Incredible Africa. It’s taken a while but here is our African Adventure and it’s going to be a HUGE post! If you are interested in Cape Town, you can find the post for it here-Cape Town
After Cape Town we jumped on the Intercape bus to Knysna which is where we spent the following month and a bit. What a beautiful part of the world. Our workaway was at a magical place called Peace of Eden, a vegan eco lodge nestled amongst the forest Peace of Eden. So gorgeous, they have plenty of cottages and these incredible forest tents dotted along the forest edge which are very spacious and are kitted out with proper beds and such! Each has a balcony facing into the forest which is so blissful to sit and watch all the life around you. A huge thanks to all the Peace family for making us feel so welcome and for taking care of us! We had a great time with you all 🙂 Big thanks to Howard for showing us around the area and to some wicked spots that I could never find again haha! Also a huge thanks to Jen & Jess for making Veganism so delicious and fun! Really hope the next time we make it over your restaurant will be up and running and churning out the goods!
We did 2 ‘long weekends’ (lets face it, everyday is the weekend for us!) away, one to Addo Elephant National Park and another to Natures Valley, nearby to the biggest commercial bridge bungee in the world. Yikes. Addo Elephant Park is run by SANParks (South African National Parks) and is EPIC. I’m not sure if it’s because we spent 3 days in there or if it’s because it was our first encounter with the African animals but it was our favourite park! It’s a self-drive game park (of course you can do guided drives too) and we hired this tiny little car haha! We did a night game drive when we arrived which was cool. The game drive was from 7 until 8pm and we saw 2 lion, a lone juvenile elephant and a few other critters. If you are planning to do a night game drive wait until after 5.30pm to drive in, that way you won’t have to pay the park entrance fees as the park gates close at 6.30pm.
Addo Elephant Park
If you are lucky enough to find yourself here you absolutely must try and stay in Spekboom (thanks for the heads up Jen!), it’s a camp site right inside the reserve comprising of 5 tents (huge tents, wooden floors and decks out front, own braai area and secluded from the other 4 tents thanks to all the bush, shared bathrooms but with only 5 tents it’s not an issue at all! You are surrounded by an electric fence roughly 2.5m high to keep the wild animals and you separate :O What incredible sounds you hear through the night! There is also a watering hole right next to it, SO many elephants! If you do get into Spekboom, ask for tent 5 as it is right on the edge of the fence and closest to the animals! We got it by chance! The other awesome thing is you are already inside the gates so as soon as 5.30/6am comes around (there is no one monitoring it so you could be a rule breaker and get out earlier :O) you are already at the major watering hole to see the first elephants coming down and can go in search of the other wildlife before you see any other cars.
Dung beetles have right of way on the roads here, we had to stop a few times while they rolled their dung balls across 😛 We saw countless animals, tortoise, lizards, a plethora of birds, countless elephants, jackals, caracals and lions to name a few! We had the most epic elephant experience, they gather at this huge watering hole- Hapoor Dam, so we arrived and ate our lunch while watching hundreds of elephants, we then decide to drive down the road next to the dam where it seemed all the elephants were coming from. Next thing about 3 separate herds of elephant walk within 50cm of the car! We could’ve reached out and touched them! SO SO SO mental, a little freaky but jaw droppingly incredible. Then by chance we had parked opposite this tiny mud puddle which all the elephants decided to stop and have a quick drink and re-apply their all natural sunscreen, mud was being sprayed everywhere! SO cool, all the little babies would get in the mud to cool off and then find themselves stuck and the mummas would help pull them out. Such beautiful creatures. We sat there for about 2hours! Pure magic looking into their amber eyes. They aren’t fazed at all by the cars here which is awesome.
So after our day with the Elephants we decided that the following morning we’d go in search of lions. We saw the ribcage of some creature who was taken down by lions that night, the jackals were eating the scraps and then as we were driving along and another car drove past and asked if we saw the lion? Nope? Apparently it walked right behind our car!! We quickly turned around and went back to the area and there he was laying down across the road, with a fulllll belly and panting. Talk about food coma. He was happy just chillin there so we sat and watched. So scarred up but they seem so tame and friendly, just wanted to give him a pat haha.
The second long weekend away was to Natures Valley/Storms River Mouth (another SANPark) which is a beautiful area too! Dan did the bungee off Bloukrans bridge and I was more than happy to not 😀 216m. It’s mental. We did a few hikes in the area too which was nice and soaked up the sunshine on the beach. Back to the Indian Ocean, yay seeya icy Atlantic. On the way back home we stopped through Plettenburg Bay which is a happening place and kicked back on the beach for the afternoon!
After Knysna we spent a week in Jeffreys Bay (Thanks again Howard for driving us!). 2 days before Christmas so it was pretty busy and you really need to book your accommodation earlier than mid December! We stayed at Beach Music, right out front Supertubes which was amazinggg! You also have to visit Love Food Café, soooo good. Then we flew to Zimbabwe via Johannesburg to ditch the surfboards 😀
We flew into Victoria Falls on NYE and had no plans but to chill by the pool (it’s ridiculously expensive here, they use the US dollar which hurts enough but then everything is FAR more expensive on top of that) then we met about 14 crazy Namibians poolside who had spare tickets to Carnival, the 3 day festival over New Years so one thing leads to another and yea Happy New Year! And what a year 2015 was. Here’s to a million more adventures in the years to come 🙂
As I said, everything is mega pricey here, any activity on the falls is over 100 USD per person so we decided to choose 1 thing…Devils Pool. Woahhhhhhhh. If you plan on doing it, when you land in Zimbabwe make sure you buy a multiple entry visa as it’s in Zambia, it’s a saving of $10USD but hey that’s almost lunch. You cross the bridge over to Zambia ($20 USD for a day visa) and from there you sign your life away and off you go. There are SO many baboons around, while we were waiting for the paperwork to be done Dan was about to get the camera out and I went to tap him to hurry him along because this huge male was coming really close, next thing the baboon walks right up to me and tries to snatch my bag out of my hands. So bloody strong but I wasn’t letting go and he split it in two before another guy kicked him and he backed off while baring his teeth! Yikes. After that we walked along the Zambezi, the water was low as the rain hadn’t arrived yet so you could walk to the pool, up to your knees in places but all good. Roughly 30mins of walking (when it’s in full flow you get a boat) getting hot and sticky then you arrive, leave your bags jump into the main part of the falls, which is refreshingly cool. You swim up and across so the current doesn’t wash you over the edge (there is a rope should you get pulled toward the edge) then you climb onto the rocks and take turns swimming in the pool. The guide walks right along the edge, I was SO nervous for him, 1 wrong step and he’d be gone. Apparently it’s 3m deep and there is a rock ledge which is where you sit. It’s surprisingly calm considering the water thundering through right next to you, there is a current pulling you but it’s not that strong. Then you take turns holding each others legs as you peer over the edge haha! It didn’t seem that nuts, probably because you can’t really see the bottom due to all the mist and such…and then you see it from inside the park on the Zimbabwe side…. Bloody mental.
Our overland tour started here, if you’re interested this is the tour we did Africa Tour. It was 11 days and we had a realllly cool crew. I think it was the perfect length for us, it’s quite fast paced to fit everything in and as you cover so much ground there is a lot of driving which is the opposite of our usual slow travel but we had a great time. They often have 2 for 1 deals, so if this is something you’re wanting to do then keep your eyes peeled because 2 for 1 makes it incredibly good value. We booked the month before and got the last 2 spots on the trip! (Thanks again Jen for finding it!). From Vic Falls we drove into Botswana to Kasane and visited Chobe game reserve followed by a Chobe river/game cruise. Epic. Slept right near the river and heard a few hippo through the night.
Next stop Maun, driving through Botswana is like driving through a national park, elephants, buffalo, giraffes in the bush surrounding the highway! Upon arriving we did a scenic fight over the Okavango Delta, the largest inland delta in the world. We were roughly 100m up so you could still spot the wildlife which was really cool. It was pretty dry though, would be so incredible seeing it in flood! The next morning we set off to the Mokoro station where we met our guides and ventured in.
A mokoro is a dug out canoe and the poler balances and glides you through the water…until you start hitting the sand because all the water is drying up! Even the guides had never seen it so low in their whole entire lives (the youngest was around 28). It’s meant to be an hour trip in the Mokoro butttttt mother nature had other plans, there was no more water left to keep going so we unloaded our gear into the bush nearby and set up camp. It’s hot enough in this part of the world but add a heat wave to the mix and wowzer! Our guides told us of a ‘swimming hole’ nearby that we could cool off in so we went for a walk in search of some relief from the sweltering heat and arrived at this swamp haha. Reeds on either side and massive foot prints from elephants who must use the area! Not the most inviting swimming hole but I can almost guarantee if you were there in the blistering heat you would’ve been straight in!
As the evening arrived we prepared for our evening game walk. We were told to not wear white or bright colours which basically goes against every clothing option in our backpack haha! Purple pants and a black shirt for Dan and bright blue pants with a purple shirt for me, sweet camouflage haha. We started out but all the game were still seeking shelter from the heat so we didn’t see too much, a few elephants in the distance and zebra but you know I’m totally fine with that, the guides don’t carry guns or anything, just their knowledge of the area! They are so in tune with the Earth, it was incredibly inspiring hearing them talk of each little bush or tree that has some medicinal use for the people. Knowledge passed down through the generations. How refreshing. We watched the sunset and a huge bush fire in the distance and finally a bit of relief from the heat. The camp fire was going but that doesn’t go out, even during the day, it keeps the wild life away and you safe! That night we heard the low grumbling of elephant, I said my goodbyes incase we were trampled in the night but I guess that’s expected when you pitch your tent over dried elephant dung!! You’d be surprised how much the deep grumble of an elephant sounds like a lion.
Up at 5.30am for our morning game walk, which was of course bloody hot, basically stayed away from shade and trees, I guess it was for our own safety so we couldn’t surprise any animals which could easily kill us? Saw some elephant, zebras, wildebeest and impalas, they kinda just stare at you in the same way we stared at them haha. Back to the swimming hole during the day and that night we had a very cool show courtesy of our guides, singing and dancing around the fire. Love how into it everyone gets! That was probably the highlight for us! Everyone was keen to leave early the next day, packed all the gear into the mokoros only to discover the water was even lower….so we walked back!!! Fish dying on the banks as the water was gone. Hoping it has been raining constantly since we left, sure needed it!!! Definitely have to go visit again, at a different time of year, post rainy season. After we got back our guide Richard asked if we wanted to see his house in the village! So cool walking through with him, stealing the cutest little babies for cuddles and checking out his home. Simple livin’
Kruger National Park
From Botswana over the course of a few days we drove back into South Africa to Kruger National Park. We drove the panoramic route which was beautiful. We stayed in the southern part of Kruger which is apparently where all the Lions are and more Rhino as it’s not so close to the Mozambique border and dodgy poachers. Well we didn’t see any lion (only 1 in the distance) but we saw a buttload of Rhinoceros. Im talking about 20 including 3 little babies! My gosh we were lucky. They are actually really easy to track thanks to the ‘toilets’ they make and use repeatedly! Silly buggers. A Rhino running is one of the funniest things you’ll see, tiny little legs and a huge belly, we saw a male chasing after a female and her baby. Baby come backkkkkkkk. We did an evening game drive and had sunset drinks Amarula (the stuff animals get ‘drunk’ on) which was niceeee, and then a whole day game drive the following day. Didn’t spot the elusive leopard unfortunately but you’ve got to have something to lure you back to Africa right?! Back to Johannesburg to say our farewells and then off we went to Sri Lanka. Thanks to all those who made it such a fun time 🙂 Hope we can reconnect in another country another time!!
We absolutely LOVED Africa, to be honest I had no real desire to go but Dan really wanted to…So glad we did I frickin LOVE that continent. Can’t wait to go back and do the Eastern countries!!!