Before the trip for my friend’s wedding in September last year, it had been 4 years since I last visited South Africa. I’m still reminiscing on the good things I had so I thought I’d bring this post out of hiding.
Kruger National Park
The Kruger National Park is one of the largest national parks in the world… and I have been lucky enough to have visited twice in my life. I’ve managed to see the Big 5 both times but it’s not just about the Big 5, it’s about everything else. The crunch of the tyres on the ground, the smell of the bush, the sun setting over the plains and the noises you hear when you’re lying on your bed at night.
There is a range of accommodation that you can choose from but don’t leave it to the last minute, most of these places are booked a year in advance.
I’ve not done a night drive before but I’m told it’s amazing. If you can do one, do it! If you don’t have the time (I never did either), the dawn and day drives are great!
The Garden Route
I drove this route with my friend Pavalan, on our first road trip in South Africa. We were taking a paragliding course in Wilderness over our 2 week break from site and during our off time (when the weather was shit for flying) we took the chance to drive and visit the lovely small towns along the route; Mossel Bay, Knysna, Plettenberg Bay and George.
My favourite was Knysna as it had the best oysters I’d tasted in a long time (you tend to crave fresh seafood when working in a land-locked country) and the place was just downright beautiful. The boardwalk on the water was new at the time and was lined with boutique stores selling resort wear and designer jewellery.
Since then I’ve driven around most of South Africa and the Garden Route is still my favourite.
I wasn’t here for long and it was shitty weather but the little bit that I did see was quite spectacular. At the time the plains were lush and green, the mountains stood proud in the distance and the cattle didn’t give a damn if you wanted to use the road.
You can go to Lesotho here via the many border stops. If you have the time, do it! It was the most spontaneous thing I’ve ever done and it was the best, sore but the best!
Next time I visit, I want to hike some of the trails and visit my old friends at Khotso!
There is only 1 bad thing I can say about Cape Town and that is the ocean is always too cold to swim in! Other than that, this beautiful city can do no wrong. Table Mountain stands proud in the middle of the city, the wine region just over an hour away and the nightlife is buzzing every night. You’ve got the V&A Waterfront, Robben Island, a ferry ride away and the Cape of Good Hope down south. There is just SO MUCH STUFF TO DO.
Whatever you do, don’t miss Cape Town when you’re in South Africa. Flights from Johannesburg is affordable so make the journey, you won’t regret it!
PS. If you have time, drive up to Langebaan. I’m told the restaurant along the beach (downtown) has the best crab. Take a photo for me!
Johannesburg has a bad reputation.
I blame the selective news coverage that we are bombarded with on a regular basis. I used to live in Gauteng (province which encompasses Johannesburg) and although it is unsafe, you just have to be on your guard and street smart. IT IS THE SAME AS EVERYWHERE YOU TRAVEL TO. End rant.
From what you’ve heard or read, you probably think Johannesburg has nothing to offer. WRONG.
The first and most important place one must visit is the SAB World of Beer and attend one of their interactive beer tours (tastings included!). For ZAR140 (equivalent to $14), you get to learn about beer, SAB Miller and then taste their beer!!!
If, for some reason, you are not into beer (I won’t judge), the more cultural activities are located in Pretoria. It’s a mere 90 minutes from Johannesburg (on a good day) and you can find Freedom Park, the Union Buildings, the Voortrekker Monument and loads more, all within 15-20 minutes drive from each other. Here you’ll learn about South Africa and Apartheid. It’s moving shit and well worth your visit.
You can find a number of tasty offerings in downtown but my choice every time, pap and wors. YUM.