South Africa – January 2020

Hi Friends ❤ I know I haven’t written a blog post in ages but I thought what better way to break the cycle than with a South Africa blog post? 

South Africa is honestly beautiful and I’ve tried to capture its beauty in the 1 million (not even joking) photos I took, but they definitely don’t do it justice. So, if you ever get a chance to go and see it for yourself, do it! And if you do decide to go, I’ve listed everything I could think of to possibly help you in planning your trip. Obviously, everything is based totally on my opinion and how my friends and I prefer to travel, so you might want to consider other places/activities if you’re into different things.

Medication: Regarding vaccinations, you’d have to take the typhoid and Hep A (Since I went to Vietnam in 2018, I didn’t need to take these again). For the Safari at end of our trip, we took Malaria pills. We started taking them 3 days before entering Kruger Park and continued taking them for 7 days after leaving. I had ZERO side effects. 

Our Route: We flew from Malta to Cape Town International airport and thus our journey started in Cape Town. We then followed along the south-eastern coast of South Africa (also known as ‘The Garden Route’), stopping at Hermanus, Skeiding, Knysna and finally Franschhoek. Finally, we flew from Cape Town International Airport to Johannesburg so as to end our trip with a wildlife safari at Kruger National Park and Kapama Private Game Reserve. Even though all of South Africa is beautiful, I really suggest doing it this way as personally, nothing beats the safari so it’s the perfect ending to your trip.

Travelling: For transportation, a car is definitely needed. Most people rent a car but seeing as we were 4 girls traveling alone, we didn’t really feel comfortable driving alone for those long hours so we had a guide with us the entire trip. The only days we didn’t have a guide were our last 2 days at Kapama Private Game Reserve since the resort had their own guides for the safari.

Booking: We booked everything through a travel agent here in Malta – Distant Horizons.

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Cape Town (4 nights)

Cape Town was the perfect start to the holiday. The waterfront is beautiful and the food is insane –  I mean what more could you ask for ?  When choosing where to stay in Cape Town, our travel agent urged us to opt for a hotel which is on the waterfront so as to keep within the touristic area. (Even though we never felt unsafe during our entire trip, it’s still advised to never wander off from the waterfront).

Where we stayed:  The City Lodge Victoria & Alfred Waterfront

What we did:

  • Scenic City tour passing the Houses of Parliament, the City Hall & the Castle of Good Hope
  • “Bo-Kaap” (traditional Malay Quarter)
  • Green Market Square
  • District Six
  • Blouberg Beach
  • Camps Bay
  • Picturesque Chapman’s Peak Drive
  • Cape Point & nature reserve
  • The Cape of Good Hope
  • Penguin colony at Boulder’s Beach
  • Fish Hoek & Simon’s Town
  • Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

What I wish we did:

  • Table Mountain – [It was REALLY windy, so we had to miss it :(]

Cannot Miss:

  • Dinner at Gold Restaurant – GOLD offers an authentic African experience. You start the evening with a drumming lesson followed by a 14-dish taste-safari paired with traditional Mali puppets and live entertainment.

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Hermanus ( 1 night)

Following Cape Town, we began driving through the Garden Route, stopping at Hermanus which is famous for Whale-watching and Shark-Cage Diving.

Where we stayed: On-The-Cliff Guest House (GORGEOUS)

What we did:

  • The Scenic coastal villages of Gordon’s Bay, Pringle Bay, Rooiels and Betty’s Bay

Cannot Miss:

  • Shark Cage-Diving – We decided to use the company  Marine Dynamics because they are heavily involved in a number of marine research, conservation and educational projects covering the Great White Shark, whales, seals, dolphins, penguins and other marine bird species. They are the only company that have a registered conservation trust and every trip is accompanied by a marine biologist who explains the whole process and how it’s completely harmless to the sharks.

What I wish we did:

  • Whale Watching (Whale watching season is July – November)

 

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Skeiding ( 1 night)

Our road trip continues and we stop again for one night at Skeiding guest farm. Skeiding is a 1200 hectare working farm, with 1500 free range Ostriches, 1500 Merino sheep and a small herd of Nguni cattle.

Where we stayed: Skeiding Guest Farm

What we did:

  • Cape Agulhas, the southernmost point on the African Continent
  • Swellendam, the 3rd oldest town in South Africa

Cannot Miss:

  • Guided Farm tour at Skeiding – totally recommend this! The farmer takes you on a tour around the entire farm, stopping to feed ostriches and watch the sheepdog herding the sheep ❤

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Knysna ( 3 nights)

Where we stayed: Overmeer Guest House

What we did:

  • Plettenberg Bay
  • Monkeyland
  • Dizzying view from the Paul Sauer Bridge over the Storms River 
  • A cruise on the Knysna Lagoon to the Knysna Heads 
  • The Knysna Waterfront

Cannot Miss:

  • Bungee Jumping at Tsitsikamma ~ HIGHEST Bungee jump in the world! Do you feel like you’re going to die? Yes. Should you do it? YES.

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Franschhoek ( 2 nights)

After Knysna, we started travelling back to Cape Town,  driving along the famous ‘Route 62’, and stopping for two nights in Franschhoek. YOU HAVE TO GO HERE. It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to in my life.

Where we stayed: Fransvliet Guest House

What we did:

  • The Outeniqua mountain pass
  • Route 62
  • The Franschhoek Pass

Cannot Miss:

  • Wine Tram – You board the tour at the Franschhoek Terminal located on the corner of Main Road and Cabriere Street and are transported by a combination of tram and tram-bus around a loop of stops allowing you to hop-on hop-off at any of the stops. Each of the lines has a wide selection of wine estates to visit, each offering a unique perspective on the Franschhoek wine experience. We chose the blue line and I would definitely recommend it, the vineyards it stops at are INSANE, especially GlenWood – beautiful!

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Johannesburg ( 1 night)

After Franschhoek, we traveled to Cape Town airport and flew to Johannesburg. We only spent one night there as it isn’t very safe so we literally just stayed in the hotel for the evening and started travelling first thing the next morning. 

Where we stayed: The Peermont Mondior Hotel at Emperor’s Palace

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Mpumalanga Province – Kruger National Park Border ( 2 nights)

Where we stayed: Rissington inn

What we did & Cannot Miss:

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Kruger National Park (2 nights)

Safari time! The following two days were spent in the Kruger National Park, waking up at 5am and spending the mornings and afternoons looking for animals in our car. Once again, we were driven by our guide along the park for these two days.

Where we stayed: Satara Rest Camp

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Kapama Private Game Reserve (2 nights)

After two days at the national park, we wanted to experience a private game reserve, different to the national park as it’s not owned by the government. Even though the outdoors are obviously the same, the difference is that within the private reserve, you travel in an open 4X4 vehicle, which makes everything way more intense and exciting. Also, at Kruger, you cannot drive past 6pm whereas at Kapama you keep on driving past sunset , which makes it easier to spot nocturnal animals. In fact in 2 days at Kapama, we saw all the big 5 (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo) . I cannot recommend Kapama enough, the 2 and a half days we spent there were made up of food, pool time and safaris – basically what dreams are made of. 

Where we stayed: Kapama River Lodge

I hope you enjoyed this post and found it useful ❤️ If you’re planning to go and have any questions feel free to ask ❤️

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