One Family's South African Adventure

Karen Wilson on 24 May 2017
This isn't a journal about any of my adventures, this one is from the lovely Birtles family and their South African Adventure, including a honeymoon for all the family.

A year in the planning, working with Lucinda on this was an absolute delight with most discussions held over coffee! Having relatives living in Johannesburg they had a rough idea of what they wanted to do. Originally planned for the December we agreed moving it to April was best for the children because of school and Christmas activities, the weather would be better for the touring they planned to do, and the price of flights.

The family flew direct with Virgin Atlantic, and we booked the flights 10 months in advance meaning we got a great deal. Arriving in Johannesburg they spent a few days with family taking in the sights and sounds of the city, enjoying the Soweto tour and visiting Nelson Mandela's house. Collecting their hire car and heading to 'Spring Lake' they took the time to relax, Matt enjoyed fishing and the girls enjoyed the open spaces and the water. Of course no trip to South Africa would be complete without a 'Safari'.

An early start to meet their tour guide they ventured into Kruger park. I think the photo of the lion and the family selfie shot in their jeep tells you everything. Having since had lunch with Lucinda to hear all about their adventure this day sounds like a once in a lifetime 'tick off the bucket list' kind of day.

From here they drove 12 hours (and some of those hours sounded a little scary if you're not prepared for the South African way of life!) across country to Durban. Spending 3 nights in a wonderful hotel/apartment overlooking the ocean the family enjoyed the coastal life. Sea fishing, building sand castles and beach combing.

As if this wasn't enough they were then mountain bound for 2 nights in a tipi! Camp fires, the dark of the mountains with no light pollution, horse riding and truly getting back to basics yet again this sounded absolutely amazing with lots of memories made and treasured - that's for sure.

By now it was nearly time for them to think about heading home back to the UK. Taking a flight from Durban to Johannesburg was the quickest and most cost efficient way to travel at just £45 per person. After a forty minute flight they were back in the city in no time, and spent the last few days with family before departing for London.

Lucinda is a professional award writer, running her own business - Pure Awards Creative. She helps multi-million pound companies, SMEs and individual entrepreneurs identify and benefit from entering business awards. All this makes for a lady who loves to plan, so as I mentioned earlier it has been an amazing honeymoon to be involved in.

Following our lunch last week Lucinda very kindly emailed me these top tips and gorgeous photos.

- Roads are good in general. Single lane though until you get into city areas. - Pot holes – there’s lots of them! - All insects are MUCH bigger than here! And often found inside the house but generally harmless including rain spiders, giant centipedes, and moths - Be aware of the seasons in the locations you are going to – places like Durban beach at Christmas are jam packed. - Durban is predominantly Muslim, so lots of halal and some restaurants don’t sell alcohol - You cannot buy alcohol after 2pm on a Sunday – anywhere! Except in your hotel bar (for 3 times the price!) - Steers burgers and chips are excellent! - Car seats are not expected to be used for children over 7 years old - Always ask for a 2nd key for the hire car - Do some research into local companies (like local garage/ locksmith guy) and print off before you go – be prepared for anything! - Buy a data card for calls/ internet when you get there - Always barter with street sellers - Find out about the driving rules – such as the yellow line is for letting others overtake - Watch out for road signs – Hippo’s Crossing was the most amusing! - Always tip around 5 Rand to the car park attendants. This is their living and they have to pay the shopping centre to wear the high viz jacket and earn their money. They will help you drive forwards or reverse into a space even if you are the only car in the car park! It’s a living and they are doing it honestly. - In Johannesburg, do the Soweto tour and go inside Nelson Mandela’s house and visit the Hector Pieterson museum - In Durban, visit Ushaka Marine World

If you've enjoyed this journal and if South Africa is one of those places that's on your bucket list but you just don't know where or how to begin planning, then give me a call. Let's talk and see what memories we can create you and your family.