A country straddling two diverse continents, struggling to define its identity for centuries, steeped in history, and blessed with otherworldly landscapes certainly makes for an intriguing voyage. Torn between its oriental and occidental cultures, it is a continually shifting civilisation, which has played pivotal roles in many of history’s most critical events. After dreaming about this destination for years, we finally had the opportunity to visit, and before we had even left, we were already mentally planning our next trip to this wonderful country.
After reading tales from a thousand and one nights, images immediately spring to mind of vibrant colours and exotic flavours, vast deserts and bustling town squares, towering minarets with echoing calls to prayer, and above all, a deep-seated mystery that’s just waiting to be solved. Although Marrakesh is in North Africa and not the Middle East, its Arab influence over the years gives it an undeniably Arabian atmosphere, and this is the city that reeks of magic more than any other. It is the gateway to the Sahara, home to the incomparable Djemaa El Fna Square, and a city that everyone should visit at some point in their lives.
Just three and a half hours away from Johannesburg, lies the charming little town of Clarens, in the Free State Province of South Africa. With little boutiques and adventure sports on offer, it has something for everyone and makes the perfect weekend getaway. With rolling green fields, and snaking roads bordered by majestic yellow poplars, experiencing Clarens in the fall is like stepping into another country.
Alongside the trendy stores and innovative eateries of Melville, lies the vast Melville Koppies Nature Reserve, a lovely green space with magnificent views of the Johannesburg skyline in the distance. Bordered by Beyers Naude Drive, and with secure parking available at Mark’s Park on Judith Road, it is easily accessible to all.