On my recent trip through Africa I was lucky enough to spend just over two weeks in South Africa and for somewhere that I wasn’t particularly looking forward to after such an epic time in Namibia, I left feeling completely different about it and longing to return again some day. Here is are the highlights from South Africa.
After leaving the desert in Namibia behind, being able to chill out on nice green grass and hang out next to a river with a South Africa cider was priceless.
Highlanders vineyard was the perfect intoduction to South Africa. The campsite/vineyard offered views for miles and wine to die for! I had so much fun wine tasting here and they also provided an excellent meal for us all.
A real highlight of the trip – Cape Town fast became one of my favourite cities. I enjoyed the spectacular views, shark cage diving, wine drinking and exploring the Cape. I spent only three nights in Cape Town and it was nowhere nearly enough time to explore this fantastic city.
The Cango Caves are the oldest tourist attraction in South Africa, they were a remarkable set of limestone caves deep underground, our guide was excellent (and funny) which always helps at these large tourist attractions.
The highlight of Hogsback in South Africa was unfortunately not the great hikes that we went there for but this bath propped up on the hill overlooking the valley. A bottle of wine, warm bath and fantastic views made this well worth the stop off in this little hippy town. I didn’t get to do any of the hikes because the rain had been coming thick and fast and that meant the tracks were too muddy to attempt.
On the famous Garden Route in South Africa, Tsitsikamma was a welcome break to the hot weather I had been enduring further north. Our tents were perched right on the edge of the water and I could hear the waves crashing all night. There was some great walks and hikes in the area and a pretty cool suspension bridge. Also it was a great place to spot Hyrax, a small animal whose closest relative is an elephant.
Addo Elephant Park
After going to Masai Mara, Serengeti, Ngorongoro & Etosha National Parks the bar was certainly high for game driving and unfortunately Addo in South Africa wasn’t as good as the others. Addo is home to many many elephants so you were never far from a family of elephants but there was a real lack of other animals. Although I did hear a lion roaring in the early hours one night which is something I never heard at any of the other game reserves.
The Drakensberg is a huge area in South Africa known for good hikes and high mountains with cascading waterfalls. I stayed at Amphitheatre backpackers who are slightly away from the national park gates. They offered hikes to Lesotho (where I had just come from) and hikes up to Tugela Falls for around £50. I spent the two days there just hanging out and doing some of the walks just outside of the campsite.
I really enjoyed my time in Johannesburg, probably because we stayed with friends there and they had an amazing house and lived in Melville which is a super cool area of Jo’burg. I went to the apartheid museum, had a delicious brunch at Pablo Eggs Go Bar and had a real flat white. It was great to be back in something that resembled normal for me after weeks and weeks in a tent camping around Africa.
Mpumalanga Panoramic Route
There are three things to see along this route. The first is the Three Rondavels at Blyde River Canyon which was a spectacular view. Followed by God’s Window and then Bourke’s Luck Potholes. I saw all three of these attractions in one day and they are all very close together.
Kruger National Park
To finish up my time in South Africa we spent two nights in Kruger National Park, I was really really looking forward to Kruger as I’ve heard so much about it but unfortunately it was a bit of a disappointment. There are a couple of reasons why but the main reason was definitely that we did our game drive in the overland truck that we travelled through Africa with. This meant that we couldn’t get off road at all and see the animals. During our two all day game drives we only saw one lion from afar which was sad because this was my last opportunity. I did however see giraffe, hippos, hyenas including some beautiful babies and quite a few rhino so of course it wasn’t a total loss.
The campsites in Kruger were very nice as well and after two long game drives the swimming pool was welcomed!
South Africa was beyond beautiful, it had some of the best landscapes I had seen in Africa, the people were so friendly and welcoming and it was nice to be back with some home comforts after travelling from Kenya down to South Africa. Next time I go to South Africa I really want to do more of the wine regions and spend much longer in Cape Town as three days was nowhere near enough!
Check out my video from my time in South Africa on my Youtube channel
Have you been to South Africa?