SOUTH AFRICA FEB. 2006

SOUTH AFRICA FEB. 200?

Having previously worked for Geoff, who had lived in South Africa for several years, it was always a destination at the top of my to do list and  really didn’t disappoint.

To get the most out of this stunning country you need to be prepared to move around, either by doing an escorted tour, or by self-driving, as we did. Driving is on the left, and the roads are great. Once out of the cities, they are fairly quiet in comparison with the UK.

We started our trip in Cape Town, flying direct from London Heathrow in about 11.5 hrs. and with only a couple of hours’ time difference, this was an easy option.

Cape Town, a wonderful city sitting under the watchful eye of ‘Table Mountain’. The city has a vibrant cosmopolitan feel to it and offers some first class hotels and eateries. During February we fund it warm and windy, but with so much to see in the area, we were not contemplating spending too much time sitting on the beach.

If you go, you need to factor in a few days, as you must make the trip to the summit of Table Mountain, either by foot for the more energetic or by scenic cable car. Due to the low cloud we had two attempts before making the worthwhile trip. The views over Cape Town and the surrounding area are breath taking.

Other things to see in the area are of course, the famous Robben Island, the former prison of ‘Nelson Mandela’ and the Botanical Gardens, just to mention a few. We made the trip down to ‘Boulders Beach’ to see the Cape Penguins, quite surreal, seeing these cheeky little birds on the beach, rather than in the snow.sa-2006-027

From Cape Town we chose to drive part of the Garden Route, driving to Montagu on route 62, we stayed overnight at the charming Mimosa Inn, before continuing on through breath taking scenery to Wilderness. Stopping enroute for some superb photo opportunities. We stayed a couple of nights to explore this beautiful area, before continuing on to Tsitsikamma. They say you can experience all the seasons in one day in South Africa, and I can see why, from blazing sunshine to thick damp fog, it made for an interesting trip.

We hiked around the Storms River area before making the short drive back to George to fly via Jo’burg to Nelspruit a short drive from the Great Kruger National Park.

I have safaried before, but SA is quite different, you can drive yourself around part of the park, staying on the tarmac roads. Quite an experience, especially when you have to stop for a passing herd of Elephant.sa-2006-190

But for a much better experience you are best going out with a guide. They will take you off tarmac, onto unmade tracks, and place you just in the right spot for some truly amazing wildlife viewing.102_0203sa-2006-214sa-2006-221sa-2006-175

South Africa, it really does have something for everyone, from golden sandy beaches, fine dining restaurants, stunning scenery and the most wonderful wildlife. I can’t wait to go back, and will sometime soon.

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