A 3500 km Route Trip South Africa
If you have been following my Instagram page you may already had a little sneak peak on the amazing holiday I had at the end of august in South Africa. We travelled about 3500 km across this amazing country and I am really excited to share my adventures with you!
I have been to South Africa before about 5 years ago and back then it already left a mark on my heart. But this time this amazing country again exceeded all my expectations all over again. As a pilot I travel a lot and I am very fortuned to see more places then the most of you. But South Africa is something else. I will try to write down my adventures and travel tips, but if I can start with the “one and best tip” that I can give to you; “STOP reading my blog and schedule a trip to South Africa and see for yourself!
So to start with our travel schedule:
Part 1 Panorama Route
Part 2 Kruger Park
Part 3 Garden Route
Part 4 Cape Town
Panorama Route. (North East)
After a 12 hour flight from Amsterdam we arrived in Johannesburg, South Africa. We rented our own car at Avis. This ride was going to take us to our first stop: Graskop.
Tip 1: BE PREPARED BEFORE LEAVING THE CARPARK! The traffic around the airport is crazy! I got this micro card from one of my followers: Flexiroam X-kit so I had internet connection with my phone. We put on the navigation and on we went! Don’t expect to much. The first 300 km are pretty boring and drove directly to Graskop, a small village in the middle of the Panorama route. In Graskop we stayed at Daan’s Place. We had the best food at Canimambo’s and got a good night rest to prepare for the official start of our holiday the next day: Panorama Route.
We started our trip at 7 am. Because we needed to be in Sabie (Krugerpark) that evening we started the Panorama Route at the Three Rondavels and drove all the way down via Bourkes Luck Potholes, Gods Window, Mac Mac Falls, Pilgrims Rest all the way to Sabie.
The Panoroma route is breath taking. The view points, rock formations and bush are so beautiful and for a moment there we thought we were the only 2 people on this planet. I advice to go as early as possible becaus than its still quite everywhere and not to hot.
The same day we arrived in Sabie at around 4.30 pm and spontaneously decided to do a night game drive! And that is where our Safari adventures began. We dropped our stuff at our next home for the next 4 nights, Sabie River Bush Lodge, and hurried to the Kruger Park only 15 km away. Looking for shiny reflections (eyes) in the dark was super exciting and we got lucky to! We saw elephants, hyena’s and even an aardvark (ant eater)!
We spend the next 3 days in the Kruger Park in search of the big 5! Imagine us in our small VW with our windows open, sun in our faces and wind in our hair.
This experience was like spending 3 days and 4 night in The Lion King movie. Waking up at Sabie River Bush Lodge at 06.00 am in the morning with our cup of coffee looking at a family of Hippo’s. Then spending the whole day in the park finding Lions, Buffalo’s, Elephants, Giraffs, Leopards well you got the picture I guess. If you know where to look you can probably find them all. I advice to drive yourself into the park instead of taking these arranged game drives.
Unfortunately we had to leave Kruger but for a good reason though, we continued our journey to our next destination: Port Elizabeth (PE), the start of the Garden Route. We drove back to Johannesburg to take the orange bird (Mango) to Port Elizabeth.
We arrived late in the evening and had a warm welcome from Catherine the owner of Zareba B&B Guesthouse. The next morning we had a healthy breakfast at Vovo Telo and with full stomach’s we went on our way to Tsitsikamma National Park where we would stay for the next 3 days. I had something amazing planned that afternoon which I was looking forward to for quit some time….. The Tsitsikamma Bloukrans Bridge Bungy!
With the adrenalin still pumping true my body we decided to visit the National Park for a nice hike with a view. Maybe we were lucky to spot some whales. We did the Mouth Trail, a 2 km hike trail which leads up all the way to the look out point on a plateau. Unfortunately no whales but the view was stunning and worthwhile (I hate walking, let alone hiking!). Time to had home, and home was Trogon House and Forest Spa in The Crags.
Spending a night and waking up at Trogon was a 5 star experience. Trogon lies in the middle of the forest of next to monkeyland. Our cabin was surrounded by ceiling high windows which created a full bush panorama view. We felt like Tarzan and Jane, I will spare you the romantic details! After breakfast we took our car again for (yes really) a second hike which was recommended by Lize-Marie manager of the hotel. It was a 8 km hike trail at the Robberg Nature Reserve in Plettenberg Bay. Want to see happy surfing seals? Go there!
We hiked for about 5 hours and I got really hungry. We heared Knysna should be beautiful so we drove to had lunch at ile de pain and visit the Knysna Heads. This ride from Tsitsikamma to Knysna is beautiful. Fantastic coastline, mountains views and villages looking like the Malibu Hills of California. Time to head back to our next home away from home: Tamodi Lodge.
To tell you the truth, Tamodi was our biggest surprise and I am inclined to write a whole blog about our stay there. Probably I will though. This place really was a dream come true! The lodge only has 4 big guestrooms with a shared huge livingroom (with fireplace). Its like coming home to your dreamhouse with an panoramic view, infinity pool and privat wine cellar. I wished we could stay there forever! We woke up by the sound of lions and spring sun shining in our faces. We decided to enjoy every second of it and sleep in for the first time this holiday. The people are so friendly and the owners have some dogs that will make your day.
Ok, back to the non-romantic stuff. We had to make a lot of miles that day. We really wanted to kano true the Storm River and do a cliff jump. With our bathing suits still on we stepped back in the car for our next destination, Hermanus.
On our way to Hermanus we’de pass Mosselbay. We already spent some time in South Africa by now I did not even had a braai (BBQ). So we decided to visit Kaai 4 in Mosselbay along the way. Which in the end maybe wasn’t that smart because now we had to drive 3 ours into the black night with no clue about our surroundings. But only happy endings in this story. We arrived savely in Hermanus.
The next morning one of my long dreams came true (bucketlist item). Looking out of the window toothbrushing I saw a group of Southern Right Whales playing and chilling in the bay of Hermanus. Because of bad weather forecast our whale tour that day was cancelled but that did not even matter. In the bay there were over a hundred whales having their summer holiday! We spent 2 days in Hermanus but to tell you the truth I could just watch those amazing animals for many more days.
We jumped back in our car to the last destination of the Garder Route, Simonstown, to see the pinguins at Boulderbeach! These little poshy birds really are one of my favorites. Did you know they settled there for about 35 years now? I didn’t! In Simonstown we stayed in the family owned Boat House with an amazing view over the old navy harbor. In the evening we sat down on our own private terrace and enjoyed a home made carrot cake with a glass of brandy.
Capetown / Stellenbosch and Franschhoek
We continued our travel to Capetown! I was super excited to go back there. My girlfriend of course already had her list with hotspots prepared, she is the queen of tripadviser and other travel blogs as I am more for planning and booking of the stuff. We visited Cape Point and decided to stop in Constantia for a spontaneous wine tasting. Not a good idea when you still need to drive! We skipped lunch so when we arrived in Capetown and we dropped of our stuff in the hotel and had an amazingggg diner at Chef’s Warehouse. Actually I shouldn’t write about this spot because that it might stay a hidden gem.
Waking up with a little hangover we had a big breakfast at Jason Bakery the next morning. I was looking forward to this day because we were going to spend it in Stellenbosch and planned a lunch at Delaire Graff estate. This was such a treat! We were stuffed for the whole day and walked around Stellenbosch to bulge. We ended up at Lanzerac and ordered some amazing house wines, get drunk and sit by the fire. Lanzarac is famous because of its pinotage wine. I had a few to many.
Because we didn’t want to drink and drive (very responsible :P) we had a private driver (Robbert: +27738866458) the next day to do a whole day of winetasting. We started at our home for the night Asara. A beautiful estate in Stellenbosch with 185 hectare of vineyards carefully managed which creates an amazing view for the hotel guests. We choose three different estates in Franschhoek for winetasting; Babylonstoren, Vrede en Lust and Eikehof. In between we had lunch at Le Petit Ferme. Our favorite for sure was Eikehof a small (original) family owned boutique estate where the owner still was the winemaker. Totally wasted after 18 wines our driver dropped us off at the hotel. We craved some junkfood and ordered pizza!
The last couple of days of this unforgettable route trip we spend in Capetown. Ofcourse we went up the Table Mountain and Lions Head, we drove Chapmans Peak. We visited the Capetown history museum and had food and cocktails at Kloof Street House. We did some souvenir shopping at the Old Biscuit Mill and Hout Bay Harbour Market. To put the cherry on the cake we ran of Signal Hill for a paraglide at Fly cape town paragliding. I’ll post more about this all soon.