Our last week in South Africa – Safari and beach
Our last week in South Africa has flown by. Although we have been staying here for three weeks, there still seems to be so much to do and so much to see. And unfortunately, there’s so little time. This last week was perhaps the most special and that’s all because of the unique activities we did including a safari. Find out all about it here!
Oasis of calm
Although Cape Town is a huge and sometimes overwhelming city, there are also countless places where you can relax. So we went to the botanical gardens of Kirstenbosch. This paradisiacal piece of nature is right against the wall of the mountains which makes for spectacular views. We did a tour on a golf cart with a local guide who really knew everything about every plant and every animal. A man with a passion! Besides the beautiful expansive nature, here are also interesting shops where you can buy local products such as herbal tea from the herbs from the gardens, face cream of beeswax, paintings, handmade jewelry and much more. We didn’t leave here empty-handed… In addition to nice shops, concerts are also given here from time to time. That should give a magical atmosphere in this green décor.
If there’s one thing Cape Town– and actually much of South Africa– excels at, outside of the natural parks, it’s the breathtaking beaches. In Cape Town you can already find a lot of them including a few exclusive beaches. On these beaches you hardly see anyone and some beaches are even very secluded making them seem almost private property. That’s what we were looking for!
Our favorite place was Camps Bay and the adjacent beaches. Around noon it is very quiet and warm and therefore the perfect place to quietly enjoy a day of sun, sea and beach. We have booked a hotel here for the last few days to enjoy the beach life even more.
Around Camps Bay we also enjoyed good food with great views. There are some good restaurants and cosy beach bars nearby. Furthermore, you will see a few local stalls with souvenirs here and you can endlessly enjoy watching the large, expensive villas and hotels built on the hill. Are we lucky that we also stayed in such a hotel! The nice thing about this location is that you can easily take the hop-on-hop-off bus and drive on to other beaches.
Time for safari
Our last week couldn’t have ended better than with an adventurous safari. Because South Africa is not the country you think of for safaris, it is also not surprising that there is only a limited offer. However, about a five-hour drive from Cape Town, you’ll find one of the most beautiful options for a safari: the Garden Route. That’s also where we went with the organization Bokbus.
Garden Route is a national park where the big five sits but also so many other impressive animals. Elephants, giraffes, cheetahs, rhinos and even hippos, Sigrid’s favourite animal. Overall, it seemed like a wonderful experience to us. We’ve been looking forward to this for so long.
Our driver Devon, a friendly 26-year-old man, picked us up at the airbnb at six in the morning. It was going to be a long day because the plan was to go on safari on the first day. Turns out we were the only ones who had booked this tour, so we had a private driver. That’s the advantage of traveling in the off-season!
Devon was fluent in English,but also African. It’s funny that he could understand us when we were talking to each other. Soon we exchanged some words in both languages that made for funny situations. For example, you say‘full-on’to ostrich. Devon said that we made their language so difficult, and he is right because Afrikaans is really the simple version of Dutch. They say exactly what it says, without any difficult words. But let’s get the language skills on the side now.
En route to Garden Route National Park we made a few stops including one on the road that went along the ocean. When we passed here, the sun just came out from behind the huge mountains and that gave an insanely beautiful picture. We stopped for some pictures and drove on again.
The next stop was a resort known only to the locals where you can spot wild penguins. The animals look very happy here, we think they are better here than on Boulders Beach where a lot of tourists come along. This is where we went in our first week in South Africa.
Afterwards we stopped in Hermanus. In this village on the coast you can spot whales when it is the season. Unfortunately, we haven’t seen one. Better luck next time. However, we had a nice meal here and were able to stretchour legs! It is also a nice place to enjoy the view over the ocean.
Staying in a lodge
Arriving at Garden Route Game Logde,the name of our whereabouts during the safari, we already noticed that this was a magical place. In the distance we had already spotted an elephant. Wow! The lodge itself was even nicer than we imagined it. A small but cosy wooden hut with the icing on the cake a fantastic view over the national park. Breathtaking! And the infinity pool pool made this place even more impressive. We were already sorry that we only stayed here for two days.
Our first safari was an evening safari where we went together with our ranger in search of some animals. The animals we wouldn’t find, we went lookingthe next morning. Driving around in the jeep through the beautiful landscape was an experience in itself. And then we saw a hippopotamus! Sigrid was deeply impressed by the giant beast. The safari had already succeededfor her. Our ranger told an anecdote that he was grabbed by a hippopotamus a few years ago when he drove the jeep through the park. Luckily, he can still tell us!
It wasn’t long before we saw any more wildlife, such as a herd of elk, buffalo, ostriches, antelopes but also elephants and rhinos. We’ve been so close to these last two that we could almost pet them, but of course you shouldn’t. What impressive animals! And in the wild, at least elephants still have their tusks and the rhinos their horns. It’s nice to see they’re protected here.
At sunset we stepped out of the jeep to enjoy a drink with in the distance the zebras running into the setting sun. An image we won’t forget. When it got dark we went back to the lodge to enjoy a lavish evening buffet. We had a wonderful meal and slept!
Second day safari
The next day we were again early from the feathers. Our second safari started at seven in the morning, before sunrise. Another magical image to see the morning sun emerge in this remote but warm landscape with the mountains in the distance.
Soon we spot the elephants again. Then next the springbok, this is a kind of gazelle and the national animal of South Africa. We also found the‘wildebeest’. Google that if you don’t know it, you’ll see that it didn’t steal its name. Then came a lot of ‘oooh-s’ and ‘aaah-s’ when we spotted a lion and two lionesses. Normally you rarely meet them in action but we were lucky! They were challenging the rhinos. We were in the front row for a fascinating spectacle!
Find the giraffe
After that, it was a little bit of a search for the giraffes. After all, these were the only animals that everyone wanted to see for sure before the end of the safari. Then we would have spotted most of the animals on safari. Our ranger had to laugh, giraffes are easyto find, they can’t really hide. After a while of searching, we suddenly saw them emerge in the distance. What beautiful animals! They were three and enjoyed some leaves eating high up in a tree. This is a really typical African image like in the movies, but oh so beautiful.
Although we had seen so many impressive animals, we still felt a little disappointed because we hadn’t spotted the cheetahs in the park. Very annoying that we thought so because we had such a nice time on safari and had a lot of luck with the other animals. But still… That cheetah would be the highlight. And happiness was really on our side that day!
As we drive away from the park we saw a cheetah sitting in the grass in the last few kilometres! What an animal! This was the youngest of the cheetahs and she was really comfortable looking at us. We could even get very, very close. The ranger said that she has since become accustomed to the cars because she was born here. Her parents are timid and you rarely see them appear. We were so pleased with this ‘bonus animal’ as the cheetah is sometimes called. Now it was really a safari and experience to never forget.
Back on the road
Tired but satisfied we still enjoyed the pool with beautiful views and then we left back on road trip towards Cape Town. Our driver took a different route and we made a stop at the southernmost punt of Africa in Cape Algulhas. At this point, the Atlantic and Indian Oceans come together and it gives a special feeling knowing that you are on ‘the tip of the world’.
End of the journey
The end of our journey in South Africa is almost over. The last days we will spend at the beach and unfortunately also at the airport. Because we still have a long way to go back home, with a stopover in Turkey. We look up to that enormously, but fortunately we can look back on a fantastic trip in South Africa. This country has really enchantedus. We understand that everyone who ever came there is full of praise. Three weeks weren’t even long enough to see everything this country has to offer. South Africa is definitely in our hearts and we want to go back one day.