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Mac

South Africa

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I've just done a few weeks wandering about South Africa. I'm quite an active traveller - I like to get out and do everything, so I'm usually knackered when I get home. Anyways, thought I'd share some stuff.

Firstly, I did a Safari at Sanbuna Wildlife Reserve. It was epic :o Was completely and utterly taken with the place. 

Sanbuna Safari

You can see my non-Safari photos here.

If you're really bored - video is below.

 

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South Africa is an odd place, stunningly beautiful on one hand and a melting point of racial tension on the other.

I've been a couple of times and really enjoyed my time there.  Last time I spent a week in the Kruger National Park but have also spent time in the Addo Elephant Park near Port Elizabeth.

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I watched all of that video and that is unusual.  Very interesting and Table Mountain looks stunning.  The safari lodge you had also looked superb, I liked that a lot.

Robben Island must have been a strange place to visit yet intriguing all the same.

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And you didn't come to say hi! :rolleyes:

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5 hours ago, burble said:

South Africa is an odd place, stunningly beautiful on one hand and a melting point of racial tension on the other.

I've been a couple of times and really enjoyed my time there.  Last time I spent a week in the Kruger National Park but have also spent time in the Addo Elephant Park near Port Elizabeth.

Everyone I met in SA last year was friendly enough although we avoided any dodgy looking places, only stopping at modern looking local shopping centers or service stations on the highway. Lots of crazy people about so I fitted in well.

We hit it quite hardcore, avoiding the Jonny-fat-wallet tours and camps, choosing instead to stay in straw roofed bush camps in Kruger (Satara and Skukuza) getting far as the Limpopo National Park in Mozambique but had to bug out quick due the poachers. Doing two Safaris a day and night rides was quite tiring but we managed to cross off The Big 5 and plenty of others. 

After a week in the Kruger we stayed in a small private convervation park (no a/ac, no hot water) in Hoedspruit which had a wild (but tame) cheetah roaming around the camp along with warthogs which the housekeeper, an elderly woman from the village, would chase and beat with a stick.

Was also lucky enough to help on a few conservation projects such as de-horning a rhinoceros with a chainsaw to prevent it being killed by poachers. That was after it had been darted from a helicopter. 

We drove almost 1000 miles but it was worth it to see everything, plan on going to Cape Town sometime. 

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Cape Town is by some distance my favourite SA city. It's wonderful.

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Sorry, completely forgot I'd posted this - got distracted :o

Cape Town was simply stunning. I was expecting it to be a more difficult place than it was - it reminded me in many ways of Sydney tbh. Beautiful views whichever way you looked, and the people - oh my, so, so polite and friendly!

I expected to be a bit more 'on my guard' than I actually needed to be - a sensible amount as per any other City, but if you read through some of the bullshit on TripAdvisor you'd think you're heading into a warzone. Bonkers.

I went to a comedy night down at the V&A and that was a bit of an eye opener. Lots of jokes that would have had people being arrested here - probably :o Makes you realise how raw some history is I guess. The odd thing I found about some of the jokes - one guy joking about how he does everything on his bed in his hut, everything from eating, proposing to his wife...getting divorced from his wife - was that the black and white audience members were joining in laughing. In the UK such jokes would be far more uncomfortable? Dunno, I did find that a bit odd - but in a very positive way if that makes sense? 

Lots of jokes about Indians too - from both sides? 

Driving out toward Mossel Bay was a bit of an eye opener. In London you do get poverty (and of course elsewhere in the UK....), however it's intermixed with everything else. What I found odd was white middle-class township after white middle-class township with all the poverty around and on the borders. Of course history has a lot to do with that, but it made me look in to stuff (nice, happpy holiday reading!). Blacks earn on average 17% of the annual salaries of whites. Of course it's a far more complex issue, with issues around the cyclical nature of poor education etc. Makes you realise what a mountain they still have to climb on that front. Can't imagine what it must have been like before though?

The Safari was properly :o One thing I didn't appreciate was how cold it would be when the sun went down - winter is winter after all - but nothing that wearing every hoody I owned, and stuffing a hot water bottle up them, didn't fix. Seeing the stuff out in the wild was just awe inspiring. Honestly, really, really taken aback. I've always had a thing for elephants, so to see them out there and not in a pen/cage was quite a moment.

I've completely fallen for the place. The quality of the hotels was simply excellent - with it being winter of course I got to stay in some far higher places than I normally would tbh due to the costs (I'm not really 'in' to hotels), but these were simply brilliant.

I'll certainly be back, certainly to Cape Town.

 

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Robben Island - well, the history is fascinating, and quite moving in some respects. How they've done the tour is a bit rubbish though. Carted around by bus pointing at things through the window, then being walked past Nelson's cell. Dunno, think they could have done it a lot better tbh. 

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17 hours ago, Andy_Bangle said:

Everyone I met in SA last year was friendly enough although we avoided any dodgy looking places, only stopping at modern looking local shopping centers or service stations on the highway. Lots of crazy people about so I fitted in well.

We hit it quite hardcore, avoiding the Jonny-fat-wallet tours and camps, choosing instead to stay in straw roofed bush camps in Kruger (Satara and Skukuza) getting far as the Limpopo National Park in Mozambique but had to bug out quick due the poachers. Doing two Safaris a day and night rides was quite tiring but we managed to cross off The Big 5 and plenty of others. 

After a week in the Kruger we stayed in a small private convervation park (no a/ac, no hot water) in Hoedspruit which had a wild (but tame) cheetah roaming around the camp along with warthogs which the housekeeper, an elderly woman from the village, would chase and beat with a stick.

Was also lucky enough to help on a few conservation projects such as de-horning a rhinoceros with a chainsaw to prevent it being killed by poachers. That was after it had been darted from a helicopter. 

We drove almost 1000 miles but it was worth it to see everything, plan on going to Cape Town sometime. 

I found that the white South Africans were very friendly to us but treated the black South Africans like they were something they'd scraped off the bottom of their shoes.  It made me quite uncomfortable.

We stayed at a few different camps.  I don't remember the order but we stayed at Crocodile Bridge, Lower Sabie, Satara and Orpen.  Damn, I really want to go back.

Cape Town is an amazing place.  When you go try and head up Signal Hill and you'll get a cracking view of the city.

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3 hours ago, Mac said:

The Safari was properly :o One thing I didn't appreciate was how cold it would be when the sun went down - winter is winter after all - but nothing that wearing every hoody I owned, and stuffing a hot water bottle up them, didn't fix.

I found out the hard way too.  The first time I went to SA I went to Addo National Park and went on a night time safari.  I'd ordered a lovely cold can of Hunters Gold (I'm not a cider drinker but I do like that stuff) for the drive and when it arrived I was massively envious of those that had ordered coffee and hot chocolate.

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Great pics - South Africa is amazing - I go there 2-3 times a year. Whenever I get the chance I try to see something new. I am there next week and then to Malawi and Uganda and then the UK (Not been home for 4 years)

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