The world’s most beautiful road along South Africa’s Atlantic Coast

“How are you getting back to the city?” asked Cole, our local connection in Cape Town, as we were finishing lunch at The Red Herring in the city’s southern outpost of Noordhoek. My fiancé and I shared a blank look.

“Google Maps…?” I offered.

As the conversation turned to traffic and the best route back to our hotel, I zoned out, rescuing the last slice of pizza and watching the afternoon sun turn everything silvery. A cold gust blew off the South Atlantic and I shivered. Winter afternoons in the Western Cape had a metallic quality: cold but bright, like polished steel.

“Chapman’s Peak Drive is a nice way back into Cape Town,” I heard Cole say in passing.

That sounded fine, so we paid up, said our goodbyes and told Google to take us that way – unaware that we were about to embark on the most scenic drive of our lives.

 

Chapman’s Peak Drive snakes 9km along South Africa’s Atlantic Coast (Credit: Credit: Hougaard Malan/Getty Images)

Chapman’s Peak Drive snakes 9km along South Africa’s Atlantic Coast (Credit: Hougaard Malan/Getty Images)

Over the tree tops, I could see a line of buttresses marching away to the south; the Cape Peninsula. The cone-shaped formation of Chapman’s Peak stood to our north, with its namesake road snaking 9km along coastal ramparts and cliffs to the suburb of Hout Bay. We left the restaurant, and our little rental car rumbled along a country road between paddocks ringed by log fences and populated with fat horses.

The road took a few gentle twists as it rose on Chapman’s Peak’s western flank, and Noordhoek Bay spread out behind us. It wasn’t until we took a swooping right-hand bend that we realised we were in for something truly awesome.

Carved out of the west-facing cliffs, Chappies, as it’s known by locals, was constructed between 1915 and 1922 using convict labour. Although named after John Chapman, the skipper of an English ship who visited the area in 1607, the real hero of Chapman’s Peak Drive is Sir Nicolas Frederick de Waal, the first administrator of the Cape Province, who tenaciously pursued the idea of a road even when engineers said it couldn’t be done.

These cliffs are plagued by rockslides, so the engineers eventually chose to situate the road partway up the mountain, where a layer of hard granite would provide a solid foundation and a softer stratum of sandstone above would be easier to excavate. But these sandstone cliffs shed a regular barrage of rock fall onto the road during its first 80 years in service.

Local authorities made moves to improve safety, including forcing closures during inclement weather or when rock fall danger was considered high. But in December 1999, a motorist was killed by a falling rock on a low-danger day, and even as the emergency meetings were convened to decide the fate of the route, wildfires above the road let loose a fresh hail of debris that ultimately closed Chappies to all traffic.

Known to locals as ‘Chappies’, the road took seven years to complete (Credit: Credit: Denby Weller)

Known to locals as ‘Chappies’, the road took seven years to complete (Credit: Denby Weller)

From 2000 to 2003, and again in 2009, the road was closed while engineers employed every new technology imaginable to tame the cliffs above. They computer-modelled the area, then with the aid of Swiss road builders, devised a series of solutions to the constant threat of rockslide.

As we swooped around another of Chappies’ purported 114 bends, I was slightly alarmed to come face-to-face with one of these engineering marvels, a 6m-high ‘catch fence’ – a huge steel net that leaned menacingly out over the road; 1.6km of catch fence protect the road from smaller slides at various locations along its 9km length.

But Chappies had even bigger wonders in store.

We were briefly distracted from the hulking cliffs as the road took another leftward bend and we were again pointed at the South Atlantic and sparkling Hout Bay. Clouds were forming over the Sentinel, the same weird reverse-waterfalls of vapour that locals dubbed ‘the tablecloth’ when they appeared over Table Mountain. The verticality of the landscape never got old; despite the obvious risks of the route, the plunging coastline beckoned me to stop at every lookout, to linger and drink in the view.

 

A ‘half tunnel’ was designed to protect the road from small rockslides (Credit: Credit: Michelle Dormer/Getty Images)

A ‘half tunnel’ was designed to protect the road from small rockslides (Credit: Michelle Dormer/Getty Images)

The next inward turn brought us in sight of a 155m-long ‘half tunnel’ that surely defied gravity. Instead of trying to hold back the volley of rocks that came pelting down this bluff, the engineers just carved a gash into the side of the rock and put the road out of harm’s way.

As we neared Hout Bay, the rhythm of the drive established itself: a leftward bend would reveal a breathtaking view of the coast, followed by a rightward turn that showed another incredible feat of engineering. Just before we reached the toll gate, we passed a group of lycra-clad road cyclists – Chappies features in the world’s largest timed bike race.

I glanced over at my fiancé, who has been known to compete in the odd cycling race. A broad smile was spreading across his face. “Maybe for the honeymoon?” I suggested, only half joking.

Chapman’s Peak Drive features 114 bends and a number of engineering marvels (Credit: Credit: Martin Harvey/Getty Images)

Chapman’s Peak Drive features 114 bends and a number of engineering marvels (Credit: Martin Harvey/Getty Images)

Source: BBC

 

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Ghana to host first World Tourism Forum Africa Summit

Ghana has been selected to host the 2017 World Tourism Forum (WTF) Africa Summit.

The event, scheduled to take place from October 10 -14 at the Kempinski Gold Coast Hotel in Accra, will bring together tourism experts and industry players from across the globe.

The World Tourism Forum Africa Summit is an international event that brings together, tourism industry players to shed light on Heritage Tourism, Tourism Investments, Adventure Tourism, Destination Management, and Online Tourism among others.

This is the first time any African country has been chosen to host the event.

Ghana was chosen ahead of South Africa, Kenya, and Morocco due to the peaceful political atmosphere, hospitality and security.

The Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mrs Catherine Afeku who announced this at a press briefing in Accra Tuesday, said the event will afford the country the opportunity to showcase its rich culture to the world.

She said the Ministry has instituted measures to promote Ghana’s tourism sector, noting that the development of the tourism sector would lead to the creation of jobs to help reduce unemployment

Mrs Afeku said over the years, the tourism industry has been one of the key revenue generation sectors of Ghana’s economy.

Participants at the press briefing on the World Tourism ForumParticipants at the press briefing on the World Tourism Forum  

Mrs Afeku said about 10 Tourism Ministers from sister African countries will be attending the event.

She therefore called on the media to market the Ghana’s tourism industry in order to attract more tourists to help boost revenue generation.

‘’This is a chance to put Ghana’s tourism and hospitality on the global map and have the country on the minds of people’’, she said.

Mrs Afeku said the occasion, which will have President Akufo-Addo as one of the speakers will attract over 40 distinguished speakers and patrons from across the globe.

The Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Tourism Authority, Mr Akwasi Agyeman said a number of programmes have been instituted to entertain patrons of the programme.

He added that patrons will be taken to some tourist sites in Ghana, particularly in the Central Region.

Mr Agyeman said the government has initiated a number of programmes aimed at attracting more people into the tourism industry so as to help widen the tax net and create more jobs.

Founded in 2014, the World Tourism Forum has its headquarters in Istanbul and engages with civil society activities under the umbrella of the Young Tourism Leaders Association.

Source: Ghana | Graphiconline

Questions frequently asked about booking hotels online in Ghana

The once prospective hotel industry in Ghana is now a booming phenomenon in our everyday lives. Presently in Ghana, there are over 3000 lodges, guesthouses and hotels in Ghana.

Interestingly, these Ghana accommodation types are becoming sophisticated with each new one that emerges. This has made the hospitality sector in Ghana as equally competitive as exciting. What this means is that, making a choice for a Ghana guesthouse, hotel, lodge, apartment or resort is tougher. Who does not want the best of accommodation? Who does not want value for his or her money?

With this in mind comes the best way of getting the best hotels in Ghana to suit your needs. Currently, booking hotels online is a whole new dimension to the industry. It is now big business to ease all the stress of looking for hotels, making a choice, finding its location and ensuring that your room is secured against the d-day. This is the business of allowing you the convenience of booking a Ghana hotel online.images

Next, comes the way to make this new process easy for everyone. So let’s try and answer 12 of the most frequently asked questions about booking hotels in Ghana online.

Booking Hotel Online

What is the advantage of booking online walk-in reservations?

Making a reservation online is a convenience that cannot be over-emphasised in the modern world we live in. By booking online potential hotel guests embrace 3 key things: safety, security and convenience.

First-time travellers to Ghana will be quickest to admit that the safest hotel options are the ones that you can find information about online and can assure you of a secured booking. Previous guest reviews will serve as a guide so that there are no surprises.

Booking online means securing a room well ahead of time. Guests, therefore, do not have to travel all the way to the hotel only to be told that there is no availability.

Again, the booking hotels online is a reliever. No matter the time you arrive in any city in Ghana, the only thing that separates you from that well-deserved shower and rest is the check-in procedures. For most foreign travellers, booking online also means paying online. It, conveniently, eliminates the hustle of finding local currency upon arrival before finding a place to rest.

What are Online Travel Agencies  (OTAs)?

An Online Travel Agency is a company or an organised group that specialises in travel information distribution and may provide travel-related booking capabilities. Popular examples of OTAs, Online Travel Agencies in Ghana are Jumia Travel and Booking.com

Pricing

What are the Payment methods available?

The majority of guests at hotels in Ghana are guests who pay cash at the hotel either fully at check-ins or at check-outs. This option, though desirable by most hotel users, may come with a number of uncertainties.

In the emerging Ghana market, the Mobile Money concept has come to stay. Many budget hotels in Ghana and even the top luxury hotels in Ghana are incorporating this payment mode in their systems.

The other preferred payment systems are the virtual banks and online credit facilities like Paypal, Mastercard, Mpesa, Skrill and the like. Business travellers use these almost always. It can be done in a split second and the transactions are easily verifiable.

For most group/corporate bookings, bank transfer is the common and most preferred mode of payment. This is because it allows the company or organisation to have a trail and keep track of their expenditure.

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What is Best Price Guaranteed?

Best price Guaranteed is a kind of ‘magic’ OTAs conjure. If a hotel has the best price guaranteed tag, then it means the OTA offers the cheapest rates for that hotel. With Best price Guaranteed, find a cheaper rate elsewhere, the OTA pays the difference to you.

What are Vouchers/Coupons?

Vouchers/Coupons are rate discounts that OTAs and or hotels give to their users and guests. A voucher code is inserted in the promotional code column when making an online booking to reduce the final amount of the booking.

A coupon, on the other hand, is an official document that guests can use to redeem a prize from the OTA and or the hotel.

Arrival

What are the standard Check-in and Check-out times?

The standard check-in time for most hotels in Ghana between 10:00 am and 12:00 pm. Occasionally, you will find the check-in time of some hotels being after 2:00 pm. But, these are just a handful. The majority of them stick to the standard time. Ridma Hospitalities and Frankies Hotel are very good examples.

The same thing applies to the check-out times. Whereas between 11:30 am and 1:30 pm is the standard check-out times for most Ghana hotels, a few have their check-out time being before 11:00 am.

How do I book an Airport Pick-up?

Airport pick-up is a complimentary service offered by most hotels in Ghana especially those in Accra. Other cities in Ghana with airports are Tamale, Kumasi and Takoradi. Top hotels in these cities also offer airport pick-ups for free.

When booking online, just select the airport pick-up option in the list of services available. Alternatively, leave a comment in the comment section requesting airport pick-up and then giving you flight details.

Procedurally, OTAs/hotels call to confirm your booking and also call a day prior to your trip to remind you. Do remember to also confirm your airport pick-up with them.

Group Bookings

Do I get a discount on group bookings?

This is called a corporate rate by most hotels in the country and 7 out of 10 hotels will offer these rates to guests without even asking. It is part of business. The first impressions count as far as group booking or corporate bookings are concerned and the hotels and OTAs know this.

Can the hotel take-

·         10 to 15 people?

With a good rate of between One Hundred and Two Hundred cedis per guest, an array of hotels which include Hotel Loreto, Sheridan Hotel and Kee Gee Hotel give you their best of services and packages.

·         30 people?

On a regular day, getting 30 rooms at a Ghana hotel may not be easy. Though several 3-star hotels and some 2-star hotel in Ghana may have 30+ rooms at their hotel, some may already be in use at the time of the group booking.

Sealane hotel Prampram is a good example of a hotel which you can trust for a group booking of 30 people day-in, day-out. If you are also looking for a holiday home for the entire staff or church, then Ramada Resort is your best bet.

Restaurants

Does the hotel have a restaurant?

Restaurants have become commoner these days for hotels in Ghana than in the past. Most hotels in Ghana have a restaurant or eatery of a sort: being competitive in the today Ghana hotel structure demands it. But for a few guesthouses, hostels and lodges in Ghana, the answer to this question will be a firm ‘Yes’.

Does the hotel serve vegetarian food?

Whereas the many of the hotels have restaurants, the bulk of them only serve the popular local and continental dishes. Some hotels do adapt based on the preference of the guest to serve other kinds of meals.

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Only a few hotels (especially the top 3 & 4-star hotels in Ghana) have vegetarian food on their everyday menu. Tang Palace is a good example of a hotel that specially serves Vegetarian food as an everyday habit.

Which hotel in Ghana has the best restaurant?

The answer is purely subjective because of difference in preference and must be answered as such.However, in Accra, Alisa Hotel Restaurant, African Regent Hotel Restaurant and Golden Tulip Hotel Restaurant are some the most patronized: probably due to their quality.

General

Where can I find a quiet

·         Accra Hotel?

       East Legon: Sonant Court Hotel

       Labadi: Kings Royal Atlantic Hotel

       Accra Airport Area: Villa Monticello Boutique Hotel

·         Takoradi Hotel?

        Airport Area:  Takoradi Standard Hotel

What else will get me excited at the hotel?

This is a very popular question asked by leisure travellers and tourists who want a bit more than the ordinary hotel stay plus complimentary breakfast. Straight away the holiday home, Golf hotels, hotels with spas and beach resorts in Ghana readily comes to mind.

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Aqua Safari Resort, Beige Village Golf Resort & Spa and Zaina Lodge are top destinations for other exciting packages in addition to a room. The Zaina Lodge, for ins an ance, offer you action-packed safari tours through the Mole National Park. Aqua Safari presents guest with jet-skiing and boat riding trip as well. And at the Beige Village, the golf course is another sports experience altogether.

Six eye-catching hotels in Ghana to consider for your wedding reception

With love comes marriage and with marriage comes a ceremony. Ceremonies in the past were limited to close friends and family with a few guests invited. These days, things are different! With extended families and an avalanche of friends, it has become quite impossible to host a small wedding reception. The increasing numbers make it expedient to get venues that can accommodate the large numbers as well provide great ambience, beauty and style.

Unsurprisingly, hotels are a very vibrant option when considering a venue for your wedding reception. These days, they are spread all over the country with a few standout ones that provide for all needs and are affordable. Jumia Travel, Africa’s leading online travel website looks at a few of these options.

The Royal Senchi –  A luxury 5-star hotel in Ghana, this amazing resort is situated in Akosombo, Ghana. It presents luxury with their beautiful riverfront, amazing pool and breathtaking landscape, 24-hour electricity and air-conditioning, and free WiFi is provided for all guests. A large parking space and abled personnel available to assist you with all needs. Your pre wedding photoshoot has the right location when you choose The Royal Senchi. There are state of the art rooms as well as modern facilities for your pre wedding preparations as well as honeymoon packages for you. The kitchen and bar can also provide you the best of continental as well as local dishes and drinks. If you are looking for style, glamour and luxury then this is the place for you.

Beige Village Golf Resort & Spa (New Abiriem) – This is an elegant resort located on the Juaso – Nsawam Rd, New Abirem in the Eastern Region of Ghana. The resort boasts a 9-hole golf course gracefully wrapped around the villas to give an amazing view of the luscious palm plantations of Abenoa forest. Internet access is available and free all through the premises. With free wifi, beautifully designed swimming pools and a host of other entertainment options, you will never run out of ideas for your wedding reception. The green ambience is just amazing with enthusiastic professionals on hand to provide the best services for you and your guests. Accommodation is also top notch and this resort also provides the couple a great honeymoon alternative. Looking for a getaway location? There you go!

Golden Tulip Kumasi – Welcome to the garden city of Kumasi. Land of riches and tradition. The Golden Tulip Hotel in Kumasi can be another great option to consider for your wedding reception. The luxurious dinner setup with hands on catering services as well as amazing decor with great tasting food is just hard to ignore. The general ambience alone paves the way for a memorable occasion. Spacious parking space, a well-designed pool, and other on-site facilities make this hotel one of the best to consider in Kumasi. Amazingly, their rates are affordable. Don’t let the luxurious look scare you, just take a look now and make some enquiries. Your dream wedding might just be in play.

Aknac Hotel – The modern plush four-star Aknac Hotel is located away from the hustle and bustle of Accra’s city center. The Aknac hotel is situated conveniently in a quiet area surrounding the affluent Trasacco valley. The hotel is a haven for guest to relax and unwind and get a most-desired break from the worries and stresses outside. The hotel boasts a large conference hall and a business center. Free WiFi and large parking space are available. Accra boasts of several event centres which offer a wide range of services but what about a venue that offers more than just space? In a cool quiet environment with great services and high-class luxury. Comes with the added benefits of accommodation and cuisine for your prestiged guests and even a consideration for a honeymoon.

Palms by Eagles – Now let’s go to the oil city of Takoradi. The current luxury city of Ghana. Where many affluent people now reside. Situated in the country’s only twin city, and in the city’s most prime location, The Palms by Eagles can only best be described as near-divine, beautiful in essence and picture perfect. Built to serve individuals and businesses, local and abroad, this hotel not only boasts of self-catering apartments and a boutique style hotel. The Palms By Eagles also leads in price competitiveness and service quality. An extravagant open space with amazing landscape and great service delivery makes it a good option for your dream wedding. Why not stay here overnight as well with your bridesmaids and groomsmen while you prepare for that big day.

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Aqua Safari – Aqua Safari Resort is situated in Big Ada in Greater Accra Region, Ghana. The plush Aqua Safari boasts an outdoor swimming pool. Guests enjoy balconies overlooking the tropical forest and tranquil waters and the beautiful waterfront chalets with golden sands right at their doorstep with breathtaking views of the sunrise. Wifi access is freely available on the Aqua Safari Resort premises. Very popular for many great holidaying reasons, this resort has several amenities and facilities that can make your occasion memorable indeed. If your style is to have a beach or river front wedding, then look no further. The riverview, jet-ski, canoe and other sports make it an ideal honeymoon destination. The food is excellent, the staff are welcoming and the setups are just wonderful.

Marriage is a once in a lifetime experience, therefore, you need to have the best of days which starts with having an exquisite venue. Although there are countless options available and some may not even have been captured here, this gives you a great starting point when searching. Have a happy wedding and a long lasting marriage.

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