Discussion in 'South Africa' started by RobertKelly, Jul 30, 2009.
Here are the top attractions to see while in South Africa:
iSimangaliso Wetland Park which is the only place in the world where hippos, crocodiles and sharks share the same lagoon. It also has giant dunes, beaches and tropical reefs, with superb birdwatching and diving.
Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve where you see many mammals like rhinos, and over 300 bird species.
Kruger National Park which is SA most popular places where you can take exclusive safari camps.
Pilanesberg Game Reserve where you can explore some prehistoric remains.
Hope this helps
Marvelous! we were planning a safari also..thank you for prompt response
Here's some excerpts from my blog of my trip tp South Africa in March 2009.
My 2 week South Africa adventure started with a flight from the Sarasota Airport (Tampa Bay) to New York City just after their 14 inch snowfall so it was bitter cold in the Big Apple but some good times with friends in Manhattan more than made up for the cold....
Then a 17 1/2 hour scheduled flight from JFK Airport in New York to Johannesburg, South Africa turned into a 24+ hour trip after some unfortunate, unscheduled activity. After a stop in Dakar, Senegal (northwest coast of Africa) for refueling, we flew for several hours before diverting to Accra, Ghana due to a passenger's heart attack en route (she was pronounced dead on arrival in Ghana)...making the final landing in Jo-Burg a little solemn.
After an overnight stay in Johannesburg, a quick 2 hour flight to Cape Town was followed by a 1 hour drive to Hermanus where a new and beautiful guest home (Bed and Breakfast) overlooking False Bay was awaiting. But before that, it was off on an eco-marine tour of the coastline via luxurious catamaran, a nature walk through two unique preserves--one on the coastline and one in the mountain foothills, and then wine tasting before a traditional South African dinner. It was awesome--but wow, did that bed ever feel great. That, and knowing the US Dollar was strong here as it bought almost 10 South African Rands.
Next was a visit and tasting at a local winery, followed by a classic dinner in the winery's beautiful chateau lodge, meeting the world's most famous "'whale crier", and topped by a half-day in the waters of Gansbaii which is labeled the world's greatest area and concentration of Great White Sharks. It was here that I was 1st in the water (complete with 7 mm wetsuit) and inside a steel cage while great white sharks swam within inches of me...what an awesome experience...
After a return van trip to Cape Town and flight back to Jo'Burg, it was a 2 hour bus ride to South Africa's famous SunCity (Northwest Province) tucked inside the famous Pilanesberg National Park and inside the confines of a massive, dormant volcano. The landscapes en route to SunCity were incredible and arriving at South Africa's "Mini Las Vegas" is most impressive.
I checked into the Cascades Resort which is conveniently located to the Entertainment Center, many restaurants and shops, and even a casino. Most of my travel-related activities were going to occur in the convention center and entertainment center over the next 3 days.
The Cascades was 5 star with open-air lobby and restaurants, turn down service, and
At least one event I attended was at the nearby Palace Resort which also housed the 'Lost City". This was a premiere resort built on the same lines as the Bellagio in Las Vegas and Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas--it was stunning. I attended an outdoor concert in an amphitheater based on ancient times and it was awesome.
Three of my highlights of my time here were:
1) a visit to a lion park where I was able to learn all about the plights of the African lions. I was even able to hold baby lions, pet a 7 month old lion and watch large lions eat a carcass in their preparation for release back into the wild.
2) A Boma dinner held inside a "camp" with authentic South African foods from all 9 provinces being served with a cultural show and exhibit, music and great interaction with other guests and locals.
3) A game drive through the nearby Pilanesberg National Park looking for the Big 5. I saw everything but a leopard but did see elephant, rhino, cape buffalo, giraffe, wart hogs, impala, vervet monkeys, and finally, after we were delayed by another game-viewing truck getting stuck in ditch and keeping us out past sundown, a small pride of lions in the roadway and later the tall grass! Very cool. (Reminder to bring binoculars at all times when out on game drives). I was advised that March is not the best time to see all the game upclose in the park (March being the start of autumn in South Africa) but that wintertime is (June-Sept) when roadside waterholes are plentiful.
I also did the Cascades nature walk, attended an indoor gala dinner party complete with music from a Turkish band and even was interviewed by South African TV as I was was in one of my more colorful character costumes.
NOTES: 1) When you are told to keep your balcony windows and doors locked, heed the advice. At least one guest had their room and mini-bar refrigerator "ransacked" by a one or more crafty baboons that entered the room and tore it up. 2) Activities listed may not be every day. I intended to do a helicopter ride but it was not available until the weekend 3) While most hotels have adaptors for US electrical items, it is advisable to carry at least one personal adaptor for South Africa with you
My time to a close too soon at SunCity and then there was an 8 hour drive to my next stop which was....
Close to nature, close to Kruger---Panzi Bush Camp in the Limpopo Province of northeastern South Africa.
I spent 2 nights at the Panzi Bushcamp and can't say enough about the great hosts--Bev, John & Glynn, originally from England.
They were wonderful hosts with Bev being masterful in the kitchen and serving great meals, John handling "braii" or BBQ duties with a genuine South African flavor, and Glynn taking me on a great nature hike to a nearby elevated "lookout" over a waterhole with great scenic views plus a late evening game drive through the large compound areas where I saw giraffe (nature's gardeners), wart hogs, zebra, wildebeest, impala, cape buffalo and I just missed a leopard on the property.
Panzi means "down" and describes the Bushcamp in the low hollow area of the Guernsey Conservancy area. It is closest to the Buckbrushridge area and less than 1 hour from the Orpen Gate to the wonderful Kruger National Park (100% driving only thru the park).
Access to the bushcamp means a 45 minute off the main road for a trip down a unimproved dirt road to the camp's main guarded and gated security entrance and then another short drive to the camp's entrance on a game-drive road to another gate where guests then traverse over a suspension bridge and indigenous wooded gully to get to the main, open-air, lodge which houses a stocked bar, TV, couches, and dining tables.
The afternoon I arrived there was time for a welcome drink and then off for a late afternoon/early evening gamedrive before returning to a delicious dinner and drinks. The camp is quiet and a perfect place to enjoy the sights and sounds of nature.
The individual "tent-lodges" are fully self-contained and complete with one electrical outlet, fan, 2 twin beds, mosquito bed nets, reading lights, and an open, but 3/4 enclosed attached, outdoor bathroom with regular toilet, washbasin, and (hot water) shower. All the tent-lodges are accessed by wooden-slat walkways and have wood bases, wood floors and siding with thatched roofs.
I spent most of my next 2nd day inside Kruger Park (see my other entries) before returning to Panzi for another excellent dinner prepared by Bev and John and the following morning before the trip back to Johannesburg, Glynn provided a opportunity for a short Bushwalk to an elevated lookout he built that offered a nice view of a waterhole and the surrounding mountain ranges.
CAUTION: Glynn (thankfully) checked a fold-up chair for me before I sat in it and shook out a small scorpion. There are insects and bugs that should prompt one to look before sitting, touching, etc.
NOTE: Don't figure exact times for distances unless it is on a major road. Many roads can be slow-going for a variety of reasons. Many roads are modern and major highways allow for easy transit but side roads can be 1-2 lanes, be chock-full of potholes and washouts, and may even be impassable in rainy seasons.
Panzi has 16 beds in different fortified thatched "tent-like" setting with each accommodation separate from the others and reached by wooden walkways.
The camp offers:
Bush walks, game drives, a pool, sundowner drives, bird/frog/insect watching, & pure relaxation in a natural setting.
There is also available:
Microlight safaris, hot air ballooning, white water rafting & tubing (in season), day trips to Kruger National Park (about 45 minutes to Orpen Gate & 90 minutes to Phalaborwa, panoramic route tours of the area, Moholoholo Rehabilition Center, Hoedspruit Cheetah Project and Big 5 game drives.
Panzi is located offroad & east of R40 south of Hoedspruit & northeast of Klaserie and West of the Orpen Gate to Kruger National Park which is on the west-central side in Limpopo Province & Guernsey Conservancy. Their contact info is:
Email: email@example.com Website: www.panzibushcamp.co.za Phone: 082 751 2000
My adventure ended with a long van trip back to O.R. Tambo airport in Johannesburg but highlighted by very scenic views for most of the trip.
South Africa is gearing up in several locations including Durban, Nelspruit, and Johannesburg in preparation for the FIFA 2010 World Cup Soccer champinships so there is construction going on in several areas and new infrastructure should be in place by mid 2010.
The flight back to New York City (via Dakar again for refueling) was only 18 hours this time and South African Airways' new Airbus 340 made the trip fairly enjoyable--- especially since we embarked at night and landed in mid-morning into JFK airport. After a 3 hour layover, the final flight
into Tampa Bay meant an evening at home with 100's of photos, some interesting mementos and lots of great memories of Africa.
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