Finally, here’s my story about a 2 week trip with 16 guests from The Netherlands. We started in Jo’burg and then made our way to the Blyde River Canyon, Krugerpark and one night in Swaziland. Then we flew to George we’re started traveling the Garden Route, wine lands and Cape Town. I thought my new 3G internet connection would allow me to update my blog on a regular basis during the 14 day trip, but unfortunately it was way to slow.
I picked up the group in Jo’burg from where they went on a educational tour to Soweto, South Africa’s biggest and most well known township. What a lot of visitor don’t know, is that Soweto now is a city on it’s own with shopping malls, golf courses, a 4 star hotel and lots of clubs. Yes, there are also still a lot of poor people but the black South African middle class grows every year with about 20%. Lots to learn for my guests. In the evening everybody was extremely exhausted so they went to bed early. It was nice to stay in Pretoria one night because fellow-tourguide Margreet was also there. I hadn’t seen her in a long time so we had some time to catch up.
The Blyde River Canyon is the 3rd biggest canyon in the world and has a few amazing sites such as the potholes, God’s Window and the 3 rondavels. It’s often the first stop on a tour through South Africa and guests are amazed with the open spaces, the beautiful mountains and the distances to cover!
The next day we drove into Krugerpark through the Orpen Gate. The Krugerpark is always one of the highlights of a tour and people look forward to see a LOT of wild animals. Often one doesn’t realise it’s not a zoo and the animals are not waiting for us to come and visit. I always just hope with all my heart that my guests have the best safari ever and while we we’re driving towards our camp I did a little visualization of drawing all kinds of animals to the bus. I already had forgotten what I had done, when 30 minutes later we arrived at a water hole that was surrounded by a variety of animals that blew me away! Under the tree there was a lion. She was checking out the giraffes that were drinking. As soon as the giraffes left, zebra were moving in and in the back we saw an elephant approaching as well. WoW! Even for me, it was one of the most amazing sites, I had ever seen. One is not often this fortunate. And this was only from the bus!
The next day they all went on an open jeep safari with a qualified game ranger. While they were enjoying their safari, the bus driver and me, went shopping for a ‘braai’ (= BBQ) in the evening. In the Krugerpark all the chalets are equipped with ‘braai’ facilities and I love to share that typical South African experience with my guests. Everybody enjoyed sitting outside, hearing the animal sounds and tasting the chicken sosaties, beef boerewors and lamb choppies (and lots of red wine not to forget).
Our next stop was Matsamo Cultural Village on the border with Swaziland. Swaziland is a seperate kingdom within the borders from the South African Republic. The king is often critized because he’s married to I-don’t-know-how-many wifes. Matsamo is a place where one can learn about the Swazi culture. We slept in typical Swazi beehive huts and enjoyed a cultural show of dance and beautiful singing in the evening. Swaziland doesn’t carry the burden of Apartheid which makes it a very pleasant little country to go to.
Roughly from June – October, the South African coast is visited by whales for their breeding and calving. Certain boat operators are allowed to go close to the animals for a short period of time, so tourists can enjoy to watch these incredible creatures. Again, my guests were spoiled because we saw many whales. The sea is quite bumpy though, so taking good pics was quite a challenge. The afternoon was left for some relaxation as we were staying at the beach in Wilderness, a beautiful beach resort on the Garden Route.
From Wilderness we drove to Oudtshoorn which is famous for the many ostrich farms and the stunning Cango Caves. In the evening we obviously enjoyed a nice ostrich steak.
The next stop was in the wine lands. It was also a new place for, called Nuy, between Robertson and Worcester. We stayed at a lovely family farm and had a delicious wine tasting in the afternoon. The rose wine was favourite so 3 boxes were bought to enjoy the next few days.
Cape Town was our final destination and everybody always gets very exciting as we approach the city. Especially me, because I want to show off all the beauty of this stunning city that became my home. Normally you can see Table Mountain in the distance when approaching from the wine lands. The weather was not so good so all we saw was a huge cloud and mist. I was disappointed for my guests. I told them that we most probably would not be able to go up the mountain with the cable car today. There would be no view. BUT, as if we had ordered it, the clouds slowly disappeard and as we drove up Table Mountain Rd, the weather was clear and we quickly went up before it would change again. I couldn’t believe it! It was as if magic had happened. All my guests were loving the mountain and had the most awesome views of the city, Robben Island, Camps Bay an Table Bay. Great stuff!