South Africa by Marion Hogg

My husband and I have just spent an amazing 3 weeks in South Africa in November.

We flew into Johannesburg for 2 nights and stayed at Sandton (an upmarket suburb of Jo’burg).  We enjoyed our visit there and would highly recommend a day tour which includes Soweto and the Apartheid Museum – we could have easily spent all day just there.  We then flew north and stayed at 2 private game parks adjoining Kruger National Park for 3 nights in each Park.  Each lodge  had a different feel about it – the first one Simbavati Hilltop lodge was a very luxurious huge tent (complete with air conditioning, wooden floor, glass sliding doors and  both inside and outside shower) whereas Lion Sands Narina Lodge was a detached stone cottage with thatched roof, air conditioning, plunge pool, double shower and spa bath.  Believe me air conditioning is a necessity at that time of year.  Both properties had organised game drives both morning and evening in modern, open land rovers and we saw so many different animals including lions, leopards, elephants – the list goes on and as the animals are used to seeing the vehicles we were able to get very close to the point that at one stage a lion came and laid down beside the land rover with his head resting up against one of the rear tyres (he needed somewhere to rest his weary head)!  Oh and did I mention the food at the lodges – we never stopped eating.

After our too short a time in the game parks we flew to Port Elizabeth on the coast, picked up a car for 10 days and drove ourselves down to Cape Town via the famous Garden Route.  We visited many famous spots along the way including Jeffreys Bay, Congo Caves and Franschhoek (a beautiful historic town located in the wine growing area).  The coastline along this route is beautiful and very rugged.

We spent 4 nights in Cape Town and loved the city even though  for most of our stay it was so windy the cable car on Table Mountain was not operating. We stayed near the waterfront which is full of cafes, restaurants and shops.  On the one day when the wind wasn’t howling we  drove  down to the Cape of Good Hope and spent a lovely day just exploring the various beaches and towns in the area.

Visting Robben Island (where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned) is another must do although you do need to book at least the day before as it is so popular.

We weren’t sure what to expect of South Africa apart from the amazing wildlife (and we weren’t disappointed there) but must say we feel in love with the country and found the locals to be friendly and welcoming.

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