south africa: travel resources—where, what, why, how

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When putting together my travel plans for South Africa I was unable to find any package that truly covered what I was looking for. They either catered for the passive traveller, or did the usual Cape Town/ Kruger combination and nothing else. A bit of a waste, I felt, since there is much more to South Africa. So I ended up travelling solo through the country, doing all the things I really wanted to do, and pleasantly found it one of the safest and friendliest countries for a woman to travel alone through.

I did some homework and luckily also found great guides whilst travelling. I’ve put together a list of the travel services I used. All of these are still valid. I checked. Happy travelling. 🙂 Continue reading

south africa 10: kruger and the big 5

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Kruger National Park is nearly every South African’s favourite place in the world. It is also part of every tourist’s mandatory itinerary to the country. Covering an area of two million hectares, the game reserve is a realm in itself where wildlife reigns supreme and we humans are the outsiders, satiated with being mere audiences to a world that is complete.

No matter how many times one has been to Kruger, one can just never get enough of it. It is too big. It changes colours and moods with every passing day. Established in 1898 to protect the wildlife of the lowveld in the country, the park contains a mind-boggling number of animal and plant species together with centuries old cultural treasures such as rock paintings and archaeological sites. Continue reading

south africa 9: the ‘panorama’ journey

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Guess you’ve heard the old adage—the journey is as important as the destination. My destination is Kruger. The journey is appropriately the Panorama Route. 🙂

I’ve always wanted to do the Panorama Route. One of those ‘have to do’ things in life. Why, you might well ask? It is scenic, on a majestic scale, cutting through the northern Drakensberg Mountains and Mpumalanga escarpment to abruptly give way to the plains of the lowveld. Continue reading

south africa 8: gauteng, johannesburg, place of gold

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Gauteng, place of gold
Four whole days in Gauteng! I’m a very happy woman. Yes, trust me, there is a lot to see and explore in this concrete jungle that is South Africa’s economic powerhouse. Gauteng actually means ‘place of gold’, a name that is evocative of its history and reason to be. The smallest yet wealthiest province in the country, covering a mere 1.4 percent of its total land area, Gauteng contributes 33.9 percent to South Africa’s GDP and 10 percent to the whole African continent’s GDP. In historical terms its name traces back to the discovery of gold in 1886 in Johannesburg.

I used to live here at one time and enjoyed it fully, that is apart from the traffic which is absolutely crazy! I know, everyone talks about the crime. I have, touchwood, never had a bad experience. And things are even better now with neighbourhood watches, plainclothes police, and security cameras. Here is my take on Gauteng, not as a resident, but as a traveller. 🙂 Continue reading

south africa 7: durban—sun, sea, sand and the indian connection

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Self portrait—Artist: Me; Location: Golden Mile

Day 1: Sun, Sea and Sand and a bit more
Durban is South Africans’ choice domestic holiday destination. It is the most African city in the country. It is also the most Indian city in Africa. Not many foreign tourists come here. Another one of those slips. Continue reading

south africa 6: kwazulu-natal adventure—sani pass, game reserves

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Day 1: The thrill of Sani Pass
Aah, that adrenalin rush! That sense of adventure in exploring unchartered, gruelling terrains and then coming back to tell the tale. For many travelling to South Africa, and to me, it simply means the Sani Pass.

Once a rough mule trail, Sani Pass is now a notoriously dangerous mountain road to Lesotho via the Drakensberg Mountains which can only be traversed by a 4X4. Lying between the border controls of South Africa and Lesotho, the 8 kilometre gravel road through no man’s land starts at 1,968 metres above sea level and ends near the summit at 2,873 metres. The journey is marked with steep ascents, hairpin bends appropriately named “suicide bend” and “big wind corner”, loose gravel, and beautiful views. Some walk this road. For the adventurous, the thrill is in the 4X4 drive. Continue reading