Hi dear travel lover!
In the previous blog I took you to the first part of my trip to South Africa. I started in Cape Town and traveled through various places on the Garden Route to Port Elizabeth. I will continue where I left off; at the end of the Garden Route, in Port Elizabeth.
Off to Durban
From Port Elizabeth we have taken the plane to Durban. From here we drove up a bit and then spent one night at Ayer Rock Guesthouse. This is located in the village of KwaDukuza (Stanger). We have only seen Indians here outside of ourselves. So the Indian spice supermarket was not to be missed here! Large bowls with colored powders filled the entire store. The overnight place itself was not special. The room was very small and the breakfast consisted of toasting a sandwich and making tea. There was no topping for bread, except for a lump of butter.
After this fantastic breakfast we continued our drive up, with the Hluhluwe-imfolozi Game Reserve as the final destination. We spent the night here at Insikwe Lodge, a very nice place in the middle of nowhere. Hammocks and rocking chairs hung between the cottages and the pool was wonderfully cooling. This booking included breakfast and dinner, which was very tasty! In the evening while dining there were several monkeys in the trees around the pool. They regularly flew each other's hair to fight for the food that was given. Nice for us to see, however, the kitchen staff was less happy with these cheeky guys who stole food from the kitchen
Looking for the Big-Five
The next morning it was time for the safari. A 12-hour trip through the Hluhluwe-imfolozi Game Reserve. What was this cool! When we entered the 96000 hectare park we immediately met a pig family. The little ones were running and playing with each other and making the funniest sounds. This immediately made up for the early rise! What I liked about this park was that it is incredibly large and the wild nature has been preserved. Because of this you really have to spot the animals. Sometimes we drove for 1.5 hours without seeing large animals. Of course you could find enough birds of prey, deer species, birds and lizards at that time. However, it also happened that a lion was sunbathing tightly along the road and a rhino stopped all traffic by standing in the middle of the road and not wanted to move from there. The lazy lion turned out not to be so lazy later on, when she came straight to our car and our driver whispered that we had to sit very still. A minute later she was robbing! At the end of the day we had seen lions, rhinos, buffalo, zebras, giraffes, elephants, monkeys, deer and various smaller animal species. What an amazing day to be able to experience and photograph these animals in the wild, in a beautiful environment. It is absolutely on my bucket list to do something like that again!
Spotting hippos and crocodiles in St. Lucia
Before we drove back to Durban we went to St. Lucia for a morning boat safari. This place is known for the many hippos that live there. The first thing we noticed when we drove into this picturesque village was the sign along the road with "Watch out!" Crossing Hippos ". When the boat was fully loaded we left for the swamp, while enjoying a drink and an informative chat from the guide. He told us that hippos are one of the most dangerous species in Africa. Hippos can reach a speed of 60 km/h under water and are very aggressive animals. It was briefly emphasized that it happened more than once that a tourist put his hands outside the boat and a hippo dragged him into the water. After this conversation everyone pulled their hands away from the edge and all children were pulled onto their lap. Once in the swamp area it didn't take long before we saw the first group of hippos. I heard everyone around me say things like "Wow what a beautiful animal" while all I could think was "How can these huge fat ugly animals be so fast and dangerous ?!" A little further on we saw a very large group of hippos with little ones there. The youngsters played and romped with each other, which resulted in nice images of clamps and a lot of splashing and splashing. Along the way we also encountered 2 crocodiles. How these animals with their scary appearance and huge teeth can be less dangerous than hippos is still a mystery to me.
Celebrating New Year's Eve in Durban
After the boat safari we drove back to Durban, a modern city in South Africa where you can see the true African everywhere. Many people in traditional clothing, music and dance on the street and markets everywhere make this city an African mecca. In Durban we spent the night at an Air BNB location, Cozy Apartments. The owners of this apartment are very sweet Indian people. When we arrived there there was a meal and stocked fridge ready for us so that we could recover from the long day. The apartment itself is very spacious and nicely furnished. It is in a great location, just outside the center in a secure neighborhood and close to McDonald’s :)
We spent our days in Durban strolling through the city, lazing on the beach, watching parades with African music and dance and celebrating New Year's Eve. We celebrated at the casino on the beach. The entire city gathered here to admire the fireworks show at noon. At 00.15 the masses of people flowed out again to continue to their own parties. Never before have I seen so many people disappear so quickly. We spent half an hour wondering about it and thinking about what we would do with the rest of our New Year's night. That eventually became ice cream and go to bed at 1.30. The quietest new year in my entire life! Followed by the freshest New Year's Day
A dayt trip Lesotho, a small country in South Africa
On January 2 we drove to Underberg. This small village is close to Lesotho, where we went the next day. Lesotho is an independent country with a king in South Africa. It lies on top of a mountain where you come by following a long winding route, called the Sani Pass. It is a beautiful but long and bumpy ride. Very nice if you need to pee very badly! 😊 The view during this route is fantastic. The greenest mountains completely enclose you. When you are almost at the top you have a view of the mountains and in the middle the winding road up.
Once we arrive at the Lesotho border we have to go through customs. Another stamp richer and very hungry we go to Sani Mountain Lodge, "the highest pub of Africa". A real tourist attraction where they serve delicious food with of course the perfect view. After lunch it is finally time to see Lesotho itself. What a totally different world this is! People still live here in self-built huts, without electricity and water. We were offered homemade bread and bought beautiful jewelry from a woman who was making them on the moment itself. When we wanted to leave the village we came across a group of boys who were making music on self-assembled instruments. It sounded like the Josti Band of Africa. But the image of these boys and the pleasure they had in it has really stayed with me. After exploring Lesotho we drove back the same bumpy winding road and from Underberg we immediately drove back to Durban.
Back to Cape Town
We spent our last night in Durban at Airport beach backpackers. A nice hostel on the beach and near the airport. We had booked this without expectations to just spend a cheap night somewhere before flying back to Cape Town. However, it turned out to be a very nice place! The owner is friendly, the rooms are nice and the location is perfect. A great place to end our tour.
The next day in the afternoon we flew back to Cape Town. Here we spent my last days in South Africa with going up to Table Mountain, relaxing on the beach, buying souvenirs in the center and eating at Moyo's, my favorite place in South Africa 😊
Home sweet home
Unfortunately after 3.5 weeks it was time to say goodbye to my boyfriend and this beautiful country. This was quite difficult and I was happy when the plane finally landed in Amsterdam. My family was waiting for me with a bag of warm oliebollen (a typical dutch snack from New Year's Eve, because, of course, I missed that), a thick set of clothes and my beloved winter coat. A difference of 30 degrees is pretty hard for a person who's always cold like me...
Lets go home to cuddle my lovely horses, dogs and cats and to sleep away my jet lag. And on to the planning of my next trip, where I would like to take you again 😉