I’m very tired after my night flight so I’m not sure if this last post will make much sense, but I wanted to give you guys one final update 🙂 Heathrow is quite a nice airport to spend a couple of hours at. They’ve managed to make it feel like it’s a lot smaller than it actually is, with cosy corners and comfy chairs. I quite like doing the long flights on my own because they give you time to think, which is exactly what I need right now. Time to process everything that has happened in the last couple of months and to mentally prepare for returning home with all the
holiday busyness. Yesterday afternoon Daniela, Peter and Pippa brought me to Pietermaritzburg airport after our final goodbyes. I was really nice to spend one last night with them and Gail before going back home. We had a picnic at a beautiful spot with one of those gorgeous views that I’m going to miss so much. Daniela being Daniela, actually still wanted to do a million things with me before I left. Unfortunately we did not have much time, so in the end we decided to decorate the Christmas tree with their huge African/German collection of decorations. I’m going to miss all of them, they gave me a home away from home and we’ve gotten to know each other so well in this short time. I hope I can return sometime or meet them somewhere else in the world! Levi is on his way home now as well just on a different route, pretty weird but nice as well! We had a great time together, I’m so so glad he came to visit me. It was our first holiday with just the two of us and it worked out perfectly, we’re a great holiday-team! 🙂 We spent one week in Cape Town, exploring all
the different neighbourhoods. What a nice and interesting city and completely different from the places I had seen in KwazuluNatal, much more Western or European whatever you would call it. Some parts could be anywhere in the world while others feel very (South) African, it’s a wonderful mix. We climbed Table Mountain, visited Robbeneiland, went to a hilarious comedy show and had lots and lots of wonderful food. Cape Town brough back a lot of memories of Rio with that same kind of city/mountain/beach combination. South Africa really is a car country, making us Dutch people
feel pretty helpless sometimes! In the Cape Towns city centre you can get around with public transport, but when you want to go anywhere else you often need to have a car, book a tour or hitch-hike. The distances are huge and it’s usually not safe after dark. Luckily we had already decided to hire a car for part of our trip and Levi managed very professionally with the driving on the wrong side of the road 🙂 We spent one day driving to around the cape past lovely small towns on of which had a beach with a penguin colony, where we also encountered our first dassies: big rodents that climb on branches
that seem to small for them causing them to fall down every now and then. This drive was one of the best ones both of us had ever seen, curling cliff roads with stunning views 😀 The second day we had the car we drove through South Africa’s famous wine region doing a tour on a wine estate in Stellenbosch, of course ending with a wine tasting and after that an extremely chilled pick nick on another wine farm. It suddenly felt like we were on a holiday in France, South Africa has many faces. Unfortunately this day ended for me in some sort of food poisoning :S luckily we were in our apartment, so I survived! Sadly it was time to leave Cape Town and our (ugly golden) rental car took us to the little coastal town of Hermanus. Again beautiful views, driving on big roads is much more exciting here than back home. Hermanus had a gorgous cliff path walk and is one of the spots where many people go to look for whales. Unfortunately we were a little bit too late, Levi saw one tail very far a way and I didn’t have any luck. Good reason to return! 🙂 The walk ended at a place call
ed Dutchies (owned by a Dutch woman and her son), where Levi tried some kroketten! Hermanus was very relaxing and a nice place to go after enormous and busy Cape Town. However we were quite happy we did not stay for too long as it was also not a very exciting town. Next stop: Knysna. As we drove the 4/5 hours towards Knysna the landscape started to change, becoming more green and foresty. I could almost not contain my excitement when we entered our own little wooden house with bathtub on legs and stained glass windows. Knysna is known for its forests and outdoorsy
activities and we spent our time kayaking on the lake and doing a beautiful walk in the forest with 800+ year old trees 😀 We did not really feel like leaving Knysna already but it was time for the part of our trip we both had been looking forward to the most. Addo Elephant park, home to not only hundreds of elephants but also lots of other animals including The Big Five. Lonely Planet describes as the Town of Addo as blink-and-it’s-gone, which we could definitely agree with. Quite funny how this town existing of a couple of shops and a gas station had not grown with the big herd of tourists passing every year.
It’s probablly because the millions of B&B’s in the area have taken on the role of accomodating the tourists with their every wish. Ours at least was absolutely wonderful with lots of space, green and a pool which we used gratefully during the hot afternoonds. Again we had our own little wooden house, this time looking out over the river. On the first day we did a 4 hour tour with a wonderful guide that could tell us everything about the park, its animals, vegetation and lots more. In the first hour we got extremely excited seeing a couple of elephants and zebra’s from a big distance. And then suddenly our guide Steven stopped the car and pointed to something in the distance. Two gorgeous lions that were quite hard to see at first since their colour camouflages them well. They were pretty far away but easy to see with binoculars. Absolutely wonderful seeing them chill in the grass, especially since Addo only had nine lions at the moment. Continuing through the park we suddenly we saw a row of cars parked, meaning something exciting was happening. A
group of over 40 elephants of all sizes was chilling at the water hole, minding their own business and not caring about all the overexcited tourists playing paparazzi. Our guide explained some things about elephant behaviour, communication and the group hierarchy. It was absolutely amazing to see them from up close and observe the way they move and interact. The rest of the day brought us lots of birds (of prey), zebra’s, ostriches and different types of buck. Great first day, even more excited about the next one. We had been recommended to do an early morning tour, since the animals
are very active during the cooler ours of the day. So at 5 AM we drove to the park and met our guide for a hop-on tour, meaning the guide hopped into our car, quite nice! 🙂 This quite (forgot his name) was much more fanatic and enthousiastic than the other one and even though steven had provided us with lots of interesting information the second guide gave a sort of quest feeling to the tour with was really nice. He was determined to find buffaloes for us and said he would even try to find a rhino even though he had not seen one for months. The park is huge and there’s only a small part where
people can go, which the reason the leopards are hardly ever seen. We drove a round in the quiet park, being only one of about 10 vehicles during the first hour. And suddenly the car stopped and we looked right into the face of a couple of huge buffaloed. about to cross the road. We reversed quietly and let the buffaloes pass. One, two, three…. thirty, forty, fifty… at least a hundred buffaloes crossed right in front of us, with the bigger ones stopping and checking us out letting the smaller ones pass behind them. We could hear them walk and breath, absolutely mesmerizing. After that
experience we were no longer tired but eager to see more. We saw a few jackals and more beautiful types of buck: kudu’s, red hartebeest, and other ones who’s names I forgot. As we were driving, trying to spot more animals I suddenly looked right into the face of an enormous rhino. It was exactly the same as with the buffaloes, just about to cross the road. Even our guide got extremely excited and kept telling me how proud he was I spotted the rhino. He told us a story about how this same rhino had chased him once but now he was calm and ok with us being there. We followed the great
creature for a little while, with the guide speaking about South Africa’s struggle against poaching. This was one of the best things I ever did, I definitely want to do it again in another game reserve. I’ll put some videos of the animals on facebook! 🙂
A great end of a great four months and time to go home. It was a great experience, I learned so much and I’m very glad I made the decision to go through with it. I feel sad
to leave South Africa, but happy to come home. Time for Christmas and New Years and time to return to normal life!
See you all soon in the Netherlands and people from SA hopefully we’ll meet again another time.
Lots of love,