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15 April 2024

South Africa - Garden Route - Sedgefield


Myoli Beach Sedgefield

We recently visited Sedgefield, a town along the N2 and Garden Route of South Africa

Somehow, one always seems to bypass Sedgefield in a hurry to get to the more well known towns of Knysna or Plettenberg Bay. This time we stayed and what a surprise it turned out to be. Don't be put off by the endless row of shops lining the N2 - there is so much more to explore in this town.

We were amazed with both the history and the mosaics in this town.

The Sedgefield website is extremely well done and is well worth a read to discover just how much there is to this "Slow Town" 


Swartvlei Estuary

We particularly loved the amazing beaches in Sedgefield - from Gericke's Point all the way to Cola Beach one can walk for miles and miles, especially at low tide.
The hike to Gericke's Point is approx. 4km and should be done at low tide. Offering lovely views and the highest fossil dunes in South Africa. It is one of those hikes that everybody needs to do at least once.
Swartvlei Beach is ideal for surfing, horse riding, running, angling or swimming
Sedgefield Lagoon mouth is on the estuary on the swimmers here love to ride with the current down towards the sea! When we first saw this we though the guy was in trouble but we soon realised that this is a favourite sport for the locals! 
Myoli Beach has a restaurant very close by - this is extremely popular. Kite surfing and fishing are popular here as well as being a sun-tanning spot during the summer months. 
For a really long run or walk, try Cola Beach - it's gorgeous, quiet and goes on forever!

We also loved walking along the river banks at low tide - accessed from The Island. Bird life was interesting and the views are lovely. We did get sucked into a very muddy patch - I nearly lost my shoes but I managed to get out without too much damage other than extremely muddy shoes and ankles!

The Saturday Market is well known and a must visit if you are in the area on a Saturday. It gets very busy so go early. 
We found the mosaics fascinating and these are found all over the town - read the history behind this project on the website link above.

All in all, an interesting and beautiful area of the Garden Route of South Africa - take some time to branch off the N2 and enjoy the peace and natural beauty that surrounds the town of Sedgefield. 

Photographers will also enjoy the various moods and lighting conditions over the estuary and the beaches - it's a fun place to visit once you realise that there is more to this Garden Route town than meets the eye from the N2!

    For Accommodation Cape Town, South Africa

South Africa Garden Route - Buffalo Bay and Goukamma Nature Reserve


Buffalo Bay 

There are many places to visit on the Garden Route - on this day we visited Buffalo Bay, off the N2 towards Knysna. The wind was howling in "Buffs" as the surfers love to call this place. But the hardy souls had already claimed their "braai" places along the coast despite the wind! Most of the benches have surfing boards attached to them and these are all beautifully decorated. 

This bay is apparently surfers paradise but there is a "Shark Kit" as you go down to the beach.

This was most probably installed after a shark attack in 2015 when a young student lost a leg.

Whether the advice below is good or not,  

"As the shark swims around you, keep your head on a swivel and try to maintain eye contact. “Sharks are ambush predators,” Peirce explained. “If you're turning around and facing it the whole time while it circles you, it's not going to be half as comfortable as if it's able to sneak up from behind.”

However, if you are a surfer, you would chat to the locals and get up-to-date info and advice. 

Buffalo Bay 

The beach is very long and one can walk as far as Brenton on Sea, near Knysna if exercise is your daily "fix" on land rather than in the sea! As with most seaside towns in South Africa, many of the homes are holiday houses. There is a caravan park right on the rocky coastline - with amazing views if you can get a seafront stand. 

We really loved the holiday vibe of this coastal village, despite the crazy wind. People are friendly and those "braai" places just beg to be used while sitting on one of the surf board benches. There is plenty of parking and a large restaurant overlooking the bay.

Buffalo Bay

Goukamma Nature Reserve is just along the road back towards the N2.

There is a small entrance fee and the day we visited there was a large group of pensioners going to the picnic area for some bubbly, lively chatter and their picnic fare. It looked very inviting and a perfect place for a group outing.

Nature lovers can take a picnic into the reserve, or book a stay for a night or two in order to enjoy some of the hiking trails. 

Goukamma River

There are numerous hiking trails within the reserve and we watched as some hikers pulled themselves back across the river in the tiny ferry boat! It works - although maybe some muscle power is required!

Goukamma Ferry

"The reserve covers 2 500 hectares of dense coastal forest, including milkwood, yellowwood and candlewood trees. It protects the charming vervet monkey, bushbuck and bushpig, as well as porcupine, mongoose, honey badger and grysbok. This is a popular choice for keen birders, as the Goukamma River and estuary and the Groenvlei Lake provide a welcoming habitat for more than 220 bird species, including the rare African black oystercatcher. There are two indigenous and four alien species of fish found in Groenvlei Lake. Visitors enjoy the sight of the magnificent southern right whales between June and November. Bottle-nosed and humpback dolphins play in the waves throughout the year".

A great time to visit is in September/October when the first spring rains create splashes of bright spring flowers amid the fynbos. This is a year-round destination, as it falls between the Cape’s summer and winter rainfall seasons"


We loved walking along the river (park on the side of the road before you get to the entrance to the actual Reserve) as the views are amazing and the birdlife is prolific. At low tide it makes for a wonderful walk. No dogs are allowed on this section because of the bird life so please leave your doggie at home. The gulls were very protective of the youngsters and we really got told off by one of them. It was both funny and rather endearing to see this level of care from the mother of a chick that was already fairly big. There was no mistaking the fact that I was being told, in no uncertain terms, to back off.

Goukamma River Walk

The river walk was serene with only one lone fisherman seen on the opposite bank of the river. So, if you want to be in tune with nature, this walk is highly recommended. The views are awesome and it's a great spot for photography. 

Goukamma River

All in all, a great day's outing whether you are based in Sedgefield or Knysna, 

    For Accommodation Cape Town, South Africa

14 April 2024

South Africa - Touw River Boat Cruise - Wilderness


If you love nature and enjoy doing the options available in Wilderness (Garden Route,South Africa)

then a boat cruise up the Touw River is an ideal excursion.

Pass the reed lined wetlands, gasp at the luxury homes along the estuary or look out for the wild birds.

You will also see the lagoon where it meets the sea, then the really peaceful section goes past the Fairy Knowe Hotel, the Ebb and Flow Nature Reserve (camping and rondavels) and further up where there is complete silence.

Bookings can be made online @ 

The river is also ideal for canoeing - good exercise in a peaceful, natural area.

    For Accommodation Cape Town, South Africa

23 October 2023

South Africa - Riebeek Kasteel


Riebeek Kasteel is an interesting and quirky town nestled in a beautiful valley in the Swartland region of South Africa. Ideal for either a day's trip from cape Town or an extended week-end visit.

The Swartland Wine and Olive route includes towns such as Piketberg, Koring berg, Malmesbury, Riebeek West and Riebeek Kasteel. Olive farming started in the late 1980's and is now one of the primary olive oil producing regions of South Africa.

Royal Hotel Riebeek Kasteel

The early settlers called this area :Het Zwarleland (the black land) because of the Renosterbos (Rhino bush) that dotted the landscape making everything look dark grey. They planted crops such as wheat, vegetables and vineyards for their own use. At that stage nobody would ever have dreamed that these original vineyards would put the Swartland region on the global map.

The area around Riebeek Kasteel, Riebeek West, Gouda (with the large windfarm) Hermon and back to Riebeek Kasteel offers some stunning landscapes with vineyards planted for miles and miles. The Kasteelberg mountain offers a hiking trail from Pulpit Rock Winery but this is not for the feint-hearted so do take care before attempting this trail. 

There are over 40 dams in this area - all looking very full after the winter rains. Farm roads just beg to be explored - there is nothing more fun than wandering down a gravel road and seeing another vehicle with its dust cloud hurtling towards you. Farmers don't slow down on these roads -they drive them daily and have their sturdy 4X4's to keep them safe! 

The shops in the village of Riebeek Kasteel are well worth exploring - from a quirky store selling old "junk" and much more to the wine boutique or "Crystal and Twine" where there are 2 floors of gorgeous goods on sale. Rabbits are all over in many shapes and forms in the beautiful store - if that rocks your boat.

Restaurants are many and varied - too many to try over 1 week-end. So check out the Reviews and pick those that grab your fancy the most. You could happily eat out for 2 weeks and not go to the same place twice. We enjoyed Eight Feet Village up on the Bothmaskloof Pass.  Run by the 4 du Toit brothers this was a happy place as Pieter-Steph du Toit is currently playing in the Rugby World Cup with the South African Springbok team.

The Kloovenburg Wine and Olive farm is well worth a visit. 

However, there are numerous other wine farms open to the public such as Pulpit Rock, Allesverloren Wine Estate, Het Vlock Casteel, and the Wine Kollective. 

See their information on the link below.


 Further afield we stopped outside the PPC Cement Factory near Riebeek West - fascinating to see this huge plant with all the conveyor belts, creaking and groaning as they work at breaking down the stones. The company name is Pretoria Portland Cement and was started in South Africa as far back as 1892 with the Riebeek West plant from 1946. General Smuts birthplace is in the grounds here and can be visited.  

 There are numerous artists living in Riebeek Kasteel and their work can be seen in and around the village. Do take a wander down a side road (12 Royal Street) to view the stunning collection of photographs in this beautiful gallery named Pictorex.  

There is also work in the old shelter on the square by Cape Town Street artist Folko One

"Falko One is now known as one of the most important (and earliest) street artists in the world, and if you’re lucky enough to track down his paintings—many of which are on the sides of buildings or people’s homes in poorer neighborhoods (he always makes sure it’s OK before letting loose)—you’ll find some of the most awe-inspiring work on the planet.

One of his favorite subjects? Elephants, which take on psychedelic hues like purple, bronze, pink, and baby blue. He’s also known to do caricatures of faces, birds, and the occasional gorilla.

There’s a fairytale ending to this story, of course. He finally got landed major sponsorship bucks from Red Bull, so he’s traveling the world making art for a living."

So, all in all, a fun place to visit = whether for wine tasting, olive tasting, eating out, shopping, visiting galleries, hiking to Pulpit Rock, driving dusty country roads or just sitting on the "stoep" of your B&B or Hotel watching the world go by.

    For Accommodation Cape Town, South Africa

24 September 2023

Cape Town - Cape Point Nature Reserve


Cape Point Nature Reserve remains one of our favourite places to visit even though we are Cape Town locals!

It is such an awe-inspiring part of the Cape Peninsula that one cannot ever really get tired of exploring this part of Cape Town.

We normally drive as many of the side roads as possibly on our visits - this kiln was about 1890 and it is interesting to view from all angles! For those interested in the history of the early lime kilns check out the article below.

Taking the road to Black Rocks, you are most likely to see many surfers during the summer months - there was only one brave soul out when we visited on a chilly winter's afternoon. 
This lone surfer was having a wonderful time, surfing the waves all on his own. We would not recommend that you, as a tourist, do this without having a "buddy" with you. This is a peaceful spot to sit and watch the surfers having fun in the waves. 

Next up is Bordjiesrif - there are many "braai" places here as well as a tidal pool. So it's a very popular spot during the summer months. On our visit, the ostriches had the run of the area - they were peacefully pecking away until a rather noisy vehicle came down the road too fast - the male ostrich showed his displeasure by uttering very loud noises - in any other language, these would have been choice swear words I am sure. They were most indignant that their peace was disturbed!
Just remember never to get too close to an ostrich - if you are ever chased, lie down flat - being stamped on is the lesser of the two evils when being chased and caught by an angry ostrich. All the animals in the park are wild - be mindful that it remains their home and we are the visitors only. 

One of our favourite beaches in Cape Point remains Buffels Bay - it was Spring Tide when we visited this time so the tide was high up on the beach so we could not do our normal walk. There is a gorgeous tidal pool and plenty of picnic spots here. In summer, an early arrival is required to get a spot for the day. The sea is constantly changing colour and just begs one to stroll along, take a swim, soak up the atmosphere, watch the waves and just chill with friends or family or even as a Solo Traveller. 

  There are numerous hiking trails in the reserve so do take some time out to explore at least one of those such as the Shipwreck Trail. Take the Olifantsbos turn-off to access this trail of approx 3.5km. Take care during stormy weather and during the heat of summer, endure that you have plenty of water. 

Platboom Beach is totally unspoilt and offers great views and dunes. It's wild and untamed here and the wind can be fearsome. If you really want to enjoy a beach walk that will blow all the cobwebs away, this is it!

Getting to the top of the old lighthouse (completed in 1859) uses up some energy as well as it is a fairly steep climb with many steps. For those who prefer a shorter walk to the top, the funicular offers a fun ride! The views are spectacular and it really is a must do and see. The "new" lighthouse is much lower down and this was completed in 1911. It has a range of 60 km so keeps ships safe from any treacherous rocks while rounding the Cape.

The most famous spot of all remains a photo shoot at the sign of Cape of Good Hope.
Everybody who visits Cape Point Nature Reserve gets a photo taken here. There is another steep walk upwards from this point - well worth the effort. Watch out for baboons - don't leave doors open or food within easy reach. This is the most South-Western part of the African continent but not the most southerly - that distinction goes to Cape Agulhas much further down the coast. The photo below was a grab shot before the next group of tourists arrived - the wind was fearsome and the temperature decidedly chilly.

There are many tour companies to choose from if you don't have a hire car and the Red Bus Cape Explorer is very popular. However, if you really want to enjoy Cape Point Nature Reserve a Self-Drive is an absolute must. Hiking, enjoying a picnic, a swim in the "not very warm" sea during the summer months or just to enjoy the bracing air and beauty of this iconic area of Cape Town.

On the day I took this photo at Neptune's Dairy, the seas were very rough due to a cold front hitting the Cape Peninsula. Combined with Spring tides, waves were huge and the resultant foam made for interesting captures. 

There is always something to view in the Cape of Good Hope: from the dramatic cliffs, the bird life, buck or ostrich, either calm or stormy seas, and so much natural flora.- do try and spend more time in this beautiful area of Cape Town. Breathe in and restore your balance - no better place to be even on a wild and windy day. 

    For Accommodation Cape Town, South Africa


18 September 2023

Cape Town - Chapman's Peak Drive


Chapman's Peak Drive in Cape Town is an absolute "must see". The locals refer to this drive as "Chappies" The drive was named after John Chapman who was a Captain's mate on the English vessel, the Consent. It's an engineering feat of epic proportions.

The road from Hout Bay to Noordhoek was ordered by Sir Frederik de Waal, an Administrator of the Cape at the time in the early 1900's. The road took 7 years to complete and was opened in 1922. It remains an incredible feat of engineering. Despite the numerous issues over the years with rock falls and mud slides, the road was widened and further drastic safety measure were put in place after 4 fatalities. The road was closed in 2000 for rock fall measures to be implemented.

"The rock fall protection measures implemented at Chapman’s Peak Drive were selected on the basis of what is considered to be best international practice and consists of a half tunnel, catch fences, slope stabilisation and canopy structures. In 2004, Chapman’s Peak Drive received an excellence award for rock fall protection"
For the full story see:


  • Winner of the SAACE National Award for Engineering Excellence (2004)
  • Winner of the SAFCEC National President’s Award (2004)
  • Winner of the Bentley Systems prestigious international award (civil Design) for 3D and 2D rockfall hazard analysis and design using the Microstation suite of geospatial software packages (2004)
  • Runner-up in SAICE’s National Award for Excellence in Civil Engineering (2004)

Today, this drive is done in various ways.....see above! Cyclists love "Chappies"; runners either love or hate "Chappies" yet they come back for more all the time. Take a Tour bus if you don't feel like driving yourself but if you are an adventurous spirit then maybe hiring a "Cobra" will do it for you. 
Check out their website:

The road is 9km long and offers 114 curves - it is truly a "must see" iconic drive. Personally, I would recommend that this road is done in both directions so perhaps start in Hout Bay, take a slow drive to Noordhoek, stopping at the view points along the way before reaching Noordhoek, a sleepy, rural part of Cape Town. You can stop in at Noordhoek Farm Village for lunch before driving back towards Hout Bay where you could enjoy sundowners at one of the many restaurants in the area. For those who love picnics, there are numerous tables with amazing views. There is also a Day Pass if you want to return again for a picnic. Currently, this is free of charge.

Chapmans' Peak Drive is a huge favourite with cyclists - both local and international so do take care if driving as there are numerous groups plus individuals cycling, especially over week-ends. The uphill slog does slow them down somewhat and there are usually large groups taking a breather near the top but those going downhill get up to high speeds and whizz by, enjoying this exhilarating ride. It's not for the feint-hearted though or a novice cyclist.

For more information, plus tariffs or road closures, check out the official website 

    For Accommodation Cape Town, South Africa


24 August 2023

South Africa - Road Tripping Again - West Coast


West Coast National Park - Flower Season August and September each year - take a picnic and enjoy the amazing display of flowers!

Whilst our main focus was on the Wild Flowers of the West Coast that occur during August and September of each year, we did the odd bit of exploring along the way.  

The West Coast has many interesting villages that can be explored. Jacobsbaai is approx, a 90 minute drive from Cape Town and hosts a small community of artists, potters, holiday makers and those who love the tranquility. With gravel roads and 7 small bays like Kwaaibaai for surfers, Smalbaai for birders. Hospital Bay, ideal for swimming, gets its name from the the 1800's when ships dropped off their sick for quarantine purposes. Certainly a tranquil spot for recovery from illness. although one wonders if these folk were able to fish or dive for the abundant crayfish in order to survive?
Serious hikers can enjoy the trail from Swartrietbaai to Tietiesbaai, near Paternoster.

If you are interested in shipwrecks, read the story of the Margaret in the link below.


All that can be seen of this barge today is a small section remaining.

The West Coast National Park is a must visit during flower season. Postberg Reserve within the park is only open to visitors during August and September so it can get very busy. Best to visit on a sunny week-day rather than a week-end when the Capetonians drive up to see the flowers and enjoy a picnic in amongst huge boulders, wild flowers, seagulls looking for a snack and the sea.

For hikers, the trail during Flower Season is a must do - booking is essential. See the Blog below for full details.


Kraalbaai in the West Coast National Park offers stunning views over Langebaan Lagoon and the tidal flats are ideal for walking during low tide. During summer swimming, kayaking, SUP or wind-surfing can all be enjoyed. Their are also house boats for hire - spend a romantic night on the lagoon or have a party (not too noisy!) on the bigger house boat that sleeps around 24 pax. 

The West Coast National Park surrounds the beautiful Langebaan Lagoon and is a Ramsar Site (Wetland of Internationa Importance) Migrant waders from the Northern hemisphere can be seen here as well as Greater and Lesser Flamingoes. There are bird hides close to the Geelbek Information centre and another one just before the exit gate on the Langebaan side. This hide has been recently upgraded and is now much higher, allowing birds to be seen more easily. The views from Seeberg Lookout are beautiful and there is also the hike from the Langebaan gate to Seeberg - approx 4km. 

We walked a short distance along this hiking path and it was fascinating to watch a "flower eating" bird having a whale of a time amongst the beautiful wild flowers! Whether the flowers are edible for humans I cannot say!

A West Coast iconic "must see" is Bokkom Laan in Veldrif. Take time out to sit over the water at "Ek en DJY" - they serve toasties, burgers, fish and the beer is cold! We loved watching a Grey Heron trying to find a fish in the shallow waters but he had no luck while we were watching. We got chatting to a local who has re-located to the peace of Velddrif from Gauteng. His photos of the heron are incredible, showing that fish are indeed caught from time to time. There are boat trips on offer for a closer look at the birds - our time did not permit for this, sadly. The local industry here is bokkoms, dried out by the sun and the wind. "Fish Biltong" and there is a huge warehouse full of this South African delicacy. Eat them as biltong, or on buttered toast, use to make fish soup or re-hydrate to use as anchovies.


From  Paternoster, one can drive into the Cape Columbine Nature Reserve. 

This area has camping sites in Tietiesbaai where there are ablution blocks but wild camping spots are also dotted all over the area for those who prefer to be more isolated. The Sea Shack offers glamping A-Frame cabins and you truly cannot get closer to the sea from here! There is a labyrinth just beyond the parking area outside - with a bench in the centre from where one meditate and watch the waves. 

This Reserve is extremely popular during the summer months. 

The Cape Columbine Lighthouse got its name from the British ship, Columbine that was wrecked in 1829. For ships coming from South America and Europe it is the first lighthouse that they see. Commissioned in October 1936, there are now homes available for tourists within this Lighthouse compound. 

All in all, a great area to explore for hikers, birders, photographers. Or just to enjoy being close to nature on the West Coast. 

This heron spent ages looking for a fish - he was not successful while we were watching.

    For Accommodation Cape Town, South Africa

The bird that just loved eating the wild flowers - such fun to watch!



06 August 2023

South Africa - Greyton and Surrounds


Greyton Saturday Market

The village of Greyton lies approx.90 mins drive from Cape Town so it is an ideal village to visit on either a day trip or for a relaxing week-end. Nestled in the Riviersonderend Nature Reserve, the drive towards Greyton is very scenic. When the canola fields are at their best, this remains a wonderful drive for photographers.  We were a little too early - the fields are better later in August and September.

Driving towards Greyton

Greyton is well known for their Saturday Farmers Market. Fresh produce, homemade delicacies, arts and crafts, pancakes, coffee and plants. The market takes place every Saturday from approx. 09.30 to 12.00 noon. So do get there early - the coffee queue gets crazily busy as do the other food stalls. We enjoyed a delicious jaffles, mini quiches and, for my sweet tooth, a mini carrot cup cake.
Children are also catered for as there are horse rides available.

The locals frequent this market to browse, chat and even bring treats for the local dogs! 
We met the fascinating Dr Michael Kock, a Wildlife Veterinarian whose book is called "Though My Eyes". This incredible story of a life-long career has 600 pages, 1400 photographs and weighs about 3.5kg! The book is distributed in America, United Kingdom and South Africa. This amazing coffee table book will take many moments of both joyful and intense reading and is sure to delight all with a passion for wildlife. Find out more at: https://through-my-eyes.co.za/
If you would like a signed copy visit Michael at the Morning Market in Greyton!

Trails in Greyton Nature Reserve

After indulging at the Morning Market, we felt the need for some exercise so we headed to the Greyton Nature Reserve. With various trails to choose from, there is at least one to suit all levels of fitness. The views are beautiful, the walk was serene and peaceful.

The areas around Greyton are very scenic and ideal for bikers and photographers. There are also various trails for both hiking and biking - pop in at the Tourist Centre for more details.

For food lovers, there are many options to choose from such as our favourite, the Oak & Vigne Cafe. Great for a long, lazy lunch. They do all day breakfasts so you don't have to jump up at the crack of dawn to enjoy your favourite meal of the day! They are sometimes open at night - there will be a chalk board on the Main Road if this is the case. Others include, but are no limited to:

Rupert's Bistro, Abbey Rose, 1854 Restaurant.


So after all that daytime activity, we wondered what was on in Greyton on a Saturday night. We struck it lucky with Restaurant 1854 who often have live bands performing. This time is was "The Breeze" a trio of musicians who, according to their spouses, enjoy a gig together just for fun. 
Robin Auld is a professional musician, song-writer and poet with 20 albums to his name. Born in Zambia, he lived between South Africa and Scotland and is now based in Cape Town. 
Rob Nagel is a Big Brass Man from the legendary Blues Broers. Rob has been playing for over 3 decades and boasts a massive beard - you can't miss him in the street! 
The 3rd member of the group is an American import to South Africa, Michael Canfield on drums and percussion.
"Michael has played with some of the biggest names in rock and roll, from Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley through to Paul Simon, Billy Idol and Bob Dylan, in a career spanning more than five decades. He’s done the Grammy’s, the Oscars and busked in the streets of New York City. In South Africa he’s worked with everyone from Johnny Clegg to Boeremusiek legends Radio Kalahari Orkes, to The Black Cat Bones" 
So, all in all, a fun night out. Check the 1854 Restaurant's Face Book page for new line ups. 

The Greyton Village Walk will take you to a number of Heritage Buildings - ask for the map at the Tourism Bureau.
"The Old Potters Inn Bed & Breakfast was once the home of the Mays family and is one of the oldest buildings in the village. It is a National Heritage building"
"The Oak & Vigne Café. The very old portion of the building was once used as a school, until the school was moved over the road into the building that now houses the Theewaterskloof municipal offices. The adjacent Vanilla Café is in an upgraded old barn, believed to be used by the blacksmith in the days of horse and wagon"
"The Post House is on the corner of Main Road and Uitkyk Street. It too is a National Heritage building and was once a post office in Greyton"
Greyton has a crazy mix - beautiful homes, heritage buildings, incredible scenery, nature walks, biking trails, live entertainment, loads of good restaurants and horses roaming the streets. What could be better than a week-end in this tiny town!! 

    For Accommodation Cape Town, South Africa