The Wild Malva is a fast growing shrub, which can reach up to heights of over a meter. The leaves grow in an upward direction and forms circular bowls with red tipped edges. The flower gives off a natural sweet scent.
When diffused, the leaves of this plant turn into a tea which can be used to treat stomach issues, while the crushed leaves turn into a poultice to treat sores and wounds. The leaves can also be used to treat earache when inserted into the ear. But be careful to not insert it too deep.
Aside from being a remedy for internal health related issues, the leaves can also be used to create a relaxing and fragrant bath to relieve tired muscles. Or add joy to your taste buds when making a salad or baked goods.
Tassel Berry (Antidesma Venosum)
The Tassel Berry is a shrub-like tree that grows up to 4 m tall with a roundish crown. The old stems are buffy grey in colour, while the smaller branches are scattered with brown pale grey lenticels with hairy twigs. The fruits are edible but not easily digested and taste slightly acidic and sweet, similar to mulberries. This plant is very decorative and is a great addition to your garden.
The Tassel Berry also has a number of other uses:
The wood of the plant can be used for building huts and fuel.
The fruits, bark, and leaves can help cure stomach issues
The roots have been said to be toxic to humans, but if you include the roots of the Tassel Berry plant into your bath it will help cure bodily aches and pains.
The wildebeest, also known as the Antelope of the African plains, is a mammal that lives all over the eastern, southern, and central parts of Africa. They are also called the gnu, which is sometimes referred to as the “fool of the veld” or the “poor man’s buffalo.” These marvelous, rugged, and graceful creatures prefer to hang out in grassy plains or wide open spaces. Every year many wildebeest take part in the great migration through the Serengeti, across Northern Tanzania and Kenya.
There’s more to this animal than meets the eye and we are prepared to feed your curiosity more with a bunch of fun facts! Here are five awesome fun facts about wildebeest.
Fun Fact #1: Wildebeest are Playful and Intelligent Animals
Wildebeest are one of the bravest animals in Africa. They are always moving and never stay in one place for too long. Wildebeest like to graze around during the day or night. They also like taking naps, while some keep watch for potential predators.
Fun Fact # 2: There are Two Species of Wildebeest
There are two species of these magnificent animals — the black wildebeest, and the more common blue wildebeest. The black wildebeest or otherwise known as the white tailed gnu has a long white, horse-like tail. It also has a dark brown to black coat and long, dark, coloured hair found under its belly and forelegs.
The blue wildebeest is also known as the white bearded wildebeest. Another name for it is the brindled gnu and it’s considered a large antelope. The blue wildebeest has broad shoulders, muscular chest, and a distinctive muzzle.
Fun Fact # 3: They live in Huge Herds
Wildebeest like to live in large herds, with adults of both sexes and their offspring. Life in the herd allows all members to feel protected against potential threats. So, when they are asleep or taking a nap during the day, some wildebeest keep watch.
Fun Fact #4: Wildebeest are Feisty Lovers
Wildebeest reproduce quickly and produce about 150 offspring every spring season. The herd is segregated into several smaller groups. Some of the most dominant males in the group perform elaborate mating rituals to impress all the females. Male wildebeest are referred to as the “clowns of the savannah.” This is because they perform many weird antics while trying to impress the females.
They attract their mates by rubbing their scent into the ground, or urinate and defecate to mark their breeding territory. This also keeps other male wildebeest away.
Fun Fact #5: Pregnancy Ends with a Single Baby
When female wildebeest get pregnant, their pregnancies last for 8.5 months. They give birth in the middle of the herd. 80% of calves are born 2 to 3 weeks before the rainy season.
Calves can walk very soon after being born. And just a few days after birth, they start running with the rest of the herd. During their first few months, they will suckle milk from their mothers. Their diets are milk based with grass 10 days after birth.
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Africa is home to many beautiful wild animals, stunning scenery, and all kinds of interesting things. The Baobab is the real representation of life in the African plains. This giant, strange looking tree grows in low-lying areas all over Africa, Madagascar, and Australia.
The Baobab has nine different species. It belongs to the genus Adansonia cluster of trees. There are only two species native to the African mainland, which are the Adansonia Digitata and the Adansonia Kilima. Six of the other species can be located in Madagascar and another in Australia.
The baobab tree can grow to enormous sizes and can live up to 3,000 years. They go by many nicknames as well which include boab, boaboa, tabaldi, monkey bread, upside down tree, bottle tree, and dead rat tree, to name a few.
It’s definitely the symbol of the African jungle. To feed your curiosity about this giant tree, here are some quick fun facts about the Baobab tree.
The Baobab Tree is also known as the Tree of Life
This massive tree is also known as the tree of life, because it has many useful properties. It acts like a huge succulent and its trunk is packed with up to 80% water. San Bushmen used to rely on these trees for water when the rivers started to run dry and when there was no rain. One baobab tree contains 4,500 liters (or 1,189 gallons) of water. The center of the tree can also give people shelter.
The bark and inner parts of the tree is soft, fibrous, and resistant to fire. It can be used to weave clothes and rope. Other parts of the baobab can also be used to make rubber, soap, and glue. The leaves and part of the bark is used in traditional medicine. It’s also a source of life for African wildlife. It provides food and shelter for a variety of species, from the tiniest insects to some of the biggest animals in Africa like the elephant.
It has a Nutritious Super Fruit
The baobab tree has a unique fruit that resembles an oblong velvet covered gourd. The fruit has big black seeds and it has a slightly powdery tart pulp in the center. There are a lot of health benefits that you can gain from eating the fruit and leaves. The young leaves can be an alternative to spinach, while the pulp of the fruit can be soaked and blended into a drink.
The baobab fruit is a super fruit thanks to its high levels of potassium, iron, vitamin C and calcium. According to some reports, the pulp has ten times the amount of vitamin C as oranges. It’s recommended for weight loss, skin elasticity, and contains 50% more calcium that spinach. It can also help the health of your cardiovascular system.
There are many Stories and Legends
When it comes to the baobab tree, there are tons of traditions and legends. The African tribes believe that the baobab tree once grew upright. Because it considered itself to be better than all the other trees, the gods decided to teach it a lesson. To stop its boasting, the gods uprooted it and planted the tree upside down to teach it humility.
Specific trees in other parts of Africa also have stories attached to them. Zambia’s Kafue National Park is home to one particularly large tree. The locals refer to it as the Kondanamwali or “the tree that eats damsels”. According to the legend, the tree fell in love with four local women, who rejected the tree and instead chose to look for human husbands. As a form of revenge, the tree pulled the ladies into its bark and kept them there forever.
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Rwanda is considered as one of the smallest countries of Africa. It is located just a few degrees south of the equator. The country is bordered by Uganda, Burundi, Tanzania, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Mutilated by perhaps the most ruthless post-war genocide and political drama of the 20th century, Rwanda has come a long way since its rough past. Today, despite many claims of low-key exploitation and human rights abuse, the country remains a reinforcement of hope for other central African countries trying to recover from an agonizing past.
Rwanda is considered Africa’s kick ass come-back country. Two decades after the genocide, the country has made extensive effort to promote harmony and opulence amongst the people, inspire clean streets, and enrich the country back to its illustrious natural beauty.
With its awe-inspiring landscapes, captivating wildlife, and lush green forests — it’s impossible not to fall in love with the place. Here’s our top travel picks for Rwanda:
Kigali Memorial Centre Genocide Memorial
The Kigali Memorial Centre is not a very scenic site but holds great historic significance. The somber building with gardens and a concrete mass of graves marks one of the largest massacres sites. You should consider visiting it to truly understand the impact of Rwanda’s terrible past, and how the country has recovered from it.
The display is thought-provoking, depicting the horror of the three-month long genocide, which wrecked the country in 1994. Personal photography, film footage, and personal accounts of the historic moment were all captured. 99.9% of the population was affected by the genocide — a painful past that makes the present kindness and positivity of the locals more significant.
Congo Nile Hiking Trail
One of the best ways to experience Rwanda in all its natural beauty is through a quick hike. The Congo Nile Hiking Trail is a famous route taking you to the edge of the country’s most alluring stretch of crystal clear water, Lake Kivu. While on the trail, you will experience thick forest vegetation, intense landscapes and rolling hills, which is how Rwanda got its nickname, “Land of a Thousand Hills”.
Volcano National Park
If you want to experience seeing mountain gorillas up close, Volcano National Park is an excellent choice. This small park is considered the safe haven for these critically endangered animals. The park is home to 10 habituated gorilla families existing in different parts of the park. Other than the mountain gorillas you will also get to see over 75 species of different mammals like buffaloes, elephants, giant forest hogs, bush bucks, and spotted hyenas.
It is also home to over 180 species of birds and 26 of these you can find in the Rwenzori and Virunga mountains. Other than wide variety of animals you’ll see in this park there is also the Dian Fossey Grave, Mount Bisoke, and Mount Karisimbi.
This palace was the residence of King Mutara III Rudahigwa until his death in 1959. It’s located in Nyanza, about 88km south of Kigali City. It was built by the Belgium Government in 1932. The museum is considered a cultural center that sheds light on Rwanda’s monarchy practice of the past 200 years.
Inside, tourists can view the king’s traditional seat. Unfortunately many of the other objects and materials of tradition were destroyed or stolen in 1994 during the genocide. In order to rebuild it back to its former 19th century state, other materials of traditional heritage had to be added. These include traditional cows also known as “lnyambo”, which represents the Rwandese culture. The museum also allows you to view the burial grounds of King Mutara III and his wife Rosalie Gicanda on the neighbouring hill of Mwima.
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