South Africa

South Africa

Travel blog from South Africa

Travel blog from South Africa by Caroline and Rasmus

Rejse blog fra Sydafrika af Caroline og Rasmus

Marataba, Limpopo 10-09-2009

TravlePosted by Rasmus Overgaard Jensen Thu, September 10, 2009 15:53:35

Right we are back, sorry for the wait, there should have been one more from Plettenberg Bay but the internet connection went down and we didn’t fancy re-writing every thing, so here goes. A LOT has happened since last.

On our first day on Plettenberg bay we spend the morning on the beach soaking up the rays and lunching on lovely seafood on the deck of a beach side restaurant. In the afternoon we went sea-kayaking, what a fantastic experience. After a thorough introduction to our sturdy two-man sea-kayak on terra firma we were launched out to sea through the swells. Resulting in minor wettage of especially Caroline who was the proud occupant of the front seat (Read she got a good face full of seawater). We were joined on the high seas by our guide and started out looking for a mother and calf Southern Right Whale we had spotted from shore. They proved elusive but after about 30 min we heard them blow behind us, turning the kayaks as fast as possible (NOT that fast for a bulky two-man paddled by two beginners) we are treated to a close up encounter, they were approx 40m away from us. When we were spotted the mother seemed to start taking a bit too much of an inquisitive attitude and our guide reckoned it was best if we retreated. Paddling slowly away from the huge sea mammal we ran in to a juvenile Cape Fur seal making a right mess of his dinner. He was throwing a squid repeatedly up in to the air in order to get the meat off it. We continued to paddle around for another good hour and a half. As we were heading to shore we were treated to another fantastic display, as another Southern Right whale breached repeatedly a couple of hundred meters away. Getting the kayak back to shore was a question of surfing the largest swell we could find and paddling like mad at the same time…. GOOD fun. After this eventful day we dined on a massive platter of seafood, at the deck of the same little restaurant as we had lunch at. All in all a very good day J

Next day we drove to Knysna to just have a little mooch around and try some of the famed Knysna oysters (only Ras is in to that sort of raw produce). The rest of the day was spent relaxing and packing as the day after we had to move on again.

Yesterday we then got up early in the morning and drove to the airport at George (about 90 mins drive), were booked on the first flight to Joburg on a propeller plane. We landed safely and picked up yet another trusty City Golf for our drive to Marataba. The drive took about 4 hours and was hot (due to lack of air conditioning and a particularly hot day) and was slightly slowed by the amount of pot holes on the road – welcome to Africa! We finally arrived into the reserve, and drove through the gates onto sandy tracks (in our little Golf) and were treated to Zebra and Impala on the road as we made our way to the Lodge. We were welcomed with a cold drink and some cool water to wash our face and hands after the trip. Unfortunately we had just missed the afternoon game drive, so we settled into our tent and Ras had his first outdoor shower overlooking the mountains. As we sat down to a nice cool Gin and Tonic on the deck, the first of the game drives returned, shortly afterwards one of the lodge guys ran up to us and asked if we fancied an impromptu game drive, which we obviously jumped at. We all settled in to a jeep with blankets and a torch, and the ranger drove us to a sight where a pride of lions had recently made a kill of an Kudu and were feasting on it (very nosily). As we approached the male Lion, walked past us and sauntered off down the track, the female lion and two juvenile males continued to tear at the flesh and fight between themselves. We all watched in awe as the rangers trained torches on the scene. After a brief (and noisy) tussle the lions split up and continued their meal in different places, all within 10m of us, in the dark a fairly nerve racking experience! What a welcome to Marataba!

High Tea is currently waiting for us, so more updates later! J

Plettenberg Bay, 07/09-2009

TravlePosted by Rasmus Overgaard Jensen Mon, September 07, 2009 10:40:34

Spent our last day in Cape Town exploring the City Centre sights, we started off in the Castle of Good Hope which sits in the shadow of Table Mountain which dominates the skyline. We generally had a good wander round the city looking at places where Nelson Mandela gave his freedom speech and other sights of historical interest. We stopped for a late lunch at the Birds Cafe and had the biggest banana milkshake and chicken pie and butternut squash quiche (respectively) ever seen! We carried on our walk through the picturesque BoKaap district back to De Waterkant where we were staying.

The next day we drove to Stellenbosch in the pouring rain which luckily cleared up by the time we got there so at least we got to do some exploring. Stellenbosch is a beautiful historic town (the second oldest in South Africa) with lots of lovely oak tree lined streets and old buildings. We ate out in an old farmhouse by the river, recommended to us by the owner of the guest house (Doris, we have found your South African twin!). Dinner was fabulous, Caroline had the Bobotie which is a traditional Cape dish and Ras had a trio of springbok and Kudu obviously accompanied by yet another bottle of lovely red wine. The desert was what stole the show on this occassion though with a Cape Cheese Cake. It arrived looking remarkably like a traditional cheesecake ..... alas the first mouthful was a bit of a shock to the senses as instead of tasing like a sweet cheesecake, it turned out to be an whole cape brie sandwiched between some water biscuits, decorated with chutney and balsamic vinegar, not the chocolate sauce we'd anticipated. Once we were over the initial shock it was very good.

Our second and final day in Stellenbosch was spent on a wine tour, in the company of tour guide and wine expert Lucas. We visited 5 different wine farms (Simonsig, Kanonkop, Glen Cardou, Morgesen & funnily enough the name of the last one escapes us!!!) and tasted (in varying quantities) between 5 and 11 wines in each one, including some Cape Champagne (Cape Classique). Luckily we stopped for lunch at Glen Cardou (Rudolph Heiss' Estate) for some much needed sustenance!!

We left early the next day to head back to Cape Town airport to fly to Port Elizabeth. The drive back was uneventful if not a little delayed due to goats on the motorway, oh well I guess we are in Africa!! We landed in Port Elizabeth with was a warm and refreshing change from the hustle and bustle of Cape Town. Laid back is not the word!! We picked up our new car and drove the 200Km to Tsitsikamma National Park where we stayed at Storms River Camp. We didn't really know what to expect as this is somewhere we had booked on recommendation. It was one of the most fantastic places either of us have ever been. Our first sight as we drove into the park and turned a corner was the sight of huge swells and waves crashing against the shore. Our chalet was 100m from the shoreline and the noise was like thunder and hurricane force winds as the waves pounded the shore, sending plumes of spray high into the air. We arrived just before sunset and spent a happy hour or two wandering the coast line and taking a few thousand photographs!

We were up early on Sunday, partly due to the sound of the waves outside and partly due to excitement! We breakfasted overlooking the ocean watching the sun rise and then headed straight to Storms River Village for our Treetop Canopy Tour. Caroline was a little apprehensive at first about throwing herself off the top of a tree attached to a rope (steel wire) but after the safety lesson and some reassurance and banter from the guide, soon got into the swing of things. What a fantastic way to see virtually untouched protected forest. Ten swings later we were both a bit sad to leave the forest - but you will be pleased to know we have a DVD of our experience so we can share it with you as often as you (we) like!! We travelled back the 10min drive to Storms River and walked a bit more in the National Park. First stop was the Storms River suspension bridge which is reached through a small beach and then a boardwalk through the forest, accomanied by Baboons eating their steals from the restaurant. After a few million steps (well a few anyway) we crossed the suspension bridges and spent a happy half an hour sat on a rock watching the waves crash in to the river mouth before heading back to the restaurant for ice cream and then back to the car.

We headed off to Plettenberg Bay, where we are now and checked into yet another lovely guest house with sea views and weaver birds in the palm tree on the patio. We dined watching the sun go down over the bay eating a pint of prawns and some Klipfish Gougons - Happy Days!

Cape Town, 02.09.09

TravlePosted by Rasmus Overgaard Jensen Wed, September 02, 2009 11:11:01

So far we have been pretty lucky with the weather, Monday we took the cable car up Table Mountain and had a little walk around the top which was beautiful and although it was a bit windy up there the sun was shining and it was nice and warm and the visibility was pretty good so we got to see some amazing views.

We left Table Mountain and drove round the base to Houts Bay where we ate freshly caught calamari and chips out of a box sitting on picnic tables overlooking the beach with about a hundred hungry sea gulls for company. We carried on our drive to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens which are on the slopes of Table Mountain and were beautiful. Lots of interesting walkways and plants to be enjoyed in the warm sunshine.

Yesterday was a little bit cloudy with some rain forecast so we drove down to Boulders Bay to see the colony of african penguins which live there and spent a happy hour watching them waddling around and trying to keep warm in the atlantic breeze. We carried on south down to Cape Point and The Cape of Good Hope. After a shortish walk up to the historic light house we were met with amazing views over False Bay and The Cape of Good Hope, the sun came out and took the edge off the incredibly strong atlantic wind which blusters around the point. Cormorants and other sea birds nest on the cliffs and its incredible to think that they can land anywhere in the gusts of wind never mind on a tiny ledge on the edge of a vertical cliff.

We decided that we couldn't get this far without walking out to the actual point, so we walked along a very blustery path to as far south as you can get on the cape. The path was pretty quiet with only a handful of other walkers, difficult to believe so many people get so close and yet don't feel the urge to go the extra mile! After watching the two swells meet at the end of the cape for awhile, we saw the weather was starting to come in so we made our way back.

Throughout our trip down the cape, we had seen lots of warning signs for baboons in the road, and had looked out for them hopefully without actually expecting to see any. On our way back from the Cape we met with a family troop of baboons sitting in the road, which caused a bit of a traffic jam - Man, they are big!! Had to drive around a few more on our way back as they were just sat on the road drinking water out of puddles, no one said they were bright!

Today is our last day in Cape Town before we head off to Stellenbosch tomorrow to sample a few more wines!

Sunday 29-08-2009 Capetown, SA

TravlePosted by Rasmus Overgaard Jensen Sun, August 30, 2009 19:00:22

We arrived yesterday after a surprisingly comfortable 12 hour flights. Getting our car required a minimum of negotiations and the driving was less stressful than expected until we had no idea of where we were. But after a quick detour we did find our accommodations. Our little house is a very nice two story terraced house with a massive bed and a really nice shower... just what we needed. Exploring was kept to a minimum but a couple of local beers in the sun and a nice dinner with a really nice bottle of South African red was just what we needed.

Today we were graced by lovely sunshine for our trip to Robben Island, where we were shown around by an incredibly entertaining tour guide and former political prisoner on the island.

The rest of the day we spend at the V&A waterfront enjoying the sunshine.

Pictures will maybe appear here one day. Btw Table Mountain is a LOT bigger and higher in real life than it looks on photos, if a description of a place says "is dominated by the view of Table Mountain" they mean it.

Until next time, enjoy! cos we definitely are, C&R.

Day -1 (Sandiacre, UK)

TravlePosted by Rasmus Overgaard Jensen Thu, August 27, 2009 18:06:27

Right this is pretty much just a test. It today Thursday (the first day of my holiday) and I have spend the day packing and finishing off things in preparation for the big travel day tomorrow. As we don’t know how often we will get internet access I will apologies in advance if this blog end up being less than ideal. Any way of we go, catch you all here later.smiley