We spent a wonderful 2 weeks in South Africa, with so many highlights it’s hard to pick out the ones to write about!
We started at Cape Town, travelled around the Cape and then travelled along the Garden Route, with a couple of detours inland and to a game reserve. We stayed mainly in small guest houses and were struck by how friendly and helpful all our hosts were.
here was a lot to occupy ourselves with for a few days in and around Cape Town. The views from Table Mountain were amazing, we loved walking around the colourful Bo-Kaap area, and were moved by our visit to Robben Island, most well known for being where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for many years.
Bo-Kaap is traditionally a multicultural area, known for its brightly coloured houses and cobbled streets.
At Robben Island, we were taken on a guided tour by one of the prisoners who was held there at the same time as Nelson Mandela. At that time he could never have believed that many years later he would be a free man leading tours around the island and having people from all backgrounds hanging on his every word! The photo shows the daily rations for prisoners and as you can see the rations were different for prisoners from different racial backgrounds.
From Cape Town we drove around the Cape, stopping for the views at Cape of Good Hope, and then at the penguin colony at Boulders Bay. We could get really close to the penguins and it was lovely to see them all swimming in the sea, but the magical moment for me was seeing one penguin come out of the water and walk along the beach to find it’s mate.
From Boulders Bay we continued along the coast to Hermanus, where if you are lucky you can see whales off-shore. And we were lucky, but they didn’t come close enough to photograph. We did however come across a man feeding dassies with carrots! Dassies are wild animals that look like large rats but genetically are most closely related to elephants. Difficult to believe I know!
From Hermanus, we moved inland to Montagu, a very pretty little town, with a tree that was the gathering place of a huge number of sacred ibis birds. I spent quite some time with my camera taking photos of these rather scruffy birds who turn into quite elegant creatures when in flight.
Before heading back to the coast we drove along the Swartberg Pass from Oudtshoorn to Prince Albert. In places the pass was little more than a rough track – I was very pleased that I wasn’t doing the driving! The superb view was well worth a few jangled nerves though.
From Prince Albert, we then headed back to the coast and to Knysna., which is built on the shore of a warm-water estuary. Where the estuary opens to the ocean there are two large headlands that give great views of the town and out to sea.
Knysna was where we had the best steak and chips I have ever tasted, and also stayed in our favourite guest house of our holiday – the Double Dutch Guest House (and no, I’m not on any commission!). It was also where we drove past a shanty town, reminding us that there is still a lot of poverty in parts of South Africa.
On to our final stay, and the absolute highlight of our trip. Shamwari Game Reserve. We did 4 game drives over two days, with an extremely knowledgeable guide. I could go on forever about this, but perhaps three of my favourite moments are encompassed by these photos: The elegance of the giraffes, the lion cubs, and the elephant that really did come that close to me (no zoom lens needed!)
It felt like such a privilege to share the natural habitat of these animals and has given us a real taste for safaris. For our next holiday we’ll be travelling to Namibia where we hope to have an equally amazing time.
As this website has grown, along with its community, we realised that not everyone who travels has the time or ability to write an article. So to make the site more universal, we have created this space to allow people from all over the world to share their experience through media, no matter their language or background.