A Photo Post Of My South African Safari

Having safaried in Kenya before I was better prepared with my trusty bridge camera this time and I wanted to share some of the amazing snaps I captured on my trip.

I apologise in advance for those who are squeamish, one of the greatest experiences of my safari was witnessing a cheetah feasting on its lunch.

These pictures were taken at The Garden Route Safari Lodge.

Advertisements

Tsitsikamma National Park, South Africa

Looking for some more adventure on your South African trip? Look no further than Tsitsikamma. Located along the Garden route this popular area is famous for its adrenaline sports and many a visitor can not resist the extensive list of heart pulsing activities.

Approximately 615km from Cape Town, Tsitikamma is a easy point to stop along your way from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth along the south coast.

Here are my top tips while you are in the area!

 

Bungy Jumping Off Bloukrans Bridge.

If you fancy throwing yourself off the 216 meter high bridge then be my guest! Located within the National Park, most will pass over this bridge without evening noticing anything different about it. Because the bridge is still for road use you must walk in the metal cage attached to the underneath to get to the jump platform… Pretty scary already if you ask me!

With a turn off for parking and viewpoint even if you didn’t fancy a jump it’s worth pulling over and watching those daring enough!

Jumps can be purchased on the day, or pre booked online for a saving here.

dsc03565

 

Zip Lining

Unfortunately the one thing I couldn’t fit in on my trip to Tsitsikamma due to not having done enough research before hand (and not being able to find a post like this before) we had to give this a miss this time!

We stayed right next door to the centre at the Tsitsikamma Village Inn (Which I highly recommend, I’ll soon enough have my blog post up)

Plan ahead and book online, or risk booking on the day if spaces are still available, Due to safety restrictions numbers are limited throughout the day.

Ps. Travelling over your birthday? You get a free Zipline tour if joining a tour on the same day, Great excuse for a day trip if you ask me!

 

 Lilo Rafting

Yep you read that right… If you are the first to blow up yours and jump in the pool on holiday then this trip is for you! Untouched Adventures take you out on a day you wont forget in a hurry! Starting as soon as you arrive a hike through the forest to get to the mouth of the river to start your rafting adventure, Starting in a kayak in the stronger waters you need to make your way down Storms river to arrive at the more narrow sections to get your lilo out and continue on your journey. If that does not sound strenuous enough for you, the guides will then take you on your own cliff jumping experience, or for those of you like me maybe you’ll just enjoy a refreshing swim and some relaxing time.

Trips can be booked online here before your arrival.

DSC_1733.JPG

 

Horse Back Safari At Hoggs Hollow

A beautiful rustic setting owned locally and managed by the family this small and friendly property offer daily horse back riding for private or group tours. Chose the setting for your day with a short farm visit or stay for longer and be taken out into the local area of the Tsitsikamma national park and visit destinations like the Craggs.

Tours can be booked online in advance here, And if you fancy continuing the experience check out the room rates to stay overnight, Book online here.

 

P.s

Also be sure to check out the coastal region especially around Natures Valley, Where the beach meets the headlands!

 

Constantia Wine Route, Cape Town

Dating back to 1685, Constantia is home to the oldest producing vineyard in South Africa. Often overshadowed by the neighbouring regions of Stellenbosh and Franschhoek, Constantia is actually also the closest region to Cape Town; Only 15km (20 mins) from the city centre, Nestled below in the green of Table Mountain.

Perfect for those looking to sample the local wine without having to sacrifice time travelling, there are 9 estates to discover each with their own samples and specialities. I wanted to give you the low down on my favourite properties in the region and more about the cellar tours and wine tasting on offer so you can plan your day out in Constantia.

 

 

 

Klein Constantia

Dating back to the original Constantia formed in 1685, The property was established by the first governor of the cape, Simon Van Der Stel. Although rumoured to have been chosen for its beautiful location in the valley of the Table Mountain National Park it also benefits from the soils from the slopes and the ocean breeze brought in from the Atlantic Ocean.

Know your in good taste when Klein favoured by many a royal and celebrity including authors and poets from the 18th & 19th century, Jane Austin and Charles Dickens.

Good value wine tasting is on offer at Klein with prices from 50 Rand per person which includes a try of all estate wines.

*No need to pre book here, Just arrive on the day and join onto a tasting tour. Although please check online for opening hours before planning your visit.

 

Constantia Glen

Relativity new to the game, Constantia Glen only planting it’s first grapes in 1999, and producing their first Sauvignon Blanc in 2005, still are an award winning producer in the area. Ranked as a boutique wine estate I would suggest visiting the Glen over lunch time and ordering a cheese platter to accompany your wine tasting, Trust me when I say it is one of the nicest I’ve enjoyed. Wine tastings can be pre booked online starting from 55 Rand per person and you can have a choice of 3 different seating areas all with their own setting and views.

Book your packages online here.

 

Groot Constantia

Officially the oldest wine producer in the region, Groot offer something different with their cape dutch architecture and desert wines. Located right on the City Sightseeing bus route this stop off within the Constantia means you wont need to worry about who is driving and arranging a taxi, the bus will take you from the city to the estate.

‘Groot’ in dutch translates to Great, Meaning then basically named themselves ‘Great Wine.’ Arrive with high expectations and you will not be disappointed, With cellar tours (60 Rand each) and wine tastings (45 Rand each, or combine them both for 70 Rand each) you can also expect an expert to talk you through the selection of wines and to tell you a little more history of the estate and owners.

*No pre-booking needed at Groot for the wine tasting or cellar tours, However the tours only run on the hour from 10:00 and the last tour departing at 16:00.

 

Eagles Nest

Located high in the slopes of Constantia, Eagles nest is another relativity newcomer to the game. This family owned boutique vineyard has a huge following thanks to its reasonably priced picnic baskets you are able to enjoy in the grounds of the property (£25 for 2 people, plus the purchase cost of a bottle of wine) Sat so high up in the route it gives a beautiful lookout over the valley and vineyards.

Wine tastings start from 50 Rand per person, and should you like to have a wine tasting before purchasing your bottle to accompany your picnic you will need to pre book before your arrival.

Book your visit online here.

 

* At the time of posting 50 South African Rand = £2.50 or $3.50 Us Dollars *

 

 

Johannesburg Things To See And Do

Being the largest city in South Africa, And the second largest city in the continent (only beaten by Cairo) you would expect there to be plenty to entertain the tourists that pass though however before I arrived I thought I might struggle to find things to do and was I proved wrong! I wanted to share my top tips on what to see and do while in Jozi.

 

Lebos Soweto Bicycle Tours 

Located in the famous south western township (otherwise known as soweto) This little hostel located in the area of Orlando West within SOWETO host daily bicycle tours in the local area. Taking you out for either 2 or 4 hours your tour guides will lead you though the houses of Orlando and take you to the main sights in the local area, Including Nelson Mandela’s house and the Hector Pieterson museum. Your tour includes lunch and they are more than happy to stop while you take photos, Trust me your phone/camera will be glued to your hands! On a side note for those not looking exert themselves Lebos also offer Tuk Tuk tours in which you can be driven around in their awesome Tuks Tuks with a guide (As shown below!)

Prices start from 430rand for a 2 hour cycle. Tours can be prearranged online here.

 

Valakazi Street & Nelson Mandela’s House

The only street in the world which can lay claim to once being the home or not 1 but 2 Nobel Prize winners; Desmond Tutu & Nelson Mandela, Possibly the most famous street in Johannesburg is a must see while in the area. With dining options and local bars you can easily people watch from the outdoor Terrence’s and order some authentic local South African cuisine.

Although Nelson’s family no longer live at 8115 the building has been turned into a museum for guests to see the humble beginnings the legacy started from and hear the meaningful life he lived. Nelson donated the house to the Soweto Heritage Trust on
1 September 1997 and asked for it to be kept as a museum for people to visit and learn.

It truly is a unforgettable moment and hearing the guides stories, showing us the bullet holes that still exist in the structure is heart breaking.

Entrance starts at 40rand per person. Learn more online here.

 

Hector Pieterson Museum & Memorial 

On June 16, 1976, Soweto high school students took to the streets in a peaceful protest against the sub-standard education in black schools but on the way to the stadium, they were met by the apartheid police. One of the first to be killed by the police was 12-year-old Hector Pieterson. The soon iconic image of Pieterson’s body being carried with his sister running alongside.

The memorial was opened by Nelson Mandela in the early 1990’s and the museum followed in the early 00’s. With an aim to persevere the memory of the events of the day, there are a collection of eye witness statements, pictures and historical documents and certainly plays an important part of South African history.

Another museum that may interest you if you would like yo learn more about the apartheid in South Africa you can visit the museum on Cnr Northern Parkway & Gold Reef Road. Learn more here

 

Orlando Towers

Looking for an adrenaline rush? Look no further than the SOWETO suburb of Orlando west! With the option of Bungee, Free-fall (yes you read that right, Check out the videos online on the link below) tower climbing and paint balling this place have it all. With a new cash free policy all bookings must be pre-booked online with a debit or credit card.

Check out there website for more information, videos and booking links here.

Garden Route Game Lodge. A Review, South Africa

Located only 3 1/2 hours from Cape Town and 1 hour from George this little slice of wonder is nestled amongst the Langeberg Mountain range and is accessible from the most southern major entry ports of South Africa and as the name gives away it is located on the entry onto the famous garden route!

I was lucky enough to have a two night stay while on my travels last month and thought I would share my thoughts on the hotel and game.

image

 

The appeal of a family owned and operated lodge enticed me to try  them out. I think having the owners around can make a massive difference in the experience and service you receive!

As it is a private game lodge the experience will be different to that if you were staying within the national parks, As the lodge owns 3000 hectares of land it can be easier to spot the wildlife although they have less animals as they haven’t the space the national parks have. They do have Rhinos, Lions, Elephants, Hippo, Buffalo, Cheetahs and Leopards (although these are wild and pass through the park as they like) you have a high chance of spotting the big 5.

These sights work towards rehabilitation and conservation, As animal poaching in South Africa is the worst in the continent the owners have come together to get some security in place for these animals and now each Rhino has it’s own personal security guard… Drastic times call for drastic measures. Until poachers are no longer a threat to these timid creatures this is what has to be done. Learn more about the projects in place here.

 

image

 

The open Land Rover game drives (which are included within the room rate, twice a day) depart on sunrise and sunset rides everyday and can last between 2-3 hours… Although if like us you have a lion blocking the road this can quickly become 4-5 hours! The rangers are employed for their expertise on the local wildlife and fauna, Some of the random facts we learnt will stay with me for quite some time.

On top of the game reserve the hotel is home to a reptile centre and skull garden for encounters with the animals. The hotel is geared towards families with young children (6-12 years) as the hotel can offer babysitting/child minding programmes and activities for the younger ones and families will receive their own game drive to ensure plenty of time can be spent as they chose while in the game reserve.

image

The hotel is separated by room types with standard rooms located closest to the main facilities and the private chalets located overlooking the valley and watering hole.I stayed in the standard rooms and there was nothing standard about it. With a huge floor space and beds we had our own en-suite which came with bath and shower. Each room comes with its own mini bar/fridge and deck area for valley views while drinking sun downers.

 

image

The hotel serve breakfast, lunch and dinner to guests in the Serengeti’s restaurant in the main building and as the hotel comes as half board as standard it does mean you are subject for your own lunch but luckily the menu is very reasonably prices with prices from 80 RND (£4) for a burger or open sandwich,

As for the meals that are included they do come as buffet style and are sublime with interactive experiences. In the evenings the chefs cook the meat to your taste on a BBQ while you fill your plate with the side dishes, With options of chicken, Impala and Ostrich there is always something different to try. As I mentioned all is cooked to your taste and if it’s all new to you, you can ask for the chefs recommendations!

Now a safari in South Africa would not be complete without a boma or in other words an African BBQ. As I as travelling during the winter season they couldn’t host an evening Boma but we were treated to an indoor breakfast buffet in the Boma located next to the pool area. The breakfast was amazing with eggs cooked to choice and pancakes. Cheese boards and cold cuts with a choice of juices, teas and coffee we really were spoilt for choice.

image

In case you are only passing by and haven’t the time to stay at the lodges you are in luck as they do offer game drive safaris for day guests! Have a check on-line for availability and prices.

http://grgamelodge.co.za/

This is a 3* lodge hotel where prices start from £90 (per room) per night based on two people sharing on a half board basis including 2 game drives per night paid.

South Africa Rand was 20 to £1 at the time of writing (June 2016)