Visiting South Africa was a time we had been really looking forward to, experiencing this beautiful country, learning about its history and most importantly seeing our children meet their Great Grandparents for the first time (technically feral1 had met Gt Grandad under very harrowing times once as a week old). This was a huge deal for all of us and one of the top memories!
So old hat, 12 hour flight roughly from our Holland high (not literally) to Johannesburg. We arrived late in the evening around 9:30 pm in Jo’burg, it is NOT safe to be hanging around or wandering about this late at night. Luckily Grandad Robert had arranged transport to pick us up and drop us to our B&B where we would be staying for the next 4 days, again another great find from G,Robert. The President Lodge was pure luxury with accommodating hosts and the most comfortable beds we have ever slept in!
On meeting Grandad Robert we were absolutely ecstatic to see him, seeing his and Nanny Nola’s face on Skype doesn’t cut it! We spent a lovely 4 days with them, going out for lunch, visiting a park and seeing them at their beautiful village. This was extremely important to all of us, and we are so pleased that we got to make personal memories for our children with their Great Grandparents! Thanks Grandad Robert and Nanny Nola!!
Next up was our road trip to Pilanesberg National park, approx a 2 and half hour drive from Jo’Burg, easy enough a couple of highways which wouldn’t have been so daunting if we hadn’t already been stopped by police for no reason and told to give them money, but we had done a few days before. So naturally we were a little anxious, luckily nothing like that happened, however the high way was shut and we had to stop, recoup and get a different route. We did this, we found a different route, it was more in the back roads, and it took a little longer as there was also road works on these smaller roads. What did shake us up was the signs as we turned into smaller, longer stretches of nothing the signs that read ‘ High Hijacking Area, Armed robbery ‘ with very subtle looks to each other we double checked the locks on the car doors and drove a little faster! Luckily nothing eventful happened and we arrived at Bakubung Lodge .
Bakubung lodge again it was a place of pure luxury we booked it through a company, who negotiated great rates and managed to wangle a room were we could all stay together, the place was immaculate, the beds were bloody huge and the view was breathtaking! We stayed with accommodation breakfast and dinner, and the game drives per day were included, It was a steal! Our game drives were incredible and we saw so many wild animals, however the first day we arrived we got the best game driver, he was enthusiastic and did what it took to see what we saw, which included Lions, Black Rhino, lots of White Rhino, numerous Hippo, Baboons, Giraffe, Crocodile, Elephant, warthog, several different type of Deer a tiny glimpse of Brown Hyena running into the bush tons of wildebeest and so much more! There is just something so incredible about seeing these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat. In pilanesberg it is perfect to take kids too, not only is it smaller ( the size of singapore) so you have more chance of seeing the big 5 it is also a malaria free zone. So we didn’t have to worry too much.
After our first game drive we also got to attend a traditional Braii in the bush (traditional african BBQ) I wish I could have enjoyed it more as I got a migraine and struggled to enjoy it. Mike and ferals loved every bit of it, from fire to the food to the traditional dancers. This was made so much better also to the fact that just before we arrived in the Game Truck we had to stop with a male elephant in must blocking the road and refusing to move for 5 minutes, when he eventually sauntered off he was so close Feral1 could have easily stuck his hand out and touched him. At the actual lodge in between drives and lots of food we lounged around, went to the site park or swam in the pool (which by the way you can also get food and drinks delivered to you whilst you swam. POSH).
The view from our apartment was into the reserve too, I witnessed an Elephant taking a bath. fully submerged into the water, every morning there was animal activity including a border collier that had managed to wander in, ferals were asked to help as the dog responded to them unfortunately his nose got caught on he fence and he whimpered off ( he was rescued that day when rangers were sent in). Another funny moment was when we were all relaxing and Mike says ‘There’s a Monkey in the room’ to which we turn around to a Vervet Monkey chilling on our chaises lounge, with other monkeys starting to wander in. I would highly recommend this place, with also Sun City being 10 minutes down the road!
Our drive back to Jo’burg was again totally uneventful as we made our way to the airport for our internal flight to cape town. A couple of hours and we were there with Mikes friend Warda picking us up. Cape Town was incredible our apartment had direct views of Table mountain and Lions Head Mountain. This part of our trip was also made so much more enjoyable by being looked after by Warda and her family (guys we appreciate it more than you will know!). First off naturally was a cable car trip up to the top of Table mountain, with incredible view of the Ocean and the hustle and bustle of the city below! After a mooch up there we made our way to the park not far from the water front for the kids to blow off steam and that pretty much made up our first day.
The following day we got up and went straight to the waterfront and booked in for a Robben Island tour! We had a few hours to spend so we walked along the water front again the kids played and enjoyed any entertainment by street performers. Once ready we got on that rocky boat towards Robben Island, feeling a little green we stumbled off 10 minutes later to be awestruck by the art and illustrations on the walls with quotes from Nelson Mandela making us feel humble to be there. This was a great learning experience for the Ferals and they were feeling the atmosphere at this place too. They were virtually silent the whole time. Being led around the prison by an ‘Ex-prisoner’ made the whole thing hit home, every bit of information he told us we felt, with his sense of humor came this overwhelming respect for a man to stand there and everyday have to walk those cells again but with a smile on his face and enthusiasm for everything they fought for! There was so much injustice and I think all I can say on the matter is that the fight isn’t over, times now are hard for anyone who is not white! STILL! Its absurd!(but that subject is for another time/blog)
What I found interesting about Robben Island was before the prison was built it was where Lepers were taken to live, there was a very somber moment of leaaving the cells to dive straight past the Leper grave yard! SO much history. We have plenty of home ed topics!
The rest of our trip in Cape Town was beautiful, we attended Warda’s sons football match the fast pace and skill was incredible, after that victory we went to a street food type market and had the most delicious tastes of everything! The following day we were invited to Warda’s family home for a Braii and laughs, we stuffed our faces and laughed at Mikes bad Canadian and Afrikaans attempts and left late with awesome memories!