lionsWhat was supposed to have been a major family vacation has indeed been one. Not only informative and action-packed but also inspirational and family-oriented, that’s how we – that is my parents, Jason and me – have spent the last two weeks traveling and soaking in all these new vibes. One thing we all agree upon: South Africa is a modern country with loads to offer!

Instead of giving you the run-down of what we did each day, I’d like to spice it up a little and present you my photos (come on, as if you didn’t know there were going to be photos) thematically rather than chronologically. You can’t escape an introduction though of how we chose South Africa as our destination…

How it all came to be…
A year and a half ago, my dad found out that he had a cousin in South Africa. Now, me being the ‘gypsy child’ of the family, of course I urged my dad into finding out more about that relative of his, and after establishing contact, it was decided to meet up and put a face to a name. This very much agreed with my ambitions to follow the recommendations of my South African friends and colleagues to visit their country.

It was layed out to be a close-to-two-weeks-trip in total with six days in Vereeniging near Johannesburg with the relatives, and six more days in Stellenbosch near Cape Town. We found this to be a good way to pack most of what South Africa has to offer into the short time span we had.

south-africa-map

Our itinerary
We were exceptionally cordially welcomed by Brigitte and Wolfgang and taken under their wings. They have prepared a fine-tuned program to acquaint us with their country. Thanks to their great hospitality, we’ve stayed with them in Vereeniging, situated about 75km south of Johannesburg, and from there they have taken us to those ‘must-see places’ in order to adequately experience South Africa. Amongst them:

  • Pretoria (Voortrekker Monument, Kruger House, Union Building, Jacaranda trees in full bloom)
  • Johannesburg (Sandton, Hillbrow, Carlton Centre, Soccer City)
  • Soweto with Nelson Mandela House and lunch at Wandie’s
  • Cradle of Humankind: Maropeng Museum and Sterkfontain caves
  • Lion Park with lion cubs and various game, zebras, ostriches etc.
  • Sun City and Lost City (“Palace” hotel)
  • Pilanesberg National Park and a night at the Bakgatla Resort (guided game drive, self-drive safari)

The second part of our vacation was dedicated to exploring the Cape Town area. We had pre-arranged our accommodation at the Kleinbosch Lodge in Stellenbosch in the Winelands, and went on daytrips in our spacious Mazda 5 wagon rental car. Amongst the places we visited were:

  • Cape Peninsula (African Penguins, Cape of Good Hope, Hout Bay)
  • Cape Town (V&A Waterfront, Hop-On-Hop-Off-Tour, Signal Hill, Table Mountain, Botanical Garden at Kirstenbosch)
  • Hermanus (best land-based whale-watching)
  • Four Passes (Fruit Route between Hermanus, Elgin, Franschhoek and Stellenbosch)
  • Stellenbosch‘s Cape Dutch city center
  • Paarl Mountain (hiking up to the Bretagneklip peak)

Prior to returning home to Germany, we’ve used the stop-over in London for a hop-on-hop-off sightseeing tour which took us to all the major places. Although we didn’t ‘hop off’ due to time constraints, we’ve enjoyed the tour. Stopped by Buckingham Palace to have a cup of tea with the Queen but she was busy…

To sum it up: A fantastic vacation which has left lasting impressions.

Photos
In progress – stay tuned…

elephants