Day 1 – 21 July – Fisherhaven to Langebaan

and we are off, wow, how hard has it been to get accommodation in the South African National Park Kgalagadi. We have cancelled this trip  three times this month, but thanks to someones late cancellation, it can only be, we’re finally going to see the Black Maned Lion.

We took a slow drive today, the roads were wet and it was very windy. Our first stop today Peregrines Farm Stall on the N2, just outside Grabouw, perfect coffee and the best biltong I’ve had in ages.

A lovely visit with Phil’s sister in Thornton, yummy chocolate buscuits and a good break out of the car and we were back on the road, we are staying tonight in Langebaan at my Dad and Sisters, wonderful to be with family before we hit the road. Erica is of course over the moon to be with her Gumpy, Aunty Helen 🙂 and her Aunty Linda and Lorraine too.

On the way to Langebaan we stopped at another farmstall, on the R27, not Vyevalley the other one, I’ll get the name on the way back, but anyway they have devine bread and a wild cat sanctuary. It was raining so the tours were cancelled but we’ll check it out on our way home.

Tomorrow we’re stopping at a wine farm just outside Picketberg, for some highly recommended organic red wine… can’t wait to give feedback


Note :)

Start at the bottom guys 🙂


Mnn, while I’m thinking about future trips, this was has been nagging at my feet for years. I did research first in 2008, I still have the file! :), I even bought a map last year… so… wild horses, red desert I’m coming!

Lesotho Land of Snow

Hey Hey, I am enthralled with the idea of spending a week in Lesotho, this months GO magazine has pages and pages on a zig zag route that can be done by car! I haven’t had time to look at the route but surely it does not include Sani Pass. As soon as I get home I’m starting my trip file and will start my research and planning. Yay another project to work on! I can’t wait to start dreaming! but first, lets get Kgalagadi off our list. H

Wistfully looking back

Just looking back on our trip makes me wistful for going back to Kruger soon again.  But we have not yet been to Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park which crosses the border with Botswana.  This is a lot closer to Cape Town and we’ll be able to see the Black-maned lion.  It also means we can steer clear of Johannesburg, that part of SA is just too busy for us! For now, we’ll remain here in good old, neighbourly Hermanus and enjoy the whales who are visiting at this time of year.

Day 23 – Wilderness to Home

This morning we woke up to rain.  This is the first rain we have experienced in 22 days of travel. The rest of the country is still waiting for their summer rains, and fire warnings abound. It’s good to be back in the Western Cape – like Heather said when we arrived at the Karoo National Park, “you know you’re back in the WC when you hear your first “Djzy”!”  The cold weather was welcome after the very warm interior and especially Kruger Park. We are looking forward to a comfortable night at home, then the next day we are off to Langebaan to visit with Heather’s dad for a week. Fortunately we will have all the comforts of home so it will be really comfortable with Erica.

This holiday was over so quickly. I can see how retired folk can go on permanent holiday. There is always something new to see and experience, and when your days are full time flies by but not without leaving you with warm memories of the experiences. A holiday like this is a good test of any relationship, and I’m pleased to say that we remain solid even when faced with the challenges of a sick 8 month old and being away from home. After Erica got better (about a week into our holiday) everything was just so easy. She is a  happy child with smiles for everybody, but when she is hurting she lets us know!

I look forward to taking Erica on safari when she is older. She may not remember much about this one, but nevertheless during close encounters with wildlife and other happy moments on this trip she has certainly grown in personality and intellect. It’s as much fun seeing Erica’s reaction to the wildlife.

Day 22 – Wilderness

Wilderness was such a good break after the fast pace of our demanding holiday schedule that we decided to spend an extra day here. I rode a very steep slope nearby and then another even steeper slope up to the Map of Africa. The Map of Africa is actually a piece of land surrounded by a meandering river, shaped like the outline of the African continent.

A tour official is posted here to provide info to visitors, and he advised me to take a short path to the end of the nearby paragliding field where the view is even better, spanning up the entire coast past Wilderness as far as they eye can see, and in the other direction the impressive forested slopes surrounding the tunnel of the Outeniqua Tchoo Tchoo.

I was grateful for this rest aftert the very tough uphill, and enjoyed a very fast descent. You only realise how tough the uphill was when you have both front and back brakes jammed in on the downhill to stop the bike from picking up too much speed! I reached 62km/hr on the downhill without even trying!

Got back to our Wilderness chalet after 1:20 and 20km worth of brutal riding. Although almost the entire ride was on tar, the roads were not busy and were set into deep
forest on both sides, making it a very enjoyable ride.

We went for lunch to the Wimpy in Sedgefield, where Heather almost drank a large horsefly which was floating dead and undetected under her milk foam!  She’s vowed that to be her last Wimpy coffee (I doubt it). Little Erica has been eating from our plates during the entire holiday as it is just easier, and today she had some pieces of hamburger, waffle and chips.  We’ll have to get her onto a healthier diet as soon as things normalise.

Erica has reached several milestones during this holiday:

– she turned 9 months old
– took her first steps
– stood up unsupported and drank juice from a carton, through a straw!
– learned to clap handies

She is very bright and gets frustrated if we are not constantly doing new things. I hope that home life is not going to be too boring for her after the hectic holiday pace!

Day 21 – Oudtshoorn, Cango Caves and back to Wilderness

The drive from the Karoo to Oudtshoorn consisted of kilometres of dry nothing to either side. We went over many river bridges with only dry channels below. How can you name something as a river if it only runs for a short while each year? Surely it’s nothing more than a gully or a drainage culvert, completely devoid of life?
The terrain changed suddenly as we approached Oudtshoorn, and we found ourselves driving on a well-constructed road running alongside a river. Over millions of years the river cut itself deep into the bedrock, resulting in the sheer cliff sides rising to either side. The foliage in here is green and lush, and we spotted some baboons in this Karoo oasis. The river basin continued for some kilometres with many very well-established rest stops and picnic areas alongside the river. You are free to braai here in the appointed fireplaces, and every one of the five-something sites that we passed had thatched public toilets. For people living in the George/ Wilderness area or even in the Karoo towns on the other side, this is a lovely place to take the family for a budget-friendly and relaxing afternoon.
We had to drive approximately 30km past Oudtshoorn to get to the Cango Caves. This was an awe-inspiring experience and for only R68 per person (Erica free) it was good value. I recommend it to anyone passing near to this area.
We finished with a delicious Karoo lamb curry at the Cango restaurant, which came served in small potjie pots to keep it warm. We drove the last 90km to Wilderness, passing the George airport where we watched a plane land. Heather managed to get is the same unit we had a few weeks back and we settled in for two days of relaxation.
We decided that if we do a trip of this magnitude again we will spend two days in each place instead of one. Otherwise the pace is just too frenetic, especially with a young one. We supped on the last of the Karoo chops, which we decided were just as nice when you fry them. It’s all about the meat, and not so much the preparation. The meat is just that damn good.
We slept in seperate beds tonight, Heather and Erica in one and me in the other so I could rest for my MTB tomorrow(the units come with two singles, which we usually push together). But Erica had other ideas and decided she wanted to sleep by dad tonight, so screamed and shouted until we had her tucked in next to me. This is very endearing but it broke Heather’s heart. Babies can be very fickle and want different things from one day to the next, so I assured Heather that one night’s whim is nothing to be concerned about. I’m afraid we may be in for a lot of re-conditioning when we get back home to get Erica back into her regular cycles.

Day 20 – Karoo National Park

The Karoo National Park has an arid kind of beauty, with large koppies, buttes and mesas rising up suddenly from an otherwise very flat area. Our chalet was nestled inside a ring of these koppies, producing awe-inspiring views in all directions.  We had a tasty braai of Karoo lamb chops bought from the Beaufort West Pick n Pay. They were just as tasty as we remembered from our last visit! Erica crossed another little milestone when she stood and held her own liqui-fruit carton to sip from the straw!
The park is home to many types of grazers, mostly buck and most noteworthy the white rhino. We’ve already seen everything at Kruger so didn’t waste time trying to spot elusive wildlife. Instead we just took a short drive to the top of one of the koppies to admire the view. On the way we did spot both Burchell’s and Cape Mountain Zebra, Red Hartebeest and lots of Springbok. Amazing how they can actually live in this arid desertscape.
The next morning we took an early walk along the short fossil trail, where exhibits of various fossil finds are displayed, all discovered in the surrounding area. One of the glass cases was missing, so we had the opportunity to touch a 300 million year old Bradysaurus. It’s incredible to think that this creature was walking around grazing the ancient foliage millions of years ago, when the advent of humans was a distant and unlikely possibility. Apparently the Karoo was rich with flora and fauna in those days, lush vegetation and water everywhere. An environmental event of some kind caused most of the plant life to die out and along with it, the large animals which depended on it for survival.
Our chalet had a full kitchen and bathroom, and other than Hluhluwe/Imfolozi was arguably the best accommodation of our trip. It costs R635 for the chalets although the camp sites are a lot less and equally well-appointed. Little Erica loved the headboard of the beds here – always the most interesting aspect of each place for her so we have taken to calling her our little headboard tourist.  We managed to remember to take our two-prong adapter with us this time. Unbelievably, we have already lost 3 sets of adapters moving from place to place. A real issue when you have cameras, laptops, cellphones and camping lights which need to be charged.
We stayed in the tree-shaded campsites two years ago when we passed through the Karoo. It sold us on SANParks when we saw the well-maintained ablutions and the well-run facilities, and we decided we would definitely come back, and we were not dissappointed.

Day 19 – Gariep Dam – Forever Resort

Next stop (after continuous roadworks) was the Gariep Dam, nice view, large accommodation and free laundry facility, and we got a discount of R270 because they promised us a unit on the water for R875 but were not able to deliver. Apparently none of the units are actually on the water, but we were not told this while Heather was booking. The MD came to see us personally in our rondawel which I appreciated.   Erica ate short spaghetti for the first time, mixed with some canned vegetables. Feeding her has been a battle lately but this time she polished off the entire bowl!
The beds at Gariep are comfortable and we had a good night’s rest. We probably did not need the full three bedroom accommodation but the extra space is great! Packed up by 9am and we hit the road heading for the Karoo National Park. Looking forward to some freshly killed karoo lamb!