Blogs from South Africa, Africa


Africa » South Africa » Western Cape » Cape Town » KIrstenbosch April 15th 2023

After returning to the ship we have a day in Cape Town and plan to go to the botanical gardens at Kirstenbosch. We visited them several years ago but on one of those tours where you have 45 minutes here, a photo opportunity there and feel there was so much you didn’t see. We promised ourselves if we ever had the chance we would return and today is the day. We stop a taxi and he quotes a price. Ian never thinks of haggling and just agrees. The price (while cheaper than a Cunard excursion by some margin) is still much more than we expected. We are driven to the gardens and it is agreed the driver will pick us up later in the day. Ian offers to pay half the fare but the driver waves ... read more

Africa » South Africa » Eastern Cape » Port Elizabeth April 8th 2023

After Durban we have two sea days until we get to Port Elizabeth. The night before we are invited to the Captains Cocktail party. This occurs every three to four weeks. Normally the Captain talks to us about our voyage and tells a couple of marine themed jokes. This time he tells us that there is a special guest on board and introduced Sir Bob Geldof. We are very surprised and Bob Geldof talks about his father who worked on the original Queen Mary. He is going to give a talk before departing at Cape Town. We will miss that because we leave the ship at Port Elizabeth to do a three day safari. We leave the ship and Port Elizabeth and a mini bus is waiting outside for us and one other person. So we ... read more

Africa » South Africa » KwaZulu-Natal » Durban » Morningside April 6th 2023

The journey from Reunion to Durban, South Africa is a three day sail. The sea day routine reestablishes itself. Lectures, art classes, meals and evening entertainment. Perhaps the best evening (and it is a close call) is provided by The Four Harps, a group of four Irish male singers (although one seems to come from England for all his ginger beard and green jacket, he even describes himself as a “plastic paddy”). They have the audience joining in several rousing singalongs, Wild Rover etc. But it is not all endless pleasure, oh no. We experience real hardship as comes inevitably to all seafarers. I am sitting in the lounge reserved for World Cruise travellers when a woman comes in and looks upset. “There’s no ice cream in the machines”, she wails. It appears the ship has ... read more

Africa » South Africa February 23rd 2023

I chose the South Africa and Eswatini trip (offered by Explore) to satisfy my longing to go on safari again. My last safari was in mid-2018 (in Angola and Namibia), so I was overdue. The flight from Dubai to Johannesburg was uneventful, flying with Emirates in one of their A380-800 jets, which was a treat. The 8.5 hour flight was during the day but most people slept, which I found odd. I suppose that many passengers may have connected through Dubai from elsewhere. We landed in the late afternoon, immigration was easy but took a long time as we were behind a plane from Nairobi that had landed just before we did. I arrived a day before the start of the trip, so stayed over at a small hotel near the airport. No jetlag as the ... read more
20230223 African Stained Glass
20230223 Drive to Sungubala Drakensberg Mtns
20230223 Sungubala Eco Camp

Africa » South Africa » KwaZulu-Natal February 8th 2023

Turtles have a tough start in life. First, they must break-out of their soft egg and then start digging - turtle eggs are buried deep in soft sand, as much as a metre down. Once the baby turtle makes it to the surface, it must use its flippers to move down the beach and into the sea, up to 100 metres away and only the moonlight reflecting on the waves to guide it. And, on the way, waiting predatory crabs must be avoided, baby turtles are their favourite snack. We're on Sodwana beach and the first of the baby turtles have already made it into the sea, leaving tiny flipper tracks across the sand. Dotted about on the sand are the less sucessful ones, exhausted or disorientated or both and about to become crab fodder. Not ... read more
Rescuing leatherbacks
Our cabin in the mountains
One of many waterfalls

Africa » South Africa » Western Cape » False Bay November 29th 2022

After one last breakfast in Cape Town, we checked out of the hotel and waited for Ben to pick us up for a quick drive in the morning before heading to the airport for the long flight home. Ben took us for a drive around False Bay to the town of Stand and Gordon's Bay. Driving high above the bay, we had a beautiful view of False Bay the the surrounding area. We headed back down to town we passed the church where Ben and his wife, Elna were married and the many white sandy beaches. Once in town we stopped for one last coffee with Ben before heading to the airport. As we drove back to the airport we passed South Africa's movie studio with a variety backlot sets. At the airport we said our ... read more
 Looking Down on Gordon Bay
 False Bay
 Sandy Beaches and Aqua Waters

Africa » South Africa » Western Cape » Stellenbosch November 28th 2022

I discovered too late as I am writing this, I should have been recording our knowledgeable guide, Ben. As I look back on our trip I struggle to remember all the names and places, but here goes. We started the day by stopping at one of several "picture frames" in Cape Town that provide a scenic view inside. This one frames Table Mountain, our first planned stop of the day. From there we traveled with hundreds of others to the cable car station to ride to the top of Table Mountain. The wind that prevailed the past two days, stopped the cable cars and now everyone was making up for lost time. Fortunately for us, Ben was able to secure tickets quickly and gain quick access to the cable car. I am not sure how he ... read more
The Rotating Cable Car
 Lion Head Mountain
 The Lion from Table Mountain

Africa » South Africa » Western Cape » Cape of Good Hope November 27th 2022

After breakfast, we set out with Ben to drive the Cape Peninsula. We first drove along the Chapman Peak Road which winds along the mountains edge and was subject to rock slides and wash out, so with much engineering the road is usually in passable conditions. The weather was sunny, but the wind was howling making taking photos a challenge. We drove by coastal towns and bays along the way. Hout Bay gave us sights of the harbor the mountains of the Table Mountain Range. Finally reaching Chapman's Peak the views were nice giving us a look south toward Cape Point and the Kommetjie Lighthouse. With the strong wind we passed many wind surfers along the way taking advantage of the conditions. We stopped at a "shop" along the way where many beautiful works of art ... read more
 The Other Side of Hout Bay
 Looking Back on Hout Bay
 Hout Bay and the Chapman Peak Road

Africa » South Africa » Western Cape » Cape Town November 26th 2022

After breakfast at the hotel, we made sure our suitcases were securely packed and walked from the hotel to our gate for our flight to Cape Town. Security at Johannesburg was quick with fewer requirements than ours in the U.S. We made the approximately 2 hour flight with no hitches and Ben, our guide, was waiting for us at the airport. Having lost the morning for seeing the city, we started on our adventure straight from the airport. Our first stop was the oldest building in Cape Town, the Castle of Good Hope. This fortress was built in the 17th Century by the Dutch East India Company to replenish supplies of the Dutch ships. It is built in the shape of a 5 pointed star similar to forts in the U.S. When built the castle was ... read more
 By the Entrance to the Castle of Good Hope
 Castle of Good Hope
 Cape Town City Hall

Africa » South Africa » Gauteng » Johannesburg November 25th 2022

This morning we packed our bags and headed to the main lodge for breakfast and to settle our final bill. We hated to leave this beautiful place but we had more time coming in South Africa as we were flying to Cape Town to spend the next three days touring the West Cape area. We said "Goodbye" to Andre, the owner of Hippo Lakes, Shaun, our ranger and guide, and the many staff who made our stay pleasant, from the housekeepers to the chef to the bartender who keep us in coffee. We climbed aboard our van for the three hour drive to Johannesburg and arriving said "Goodbye" to our fellow travelers and headed in to get to our next flight. At this point the fun ends as we are told that the airline we are ... read more
Our Tent Key - Rhino 3
Looking across the lake from the lodge toward out tent.

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