After a later start, we spent the whole day touring around the nearby mountains. We had a scary climb up an unbelievably steep and rough road to 1500m where we had morning tea and enjoyed spectacular, panoramic views. We then bounced our way into the next valley where we saw herds of antelope and a couple of crazy wildebeests chasing their own tails and performing a kind of territorial dance.
We thought we were in the most remote place on earth but got a surprise to pull in for lunch where staff had organised tables with white linen table cloths and a magnificent spread of food, wine, beer and spirits for our enjoyment. It must have taken them around 2 hours of serious 4 wheel driving to set this up … that is what I call service.
Now at our final game reserve – Mount Camdeboo. After a long drive up into the mountains we arrived at a restored Dutch manor house. This is the most luxurious accommodation so far … I don’t think we have ever experienced such opulence. We have a four poster bed and our balcony opens out onto a beautiful garden where we can sit in the sun between morning and afternoon game drives sipping wine.
Lots of buffalo and endangered mountain zebras here as well as herds of antelope. Our stop for sundowner drinks had our most spectacular scenery yet (photo above).
Our main problem is to restrain from eating all the delicious food being offered and drinking anything we like … oh well, I suppose we will cope somehow.
On our 6:30am game drive today we saw the conclusion to yesterdays dramatic lion hunt. The pride (2 males and 2 females) brought down 3 zebras during the night. We saw blood and drag marks into the bush and our guide drove us into the area to witness the scene of the feast. All lions had eaten well, with full bellies and blood all over them. The half eaten zebra carcasses were nearby. Nature can be brutal at times but lions must eat to survive. Also saw scavengers such as Jackals hanging around waiting for the leftovers.
We also had an encounter with an angry bull elephant this morning. He was protecting his herd which included a baby so we did some serious reversing up a hill to escape.
Such an exciting trip.
Lalibela Game Reserve
Very special experience today. At our next game reserve, Lalibela, we encountered the elusive cheetah … the fastest living thing on earth. This was such a treat to see this majestic animal at close quarters. To add to the excitement we witnessed a pride of lions trying to hunt an antelope for dinner. Unfortunately our vehicle became bogged just around dusk and I think we became the new prey. Luckily a nearby vehicle towed us out so all ended well.
We have resident hippos in the pond near our accommodation and were told not to wander too far from our rooms as lions and elephants are frequent visitors. We were given an air horn to summon rangers for assistance if we are about to be eaten.
Africa has been amazing so far with still more to look forward to.
Kariega Game Reserve
It’s hard to put into words our experiences here at Kariega Game Reserve. The accommodation is pure luxury, food amazing and all alcohol is free.
We have been on game drives in open 4x4s every day. We were not prepared for how close we would get to wild animals such as lions, rhinos and elephants … no fences, these animals were literally metres away from our vehicles. The highlight so far is a 2 week old baby rhino with her mum.
Our room is a large chalet with its own plunge pool and spa overlooking the valley below. Everything about this place is first class. We have never experienced such a level of service … the staff are making us feel like royalty.
To end each day’s game drive, our vehicles stop for sundowners. With wild animals in the background and an amazing sunset we sip in our wine and enjoy eating the canapés. This is very civilised.
Just when we thought the scenery couldn’t get any better, Frank took us on an amazing road trip around the Cape Peninsula to the Cape of Good Hope. This is the where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet and the extreme southwest part of Africa. So much beautiful coastline and a big climb to the Cape Point lighthouse.
We also stopped at Simon’s Town to see the cute African Penguins in their natural habitat.
Wine Farms and Birds of Prey refuge
Frank took us on a tour of the local wine farms with a stop at the Birds of Prey refuge. Saw lots of raptors at close quarters (Cathy had an owl on her head and one on her hand at one stage). The staff were really passionate about caring for these birds.
We had a drive around the township of Stellenbosch which has a large student population attending the local university. This was a cute town and it would be a great place to stay for a while.
We visited 3 wine farms and tasted many fantastic wines. The staff were very friendly and gave us lots of details about each variety we were tasting. Had a tasty lunch at a berry farm.
Robben Island and Table Mountain
Massive day today starting with a boat trip to Robben Island (where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned) and ending with a cable car ride to the top of Table Mountain.
The boat trip out to Robbin Island provided great views of the Capetown coastline with Table Mountain dominating the skyline. After a bus trip around the island, complete with informative commentary we were treated to a tour of the jail by an ex-inmate. It was quite a moving experience seeing Nelson Mandala’s tiny cell.
Our Capetown guide, Frank, then accompanied us in the cable car to the top of Table Mountain. He then showed us around to all the spectacular viewing spots. Breathtaking vistas everywhere we looked, Capetown and surrounds looked amazing from this vantage point.
After an overnight stay in Johannesburg we arrived in Capetown this morning. With the rest of our group we went for a wander around the waterfront which was only a couple of minutes walk from our hotel. Lots of shops and restaurants and a great local vibe. Still a bit jet lagged but looking forward to starting our tour tomorrow.