Pretoria via the Panorama Route, Kruger National Park, Victoria Falls, Cape Town, the Garden route and the Karoo return.
It’s just after 08:00 as we leave Pretoria, Capital city of South Africa for the Kruger National Park in Mpumalanga Province.
We have two nights en route to explore, to experience, the Panorama route. We head for the Kiepersol/Hazyview area where we will overnight. Let’s have Coffee at Dullstroom, about two hours from now. It’s Highveld there, open grasslands and often chilly. Ideal trout, sheep and cattle farming country. The mountainous landscape around Dullstroom is beautiful, oak trees line the street. Hmmmm…. the Cappuccino with cream and apple tart tasted good, Garry had a pancake with all sorts of fillings, next time!
The Long Tom pass is next, 50 km of mountain pass driving, hope the top is not covered in mist. Would love to see more of South Africa from up there!
Numerous battles between the English and Boer’s took place in an and around the pass and surrounding areas during the Anglo-Boer war, 1899-1902. Let’s go, it should take us about an hour or two from Dullstroom to get to and over the pass. We’ll have lunch, way down in the valley, at the town of Sabie.
Arriving in Sabie, resisting a local beer brewery was almost impossible, just had to try some. We spend an hour or two in Sabie enjoying lunch and browsing the various stores, interesting!
Off we go in the direction of the town of Hazyview to check in for the night, we stay in the Kiepersol area close to Hazyview. It’s warm, almost humid here, beautiful lush green mountainous countryside, surrounded by banana plantations and macadamia farms. We are about 50 km from Kruger, can’t wait!
The early morning sunrise is beautiful. A light layer of mist covers the valley below. It’s going to be an awesome day! More to see more to experience. Soon after breakfast, we continue to explore the Panorama route and head for the Pot Holes at Bourke’s luck, and perhaps the Three Rondawels in the Blyde River Canyon, 3rd largest on the planet and if time allows, God’s window.
Let’s have lunch at the town of Graskop, there is lot’s of African Arts and Craft to browse and purchase.
It’s late afternoon as we head back to Hazyview, another fantastic day in South Africa! Early bed tonight, we are on Safari tomorrow.
Day 3. We overslept! Must be tired or relaxed…. Breakfast was delicious, we are almost at the Kruger National Park. The air is filled with excitement, looking forward to the 4-night stay.
Africa at its Best!
Wow, it’s hot, it’s summer, must be over 40°C….. the ambience, the smells, the sounds…….. Can’t get enough of it!
The private game lodge accommodation is out of this world! An elephant close by! The call of a fish eagle in the distance! Reception at the lodge was fantastic!
Our open vehicle safari is about to depart. Grab a camera, binoculars, hat and sunglasses and off we go. We spotted many animals on the drive well into the early evening. It’s a long day but worth every effort.
Back at the safari lodge, dinner is served. Can’t get better than this! Another two nights….. awesome!
Day 7, we reluctantly leave Kruger for Pretoria, what an experience, no words to describe…. just the sweet memory of an awesome experience…. that feel… that smell….. fantastic!
Victoria Falls awaits!
One night in Pretoria just to catch up and a quick flight in the morning to Victoria Falls.
We have two nights at Victoria Falls to relax and enjoy. Let’s take a casual late afternoon stroll and view the falls from a distance.
Enjoy and optional Sunset Cruise on the Zambezi river with dinner at the Boma. For the more adventurous, take an optional aerial tour of the falls by helicopter.
David Livingstone the Scottish missionary and explorer, is believed to have been the first European to view Victoria Falls on 16 November 1855 from what is now known as Livingstone Island, one of two land masses in the middle of the river, immediately upstream from the falls on the Zambian side.
On day 10 we leave Victoria Falls for Cape Town. We should arrive in Cape Town later this afternoon. Two flights with a little layover in Johannesburg and we’re there! Really looking forward to seeing Cape Town!
Hello, Cape Town, Mother City of South Africa!
Cape Town greets us on arrival with the sea and Table Mountain in the background. Much to see and much to do in and around Cape Town. We have three nights in Cape Town. Let’s decide daily on outings and/or activities. Leisure and luxury accommodation awaits, three nights close to the city center on the Waterfront.
Cape Town ranks third among the most populous urban areas in South Africa, after Johannesburg and Durban, and has roughly the same population as the Durban Metropolitan Area with about 4 million inhabitants.
It is the provincial capital of the Western Cape. It is the legislative capital of the country with Parliament Down Town. The city is famous for its harbour, well-known landmarks such as Table Mountain and Cape Point.
Cape Town was first developed by the Dutch East India Company to serve as a supply station for Dutch ships sailing from Europe to East Africa, India, and the Far East. Jan van Riebeeck arrived on 6 April 1652 and established the first permanent European settlement in South Africa. For many years, Cape Town was the largest city in South Africa until the discovery of gold resulting in Johannesburg coming about. Cape Town is still the economic hub of the Western Cape. The city was recently named “Best city in the World”.
Mid-morning, day 12, we say goodbye to Cape Town and head for the coastal town of Knysna on the way there we pause for coffee at Franschhoek.
Franschhoek is a small town in the Western Cape Province and one of the oldest towns of the Republic of South Africa with a population of just over 15 000.
176 French Huguenot refugees, originally settled in the valley in 1688. Land was given to them by the Dutch government in a valley called Olifantshoek (“Elephants’ corner”), so named as elephants often crossed into the valley to calve. Later on, the name of the area changed to le Coin Français (“the French Corner”), and again later to Franschhoek (Dutch for “French Corner”) Many of the settlers named their farms after areas in France from which they came. La Motte, Champagne, La Cotte, Cabrière.
Franschhoek is often referred to as the food and wine capital of South Africa. The town houses some of the top restaurants in the country. A strong wine culture, pristine natural and architectural beauty have turned Franschhoek into a major attraction in the Western Cape.
How about lunch at the town of Swellendam en route to Knysna while enjoying the countryside.
Swellendam is the 4th oldest town in the Republic of South Africa, situated in the Western Cape province with about 17 ooo inhabitants. Numerous heritage sites most of them buildings of Cape Dutch architecture are to be found in Swellendam. Swellendam is situated on the N2, approximately 220 km from Cape Town and 270 km Knysna.
Early travellers and explorers who visited the Cape in the 16th century traded with the Khoikhoi people who lived on these shores and in the interior. Trade continued inwards as far inland as Swellendam when the Dutch East India Company established a replenishment station at the Cape in 1652. The town is named after Governor Hendrik Swellengrebel, a first South African born Governor along with his wife, Helena Ten Damme.
Our visit to Swellendam winds up at around mid-afternoon and we continue en route to Knysna, about an hour and a half’s drive from Swellendam. A leisurely drive should get us to Knysna before nightfall…… no rush.
Knysna is a forested coastal town in the Western Cape, located about halfway between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, almost centred to the garden route. The town nestles on the north shore of a large warm-water estuary, known as the Knysna Lagoon and the Indian ocean to the south. A lovely town amongst beautiful countryside.
We have two nights in Knysna. Let’s settle in and go for coffee or supper……. Nothing specific is planned while we are in Knysna, let’s decide as and when we are. Relax and explore at leisure …… the region, nearby towns, historical sites, museums, architecture and the like. Various towns and places of interest amongst beautiful scenery and forests are close by. Wilderness, Tsitsikamma forest, George, Mossel bay to name but a few. Nature’s Valley, a small village at the mouth of the Groot River. Stormsrivier, gateway to the Tsitsikamma National Park and famous for storms and rough seas. The Bloukrans River bridge ranks high amongst bungee jumpers. The Knysna Elephant Park nearby offers sanctuary to relocated jumbos. Dolphins are often spotted offshore. Southern white whales might visit the shores of Paradise Coast.
Let’s have tea/coffee midmorning, add to that a lovely slice of cheesecake or lemon meringue, lunch and dinner at restaurants in the area as and when we please to return by early evening. No rush.
On day 17, we greet the coastal region and head inland to Graaff-Reinet in the Karoo about 350 km away.
We pause for coffee at Uniondale, the little Karoo’s best kept secret. It’s beautiful here, the Kouga and Kamanassie mountains in the background, a lush green landscape, in summer, even more so! It’s really nice here….
After coffee and a general look around, we continue en route to the town of Graaff-Reinet, about 3 hour’s drive away. The landscape changes patiently as we move inland. Green coastal mountainous terrain makes way for vast open almost desert-like terrain yet with some greenery all the way to Graaff-Reinet.
Merino sheep, Angora goats and ostrich farming is amongst the core farming activities in this region.
The Eastern Cape province is filled with history and Graaff-Reinet is no exception. The town is beautiful, dating back to the 1700’s. It is the fourth oldest town in South Africa, after Cape Town, Stellenbosch, and Swellendam. The town lies 750 metres (2,460 ft) above sea level and is built on the banks of the Sunday’s River. The town was founded by the VOC Dutch East India Company in 1786, and named after the then governor of Cape Colony, Cornelis Jacob van de Graaff, and his wife, whose maiden name was “Reinet”. During the Second Boer War, Graaff-Reinet became the centre of British military operations for the whole Eastern Cape.
Dinner at a local restaurant should be lovely. A variety of fish, chicken, ostrich, lamb, mutton and beef is on the menu.
It’s late as we settle in…… Tomorrow, we head home to Pretoria via Port Elizabeth airport about 2 hour’s drive from Graaff-Reinet.
Our flight to Johannesburg leaves late afternoon, till then, let’s take a walk about town and explore more of Graaff-Reinet and surrounding areas till we reach Port Elizabeth.
Port Elizabeth is located in the Eastern Cape and is about 770 km east of Cape Town. The city was founded in 1820 to house British settlers as a way of strengthening the border region between the Cape Colony and the Xhosa tribe. Port Elizabeth has grown to be amongst the largest cities in South Africa and one of the major seaports in South Africa. The city is the most southern large city on the African continent, even farther south than Cape Town.
Our departure for Pretoria from Port Elizabeth (Nelson Mandela Bay) marks the end of a fantastic tour around South Africa.
What a fantastic tour of South Africa! Beautiful landscape, scenery, towns, museum’s and farms the like not to mention our stay at Kruger National Park and Victoria Falls. All kinds of interesting people along the way. Historical to modern day accommodation with restaurant offerings of all sorts, tastes and sizes added to the uniqueness of this tour.
“Thank you for a wonderful tour of South Africa!”
Come join us on tour!
Friends, Families and Groups are welcome.