Experience the Kruger National Park, Cape Town, Victoria Falls and Chobe National Park all in one magical trip.
If you have not been to South Africa, then make sure you put it on your list of countries to visit. If you have been, then it is time to go back as there is so much more to explore and discover.
In September I travelled to South Africa with The Africa Safari Co, a wholesale company that where2travel works closely with. The Africa Safari Co are the experts in both Southern and East Africa travel and together we can plan amazing holidays for you; whether is it exploring South Africa, doing a photographic safari in Botswana or seeing the Great Migration in East Africa.
After arriving into Johannesburg airport, we headed north to Lapalala Wilderness Reserve. The drive was just under 4 hours (6 hours’ drive west of Kruger National Park). This region is one of the last remaining true wilderness areas in South Africa.
My adventure started once I checked into Tintswalo at Lapalala Wilderness. The lodge is a family-friendly camp, offering seven luxury tented suites with private plunge pools, including two 2-bedroom family suites. All the suites have views overlooking mountains, rivers and rolling plains of the malaria-free Waterberg region. Game drives are always very exciting, and we saw a lot of wildlife including a journey of giraffes, white rhinos and cheetahs. Wild dogs and lions are also popular sightings in this area. One great experience was having a picnic lunch along the riverbank after a game drive. The staff set up a dining area under a marquee with rugs and cushions for us to relax.
Cape Town and surrounds were next on the itinerary. We stayed for one night each at The Last Word Constantia, The Last Word Long Beach and The Last Word Franschhoek. The three properties are all boutique styled and they have similar interior design and colouring. The Last Word Constantia is located in the Cape’s oldest and most beautiful wine valley, so ideal for exploring the area by car. If you want a beach stay for a few days, then The Last Word Long Beach is the perfect place to stay. It is only a 30-minute drive from Cape Town and is located in the picturesque lobster-fishing village of Kommetjie. Lastly, The Last Word Franschhoek is perfectly located to discover Franschhoek and the nearby Stellenbosch wine region.
If you have the time and want to experience train travel in South Africa, then look no further than the world famous Rovos Rail. Rovos Rail features elegant lounges, various suites, a dining car and an observation car. It is like stepping back in time and my first impression was that it is of old-world luxury. The food and wine were absolutely delicious and getting dressed up for dinner just added to the experience.
One highlight for me was the excursion in Kimberley, which is home to the hand dug “Big Hole”. Another highlight was sitting in the observation car and watching the country-side roll by. Our last destination was the 28,300-hectare Samara Private Game Reserve in the Great Karoo Region, which was just over a 4-hour drive north from Port Elizabeth. Upon arrival at Samara Karoo Lodge we received a warm welcome from the amazing staff and then settled in for our 2-night stay.
The lodge is stunning and has a very homely feel. Various dining options are available with delicious meals and they can cater for any dietary requirements. The rooms are spacious and the homely touches of fresh milk, coffee warmers, fresh coffee as well as scented bath salts are very welcomed.
At Samara, a walking safari forms an integral part of the experience. We were exceptionally fortunate to be able to walk within metres of both cheetah and rhino. Our driver and wildlife tracker were both very knowledgeable and friendly. Besides seeing a lot of wildlife, this was my first time seeing an aardvark.
I had an amazing time travelling in South Africa and cannot wait to return. The Africa Safari Co offers a wide variety of Africa travel and one of their most popular journeys is the 11-day “Southern Africa Magic” itinerary.