South Africa

South Africa

It was about a year after the Peru trip when the travel itch started to remind itself again. This time the destination continent was not hard to pick, because Africa was the only one (except for Antactica) where I had not been.

But what country? Well, after discussing it which my friend Göran, we both thought that the wildlife was what we were most interested to see. That lead us to consider three countries: Tanzania, Kenya and South Africa. In the end we chose South Africa, much because it is the easiest of the three counties to travel in.

This time we arranged the trip ourselves, with the help of the internet and a Lonely Planet guide.

Although we made most of the bookings through the internet, I have to warn that there is a huge difference in how different hotels or B&Bs handle their internet and email correspondence. Some places, like Die Dorpshuis in Calitzdorp were exemplary, answering swiftly and correctly to email while others didnt respond at all or after much too long time. If you have problems, just give them a call instead - or find another place to stay!

An overview of our plan was to fly to J-burg, visit the Krüger national park, have a look at the Drakensberg mountains,  visit Durban and Port Elisabeth and then follow the Garden Route to Cape Town. As we have understood it later, it is a pretty standard route for a first time trip to South Africa.

We planned for a three and a halv week stay, which in my opinion is necessary if you want to cover this are.

Just started with some pictures below. Be patient...


Since we flew to Johannesburg (J-burg) we started by taking a tour in Soweto. Many of the major events in the last century have occured there, so it is not to be ignored. Dont be afraid to go on such a tour, since it is not dangerous.


Apart from Soweto, we didn't get to see a lot of J-burg. We stayed at a hotel near the airport, and the second day we left, driving towards the Krüger park.

By the way, renting a car and driving in South Africa is quite easy. Just remember that they drive on the left side - and that a car with air conditioning is not a bad thing...

Panoramic Route

Before we came to the Krüger park we wanted to have a look at the so-called Panoramic Route. It lies west of the Krüger park and follows the border between the highland and the lowland. We first stayed a night in Graskop at the Graskop hotel and then we went to see the route.

We had some bad luck since it was very foggy and some of the viewpoint didn't show themselves from their best side. Nevertheless it was an interesting day. Don't miss Bourkes luck potholes.

Remember one thing: were are very few chances of finding something to eat along the panoramic route. In fact, we only found one place (inside a resort), so bring food and water! There are however lots of chances of buying mask, little wooden animals and other things of similar nature.

The Krüger Park

We arrived in the park late afternoon. We had reserved a hut and the Orphen camp, which is just at the Orphen gate. Apart from trying to help a young couple that had run out of petrol with their car, the evening was spent cooking some food. The camp itself is nothing particular, but is ok for a night.

We spent five nights at the Krüger park and wouldn't was to exchange one of them. The wild life in the park is really interesting, at least if you come from Europe like me. Lots of South Africans make their holiday in the park as well, so I guess they enjoy it as well!


So what did we see? Anthilope, wildebeast, lion, buffalo, rhino, baboo, elephant, hippo and lots and lots more. What we are sorry that we didn't se is leopard and cheetah.


Above a lion pride can be seen resting just a few meters from the road!

Breakfast at OlifantsOlifants Camp

We stayed the first night at Orphen, the two following nights at Olifants (see pictures above) and the last two nights at Lower Sabie camp. Orphen was probably the best camp - the standard of the bungalow was good and the view (we had a perimeter bungalow) was superb! We did however not have tha much luck with the animals around there.

The best game viewing for us was around camp Satara, which means that although the game moves around in the park, I would recommend most people to stay in that camp for a night just to have plenty of time to explore its surroundings!


Antilopes fighting

An the way out from the park (to the south) we visited a hippo pool were this guard was helping people. A very nice man with a very cool look!

Guard in the Krüger park


We stayed for 4 days at Giants Castle in the Drakensberg. Nice nature with plenty of oppertuneties for walking, good service and good food. Since I haven't been to other places in the Drakensberg, I cannot compare.

Giants Castle

Above the view from our cottage can be seen. Not to bad, eh???

Cave paintings

Cave paintings in the Battle Cave a short distance from the camp.

On a walk

View during one of our hikes. In a few minutes the rain will be pouring down...!

Durban and Port Elizabeth

After the Drakensberg we went to Durban for two days. I didn't find the city very appealingthough. One day I make a trip to the Shakaland, which is a village left from the recording of a film- A bit touristy but still quite interesting.


From Durban we flew to Port Elisabeth. A nice town with a relaxed atmosphere. Since we started to miss the animals from the Krüger park, we went to the Schotia game park east of the city, just beside the elephant park. The pictures below are taken in the game park.



The Garden Route

From Port Elisabeth we drove to Cape town, mostly following the garden route.


The Tsisikamma National park was pretty, but we only stayed a couple of hours.

We drove into the little karoo in order to see the Cango Caves limestone caves. It was really impressing, and if you haven't already seen simalar caves then go there!

Cango caves

We stayed overnight at Die Dorpshuis in Calitzdorp before driving to Hermanus by the coast. I can recommend the place - simple but clean with really good service.

Lodging for the night


Cape Town and surroundings

We stayed one night in the charming town of Hermanus. Unfortunatly it was not whale season, when whales can be seen from land or boat in the bay just outside. I can recommend the Sea basket reastaurant which is not at all fancy but serves extremely good sea food.

The next day we drove to Cape point, staying at several places on the way. The penguins at Boulders Beach were a strange sight. The Cape itself was not that special really, but it is nice to have been there!

Table mountain

The last days in South Africa we spent in and around the Cape Town. We stayed in the city centre near the company gardens. It was nice during the day, but at night it didn't feel very safe. I would try to find a different place to stay if I was to return.

The Table mountain was very worthwile to see. Just try to choose a day where the normal cloud doesnt cover the mountain top, and go there early so that you don't have to wait in line for so long if you want to take the cableway.


A trip to the wine district of Stellenbosch with a lot of wine tasting was one of the highlights in and around the Cape Town. My favourite turned out to be the Warwich wine estate, where the wine was very good, the views astounding and the people friendly!

That was the last stop on our trip, and after a long flight we returned home. All in all it was a very good trip that I can recommend to anyone. It couldn't beat the trip to Peru though, but then again I wonder if anything will!


All text and pictures Copyright Staffan Nilsson 1995-2003

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