Top Travel Apps for Interns

26 September 2016

All great travel apps have one thing in common: they all solve a problem you didn’t even realise you had! That said, being simply useful is no longer enough for app developers aspiring to greatness. Whether they’re cutting down journey times, pointing you in the direction of authentic cuisine or reminding you to apply sunscreen, these free travel apps will show you a new way to look at the world. So read on and plan your trip abroad!

Preparing for your trip

1. Skyscanner: While flight-booking apps are fairly plentiful on other mobile platforms, Windows Phone marketplace boasts a meagre handful. Thankfully, this clean-looking solution does everything you’d ever need it to, aggregating fares from airlines and the big travel sites to bag you the best deal. For those really keeping an eye on the purse-strings, there’s also the option to pin your search to your start screen and keep an eye on price fluctuations. Neat. Available on iPhone (free), iPad (free), Android (free) and Windows Phone (free)

2. PackingPro (okay it’s not free, but it’s great!): Anyone who says there’s no exact science to packing has obviously never tried to cram a pair of Jimmy Choo stilettos into the same suitcase as a giant inflatable beach ball. Thank the lord, then, for this. Tell it where you’re going, how long for and who with and it’ll spit out a suggested list of what you might need, split up into essentials (passport, currency), clothes, gadgets and more, with separate lists for additional family members. Available on iPhone (£1.99)

3. Entrain: There are plenty of theories floating about concerning the best methods for beating jetlag, very few of which come backed up with any serious scientific clout. Still, it’s generally agreed that gradually altering your sleeping habits before a trip is beneficial, and this clever app will help you do just that. Input your travel dates, destination and usual sleeping times and it’ll come back with personalised alarm clocks to soften the blow when you wake up on Tuesday afternoon convinced it’s still Monday morning.
 Available on iPhone (free)

4. TripAdvisor: Stripping away the glossy magnificence ladled on by just about every online travel agency out there, this is the place to find brutally honest reviews of hotels, restaurants, attractions and more. The user-base is notoriously hard to please, so be warned that you’ll most likely find exclamation mark strewn rants next to your favourite spots. Still, on the flip side, touch down in a strange city with nowhere to stay and you’ll only ever be a few prods away from the warts-and-all opinions of travellers just like you. Available on iPhone (free), iPad (free), Android (free) and Windows Phone (free)

Illustration09Arrival in a New Land!

5. WordLens: Now this is real sci-fi stuff – an app that instantly translates foreign text via your phone’s camera. Though the download itself costs nothing and comes bundled with a couple of demo settings, you’ll need to shell out £6.99 (via in-app purchase) for one of the language packs, with English and French currently on offer. A tad pricey, but worth it purely for the expressions of awe you’ll draw from bystanders. Available on iPhone (free) and iPad (free)

6. XE Currency: Don’t bother paying up for one of the many currency conversion apps out there in the digital hinterland – this freebie is slick, easy to use, and – best of all, since it uses live currency rates – completely accurate. It’s been downloaded more than five million times to date, so don’t even think about hopping on a plane without it. Available on iPhone (free), iPad (free), Android (free) and Windows Phone (free)

7. HopStop: Public transport information covering 68 (and counting) of the world’s biggest, busiest metropolitan hubs. So whether you need to pick your way across downtown Denver or catch a bus out of Norfolk, you should never be more than a few taps away from a neatly displayed, stop-by-stop itinerary. Available on iPhone (free), iPad (free), Android (free) and Windows Phone (free)

8. Foodspotting: While apps that aggregate crowd-sourced restaurant reviews may be ten-a-penny, those that focus in on specific dishes are a far rarer species. Luckily, this one works a treat, responding to your every gastronomic whim with user-generated recommendations from your local area. In downtown Madrid with a penchant for paella? Prod around a bit and within seconds you’ll be en route to the best in the city. Available on iPhone (free), Android (free) and Windows Phone (free)

9. Sunscreen: Until the bashful lobster look finds its way into the style zeitgeist, this is a crucial piece of kit for those venturing to sunny climes. Having detected the UVI rating of your current location, this nifty little app sets a countdown timer to alert you when you’re due your next slathering of sunblock. All you have to do is input your skin type and the SPF of your lotion, then kick back and soak up some worry-free rays. Available on iPhone (free)

contact-usKeeping in Touch with Home

10. Perfect World Clock: Does pretty much what it says on the tin, this one, providing easy access to the time in hundreds of cities and therefore averting arithmetic-induced stress your jetlagged brain could really do without. Nothing revolutionary, but still an essential download, especially considering the rather nifty option of adding several clocks as home-screen widgets. Available on Android (free)

11. Wi-Fi Finder: With data roaming charges still laughably high, knowing where to find a decent wi-fi hotspot is essential if you’re to keep the twitterati up to date with details of your latest sojourn. No need to charge through the city waving your handset around like a fly-swatter, though – simply fire up this handy app and follow directions to your nearest source of wireless internet. Best of all, the offline mode means you can download maps before you go, thereby dodging a massive bill. Available on iPhone (free), iPad (free) and Android (free)

12. WhatsApp Messenger: A cross-platform messaging system that’s slowly but surely rendering the text message obsolete. Data (that’s pictures, videos, sound clips and GPS tags as well as text) are sent using either wi-fi or your phone’s web package, so even if you’re sending a message to someone on the other side of the globe, there’s nothing to pay. Absolutely essential for keeping in touch with overseas chums, and, providing you can find some wi-fi, great for sending off-the-cuff holiday snaps back home.
 Available on iPhone (£0.69), Android (free) and Windows Phone (free)

Thanks to Time Out for these tips!

SunglassesAnd now for something totally cool, Cape Town specific apps from CapeTownMagazine!

13. A Walking Tour of Central Cape Town: Brainchild of South African tech company Tourism Radio and Cape Town Tourism, this mobile travel guide is the ultimate companion for a tour of central Cape Town.  Using GPS technology, the app will detect your location and alert you to popular nearby Mother City attractions.  From museums and restaurants to accommodation and shopping malls, the application has over 40 points of interest. The app helps you navigate the city thanks to a detailed map, with all points of interest clearly marked.  Not to mention, there is a category filter, which allows you select the attractions that pique your interest. And the cherry on the cake?  A Walking Tour of Central Cape Town is also preloaded with audio clips describing the must-visit spots. Basically, you can curate you own self-guided tour. Available on iPhone and Android (free)

14. Cape Town Maps and Walks: With a detailed, fully functional map of the city and numerous self-guided tour options, this app puts adventure in the palm of your hand. Tours for the Cape Town version of the app- there are over 450 cities that you can download- include “Landmarks of Cape Town”, “Museums of Cape Town” and “Cape Town’s Garden District”.  What’s more, the app works offline, which means that you don’t need an internet connection or data plan to use it- pretty cool, if you ask us.  The app is available as a Lite version, which you can download for free and includes walk details, descriptions and photos, but it does not come with the navigational tools, which guide you from one site to the next. For that you will have to download the Full version. Available on iPhone and Android (free Lite version, $4.99 full version)

15. Cape Town Creative: This free-to-download app not only sets out to connect creatives with potential clients, but it also allows users to access details of relevant creative sector operators. Known to be the first ever mobile events gateway for the local creative industry, the Creative Cape Town app boasts an event feed with map integration as well info on all the hip and happening creative and cultural activities taking place in the Mother City. Furthermore, registered app users will be able to showcase their work by uploading it to their very own mini-portfolio. So if you are looking to make the most of the Cape Town artistic scene, this app is for you! Available on iPhone (free)

16. Cape Town Love:
As the name of the app suggests, this download is all about sharing your adoration for our bustling seaside metropolis.  Developed by design studio Wild Measure in collaboration with the tech experts at Over, Cape Town Love allows you to add handcrafted, city-inspired and city-specific phrases to your photographs of Cape Town. Whether it is a snap of the penguins at Boulders Beach, a sunset captured at Camps Bay or a spectacular view from atop Table Mountain, this app lets you take your special moments to a whole new level.  But, of course, it is also all about sharing the love.  When you’re done composing your personalised work of art, you can distribute it directly from the app to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and more. Available on iPhone (free)

17. Zomato Food and Restaurant Finder – Cape Town: Released in 2013, this app provides an easy-to-use restaurant discovery service that hinges on social sharing.  Not only is it perfect for budding and fully fledged Mother City foodies, but also for international visitors who are on the lookout for top dining spots in Cape Town.  The super user-friendly app allows you to browse through updated menus and images of some of the top eateries in your area. Furthermore, you can curate a trusted network of friends and discover new restaurants through them.  And, if you want to become a Level 5 foodie, you can document your food journey with reviews and images (you can add filters) and maintain an up-to-date list of all your favourite heavenly hotspots. Available on iPhone, Android and Windows (free)

18. Cape Town Bicycle Map: There’s no denying that bicycle culture in Cape Town is growing exponentially, and the Cape Town Bicycle Map is a perfect companion for your two wheel rides.  Officially recognised as 2014 World Design Project, the app allows cyclists to find safe urban cycling routes, bicycle-friendly venues, bike rentals, bicycle parking racks and much more. Not to mention, bike enthusiasts can also find info on what is required from them should they want to take their bicycles on public transport.  Additional maps detail mountain biking trails as well as leisure routes for local and tourists who want to (re)discover the beauty of the Mother City. Available on iPhone, Android and Windows (free)

19. Geek Girl Dinner Cape Town: Launched in early 2011, Geek Girl Dinnersets out to bring together the tech-obsessed women of Cape Town with a series of ‘geeky’ events (they include men as well).  The monthly affairs, which take place in and around Cape Town, feature a tech-related theme, guest speaker and a delicious dinner.  The app features pre and post event information and includes photos, speaker’s presentations and biographies and news relating to the technology industry. Available on iPhone and Android (free)

Finding spring’s world famous wild flowers in Cape Town

19 September 2016

An estimate 100 000 tourists visit Namaqualand, an inimitable natural area that crosses the Western and Northern Capes, every year to see the normally dry and desert-like countryside burst into colourful bloom So at a soft guess, that would mean there are at least 10 flowers for every tourist who goes to see them because the springtime wildflowers in Namaqualand are many in number, and truly amazing.

Where to go?

The West Coast National Park is just 1.5 hour’s drive from Cape Town city centre, and boasts a popular and colourful flower season annually between August and September. Depending on the amount of rainfall in the preceding winter months, here, Namaqualand daisies and more 3 500 floral species emerge in spring – from early August to the end of September – to offer one of the world’s greatest flower shows.

If you’ve got the time, drive even further up along the west coast to Namaqualand in the Northern Cape, where the flowers really start showing off.

One of the if i could… team members went in search of the beautiful blooms last weekend, and here are a few of the vibrant scenes she found:

img_1943 img_1974 img_1964 img_1926

The West Coast spring flowers are justifiably world famous. In a good year this botanical masterpiece puts on a show that is unrivaled anywhere on Earth. If you experience this natural wonder you will remember it for the rest of your life.

You can hire a car if you want to do it yourself, or hop on a tour bus and get to the west coast flowers and back home to Cape Town in a day trip easily. So make sure you apply for an internship in Cape Town today to get here in time to see the flowers still blooming!

Getting inspired by Cape Town’s artistic culture

12 September 2016

Whether you are looking for a creative internship or just hoping to take in the culture of Cape Town, the city has something in store for everyone.

The city’s status as World Design Capital 2014 and the continual growth of inspiring initiatives like the Cape Town Art Fair and Art Week Cape Town has put the city on the map as one of the inspiring art centres of the world.

Some may even say that the city itself is a piece of artwork with its abundance of natural beauty!

Art is powerful universal language that allows us to break through cultural and communication barriers, and open our hearts and minds to the hopes and challenges that connect us all. It’s a way to listen to one another, and understand how to make the world better, together. With the if i could… Internship programme, you will not only get to grow your skills and abilities but you will also effect change and impact the communities here too.

Our current intern Camille de Vos from Australia has particularly been inspired by the Mother City. “There is definitely some great art capturing the majesty of the African wildlife and the energy of its people here in Cape Town. To me art is often a medium that is used as a platform for social commentary and to initiate social change and that can definitely be seen in the art from South Africa, particularly in relation to apartheid.”

While in Cape Town, Camille did the painting below. She tried to capture the strength and beauty of so many of the women you see around here.

“Women’s Day celebrates what many strong women have done for South Africa and was the inspiration behind the painting.”

img-20160902-wa0004

When you’re feeling arty or want to know more about what Cape Town has on offer, here are some events and vibrant venues to check out:

ART & CULTURAL EVENTS IN CAPE TOWN

Artscape

Situated in the heart of the mother city, the Artscape Theatre Centre brings you the highest level of artistic excellence in all aspects of performing arts. For more info: www.artscape.co.za

The Watershed, V & A Waterfront

Visit the Watershed at the V & A Waterfront beautifully crafted, and produced African art. The Watershed, your one-stop where you will find the best of local design and craft!

Kirstenbosch Summer Concerts

kb

Magnificent gardens provide the backdrop for these open-air gigs – the perfect place to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon. It’s also a fantastic picnic location, so bring along a blanket and a hamper of goodies! Find event updates here.

ftFirst Thursdays Cape Town

A free cultural experience where art galleries and other cultural attractions in the central and east city districts stay open late on the first Thursday of every month. This is a very popular social event.

“It is a great place for people with similar interests to come together and appreciate unique forms of art work that is shown.’ I visited many trendy bars, coffee shops and galleries. Overall very cool and must Cape Town experience” says intern, Jennifer Morris. Find out more at  www.first-thursdays.co.za.

Cape Town Street Murals

These are a vital part of the city art scene. The lively suburb of Woodstock is one of the oldest but hippest areas to visit when in Cape Town. Join an art tour with Anima Tours.

And don’t forget the galleries —

Art Galleries in Cape Town

The South African National Gallery at the heart of the Company’s Gardens is a fitting place to begin exploring Cape Town’s art galleries. It has over 1000 works in its collection and hosts a dynamic programme of high-quality exhibitions.

The Cape Gallery contains works that invoke Africa’s cultural identity, from classic landscape paintings to sculptures and modern street art.

To start exploring and get inspired today, apply for an NGO internship in Cape Town here.

September is Heritage Month in South Africa

7 September 2016

019_IMG_0384As we shake off our winter blues and jump into spring down here in South Africa, we’re also jumping into heritage month.

This month recognises aspects of South African culture which are both tangible and intangible: creative expression like music, our historical inheritance, language, the food we eat as well as the popular memory, and it comes to a head on September 24, which is Heritage Day and a national public holiday.

When did it start?

Heritage Day was created by President Nelson Mandela in 1996 to encourage South Africans to celebrate their cultural traditions in the wider context of the great diversity of cultures, beliefs, and traditions that make up our nation.

From Cape Malay cooking and culture, to the legend of Shaka Zulu, South Africa is rich in culture and traditions and the 24th of September is the day we get to reflect on and celebrate these in style.

Here are 10 historic sites where you can celebrate South Africa’s heritage when you’re interning in Cape Town:

(h/t to SouthAfrica.net for this list)

Cape Town’s historic waterfront

A great harbour with a great history – that’s Cape Town’s Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, South Africa’s top tourist destination – and a working port.
DSC00565sm

St George’s Cathedral, Cape Town

Known as the ‘people’s cathedral’, St George’s has always been a haven for the oppressed. It is also the oldest Anglican cathedral in South Africa.

Houses of Parliament, Cape Town

The South African Houses of Parliament in Cape Town have been witness to a large number of the major changes, upheavals and historic turnabouts of this country.

Historic Robben Island, Cape Town

A trip out to Robben Island, famously once home to Nelson Mandela and other anti-apartheid heroes, might be the most memorable of all your South African experiences.

Historic Long Street

Walk up historic Long Street, where you’ll see Victorian architecture against a Table Mountain backdrop, and where you’ll be tempted into quirky shops and sidewalk cafés.

Castle of Good Hope

The Castle of Good Hope in Cape Town is the country’s oldest intact colonial building, and it speaks volumes about colonial days from the mid-1600s.

The Bo-Kaap Museum

The Bo-Kaap Museum lies at the heart of 1 of Cape Town’s most colourful communities. Take a walk through the brightly coloured Bo-Kaap area and meet its people.

District Six Museum

The displays and guides of the District Six Museum in central Cape Town tell the story of a vibrant community uprooted during the apartheid era.

Cape Town’s Iziko Museums

Dedicate a couple of days of your time to exploring the various fascinating Iziko Museums in Cape Town, from the Slave Lodge to Groot Constantia.

Historic Cape Town Gardens

The Company’s Garden in Cape Town is the prime park space in the centre of the Mother City, first established by Jan van Riebeeck, the 1st Dutch governor of the Cape.

PicsArt_08-22-11.01.08

Or if you’re more exciting by the ‘Braai Day’ that’s also celebrated on 24 September, here are 7 ways to eat and drink your way around Cape Town.

Wherever you choose, a journey through a unique history lesson awaits.

Apply for an internship in Cape Town to come and celebrate this unique heritage with us.

31102011022

Your guide to using public transport in Cape Town

7 September 2016

Spending an extended period of time in a new country is often a daunting thought for many. One can expect to encounter many new experiences and challenges while you are settling in. With this in mind,  we thought it would be helpful to give you a quick introduction to travelling around the city in order to at least take care of some of the unknown. Cape Town’s public transport systems are certainly colorful and there are an abundance of options for getting around the city; all depending on your destination.

A quick overview of the methods of public transportation offers the following solutions:

cape-town-trains

A Metrorail train en route to the C.B.D along the scenic southern suburbs line

Train

The Cape Town railway service is run by Metrorail and although it is the cheapest and most practical way for travelling long distances around Cape Town,  trains have built up a reputation for always running late and/or getting cancelled. You shouldn’t let this discourage you from trying it out though as recently Metrorail has received a massive injection of funding to help beef up its infrastructure and get its service up to scratch. This revamp of the railway system have seen trains become more reliable and efficient. Adding to this, is the fact that you can purchase weekly as well as monthly tickets at a discounted rate, making it the most economical form of transport.

cape-town-minibus-taxi

Passenger about to hop into a “taxi” at the Cape Town Station taxi rank

Mini Bus Taxis

Unlike the cab variety, minibus taxis are legally allowed to carry up to 14 – 15 passengers comfortably. They drive along pre-determined routes (e.g The Main Road from the city to the suburbs) and make their stops at any time you wish to get out. As it is the most informal mode of transportation, it has built up a bad reputation in some places where drivers overload their vehicles with more passengers than is allowed by law. Irrespective of this recklessness, they are still responsible for transporting millions of commuters around the country on a daily basis. There are many stations or points set out for you to catch a minibus taxi, but as long as you stand along the route you wish to travel and wave a signal to them as they approach, they will stop and let you in. It is one of the quickest ways to get from point A to point B.

Buses

There are two established forms of bus transportation available to commuters in the city: Golden Arrow Buses and the MyCiTi Buses. Golden Arrow is the largest bus operating company in the province and have routes that cover the majority of the city and its surrounding areas. To catch a Golden Arrow bus, all you need to do is find one of their yellow bus stop shelters along the route and wait under it until you see a bus heading your way. Signal them to stop and then hop on board. The MyCiTi buses were a recent addition to urban travel in Cape Town; and are easily identifiable as they are blue buses as opposed to the  bright yellow Golden Arrow buses. They operate on dedicated bus lanes in the city, allowing them to miss traffic in peak travelling hours. The MyCiTi buses were introduced to encourage Cape Town residents to use public transport to get to work instead of taking their cars. They function in a similar fashion to trams and have beautiful free standing stations in the middle of major roads all around the city.

cape-town-golden-arrow

An iconic yellow Golden Arrow buses. These buses are so popular they can be seen all over the city

cape-town-mycity-bus

The latest addition to public transport in Cape Town, the MyCiTi buses have their own dedicated lanes on local roads which means no traffic

Taxi Cabs

Cape Town has a host of taxi cab companies, all of whom have competitive rates and operate in exactly the same way as the ones you take back home. There aren’t any specific vehicle types associated with these taxis and most times the best way to distinguish a cab from a normal road going vehicle is to look for the yellow “taxi” sign on the roof. They operate 24 hours a day and will get you to virtually anywhere you want. Just remember that they are metered cabs so keep  in mind the distances you are going to travel to avoid any costly surprises at the end of your journey.

cape-town-taxi-cab

Metered taxis or “cabs” are often used for late night transportation or for a quick ride home if you live near by the city bowl.

Uber

Screen Shot 2016-09-07 at 12.31.31 PM

If you don’t have Uber in your city yet, you’ve probably at least heard of the ride requesting app. If you use it already, then you’re all set — the same Uber you use at home can be used in Cape Town. Find a wifi network when you land at the airport, open the app and call a ride! Around Cape Town city, you won’t usually wait more than 10 minutes for an Uber cab, although if you go to places that are further out, like a wine farm, there likely won’t be as many cabs easily available.

Otherwise Cape Town is relatively safe as long as you remain alert at all times so feel free to walk, run, cycle, hop, skip or even jump your way around the city. There is so much to see and so many warm people to interact with, why limit yourself with the usual transport woes.

(images in this article are sourced from the internet)

Contact us for more information