Sunday, February 26, 2017

Day 26 - Leaving South Africa

On a beautiful Summer's morning we took a stroll around Company gardens in Cape Town it has a lovely cafe in the heart of the gardens and we enjoyed coffee and cake before watching a local  couple get married.

We h0pped in a cab and took the twenty minute drive to the airport in light traffic. At the airport we were surprised how quiet it was, no other passengers at check in or security, so it was a breeze to go through. We decided on one last treat before our Emirates flight so we checked into the Bidvest Premier Lounge.

The combined travelling time to get home to Cyprus was over 20 hours we arrived to blue skies, tired but happy.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Day 25 - Table mountain and a whole lot more

On our final day in Cape Town we woke up to an overcast day, which was a real bummer because we had planned to go up Table mountain, so we made our way downtown to the local outdoor Friday markets.




 








After an hour’s browsing we decided to do the Hop on-Hop off bus tour, the tour was passing the cable station at the foot of the mountain so we hoped the cloud would clear.

As we approached the iconic mountain we could still see cloud on top, we were indecisive about whether to go up or wait. At the last moment we said “lets go for it”, after a smooth up to the top we found out that our luck was in and we had those dramatic views from Table mountain over looking the City of Cape Town. On the Eastern side of the mountain the 12 Apostles were shrouded in cloud giving them a ghostly look.



















We continued the bus tour until we reached the V&A waterfront, amongst all the tourist development there still stands a working dry dock, I was fascinated by this, as they say, “You can take the boy out of the shipyard, but”.....Well you know the rest.










We had a very good lunch in the shadow of Table mountain and then did the harbour cruise which was very informative about the history of Cape Town's port and we got to see plenty of seals.













 We finished of our day with a tour around the infamous “District 6” and the the civic center, where the old town hall overlooks the Grand parade, this is where Nelson Mandela gave a speech to over 200,000 people setting out his vision for a new South Africa.











So that was the final day of our 27 day adventure, it’s been an absolute blast, we have met so many warm and friendly people along the way, seen some wonderful sights, eat and drank too much, had a thousand laughs and we both know how fortunate we have been to make this trip.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

A Game drive and Dinner on The Mighty Zambezi River

Another early morning start as we took an early morning game drive in the Zambezi National park, we were joined by our guide “Eddie” and had the Jeep to ourselves. This drive was never going to live up to our drives in Kruger but we did manage to see plenty of game including Giraffe, Zebra, Wilderbeast, Warthog, Baboons, Impala and mongoose.
























We then popped into the town of Victoria Falls to have a mooch around, there was not a great deal to see and with the hot African sun we soon made our way back to the lodge.

In the evening we made our way down to the Zambezi river for a dinner cruise, we boarded a beautiful three tiered boat we set sail at 4.30 and cruised within one kilometer of the Falls, once again there was plenty of wildlife to be see including crocodiles and Hippos.




 













We were joined by four people from New York city who turned out to be delightful company. We docked at around 6.45 and stayed on board  for a delicious dinner at sunset.



Day 24 Cape Town and a Wine Tour

Saying goodbye to Vic falls we hopped on the BA flight to Johannesburg which turned out to be quite bumpy 90 minute flight. At Joberg Airport we found a really good micro brewery bar that had a great selection of of Ales that were good value.

After a 2 hour wait at Joberg we boarded another BA flight to Cape Town which took around an hour and a half.We checked into the Long street boutique hotel and checked out the somewhat lively bar street.



















The next morning we joined the “Wine Flies” wine tour, we headed out of the City and headed towards the town of Stellenbosch, we visited 5 wind farms that were at in some wonderful country side and tasted over 25 wines. We stopped off at one of the farms for a lovely lunch cooked on the open fire.

Our final stop was at a farm that specialises in sparkling wine, our guide the split us into teams for a quiz about our tour, with the help of two Dutch guys we managed to win and our prize was a nice bottle of wine.

Day 22 --The Victoria Falls

We made an early start and made our way down to Victoria falls National park, from the entrance you walk down a tree lined path towards the Falls, you actually hear the thunder of the water before you can see them and the you come into a clearing a see this almighty sight of this deluge of water falling nearly 100 meters to the bottom. 













The awesome power of this wall of water is a sight to behold, words are not enough, it’s truly breathtaking and it continues for nearly a mile as you follow it along the path that runs parallel to the falls. Yes we got completely soaked, but you do not even think about it, you just want to take it all in. We spent just over an hour and half at the falls, which was plenty of time to Wonder. 

To dry off we took a walk over the famous railway bridge that separates Zimbabwe from Zambia, the views from the bridge are so impressive and there are lots of colourful characters crossing the border. 

From the bridge we walked about 400 meters to the Outlook cafe which is perched on the walls of the gorge down river from the falls, here we stopped for lunch and a couple of drinks. From the cafe it was a 10 minute walk to the impressive Victoria Falls river hotel, Mandy had visited the hotel some 40 years ago and it was an emotional return. 

We sat on the hotel's terrace and enjoyed a cocktail and the superb views across the manicured lawns Before exploring the interior of the hotel with its old colonial decor. I was impressed how welcoming the staff were to us as we were only  day visitors. 

In the evening we drove over to the Victoria falls Safari lodge hotel, a beautiful place with a fine restaurant , before dinner we sat on the deck of the “Buffalo bar” that overlooks a water hole in the bush, we saw a number of animals around the water. 

One of the most impressive sights was the huge sky line, beautiful sunset and cloud formations in the distance, its true, Africa does have huge skies. We had a delicious meal and a front row table overlooking the bush. Rob plumped for the roast Warthog, it was excellent.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Day 21 - Flying to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

We said. Goodbye to Sabie river bush Lodge and made our way back to Skukuza airport, still stopping on the way to spot more animals. Skukuza airport is actually set in the National park and after heavy rains we had to cross a narrow bridge where the river was washing over the bridge in parts, we drove over it VERY slowly.

 Skukuza airport a lovely, small airport, modern wit an African feel. It barely has any walls, a thatched roof and beautifully kept gardens and waterfalls. When we arrived we were the only two people in the departure lounge, there are no departure boards or tannoy announcements. When its time to board, a guy walks out and shouts "All aboard". We the took a very smooth forty minute flight back to Johannesburg.

The following day we returned to Johannesburg Airport and boarded the British Airways B737-400 flight to Victoria Falls, the flight took one and a half hours and was pretty smooth.

We landed at the new Victoria falls international airport that was only completed last year, immigration to 55 minutes and cost us 55 US dollars. We were collected and taken to our accommodation, the Pamusha lodge, we had a quick drink, unpacked and prepared for our first excursion.
At around 4pm we were driven down to a jetty on the banks of the mighty Zambezi River. We boarded a boat and set sail for our sunset cruise, it was so relaxing just drifting down the river with a nice glass of white wine on a lovely, sunny evening. We were soon alerted to a group of Hippopotamus close to the bank and got some good shots of them opening those huge jaws of they have.

We spent a couple of hours cruising up river while the captain gave us some very interesting information about the river as we turned for home we could see in the distance the huge clouds of spray that are caused by Victoria falls, but that’s for another day. To be continued..........

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Day 20 - Skukuza - South Africa

We said. Goodbye to Sabie river bush Lodge and made our way back to Skukuza airport, still stopping on the way to spot more animals. Skukuza airport is actually set in the National park and  after heavy rains we had to cross a narrow bridge where the river was washing over the bridge in parts, we drove over it VERY slowly. 

Skukuza airport is a lovely, small airport, modern with an African feel.  It barely has any walls, a thatched roof and beautifully kept gardens and waterfalls.

When we arrived we were the only two people in the departure lounge, there are no departure boards or tannoy announcements. When its time to board, a guy walks out and shouts "All aboard".

We the took a very smooth forty minute flight back to Johannesburg.                   

Friday, February 17, 2017

Day 19 - A rainy day in Kruger

A heavy storm blew in last night from Mozambique and the rain thundered onto our tent all night long, around mid morning the rain eased and gave us a chance to sit on the deck and watch the lazy Sabie river flow by.

In the afternoon we went on another Safari in Kruger park with our guide Bernard and the only other guests to accompany us were two vets from London, so they seemed well informed about the wildlife. Once again there was plenty of game at close quarters to view including Rhino, Giraffe, Waterbuck, impala, Hyena and a host of colourful birds.

 By far the best thing we saw was a small group of elephants that moved towards us and stopped at around 10 meters from our jeep and were feeding on maroula. They stood around us flapping their great ears and swaying their trunk, what a sight it was.

Then a baby elephant walked out of the troupe, stood right in front of us and proceeded to do a kind of two minute dance for us, luckily we caught him on film so we can relive that special moment.
On the drive back to camp we once again view the most splendid sunset over the Kruger National Park.

Day 18 - On Safari in Kruger national park

Our second game drive was an early morning game drive with our guide “Lucky”, after a slow start in light drizzle our luck changed when we came upon Lion tracks at the side of the trail, Lucky thought they were fresh so we followed them slowly until we spotted a male Lion in the bush some 300 meters away. This was a big cat sitting proudly and surveying his area.

 






























We were now driving in wet and windy conditions, but the fleece lined poncho’s provided by the lodge kept us dry and warm. The next big sighting was a Leopard moving in the short bush grasses, only a short lived sighting but worth the wait. The sighting of game just came coming, including a superb pair of Rhinos and a large troupe of elephants. A Buffalo completed our list of the “Big Five” and we returned to  camp with some wonderful memories.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Day 17 - Flying to Kruger National Park, South Africa

On bright and sunny morning we returned to Johannesburg Airport and boarded a small jet for the 40 minute flight to Kruger National Park Airport.
The airport at Sikukou is quite unique, it small with a thatched room and open outside walls. Baggage reclaim is small stage where your cases are personally handed to you.


Our first game drive in Kruger national park was a sunset drive with our guide Douglas, we set off at around 4.30pm and within 5 minutes we encountered a big bull elephant feeding in the bush, then  we saw a couple of giraffe feeding from the high bushes. After a quiet 20 minute drive the sightings exploded, we encountered hyenas, Kudu, antelope, hippos, monkey’s and Impala.

We returned to our camp, sat outside on the decking which was some 30 meters from the river Sabie and while drinking a coffee we saw 3 Hippopotamus swim by.palas. As night fell we turned on the spotlights and saw a crocodile in the Sabie river.