Jane on Tour in South Africa

Zambia – Avani Victoria Falls -2 nights

Arrived in Johannesburg and had to wait for 3 hours for our onward flight to Zambia. Arrived at Livingstone International after 1 and half hours. It was a really pretty little airport in the middle of nowhere.

We nearly landed but had to go up again because there were Baboons on the runway. The Avani Hotel was really lovely with swimming pool and great bars and eating places. We watched baboons from our room with their tiny babies.

south-africa-v-falls-2-sized-as-within-our-travelsNext Morning we had the most fantastic breakfast. We had never seen so much variety of food anywhere. We then went for a trek along the Victoria Falls which was great but so Hot. The views were truly breath taking. There were rainbows in the water falls and in the sheer drop over the falls. The water level was low. We booked a Helicopter trip and arrived at the Helicopter Pad with a band playing. It was so awesome flying over the falls and the Zambezi river.

south-africa-8-sized-as-within-our-travels We then went on the most fantastic cruise on the African Queen down the Zambezi river. We saw elephants and hippos wallowing in the water. We had free drinks and canapés looking at a beautiful sunset.

It was a smashing and unforgettable day.

South Africa

Sun City Cascades Hotel and  The Palace of the Lost City4 nights

We drove from Johannesberg  to Sun City. We arrived to a very marble hotel a bit Las Vegas. We had a great buffet meal sitting overlooking jungle, waterfalls and pool. Our room was very comfortable with great bathroom and lounge area. It is not a city just a huge complex set in a volcano basin with 5 hotels and shuttle buses to take you backwards and forwards through the massive grounds.

The Palace of the Lost City was marvellous with gigantic statues including a huge bronze elephant . It was great sitting at sunset having drinks on the terrace with huge fire torches .

Private Tour from Johannesburg including Lone Creek, Protea Hotel Kruger Gate and Malalali – 4 nights

Our personal guide collected us at 8.00am in a VW for our Impala Tour. We started in Pretoria and saw Paul Kruger’s house and church. He was the first Prime Minster. We then went to the Church Square where Nelson Mandela was sentenced in the Justice Union Building. The city was full of Jacaranda Trees looking so beautiful. We headed to Mpumalanga and our safari. We were so excited .We stopped at Dullstroom for a cuppa at a service station and then on to Blyde Canyon for lunch on a veranda overlooking the Three Rondavels. These are three gigantic rocks which resemble three African huts. We then went to Bourkes Luck Pot Holes and walked around and saw baboons in the hills. Then off to Gods Window which was a gap in the canyon. We arrived at Lone Creek Hotel which was a colonial setting with a beautiful river running along the green fields at the bottom of a lovely garden. It was very much like Devon or Wales. We had our own private very posh bungalow with log fire and fantastic bathroom with sunken bath, pillars and candles.

lion-wildcat-safari-africa-47036-sizedDay 2 -We went to Mac Mac waterfalls and stopped at Hazyview for a cuppa. We stopped at a Cultural Village of the Shangana Tribe .The village had a real chief with several wives and terrible scar on his arm caused by a spear in the Zulu War. There also was a fascinating Sangomer which is a witch doctor. We then travelled to the Protea Hotel on the edge of the Paul Kruger Park at the gate.

pexels-photo-70442-sizedAs we were driving near the gate we saw two Rhinos in the river and Zebras. The hotel was built on wooden stilts surrounded by big open aired verandas with Impala and monkeys all over the place.  We went on our first Safari with Adrian in nine seater jeep. We tracked lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino, wart hog and plenty of impala. Not forgetting a large tortoise. We had a buffet dinner and then to bed to get up at 4.30am.
Day 3
We woke very excited and at 5.30 had a cuppa. We saw a beautiful sunrise as we drove through the African bush. We saw 3 male and 1 female lion sleeping at the side of the road. The giraffes were wonderful and we saw loads of other animals but only one huge male elephant. The cheetahs were very hard to spot but we found some sleeping under a tree .We returned to a big breakfast and then set off for our next adventure to Makalali Game Reserve.

When arrived at the gates it took us a further hour to get to the reception seeing giraffes and zebras on the way. We arrived at the main hut to check in then we got on an open top jeep with our luggage to go to the camp. It was unbelievably hot in the midday sun. The camp was 6 big tribal huts called Rondavels with a pool and main eating hut. Truly five star huts with thatched roof and big wooden verandas with cushions to lie on with a fan overhead. We looked out onto a small river with monkeys playing in the trees and surrounded by total silence. No TV, music or phones. The room had big beds with mosquito nets and a big bathroom with iron work fittings. The best thing was an outside shower, awesome. We went on a Trekking Safari. The two guides carried a rifle in case of attack in an open top jeep driving through real bush. We saw two big rhino asleep in a water hole and trekked for elephants. Two guides went in to the bush with the rifles to get traces.

pexels-photo-elephants-sized Then an enormous bull elephant eyed us up and came right up to the jeep and they are certainly not tame. When it was dark we stopped in a clearing and set up a bar with red tablecloths etc and we had drinks in the moonlight. We went back to our hut for a shower again in the moonlight which was spooky. Then we all sat round a big table with candelabra and silver cutlery and had a gorgeous dinner. There was a huge open fire and the company was really funny. We had to have an escort to go back to our hut because of lions as they were in the camp the previous week.

Cape Town-Cape Grace Hotel – 5 nights

We left the camp at 11.00am the whole experience was a wonderful very posh way to Safari. We drove to Pilgrims Rest which was an old gold mine town and then through Long Toms Pass .It was beautiful with the scenery changing from mountains and green to flat and yellow. We flew from Johannesburg to Cape Town then to the luxurious Cape Grace Hotel in our 5 star suite with complimentary cheese and wine. Outside the lift there is complimentary Port, Sherry, Fruit Juices, Cakes and the Papers.

south-africa2-sized-as-within-our-travelsThe next morning we wandered around the Victoria and Alfred waterfront. Alfred was Queen Victoria’s son. We took the city tour bus and got on for 2 hours so we could get our bearings. It went to Table Mountain and along the sea front to Camps Bay. We then went for lunch in the V & A and people watched with loads of buskers .There was a live concert with show tunes and a mad Rasta fire and limbo dancing. In the evening we went to the V&A to Cape Town Fish market which is all Fish Restaurants.

south-africa1-sized-as-within-our-travelsDay 3 We went to Robben Island across the water from the V&A to the prison where Mandela spent 30 years. It was interesting and took about 3 hours. Then we got a taxi to Table Mountain. We went in a revolving cable car to get to the top and the views are awesome. In the range of Table mountain there is Signal Hill, Lions Head and the Twelve Apostles. In the evening we went to Baia for a magnificent seafood meal.

south-africa-7-sized-as-within-our-travelsAt 9.00am we were taken to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. We had arranged for us to go on a golf trolley with guide. The guide did his RAF training in Bridgnorth. Next we went to Constantia the oldest vineyard in SA called Groots for wine tasting. Then we went to Hout Bay  where there is a bronze cheetah on the cliff top that was tame but a newcomer shot him. We then went via Llandudno over to Kalk Bay and stopped at the Scratch Patch.
south-africa-3-sized-as-within-our-travelsIt was interesting seeing how they prepare the stones and we bought a piece of amethyst. The next stop was Simons Town an old UK naval base. Here is a bronze statue of Able Seaman Just a Nuisance a Great Dane dog. Next stop was Boulder Beach to see the penguins and then to Cape Point. We then went on a funicular to the top of the rock. The wind was very strong as we tried to look over or down. Then we drove to the bottom and that is Cape of Good Hope. On our return we went via Scarborough and saw Polsmoor Prison which has a welcome sign.

Garden Route Tour

Counrty Inn at Montagu, La Plume Guest House at Oudtshoon ,Knysna Lodge, and Auberge Burgundy Guest House at Hermanus  – 5 nights

This was a small group tour of the Garden Route Tour . We drove to the wine district stopping at Stellenbosch and had lunch and wandered around. We visited four museum houses all with their own guides.  Then we drove to Rooiburg for wine tasting. Then we went through Worcester to Montagu and stayed in the Country Inn. It had pretty gardens and a pool.  We had a candlelight dinner with the entire group and a man playing the piano. There were lots of antiques including the story of the HMV dog Nipper with old photos .

south-africa-9-sized-as-within-our-travelsThe next day we travelled through Barrydale and visited a school.  We had a cuppa in Ladysmith and then went to the Cango Caves. These are the cradle of  humankind and a world heritage site. Then off to an Ostrich Farm where you can ride them. We all had a lovely lunch with the waitress singing. We arrived in Oudtshoon to stay at the very luxurious La Plume Guest House.

The room was really lovely full of antiques and sprigs of lavender on everything in the bathroom. We sat by the pool and had drinks.The food was wonderful with great service.

The following day we drove over the Outeniqua  Railway Pass to George and then to Knysna. We stayed at the Knysna Lodge which was made of Milkwood Trees which are yellow with a big stained glass window and very near to the Marina. We then got a Ferry to the Featherbed Nature Reserve and went on a trailer to the top of Western Head and had a fantastic view over the river and the small inlet.

south-africa-5-sized-as-within-our-travelsDay 4- We drove to Plettenburg to get a Dolly launch which is a flat bottomed speed boat to go Whale watching. It was fantastic when over twenty Dolphins played all around the boat. Then we saw a whale with her baby. They are massive with barnacles all over them. We then followed another but keeping our distance so we would not disturb them. After about an hour watching we then went to a bay to see thousands of seals on the rocks. They were truly smelly and noisy playing with each other. To land the boat they revved up a couple of hundred yards from shore then went as fast as possible right up the beach. It was very exciting. Then we went to Natures Valley to a south-africa-6-sized-as-within-our-travelsMonkeys Sanctuary and had a guided tour in the woods seeing all the different monkeys. We had to walk across the longest swing bridge which was high in the tree canopy. The Lima started to call each other in high pitched screams .Then to an Elephant Sanctuary or you could go to the highest Bungee jump point in the Tsitsikanna Forest. The sanctuary had a dozen elephants that had been rescued. One had the end of his trunk missing because he had got it caught in a trap. We were lucky enough to be able to hold their trunks and guide them through the woods and then inspect their feet, mouth and ears and stroke them. We rode bare back on them around the fields. We felt so close to nature and they were so marvellous with people. They all then decided they wanted to swim. It was just like seeing them in a washing machine. You could not make out which elephant or what part of the body would surface next. They had so much fun and we really had a really memorable time. This was the best day ever.

On our last day we travelled via George to Swellendam for lunch. Then off to Mossel Bay to see the famous Post Office Milkwood Tree. In 1510 sailors left their mail here for other ships to take home. There is a museum and a replica of the ship in which Bartolomeu Diaz discovered SA. Then we drove to Hermanus to stay at Auberge Burgundy Guest House. It was in a very cute French style and you walked through gardens and courtyards to the rooms.

Cape Town -Radisson Blu Hotel – 4 nights

humpback-whale-natural-spectacle-nature-mammal-51964-sizedIn the morning we walked over the road to the cliff edge and sat watching whales and these funny little animals called Dassies. They are like a large Guinea Pig or small wombat but they are the closest relation to the elephant. We saw about ten whales and babies but they are so hard to film. Then it was time to head back to Cape Town via False Bay and Gordon’s Bay, which is carved into the mountain. We arrived at the Radisson with a great suite looking over the ocean and pool. We got the courtesy bus to the V& A and had a fantastic chicken meal at Belthazer. What an amazing restaurant so busy and so many bottles of wine.

One night we went to Camps Bay and had cocktails as the sunset over a beautiful beach as mammoth waves came crashing in. We went to Blues restaurant and had a huge seafood platter for two while watching them cooking.

Another night to Green Point and went to Belugas .This is the restaurant Prince Harry’s old girlfriend Chelsea had her 21st. We had seafood platter and Champagne for our last night on the wonderful trip.


Addo Elephant Safari –Nguni Lodge – 2 nights

south-africa-safari-3-sized-as-within-our-travelsWe were collected at 7.30 and taken to the airport to fly to Port Elizabeth and then 1 hour limo then 1 hour 4×4 to camp. We stayed at Nguni Lodge close to Addo Elephant Safari. The place was amazing with eight tribal huts and a large lounge/bar/restaurant area. It was so posh and our round thatched hut was fabulous. They had air conditioning, full optic bar, huge round bath, outside shower, and a private plunge pool. It was over 40 degrees so sat in our pool and had a picnic lunch on our veranda.  We sat looking at the mountains in the distance and spotting different animals. It felt so amazing as we were the only guests with a handful of staff in 14 thousand hectors with no phone or TV etc

lion-animal-predator-big-cat-40803-sizedOn the safari we saw Zebra, Porcupine, Jackal, Warthog, Kudu and about 30 Elephants. At first the matriarch elephant came into the middle of the road and stared us out.She then walked slowly towards our vehicle and then sniffed all around it. It was amazing. Then all the others came out and then followed her towards us. They then walked across into the bush. They were all different sizes including a very small baby which liked to walk under the legs of the big adults. We then went back to camp and had a great evening and meal.

south-africa-safari-2-sized-as-within-our-travelsThe next day we arose at 5.30am for another safari. Small elephants came out and were eating in front of us and we saw a Warthog family plus the usual animals. There are no Lions here yet.Had a big breakfast on our return and on another safari at sunset then sat chatting around the log fire.

south-africa-sized-as-within-our-travelsUp again at 5.30am just us two and our guide Hendrick. It was very cold but we had loads of fleece ponchos. We were so lucky because when we got to the top of the hill we saw Elephants trekking through the forest to the water hole. We rushed down and sat for over an hour watching all the elephants arriving at the hole from all directions and greet each other .It seemed it was a great social event in which the babies played and the teenagers play fought. There was a brave warthog that came to try and drink but he kept being chased away. It was one of the best moments in our life seeing over eighty elephants so closely while we sat with our Tea and biscuits.

At 11.30 we went back to Cape Town and The Table Bay Hotel.

We went on a lovely drive past Camps Bay and Hout Bay to Moyo at Speirs Winery near Stellenbosch. It was such a great atmosphere with a really huge tent with open fires and stalls with different foods on each one. Around the tent were tree houses that you could eat in with water features running from the top onto the ground. Then under huge trees were great big bed type settees with loads of cushions. While we were eating and drinking we were entertained by African Dancers.

The Cape Quarter is another great place to eat with a  picturesque square with lots of antique shops.

One day we had High Tea at the Mount Nelson Hotel (Nellys) which is on a par to the Ritz and then walked along past Parliament and the gardens.

We have a great holiday —Can we start at the beginning again?