Tuesday, May 1, 2012

South Africa

Our South Africa leg started in Johannesburg and we stayed in a hotel across the road from Nelson Mandela Square, a huge shopping and food complex. I found my first Nandos since leaving Australia, yummm.

Blyde River Canyon

From there it was a massive 15 day coach tour from Johannesburg to Cape Town down the east coast. Some highlights included Blyde River Canyon and Bourke's Luck Potholes, with absolutely beautiful views reminiscent of what I imagine the Grand Canyon to look like (I will find out :-)).

Bourke's Luck Potholes

Some of the animals at Kruger
Shy Hippo
A full day at Kruger, but we didn't find any cats. A brilliant boat cruise at St Lucia Wetlands, where we got our best ever views of hippos including one shy hippo who was peeking out from behind a bush and then made a run around the bush to get into the river, amazingly fast but comical in his timidity. I mean these things are supposed to kill more humans each year than lions.

Rhino Horn Mountain
2 nights at Southern Drakensberg Mountains. Finally and for the first time since South America, some mountains to climb. We have come to the conclusion we are walkers and we like walking on mountains. We spent 6 hours walking every track we could find. We had the lady at the front desk worried as our last walk started at 4:30 and took us past dark as it was about a 2 hour walk. When we picked up our key she said she had been warning the guides that they might need to go up looking for us. Lucky my trusty phone (android based) has a really bright torch. Even in the morning with an 8 o'clock leaving time we got up at 5 and did a walk to watch the sun come up on the mountains.

Beautiful beach at Mbotyi overlooking the Indian Ocean. We walked along the beach in the water and I remarked that it was our ocean and by walking in it we were connected to Perth. I took a picture of the sunrise from our room the final morning. First time ever for this Perthite to see a sunrise on our ocean.

SUNRISE on the Indian Ocean from our room

From the lookout, looking back to where we started.

Tsitsikamma National Park which had another magnificent walking and viewing opportunity at Storms River Mouth. We had to race to the lookout as our guide only gave us an hour and it took 40 minutes to get up there (with hearts thumping) and 20 minutes to get back.

Knysna Elephant Park, where Elizabeth was getting in the way of his feeding so he gave her a gentle shove with his trunk (see video). Feeding them was great fun, they grab a piece of fruit out of your hand with their trunk and before you can get another it is down the hatch and the trunk is back searching for more.

One hotel organised a Zulu dance and then they did the old get people up to try it out. I feigned the old knee injury but Elizabeth was quick to get up. Personally if I am offered a show then I want to watch the show, not BE the show.

Cango Cave
Cango Caves, which were huuuggge, dwarfs anything I have been in before. Then into Cape Town where we had a day tour down to the Cape of Good Hope and finally on the morning of our last day we went up Table Mountain.

A very busy time and a full on non stop tour. A bit too full on with not a lot of breathing room to smell the roses. I am really looking forward now to our next leg where we will be doing the Northern Hemisphere without any significant forward planning. It will probably be a lot more messy but we can do things in our own time frame. We will soon see if this is a more or less fun way to do a holiday...

He just pinched a muffin from the car

Penguin sanctuary

Hout Bay on the way to the Cape of Good Hope

Cape of Good Hope

On top of Table Mountain

Ostrich Farm, Elizabeth loved eating them with rice

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