I have been to South Africa twice now, once to Cape Town and once to Sun City Resort in the North West Province of South Africa. Sun City is a beautiful place to stay and there is plenty to do there. Cape Town however was a totally different experience, every bit as beautiful and we hired a car so we could venture out and explore different places and Cape Town is where I’ll start...
V&A Waterfront Restaurant was one of the best restaurants we visited because it was on the beach, with the sand under our feet and the waves lapping next to us whilst we ate, it was the perfect place to take us from day to night!
Clifton Beach is also a beautiful location, we had a BBQ on the balcony of a friends apartment which sat on the slopes of Lion’s Head and overlooked the beach. It was so relaxing, we watched the sun go down and then as day turned to night we watched the thunderstorms.
Our base was in a friend's house in the suburb of Fresnaye which is also situated on the slopes of Lion’s Head in Western Cape. We had spectacular views and our own housekeeper, Winner, who lived in the annex with his wife and daughter.
In this suburb every house also has its own armed security guard which is a bit daunting on your first visit! Even though we were so close, we didn’t get a chance to go to the top of Lion’s Head or Table Mountain as the fog was too thick for us to enjoy the views, next time I would love to do this.
We also visited the rural suburb of Durbanville, friends of ours live there and they invited us over for a Braai or what we call a BBQ. In South Africa families Braai most nights which is why they are so good at it! How nice would it be to live somewhere with the kind of weather that means a BBQ doesn’t have to be a special occasion!
I’d also recommend a visit to Boulders Beach Penguin Colony where you can walk amongst the colony of African Penguins that settled there in 1982. This area is part of Table Mountain National Park and these Penguins are protected by Cape Nature Conservation as they are on the verge of becoming extinct. These penguins are only found on the coastlines of South Africa.
Close to this we found a beachfront restaurant called The Bungalow, the food was beautiful. The only problem was that it was so busy we could only get a table inside. If I had any advice it would be the simple tip of booking ahead to get the best beachfront tables.
We also visited Aquila Safari which is about a 2 hour drive from Fresnaye so we stayed overnight in one of their premier lodge rooms. We had a balcony overlooking the reserve and one morning we were lucky enough to have Elephants walking past the lodge!
Over the course of the 2 days we were taken out on quad bikes around the reserve and then out in the jeep, this was so we could enter into the part of the reserve that contained the lions (obviously a bit risky doing that on a quad bike!).
As with any reserve, the animals are free to roam the vast space so there is a chance you may not see much, however the rangers who take you out know the movements of the animals and will usually know where to look depending on the time of day.
We were lucky enough to see Zebras, Elephants, Rhinos, Hippos and we did get scarily close to the Lions. Aquila also had an amazing buffet with so much food to choose from,
I always like that so I can try things I wouldn’t normally eat. Fair to say I wasn’t a fan of the Ostrich Neck I tried here.
South Africa is one of those places that took my breath away with its beauty and even when driving to various places I loved taking in all of the fabulous scenery. The coastal drives were amazing but we also saw the shanty towns too. I certainly found this eye opening and really sad to see such poverty.
The reason for my second visit to South Africa was because Brian had been invited to play in the annual Gary Player event which takes place in Sun City. During our time there we of course played Golf and what made this different to any other round of golf were the animals we encountered. We saw Baboons, Monkeys and there was a Crocodile Pit on one hole!
The Sun City Palace hotel was magnificent!
The area for Breakfast was just lovely, we liked to sit outside with the ducks by the pool alternatively inside there was a pianist playing which was also lovely. My favourite part was the freshly made pancakes and waffles alongside all the unhealthy toppings I could choose.
Seeing Monkeys hanging around the hotel was a nice novelty, but you had to keep your eye on your belongings and shut your balcony doors so they didn’t get into your room during the day!
The storms at night were phenomenal too and we got great views from the hotel, thankfully under shelter.
We visited a Crocodile Sanctuary at Suncity one afternoon. We got to see them at such close range and were educated throughout the tour. It was particularly fun seeing them eat, in this video you can see just how powerful their jaws are too.
I don’t really know if Crocodile sanctuaries are ethical, however research shows that sanctuaries have helped stunt the rapid decline of Crocodile numbers in recent years due to them being hunted for their skin and a lot of their habitat being destroyed. The visit only cost £3 too which is ridiculously cheap.
We also did our own private safari with friends who took us out in their car in Pilanesberg National Park. I didn’t realise you could do this on your own, I always thought you’d have to book this kind of experience!
It cost just over £7 for our vehicle and we were given a map of the tracks, a time to be out of the park by and the advice that we should under no circumstances leave our vehicle! This was totally different to the Aquila experience as we were obviously in charge of our own route and we took our own picnic and drinks. We stopped for as long as we wanted when we saw the animals and tried to get the best spots for photos.
As we had gone out late afternoon and it was raining we didn’t expect to see much however as you will see on my videos and photos we saw plenty and got really close! Most people do go out very early in the morning so next time we will have to try this, on this occasion I didn’t fancy the 5am get up!
All videos about this trip can be found on my YouTube South Africa Playlist.