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From Cape Town to Johannesburg (and a tiny bit beyond)


duenelle
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Hi,

This is my first trip report here (and one of my first posts!). I’m mostly a reader/lurker and not a talker/commenter, but I have enjoyed all your many fantastic trip reports and thought I would try to write my own.

This trip was a bit low on the actual Safari part, but I’ll try to focus the report on the parks we visited.

 

In September 2015, two of my cousins (M and C) and I went on a family trip to South Africa. We’d all been in South Africa before, but M was 3 and C was 14 the last time they visited. So we were really excited to come back.

When planning the trip there were a couple of things we had to take in account: We wanted to visit Cape Town, we wanted to go on a self-drive Safari (with our normal rental car) and we had to make sure we’d visit our aunt who lives near Johannesburg. And it had to be pretty cheap as we all three bought an apartment in the months after buying the air plane tickets…

In the end the trip looked like this:

 

6 September: Fly from Brussels to Cape Town

7 – 9 September: Cape Town, Cape Point, Boulders, Robbeneiland, Table Mountain and Hermanus (Stay in Somerset West)

10 – 11 September: Stellenbosch, Cape Aghulas, Swellendam, De Hoop, Marloth Nature Reserve (Stay in Swellendam)

12 September: Oudtshoorn

13 September Knysna

14-15 September: Addo Elephant National Park

16 September: Fly from Port Elisabeth to Johannesburg

17 September: Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens

18-19 September: Pilanesberg

20 September: back to Johannesburg

21 September: Fly back to Brussels

 

We only had point-and-shoot cameras, so the pictures are not on the level as most photographs on here, but I like to think they are still ok. Photos are from C, M and me.

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Hi@@duenelle thanks for starting your TR. First picture looks great and you are all clearly focused on what you are seeing with the binos. More to come later I have no doubt. :)

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Hi Duenelle,

 

looking forward to your report. Especially interested in De Hoop since we are going there in two months.

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Cape Town and surroundings (not much Safari!)

 

When we arrived in Cape Town in the morning, we felt right at home. The Belgian weather of rain and cold seemed to have followed us!

After a bit of panicking and trial and error on the parking lot, we managed to get a grip on the ‘driving on the left side of the road’ and set off to the Cape Peninsula. We tried stopping at the penguins at Boulders first, but the rain was pouring down so hard we didn’t want to get out of the car. We drove on to Cape Point where we had lunch first. Luckily, after that the weather started to clear up a bit. We visited Cape of Good Hope, saw seals, some baboons and ostriches and then drove back to Boulders. After visiting the penguins, we drove on to Somerset West to the Guest House where we were going to stay for the next few nights.

 

Cape Peninsula

 

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Boulders

 

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The next day we first visited Robbeneiland. We were a bit worried we wouldn’t be able to go on the Table Mountain because the weather predictions had not been good, but we were in luck, because the day was sunny and not many clouds in the sky! So after lunch we sprinted to Table Mountain to make sure we could go up. After a lovely walk enjoying the beautiful views we went back down again. We did a short stop at Bo Kaap and then left Cape Town to go back to Somerset West.

 

Table Mountain

 

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Sunset in Strand

 

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The next day we drove off to visit Hermanus and go whale watching. There was only one whale, but it didn’t matter, because we could sit in the sun and enjoy the view. In the afternoon we went to taste some wine at the Creation Winery near Hermanus and then took the scenic costal route back to Somerset West.

 

Hermanus

 

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Coastal route

 

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@@duenelle

Well done for starting your first trip report. The first part of your trip (up to Port Elizabeth) is similar to a trip we would like to do, so I will be following with great interest (in wildlife and non-wildlife bits!). Your photos are very good -clear and nicely framed. The penguins look very cute and the shots of the landscapes are great.

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Your photos from Boulders takes me back to my visit in 2008. And that's a cracking sunset shot. Thanks for starting this report. Matt.

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Hello @@duenelle you have visited some very interesting places! Looking forward to reading about them!

Edited by Towlersonsafari
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Hello @@duenelle - Cape Town is one of our all time favorite cities and we have driven the Garden Route twice with stays in Knysna and PE among other places. Addo is a special place for us as it was the place that reminded us how much we loved Africa and her wild places after a long long gap between trips there and I am looking forward to the rest of your trip report. The photos you have posted already are nearly identical to some I have from previous trips and it will be good to see what you have for Knysna, Addo and PE.

 

Good job so far and keep it coming please.

 

kind regards

 

deano.

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@@duenelle

 

Welcome to the "other side of the forum"! As some of the places you have visited are also on our "to-do" list, we will be following your report closely. Please do not spare with either details or photos!

They all are adding that extra quality to each TR.

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wonderful warm first pic! that made me laughed and captured my attention immediately.

 

those penguins are cute and that poor ostrich is looking drenched and miserable. hope i get to see them....

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Thank you all for the nice comments! I already knew you were nice of course, but it's still scary to start your first trip report!

 

On to part 2.

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Swellendam and surrounding

 

After a rainy visit (we even had to buy umbrella’s) to the village museum and Oom Samie se Winkel in Stellenbosch, we drove on to Cape Agulhas. Luckily the weather was better here. And although the view might not be the most beautiful or most spectacular ever seen, it did give us a weird, but special feeling, knowing we were standing on the most southern part of the continent. Afterwards we drove on to Swellendam.

 

Cape Agulhas

 

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Next day we had a visit to De Hoop Nature Reserve planned. The road to the park was an adventure in itself. We were warned that it would be all dirt roads, but off course we just rolled our eyes at this and didn't really listen. In dry weather it might not have been too bad, but with all the rain the previous days, the roads were one mud pool. Luckily we didn't get stuck, but our white Toyota Corolla wasn't so white any more when we arrived.

 

On the road we saw blue cranes and zebra. In the park we first drove to Die Mond. We saw our first bontebok, eland and flamingo’s and of course ostriches. The landscape was nice, with the occasional burned bushes and flooded plains, but in the distance you could see the white dunes in the sun. Well, when the sun was out, you could... Then we drove on to Koppie Alleen, where we made a short but beautiful walk along the beach. It was nice and quiet walking from one beach to another as there were no other people. And we were lucky, because we saw some whales as well, although they were far away. Then we got back into the car and drove to the restaurant, spotting some more animals on the way. After a late lunch we drove back to Swellendam, now using an easier road.

 

De Hoop

 

zebra, just before entering the park

 

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eland

 

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beetle

 

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Flamingo's near Die Mond

 

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Male Ostrich

 

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Beach walk near Koppie Alleen

 

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eland

 

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Bontebok

 

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Baboons

 

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The muddy car

 

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View from the Restaurant

 

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View on the white dunes

 

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Isn't that bontebok a curious creature! I love it. TOP on my list there.

 

The sceneries are beautiful especially the last pix.

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I'm so glad you've gone from lurking to trip reporting. I certainly know the trepidation one feels before starting an initial trip report, but you are doing a great job.

 

I've been to South Africa twice, but not to either DeHoop or Addo, so I'm very much looking forward to your thoughts and experiences there -- and elsewhere for that matter.

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Welcome @@duenelle, and thanks for your beautiful trip report!

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@duenelle Welcome to Safari talk and you have a great start to your trip report. What a beautiful animal the bontebok is! That is a new animal for me.

 

We went to Boulders beach a couple of years ago. It is good to see the penguins again.

 

Looking forward to more.

 

Terry

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@@duenelle welcome to transitioning from lurkerdom to writerdom (I know these are not real words!) I am enjoying your report very much. My first trip to Africa was to South Africa, and we spent four days in Cape Town and environs after our safari in other parts of the country. It is good to relive some of the same places we went through your report. Those penguins are just adorable - we loved seeing them when we were there! The bontebok is an animal I did not see and in fact had not heard of until now - very cool-looking!

Edited by SafariChick
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Welcome to the forum - enjoying your report! Beautiful photos (and scenery) so far.

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Swellendam, Oudtshoorn & Knysna

 

In the morning we go for a walk in the Marloth Nature Reserve, just outside Swellendam. We start with a walk to the waterfall in Duiwelsbos, but have to turn back halfway through because of a fallen tree blocking the path. So we start on a round walk in the Koloniebos. It’s a nice, short walk, but a bit over halfway through we have to climb over some rocks to cross a river. And then C slips and half falls in the water and hurts her back and knee. After a bit of struggling we get everybody across the water and can start on the easier path down. When we’re back at the car, C quickly changes and we pick-nick with some leftover pizza before driving on to Oudtshoorn. We stop on the way for a car wash so we have a clean car again. We take the afternoon off and just relax in the sun.

 

Marloth Nature Reserve

 

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View between the two walks

 

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Can't say we weren't warned about slippery paths...

 

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Next day M wants to visit an ostrich farm, and the owner of the guest house suggest Highgate. We have a bit of trouble finding it, even with help from the GPS, so we miss the start of the tour. We’re allowed to hold the little ones, feed the big ones, stand on the eggs and sit on the birds (we pass on that one). After a coffee in the sun, we drive on to Knysna.

 

Highgate Ostrich Farm

 

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We stay at a B&B with a nice view over the laguna. In the afternoon we visit the East Head café for a piece of chocolate cake with a wonderful view.

 

Knysna

 

A Room with a View

 

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East Head

 

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Interesting close-up photos of the ostriches. Neat to see!

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Addo Elephant National Park

 

We leave early after breakfast to drive to Addo National Park, where we arrive around midday. We have a sunset tour booked, but we still have enough time for a first drive around the park.

Unfortunately, I didn’t write much down in my diary on what animals we saw where, so I have to go on the pictures we took for the report.

 

We did the Woodlands and Gorah Loop and saw lots of kudu, zebra, tortoises and warthog, but also secretary bird, elephants, mongoose, hartebeest, goshawk and buffalo. We had to make sure we were back by half past three to pay for the evening drive, which left at four.

 

double-collared sunbird

 

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secretary bird

 

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kudu

 

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mongoose

 

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elephant

 

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warthog

 

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hartebeest

 

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zebra

 

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elephant

 

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tortoise

 

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goshawk

 

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This is a very interesting report, thanks for posting! I've never heard of a bontebok...beautiful antelope. Also, does anyone know if the zebras in post 12 mountain zebra?

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I really like that last post. Something about the photos really emphasizes the size of the animals.

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Thanks again for all the nice comments!

 

Sunset drive Addo Elephant National Park

 

Our guide for the evening drive is CK. The first sighting is a kudu, but he’s mainly hiding in the thorny bushes, so we don’t stay long.

 

CK, our guide

 

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CK drives off the main road pretty soon and he's clearly on a mission. After a couple of minutes we find out why. There are two lions lying in the afternoon sun. They seem to have been here all day. Melvin and Gibson do what lions do best: sleeping. We stay for a bit, but it’s clear that they won’t be up for quite a while.

 

Melvin and Gibson

 

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We drive on to see a beautiful elephant and goshawk, before we stop for a sundowner with a view on some elephants in the distance. I start talking to CK about the leopards in Addo, but it turns out the chance of seeing them will be slim. He’s been working in Addo for more than five years and has never seen one… But we don’t give up hope.

 

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Watching the sunset with elephants close by

 

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On the way back we see zebra, a jackal and a large family of elephants with some babies, but the light is going fast and our camera's are struggling to take decent pictures.

 

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All in all not that many animals on the drive, but the lions make up for it.

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An early morning today as we have a morning drive booked at six. The drive itself is pretty uneventful. We see a hyena and jackal, a group of buffalo and hartebeest, but that’s pretty much it.

 

It's still a bit too dark to take decent pictures of the hyena and jackal.

 

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Looking at the buffalos, a Dutch couple sitting behind us had the misfortune of sitting near other Dutch speaking people like us. The girl was looking through her binoculars and started getting excited. She said to her boyfriend (in Dutch) ‘it’s a lion! ... Or a rhino! ... It’s definitely a lion or a rhino!’ I wanted to check where she was watching, because a lion that looks like a rhino or a rhino that looks like a lion, that has to be something special! It turns out she was looking at a warthog… She was a bit embarrassed after that. I’m still confused how she could not tell the difference between the 3 animals…

 

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Is it a lion? Is it a rhino? No, it's a warthog!

 

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hartebeest

 

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welcome committee when arriving back at the chalet

 

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