Bucket List trip
Unsure about doing the trip on our own, we took our first escorted tour. You may be put off (as I was to be honest) about being on the go all the time and the packing and unpacking along the way, but it was absolutely fabulous.
The organization is brilliant, from being met at the airport and shown to the coach, every day all you have to do is identify your luggage to ensure it's on/off the coach and porters take it up to your room. There is a trick to packing for such a trip which I'd be happy to share.
We started off in Johannesburg, where we had two nights in a traditional cultural village, meeting the tribe who live there who put on a fabulous meal and show. We had a trip to the Apartheid Museum, and to Lilliesleaf farm where Nelson Mandela was captured - it's a very humbling trip to see just what he did for this wonderful country, and why he has so much respect and will never be forgotten.
We then had a drive up to Kruger National Park where we experienced the joy that is a game drive, both the first night seeing the sun set, and then a full day from very early morning the next day. We saw all the Big Five albeit some only from a distance - but it was an amazing experience which will live with me forever.
We made a trip over the border then into Swaziland, where again we were welcomed into the homes of the locals, shown how live and then treated to another music and dance extravaganza. Anyone interested in the history of the Zulu wars, would love the next day exploring the actual battlefields and hearing the stories re-lived by a very passionate historian.
We then flew onto Port Elizabeth on the beautiful coast of South Africa for an overnight stay before setting off on what's known as the Garden Route. The scenery as you drive along is simply breath-taking and, in the evening, we were treated to a cruise with a meal on board over to Knysna.
Then onto Oudsthoorn, the home of the ostrich – a fascinating creature you watch in their natural habitat. Like it or not this is then what's presented as your lunch! We experienced a few new meats out in South Africa including ostrich and crocodile!
A further trip along the coast brought us to Hermanus, where if you're there in right season, which we were, you will see the Humpback whales clearly from the shoreline. Carrying on this same day to our overnight stop was in the Stellenbosch mountains. The setting here is amazing. Accommodation is suitable for royalty and you have your own apartment for the night. What else would you do here but enjoy a wine tasting session!?
Our final trip was over the fabulous city that is Cape Town. Once here there was a bit of free time to enjoy this place of such diversity. It included a full day tour to Boulders Beach to see the penguins, Cape Point and Kirstenbosch Gardens - another varied tour. The we had a free day to roam Cape Town on our own, and the next morning before our flight back to the UK. The hotel is centrally located close to Victoria and Albert Waterfront, a modern and vibrant area full of bars and restaurants whilst viewing some magnificent boats and yachts. We booked to have lunch up the Silo Hotel, which was once a grain silo. We enjoyed views on the top of the fabulous Table Mountain.