Travelers Anita and Hans Beukers went to South Africa in April / May and shared their experiences. They provide fun and useful tips, so it is recommended to read!
Start of the journey in Johannesburg and the Kruger Park
We left with KLM on April 26 to Johannesburg . There we were picked up with a taxi bus and brought to the overnight lodge near the airport, where the car was delivered the next day. That morning it became light early and we were very excited to start our first day in South Africa.
We had to drive a lot, first over the highway, but later on two-way roads, which were quite worn on the side. The left handed down, a fight with the poker and handles for direction indicators. The South Africans drive neatly, but quite hard. They get in, with only two jobs. The car to be picked up takes place as far as possible to the left. Thank you for the inhalation of the flashing lights. It is difficult to avoid the potholes (holes). The roads in the north are worse than in the Western Cape.
The first day we got a nice tire on the Longtompass. That had to be exchanged. Only we did not get rid of the bolts. We asked for help at a nearby lodge and immediately made acquaintance with the friendly and helpful Afrikaners. A strong boy came to help us with the necessary tools.
In Hazyview we had the first night in a lodge which immediately showed us the beautiful accommodations we had during this trip. Well done with an extensive, mostly English breakfast and other delights.
Thus we stayed at a small private lodge and got acquainted with the first wildlife near your cottage. Astonishing to do this and fun to see how animals you see in the Netherlands alone in the zoo are now walking around in their area and observing them. The lodges of the lodge will take you for a bushwalk and an afternoon / early evening game drive. You see and hear everything. This helps you to search for wildlife later in the Kruger Park. The stay here was to never forget, beautiful rooms, beautiful garden with swimming pool and occasional visits of zebras, ostriches, monkeys and impala’s. Occasionally a giraffe and, of course, smaller animals such as beautiful colored birds.
Riding in the Kruger Park is by no means different from a safari car with ranger. You spend a whole day in the car with the windows closed. No wind through your hair and no explanation of a guide. But very nice to discover the Big 5 yourself. We have succeeded, even though the leopard was only spotted when we almost arrived at our overnight camp.
Swaziland & the Wetlands of St. Lucia
The next day through Swaziland . Funny to see how they check the border here. Many stamps and letters and chat of customs officials. At the back of the office the books were stacked high. Be wondering who’s looking over here for a while!
As in South Africa, many people and animals are also walking along the road. This is extra care and ensures you can not travel very quickly, but there is plenty to see on your way. In the Mlilwane park, where we stayed in a rondavel, you can walk around yourself. There are no dangerous animals except the big crocodiles in the river. Fortunately, they stay in the water.
We went to St. Lucia in Kwazulu Natal , a village with beautiful luxury houses, some shops and restaurants. That good food, good and cheap, you will find throughout South Africa. Here we slept 4 nights and this made for rest and relaxation in the trip. The guesthouse was very well looked after with a beautifully grown garden, large room with terrace and seating and very hospitable owners who tell a lot about the area. The boat trip for hippos and crocodiles was a highlight as well as the safari of a day at the Hluhluwe Park. This is rugged and wilder than we saw before and we spotted here thanks to the excellent ranger even rare wild dogs and several male lions.
We also spent two days walking along the beach and visiting Cape Vidal with swimming and snorkeling in the warm Indian Ocean. We found it exciting every evening to walk to the village with the flashlight. Albert pushed us out to see a hippo when we saw a hippo. We have not encountered what we secretly hoped for.
Tip: Restaurants in the village where we have eaten delicious are Brava and Baccara and the cafe restaurant at the boats jetty.
When we arrived in Port Elizabeth we drove to Addo where we slept in a beautiful lodge with porch, nightly quiet and a sky full of stars. We visited Addo Park and were impressed by the many wildlife in another landscape.
The journey continued along the Garden Route , we noticed that it became Westerner. We did feel sorry for this. We enjoyed the Tsitsikamma park and walked here and climbed at Storms River Mouth. Lots of beautiful pictures made! In Knysna we visited the lagoon. The lagoon cruise ship did not go because it was low season. Instead, we went to Leisure Island and walked over the dry wad. We spoiled ourselves for the excellent food at the Italian restaurant- cafe Mario at the Waterfront and some souvenirs. Furthermore, we did not find it so special here.
The night at the farmer in Heidelberg was very nice and exceeded expectations. The people do their utmost to make you feel right here. The food is great in the evening, very cozy in the room with the fireplace. Due to the beautiful weather the next morning with a beautiful sunrise and a nice tour of the tractor, we did not actually plan to continue.
But Stellenbosch with the wine was very attractive. After visiting Franschoek with Ned Hervormde church, beautiful houses and La Petite Ferme for lunch, we have slept in a good wine farm with good weather; just indicate that you want to dine. The bike ride was a bit too short, but the guide has told a lot about all the wines, the surroundings and its Dutch history. The lunch spot was superb and the guide even made an effort to look for a chameleon for us to show up close.
As a last resort, of course, Cape Town. The expectations were high. We found it very easy to discover from Sea Point Cape Town. The first afternoon we walked straight on the hop on hop off bus and did the red route. That shows a lot of the city, including the Table Mountain. You can get off straight away with the cable car. When we were there the view was not very good, between the fog clouds we saw Cape Town and the ocean. But it was a great experience to walk through the clouds on the mountain. Just like you’re in a plane and can get off. We spent the days here in the center but also on the peninsula. This is the beauty of this city, nature is so close by. We found the boat trip to Diving Island from Hout Bay a whole experience: on a boat through wild wildlife to a colony of fur robber living on a rocky island and raising their boy there. The animals dive right next to the boat in and out of the sea. It’s just as if you are present when shooting a nature movie.
We have been with a guide in the Langa Township, which gave a different look at the history and culture of this country.
So we ended up having a great trip through South Africa, which we would like to go back to. The scenery and scenery are amazing, the people friendly and helpful and the weather, despite the fact that almost winter was very beautiful. In the north it was between 25 and 30 degrees with a lot of sunshine, in the Cape cooler and especially in Cape Town cloudy, but the raincoat we did not need.