Hippos & hippies at Port St Johns

first_imgPort St Johns is a swashbuckling village of legend on the Pondo side of the Wild Coast of the Eastern Cape. It is also one of the highlights on any international backpacker’s world itinerary because of its natural setting, frontier atmosphere and appeal to more adventurous younger travellers.The village lies on the Umzimvubu River, Xhosa for “hippo”. The most famous hippo ever to have visited Port St Johns was back in 1931. Named Huberta, she settled upriver for more than four months during her trek from Zululand down to the Eastern Cape.In his book Huberta Goes South, Hedley Chilvers says the wandering hippo was found on the Market Square of Port St Johns one night, munching the grass.When torches were shone in her face, Huberta “just sat down on her haunches like a monstrous dog to think things out”. She finally made up her mind that Port St Johns was a little too hectic for hippos and moved back upriver again.From one of the most interesting airstrips in Africa, one can see the famed Gates of St Johns (Mounts Thesiger and Sullivan) on either side of the river. Three good beaches, excellent fishing and a general atmosphere of live and let live have made the coastal village a hotspot for young tourists looking for adventure on the wild side of Africa.The origin of the name of Port St Johns is something of a mystery. It was long assumed that the village was named after the wrecked Portuguese ship Sao Jao, but then it was discovered that the vessel actually ran aground north of the village, near Port Edward. Others say that on a good day you can see the profile of St John the Baptist etched in some cliffs near the river …Sections of the Pondo coast were briefly colonised by the Germans in the 19th Century, but the outraged British intervened and the Union Jack was once again raised in the region. During the Anglo Boer War, the 24th Warwickshire Regiment were lucky enough to be stationed here and were probably the first foreign tourists to enjoy the beaches of Port St Johns.These days, tourists do far more than lie on the area’s golden beaches. This is prime hiking country, full of forests and trails, where more than 250 species of birds have been recorded. Canoe trips, horse trails, dolphin and whale watching, golf and simply chilling out are all leisure options regularly exercised in Port St Johns.Cultural tourism and shopping for African items go hand in hand, and the choices range from reedware to walking sticks and quality fabrics. You can also go on guided tours to neighbouring Pondo villages to meet locals and see how they live.The backpacker facilities in this African village are excellent. They cater for couples, solo travellers and small groups of young people. The backpacker lodges will help their guests set up activity itineraries every day, which include everything from jungle swings to unusual walking destinations.Four backpacking establishments that come highly recommended in Port St Johns are:The Island Backpackers LodgeFirst Beach, Port St Johns, 5120Tel/Fax: (047) 564 1958Cell: 082 813 1611E-mail: theisland@wildcoast.co.zaWeb: www.theislandbackpackers.co.zaAmapondo BackpackersSecond Beach Road, PO Box 190,Port St Johns, 5120Tel/Fax: (047) 564 1344Cell: 083 315 3103E-mail: info@amapondo.co.zaWeb: www.amapondo.co.zaIkaya ‘Le Intlabati (House On The Beach)Second Beach, PO Box 32, Port St Johns, 5120Tel/Fax: (047) 564 1266Cell: 083 715 1421E-mail: ikaya@telkomsa.net Jungle Monkey340 Berea Road, PO Box 130, Port St Johns, 5120Tel/Fax: (047) 564 1517E-mail: junglemonkey@iafrica.comSource: South African Tourismlast_img read more

Senate Lawmakers, Trump Administration Officials Discuss Tax Reform

first_imgSenate lawmakers and Trump administration officials held a joint press conference on November 7 to discuss tax reform. The conference comes as the Senate Finance Committee (SFC) prepares to unveil its own tax reform legislation. According to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., this bill will be released by November 10. However, according to SFC member Dean Heller, R-Nev., the bill will be released on November 9.Meeting to Discuss Tax ReformThe SFC’s tax bill is likely to propose a 20-percent corporate tax rate, mirroring the House bill at least in that regard, Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., predicted on November 7. Perdue said the House bill is a “great starting point.” Likewise, Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., said the Senate intends to “build on” the House bill, making it clear the Senate bill will contain significant differences. Meanwhile, the House Ways and Means continued their markup of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Bill (HR 1) on November 7.Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex., acknowledged that Congress has not yet reached consensus on how to approach tax reform. Cruz, like Trump, has stated that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) (P.L. 111-148) individual mandate should be repealed as a revenue raiser. House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Tex., has hesitated adding the provision. He thinks it could potentially derail the tax bill’s success. However, on November 7, Brady said he is still weighing the repeal of the ACA’s individual mandate because members have asked him to consider it. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has estimated that repealing the mandate would create over $400 billion in revenue, which would help offset the tax bill’s costs.Additionally, the SFC is reportedly considering keeping the mortgage-interest deduction limit at $1 million. The House’s tax bill proposes capping the deduction at $500,000 for new home sales.The SFC will begin debating its bill the on November 13. Heller told reporters after leaving a meeting with SFC members that the committee was “putting final touches” on the bill. “I anticipate that we will have amendments from the other side, and we will get a bill down to the floor,” Heller said.White HouseMeanwhile, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, speaking at the Senate/administration press conference, said that nothing is more important to the president’s economic agenda than tax reform and tax cuts. The administration looks forward to bringing a bill to the president’s desk for his signature in December, Mnuchin added.By Jessica Jeane, Wolters Kluwer News StaffLogin to read more tax news on CCH® AnswerConnect or CCH® Intelliconnect®.Not a subscriber? Sign up for a free trial or contact us for a representative.last_img read more

Colour Me Bright!

first_imgDonning vibrant hues, timeless accents, curios and bold artworks, designer Niki Mahajan’s home in Delhi is an absolute visual treat. By Kripa KrishnanAn elegant noteBlending the old with the new could be very tricky. It can either lead to a straight run to weirdville or create an opulent space. Niki Mahajan’s house in Delhi’s upscale Sainik Farms, is a fine example of the latter. Here, an entire entourage of vintage treasures rubs shoulders with their modern counterparts. The show-stopper in the tree-fringed house is an art-deco style wooden seat salvaged from Mumbai’s famous Mehboob Studios where classics such as Mother India and Guide were shot.  Elsewhere, a Portuguese writing desk with its old-world charm creates an arresting visual palette.  A wall-mounted collection of gold leaf miniature paintings is guaranteed to take your breath away. As you enter, a grand abstract done in black, white and yellow beckons you in. Placed below is an elegant wooden bench with a “metallic” cushion. The splash of green provided by a potted palm completes the look. Every room has a varied colour scheme. From vivid to muted, Niki has used several hues in the house. The living room is knitted out with family photos, comfortable sofas and book racks. A wall panel brimming with quirky mementos collected during travels across the world is the piece de resistance. (See picture 5) The l iving room opens up to manicured greenery. With a Koi pond, a bamboo grove and a multi-hued wall with arches, this makes for a perfect spot to host outdoor parties. (See pictures 3 & 4) Walls of the living room sport impressive artworks and framed scrolls. ‘I source my paintings from south India and Bengal. For me, it’s not important how famous the artist is. I go by what appeals to me,’ Niki says. A cushion covered with Beatles memorabilia gives a contemporary touch to the master bedroom. With its deep red embroidered lamps and a bedside clock crafted in brass, the room looks straight from a 19th century English mansion. As you walk through, you encounter beautiful memories sheathed in colours and charm. It’s the mark of a home which is a fitting reflection of an individual’s aesthetic stamp.advertisementlast_img read more