Over a year ago, I had the opportunity to go to South Africa. My cousin was studying there abroad, and my sister, two friends and I took up the invitation to come and visit him. Although the plane ride is over 20 hours (and our in-flight entertainment did not work the entire time!), it was absolutely worth it. We did a road trip throughout South Africa, starting in Cape Town and making our way up the Eastern Cape and ending with a Safari near Port Elizabeth. They drive on the opposite side of the road, so that in itself was an adventure!
Cape Town, South Africa
Starting out in Cape Town, we stayed in a small boutique hotel in the Camps Bay area of the city, The Primi Royal (http://www.primi-royal.com/ ). This neighborhood is breathtaking, sitting directly on Table Bay, nestled between Table Mountain and Lion’s Head Mountain. Our first day in the city we set out to explore as many neighborhoods in the city as we could. We headed over to the V&A Waterfront, a harbor filled with restaurant, bars and shops. It is also where you can catch a boat to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned. The area is very tourist-y, but worth checking out. We caught a bus that took us throughout the city, and we able to take in some great scenery, including the World Cup Stadium that was used in 2010.
Lion’s Head Mountain, Cape Town
Table Mountain was next on our list. In order to get to the top, you either have to hike or take a cable car to the top. Because of time, we choose the cable car. Once at the top, the views were stunning. You can see the entire city spread out below you.
For our next adventure, we hopped into the car and drove to Cape Point which is the most southern point of South Africa. The drive there itself was unbelievable (and a little scary). The twisting and turning mountain roads gave great views of the many fishing towns and beaches along the African coast. Once there, beware of the baboons. They are everywhere and if you have any food in your purse or bag, they will find it and take it from you!
The next stop was Boulder Beach, a beach inhabited by African penguins. They are everywhere, from the boardwalks surrounding the beach, to the rocks out in the ocean. We stayed and had lunch here, where you could take in the scenery and watch the penguins play.
The Winelands, South Africa
Next on our roadtrip was the Winelands, which is located only about an hour outside of Capetown. We stayed at the Spier Hotel (http://www.spier.co.za/) located in the Stellenbosch area. The estate has beautiful grounds and villas, with private backyards & pools. It also has a cheetah sanctuary on-site and an African market in the mornings with great shopping. We also visited Rickety Bridge Winery (http://www.ricketybridge.com/index.php), in the Franschhoek valley. The staff was extremely knowledgeable, and it was great to sit outside drinking wine and overlooking the vineyards and Wemmershoek Mountains. Try the 2008 Paulina’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, it was wonderful!
Garden Route, South Africa
Now our road trip really began. The Garden Route is a stretch of the south-east coast of Africa. It is full of forests, lagoons, lakes, and mountains. There are so many places to stop, but we choose just a few of the numerous towns to stay in.
Almost by accident, we found the Knysa Elephant Park. This is a controlled, free range park for elephants. Once you pay your admission, the rangers take you out to feed and hang out with the elephants! This was such a great experience, to be up close and personal with these beautiful giants. Feeding them and petting them was something I will never forget.
Getting a little adventurous again, we decided to go hiking at the Tsitsikamma National Park, a beautiful national park on the Indian Ocean. The hike started out fairly easy, but you eventually have to cross multiple suspension bridges to get across the ocean, and then the terrain gets a little rough up the mountain. Once at the top however, it was completely worth it!
Kariega Game Reserve
Our last stop was the Kariega Game Reserve (http://www.kariega.co.za/ ) near Port Elizabeth. The accommodations were perfect; we had our own 3 bedroom house, with a porch that overlooked the reserve. As we were driving up the road to get there, a giraffe was blocking our driveway! Our ranger, Matt, was so friendly and knowledgeable. There was not a question he could not answer. We did multiple drives with him, and knew the reserve like the back of his hand – where to find all of the animals and what time of day was best to see them.
Kruger National Park
Our CEO, Jody Berg, also had the pleasure of visiting Kruger National Park in South Africa. Here are some of the pictures from her visit.