We have been looking forward to a trip to Africa for a long time and we were fortunate to back up the African tour with a short tour of India. So, lions in Africa, tigers in India.... can't wait!
  • Day2

    Phew.. We have arrived!

    September 24, 2019 in South Africa ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    After two long flights- one 14 hours and the other 9 hours - we have arrived in Cape Town to begin or African adventure. Everything went smoothly, no delayed flights, no lost luggage and met at the airport without any problems. First look at Cape Town is very nice but at the moment all we want is a nice shower and get a good night's sleep ready to hit the town tomorrow.Read more

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  • Day3

    HOHO bus, gardens and cruise

    September 25, 2019 in South Africa ⋅ ☀️ 23 °C

    (So, not everything was smooth sailing. Tried opening Brad's suitcase and for some inexplicable reason the combination lock changed and we could not get it open. Spent ages trying all the combinations but in the end we had to get the hotel maintenance guy to break the latches for the zipper. Not the first time he has seen it and he suggested we buy a normal keyed padlock)

    Anyway, up at 7am, nice hotel breakfast and hotdog it down to the waterfront to catch the 9am tour to Robben Island. Unfortunately, we had not prebooked and there were no spots until next Monday. Oh well🤷‍♀️, we missed out on that one, never mind.

    Spectacular morning and not many people down at the waterfront. Got great photos of Table Mountain. Bought tickets for the Hop on hop off bus which took us to the Kirstenbosch Gardens and spent a lovely couple of hours there. Back on the bus and it was a scenic journey back up the coastline to the waterfront .

    Decided against doing the other route on the bus as part of it goes over the same route so elected to do the short harbour cruise and canal cruise. Saw some seals playing close to the boat but I was not quick enough to get pictures.

    Meet up with our travel group this evening. So glad we came a day early as last night we felt like zombies but with all the walking today (13.5km) it has certainly blown the cobwebs out. A great start!
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  • Day4

    Scenic drive to the Cape of Good Hope

    September 26, 2019 in South Africa ⋅ ☀️ 19 °C

    Up early and left the hotel at 8am to travel the very scenic drive down Chapman's Peak Rd to the Cape of Good Hope. We had photo stops at the twelve apostles which is really the back of Table Mountain, as well as looking back over Hout Bay. The road was narrow and winding but quite a remarkable engineering feat.

    Our guide was anxious to get to the Cape before the crowds, as certain groups do not understand the concept of queuing and waiting your turn, and this was the case at the sign board indicating the Cape of Good Hope. We got the" been there, done that" photo with the sign but also some interesting pics of our first wildlife.

    First there was a troop of baboons including some babies sitting in the middle of the road. Next there was an ostrich with an ocean backdrop which seemed a little unusual. There was also an eland (Africa's largest antelope), although he was not too photogenic.

    We went to Cape Point and travelled up a furnicular to the lighthouse (well almost, there was another 100 steps to the top), but the views were worth the trek to the top.

    After lunch we visited Boulders Beach, home to the African penguin. They used to be referred to as jackass penguins, mainly because of the noise they make sounds like a braying donkey, but this was deemed politically insensitive, so African penguin it is.

    A busy day but we had another activity in the evening which I shall cover in a separate footprint
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  • Day4

    African drumming before dinner

    September 26, 2019 in South Africa ⋅ ☀️ 23 °C

    It was a busy day but we had another activity in the evening . At the GOLD restaurant for African tapas style meal and African drumming. This was not sit back and relax and enjoy the entertainment - this was full audience participation and a whole lot of fun. We certainly warmed up our hands and I'm sure it put a couple of thousand steps on my fitbit. And we were good (check out the video). There was also African singing and dancing but fortunately we didn't have to participate in that. We also had face painting and the meal was pretty good too. The tomato soup was delicious. I've included a picture of the menu plus some other photos of the day that I couldn't fit in the last footprint.Read more

  • Day5

    Table Mountain and last day in Cape Town

    September 27, 2019 in South Africa ⋅ ☀️ 19 °C

    Our final day in Cape Town and we had to be away early because the queues to go up the cable car for Table Mountain were a 2 hour wait on average. The crowds were worse because it is currently school holidays and also something about heritage week and all South African residents had free admission to the mountain. It took us an hour and a half of waiting so it could have been worse. Once again we had a beautiful day...quite hot really... and the views were certainly spectacular. Quite windy though, and there was a bit of a mist/fog/haze over the bay and city so the view was not crystal clear.

    We were back down the mountain by 11am and spent the next hour on a city tour driving by points of interest such as the colourful Bo Kaap neighbourhood and parliament house where there was a statue of Nelson Mandela as he appeared on the steps. The afternoon was free so we caught the free hotel shuttle too the waterfront and explored.

    We liked Cape Town - the people are very polite and friendly and you can wander around the souvenir shops without being hassled to buy, buy,buy! However, there is evidence of high crime in South Africa with houses surrounded by high walls, fences are electrified or have razor wire. Our guide told us that insurance companies would not insure your property unless it had all these preventative measures in place. Unemployment is high and it was common to see people just waiting on the median strips where they may be picked to do a days labour.

    Anyway, tomorrow we leave to commence our journey along the garden route,
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  • Day7

    Caves and Ostriches

    September 29, 2019 in South Africa ⋅ 🌧 19 °C

    Left Cape Town heading for the town of Oudtshoorn which used to be the ostrich capital of the world. The country changed from rather dramatic very rocky mountains, to very dry areas. However, when we arrived we were staying at a boutique resort...our suite actually had 2 bedrooms, a foyer, huge bathroom.. very, very nice.

    Dinner was included and ostrich was on the menu. Looks like steak and it was very tender. Tastes more like a red meat than poultry. Breakfast the next morning was excellent too.

    Left Oudtshoorn to visit the Congo Caves which was ok but not really any different to any other caves, and headed to an ostrich farm to learn about these creatures. Just as we arrived a sudden dust storm engulfed us and the temperature dropped dramatically and started to shower. Anyway, we were able to fit in the tour without getting too wet.

    Interesting facts about ostriches.
    Their eyes are bigger than their brain
    They have been known to eat the entire washing off the line
    Males have the black feathers, females are more grey
    One hundred years ago, 1 ounce of ostrich feathers was equal to 1 ounce of gold.
    The leather is very durable, 2nd to kangaroo would you believe. It is rather unusual with the little bumps where the feathers were and is also very expensive - an ostrich leather belt would set you back over $100.

    Rained most of the way down to Knysna which is a pity as there would have been some nice views coming through the mountain passes. Staying at a nice hotel right on the waterfront.
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  • Day8

    Featherbed Nature Reserve at Knysna

    September 30, 2019 in South Africa ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    A relaxing morning checking out the waterfront shops etc. because or organised tour to Featherbed Nature Reserve did not commence until the afternoon. It was quite cool and rainy all morning and our tour guide was concerned that the excursion would be quite unpleasant. Fortunately, the weather cleared and we were able to enjoy a boat cruise from Knysna (pronounced ny-sna) to the reserve .

    Only 2 years ago the reserve was destroyed by fire as was a lot of the town. The main building was rebuilt and as part of the attempt to regenerate the bush, visitors can shoot seed balls into the scrub using a shanghai/slingshot. A novel way of planting trees. We had the option of walking back down to the main building - pretty much all downhill - although some of the steps were uneven, but the views were lovely.

    So, a pretty quiet day today. Tomorrow we had towards Port Elizabeth which completes the garden route of South Africa.
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  • Day9

    Monkeyland

    October 1, 2019 in South Africa ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    We journeyed from Knysna towards Port Elizabeth visiting first Plettenburg Bay for a scenic view, then onto Monkeyland. Monkeyland is a monkey sanctuary where monkeys from other parts of the world as well as Africa are given sanctuary and learn how to be monkeys again. They may have come from private zoos, ex laboratories etc and lived much of their life in cages.

    We wandered around the sanctuary in a natural forest surround and it was amazing how close we could get to the monkeys. There were lemurs, capuchin, squirrel and spider monkeys plus a couple of others that I cannot remember the names. Some lemurs and spider monkeys had babies clinging to their mothers. The lemurs are sun worshippers and look just like King Julian in the kids movie Madagascar. Some monkeys are very naughty and you had to be careful they didn't try to steal anything from you. Apparently they are true kleptomaniacs.

    Leaving Monkeyland we came across a troop of baboons wandering across the road. Baboons are kept away from mixing with the monkeys because they would just kill the smaller animals.

    We drove past the world's tallest bungee jump (bridge) and watched a couple of people jump of a perfectly good bridge worth an elastic band around their ankles.

    Finally arrived at Port Elizabeth which has a beautiful bay but unfortunately the city is impoverished, has high unemployment and the main city centre is deteriorating. Anyway, the hotel is good and we have a very early start in the morning to fly to Kruger.
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  • Day10

    Kruger

    October 2, 2019 in South Africa ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

    Very early start with 7am flight from Port Elizabeth to Johannesburg (1.5hrs), then another flight to Nelspruit (30mins), then another hour and a half bus ride to Kruger National Park. We were picked up in the safari trucks to take us to our lodges - Shishangeni Lodge. We had only travelled for 10 minutes and we had already seen impalas, warthogs, giraffes, elephants, hippos, zebra, a cheetah, a hornbill bird and some other birds that I can't remember the name of. Amazing, and we had not even done a game drive yet.

    The lodges are very nice, very private. In fact you can have a bath or shower overlooking the bush. There was even an impala looking in the window at us when we arrived at our room.

    The late afternoon game drive was awesome. In addition to the animals already mentioned, we also saw a crocodile, rhinos, the magnificent kudu with its twisty horns, and saw the hippos, elephants and cheetahs close up. To finish off the drive we stopped for sundowners (drinks in the bush at sunset.) It was all a great experience and can't wait until tomorrow to do it all again.
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