World reknown performing artists come to South Africa

    The critically-celebrated international entertainment group Cirque du Soleil will perform for the first time ever in South Africa with its vibrant signature production Saltimbanco.

Saltimbanco is a thrilling, kaleidoscopic celebration of awe-inspiring artistry and agility featuring breathtaking acrobatics and unbelievable athleticism during solo spotlights and epic ensembles. Technical expertise (from a cast of 50 high-calibre artists from over 20 different countries) and extravagant design are woven together by uplifting spectacular costumes, creative choreography, amazing lighting, humour, enchanting music and magic.

Derived from the Italian saltare in banco, which literally means 'to jump on a bench', Saltimbanco is dream theatre at its best as it explores the urban experience in all its myriad forms: the people who live there, their idiosyncrasies and likenesses, families and groups, the hustle and bustle of the street and the towering heights of skyscrapers. Decidedly baroque in its visual vocabulary, the show's eclectic cast of characters draws spectators into a fanciful, dreamlike world, an imaginary city where diversity is a cause for hope.

Once you've had the chance to experience the beauty and breath-taking imagery of the 'Circus of the Sun' you will carry a curious hope that you may one day return to the presence of such an awe-inspiring moment in time that explodes with imagination and creativity. This is certainly performing arts at its best and is not something that should be missed. It is genuinely fantastic entertainment for the whole family.

They will be performing in Johannebsurg at the Coca-Cola Dome and the Reef between 9th - 19 March 2011 and in Cape Town at the Grand Area, Grand West from 23rd March - 3rd April 2011. Ticket prices range from R272 to R476 per person depending on show date & times and seating position and can be booked at Computicket.

For more information visit the official Cirque du Soleil website (bandwidth intensive) or a trade website for a brief overview on them.

Cirque du Soleil

10 places to visit before they vanish

Alaskan tundra : Global warming heats up the Arctic twice as fast as the rest of the world, resulting in Alaska's beautiful northern tundra vanishing completely if temperatures continue to rise. As the tundra's permafrost melts, it not only drastically alters the ecosystem but also releases additional carbon - ironically hastening global warming.

The Alps : The European Alps sit at a lower altitude than the Rocky Mountains and their glaciers and ski resorts are more susceptible to the effects of global warming. The famed glaciers are predicted to disappear by 2050.

Bangladesh : Set in the low-lying Ganges-Brahmaputra River Delta, Bangladesh sits in a perfect storm of climactic conditions. About 50 percent of the area would be flooded if the sea level were to rise by 1 meter.

Glacier National Park : A little more than 100 years ago, there were as many as 150 glaciers strewn throughout Glacier National Park. By 2005, only 27 remained, and those glaciers are expected to disappear by 2030, if not earlier. Many of the plant and animal species in that ecosystem require cold water and could become extinct when the glaciers have melted.

Great Barrier Reef : The Great Barrier Reef is disappearing at an increased rate because of climate change. Rising ocean temperatures, water pollution, ocean acidification and cyclones continually pummel the reef and have caused mass coral bleaching. What took 8,000 years for nature to create could disappear within our lifetimes.

Maldives : Maldives is the lowest-lying country in the world, with a maximum natural ground level of 2.3 meters and an average of only 1.5 meters above sea level. If sea levels rise too much, the country could become the first nation to be engulfed by the ocean because of global warming.

Northern Africa : By some estimates, the Sahara in Africa is growing at a rate of 0.5 miles per month. The desert, already the largest in the world, could consume all of Northern Africa, altering the environment of a continent.

Patagonia : A land of untouched beauty, South America's Patagonia could be dramatically altered by climate change as already many of its glaciers are steadfastly retreating because of rising temperatures and declining precipitation. While this land won't disappear entirely, its landscape may soon be altered beyond recognition if global warming persists.

South Australia : Desertification threatens South Australia - across the region, fresh water supplies are rapidly drying up and the resulting parched landscape increases the occurrence of wildfires, threatening agriculture and wildlife.

Venice, Italy : Venice has long been sinking, but rising sea levels have made the situation more dire. The frequency of floods increases each year, leaving many to wonder how much longer Venice can stay above water.

Source: Mother Nature Network

10 places to visit

Evening sky stars in January

Low in the north in the evening are the stars variously known as the Seven Sisters, the Pleiades or IsiLimela. There are six stars in this cluster which are fairly easily visible to the naked eye and hundreds that can be seen through a telescope. Located about 420 light years away, this is a group of stars which formed from a cloud of interstellar dust and gas about 120 million years ago.

Above and to the right of the Pleiades is another cluster of stars called the Hyades, making up the muzzle of Taurus the Bull. The Hyades are about 150 light years away, and about 600 million years old.

Bright orange Aldebaran looks as though it ought to be part of this loose group, but is only located in the same direction and is less than half as distant (64 light years away). It is, however, the most luminous star within a hundred light years of us.

Low on the northern horison glitters Capella, brightest star in Auriga the Charioteer. As with other bright stars, the effects of atmospheric refraction can cause it to twinkle vigorously when near the horison, appearing to flash in multiple colours.

High in the NNE are the brilliant stars of Orion, with the twins (Castor and Pollux) lower in the NE.

Below Orion in the ENE (below Orion and to the right of the twins) is Procyon, brightest star in Orion's smaller hunting dog. At only 11 light years away, Procyon is one of our nearest neighbours and has a dim companion called a white dwarf. A white dwarf is a star that has used up its nuclear fuel, and is slowly cooling down until its crystallises, which typically takes billions of years. It still glows, but only with stored energy. Procyon's companion, for example, is only 0.06% as bright as the Sun.

Canopus, the second brightest star in the Earth's skies is a bit SE of the zenith (the overhead point) and Fomalhaut is the brightest star in the SW.

In the southern half of the sky in January there is a curious blend of birds and water creatures (including the Southern Fish, the Crane, The Toucan, The Phoenix, The Peacock, the Bird of Paradise, the Flying Fish, the Swordfish and the Water Snake), mixed with mechanical and scientific constellations such as the Octant, the Pendulum Clock, the Chemical Furnace, the Microscope, the Engraving Tool and the Eyepiece Reticle.

The Southern Cross and Pointers are very low in the SW even from the Cape and invisible from northern South Africa.

Source : South African Astronomical Observatory

January 2011 Night sky

The unobscured view over Cape Town

To obtain a high altitude view over the whole of Cape Town, one would think a hike to the top of Table Mountain is in order. This, however, is not the case.

A cave (or rather large overhang) on the face of Table Mountain persuades many day hikers to take a few minutes to sit, have a snack and to enjoy the activity of identifying and pointing out specific icons within the city itself and in the adjacent suburbs of Cape Town.

This overhang is called Woodstock Cave and is easily accessible within a short period of time. The trip from the closest car park to the cave would take anywhere between 30 mins and an hour depending on the weather and the fitness of the hiking group. This route to Woodstock Cave is therefore very appealing to those who are interested in exploring Table Mountain, but are not avid hikers.

The first and easiest portion of the trip is the walk along Tafelberg road from the parking lot to where the pathway veers off the road at the old gate (approximately 2.5 km). The steep pathway zig zags for a short while up the hill, crosses over the contour path and then continues its zig zag again, but this time a little more steeply.

The pathway splits to the left (at the end of the tight zig zags) and meanders up and around Devil's Peak through the last portion of the traverse to the cave (estimated distance from the road with all the zigs and all the zags is 1km). The cave is quite visible from below in clear weather conditions and stopping to gather a breath during the steep climb provides a view from Lion's Head all the way to Stellenbosch.

The overhang itself is quite wide and extends quite deeply into the mountain. The floor area is flat and there are many flat rocks to sit on. Take a packed lunch and lots of water, lie back and enjoy the view of the world below while time passes by.

Woodstock Cave

Hot News

Emielke wins image of the year

One of our preferred partners, Emielke Photography won a gold award and Image of the year for one of her fashion photographs in the 2010 FujiFilm Photographic Awards.

Fujifilm Image of the Year - Emielke Photography

Emielke is one of Cape Town's most committed and enthusiastic photographers. She has a wonderful spontaneous personality giving her the perfect credentials to work with people.

Her style is understated and simple, but her work ethic is dedicated and professional and her portfolio ranges from high fashion to documentary, including lifestyle, kids, beauty and travel.

Visit her website for more info.

2011 Lunar planting plan

Our lunar planting plan for 2011 has been updated on our website.

Featured Plant

Salvia Chamelaeagnea

Salvia Chamelaeagnea
(Rough Blue Sage)

Family :


Description :

Indigenous shrub that grows up to 2m with purple-blue flowers on the end of a bright green upright growing branches.

Flowering time :

Summer / Autumn

Conditions :

  • Full Sun
  • Average water
  • Evergreen
  • Wind resistant
  • Some frost
  • Well drained soil

View more detailed information on this plant in our plant directory.

Wine of the month

Wine of the month

Rose 2010

Winery : De Grendel
Winemaker : Charles Hopkins

Description :

This attractive, strawberry pink coloured Rose is a blend of Pinotage and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Aroma : Ample fruit of raspberries, strawberries and watermelon.

Palate : Crisp, dry finish with a very well structured natural acidity.

Winemaking : Grapes are hand-picked then juice left in contact with skins for 6 hours to extract the colour.

Food Pairing : A great summer cooler to be drunk now on its own or with sushi or a fresh salad.

If you want to purchase or require more information on this wine, or if you are interested in a private or corporate tasting, please email Karen or visit her website.

Planting Guide

Herb or Veggie

Seeds can be sown or plants can be planted for the following herbs and veggies this month:


  • Beans
  • Beetroot
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Cauliflower
  • Cucumber
  • Lettuce
  • Radish
  • Spinach
  • Sweetcorn
  • Swisschard
  • Turnips
  • Herbs

  • Basil
  • Coriander
  • Chives
  • Chamomile
  • Dill
  • Mustard
  • Oreganum
  • Parsley
  • Rocket
  • Thyme
  • Watercress
  • View our full planting plan in our resources section of our website.

    Brain Teaser

    We all love a chance to test our own brain capacity with brain teasers. Try see if you can figure out this one...

    Brain Teaser

    December's Teaser Answer :
    "Apple Pie"


    Click here to subscribe to our newsletter

    Advertise with us

    Click here to see what options we have available for advertising or brand exposure.

    Contact Cheral:

    Cell: 082 82 509 82