Travelling South Africa as a creative – A nifty guide

Creativity is sparked in in a myriad of ways. Sometimes an incredible idea strikes you in a moment of silence, or on the way to bargain hunt at an antique store in the middle of nowhere. Either way, we have curated an extensive list of interesting places sure to get those juices flowing.

EASTERN CAPE

The Owl House

What to do here? Get inspired AF.

If you’ve never heard of the small village of Nieu Bethesda, I don’t blame you. Up until recently, neither had I. The Owl House is an eclectic and magical world sitting just off the N9 National Road past the Karoo town of Graaff-Reinet. The space displays enchanting sculptures that would titillate the art historian in all of us – many featuring its namesake. The space even inspired the playwright Athol Fugard to pen his much-loved play, The Road to Mecca, which was later made into a film.

Bulungula Lodge

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What to do here? Everything from playing pan-African instruments to traditional beer brewing

If you’ve been craving a trip that combines culture, nature, and tradition then Bulungula Lodge in Nqeleni on the Wild Coast is the place for you. The river and forest come all the way down to the shoreline and you can enjoy it all from the stripped back eco-friendly backpacker’s lodge in one of the most beautiful places in South Africa, owned and managed by a lively, traditional Xhosa community. There’s so much to do here. “Our music collection is superb and aims to introduce guests to new and old pan-African sounds as well as eclectic chillout vibes. Girls can head off with the village women for a crazy day of face painting, brick-making, maize stamping, traditional food preparation, beer brewing and firewood collecting.” The list goes on.

GAUTENG

Collectors Treasury

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What to do here? Treasure hunt for vinyls, books and interesting things

This one might not be a physical getaway as such, but rather an adventure for your mind. In the busy Joburg inner city, you can browse over two million books ranging from R30 to R850 at the Collectors Treasury. The store is categorised but because of the sheer volume, you must get stuck in. You could also find a classic vinyl or some antiques to add #aesthetics to your flat lays.

Credo Mutwa Village

What to do here? Be inspired by the energy and art

The Credo Mutwa Village is situated in Jabavu, Soweto, and was created by the iconic African artist and traditional healer, Credo Mutwa. The village is an outdoor space that is filled with artifacts collected by Mutwa. These include sculptures and paintings from as early as 1974 up to about 1986. If you have read any of Mutwa’s work, you wouldn’t be surprised at the fantastical nature of the village. It is an ethereal, spiritual world with a palpable energy and high vibration. If you want to unwind over the holiday, you should definitely check out the activities that take place there, such as yoga and alternative healing.

WESTERN CAPE

Akasha Mountain Retreat

What to do here? Enjoy the peace and quiet, star gaze and make music

Akasha Mountain Retreat’s homepage asks you to “disconnect from digital and reconnect with nature”, and truthfully, I am here for it. We feel so much pressure to stay connected and hypervisble throughout the year that we forget the benefits of truly winding down. The Retreat is solar-powered and offers the option of self-catering or ringing up the resident chef on call. Activities include stargazing, music lessons and meditation. The panoramic view over the Western Cape’s Langeberg and secluded Duiwenhoks Dam is a great candidate for a cheeky throwback to the ‘Gram.

McGregor

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What to do here? Top up on creative energy for the new year.

“McGregor is a remarkably artistic place This is most probably due to the quiet and beauty of the environment acting as a creative spur, but just possibly due to the ley lines, energy spirals or even the large number of extra-terrestrials who have chosen to settle here,” says the town’s website.

McGregor is described a place “in the middle of nowhere, on a road that never quite happened” on their tourism webpage. To some that may sound like the plot of Get Out, to others it sounds like an adventure. The breathtaking natural surroundings are visible from every angle and it is almost impossible not to be imaginatively inspired. Described as having “a permanent art route”, here you can join artists, crafters, bands, choirs and participate in odd forms of art vehicle construction. Plus, it is geographically set on a ley line. Whoa. I think its where people who attend AfrikaBurn actually live.

 

MPUMALANGA

Adam’s Calendar

What to do here? Time travel to prehistory

This place is equal parts controversial as it is interesting. Accessible only by dirt roads, some have called it the “African Stonehenge” and it predates even the Great Pyramid of Giza. Many think of it as the oldest megalithic structure in the world. Whoa. The surrounding location was once thought to house the kraal left by the Bantu in the 14th century and the area is extremely rich in gold, even hosting one of the richest working mines in Mpumalanga.

Nkomazi Game Reserve

What to do here? View ancient San art

Mpumalanga is a cultural crucible. You can find as many cultural attractions as there are languages in South Africa. For a connection as old as 300 years, visit the Nkomazi Game Reserve and see the rock art sites. These ancient pieces of art depict the spiritual beliefs and lifestyle of the nomadic San People.

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