How The South Africa Trip Came About In our RVing travels throughout the U.S., we have met so many wonderful, interesting people. One such couple was Jackie & Tony, full-time RVers that emigrated from South Africa many years ago.
With their South African roots and love of nature, Jackie & Tony often return to South Africa to visit family and go on safari. They had casually invited us to join them sometime as they like to escort American couples and show them the wonders of their home country. Unfortunately, we were on a rather tight budget and couldn't justify the trip.
However, in 2011, we took them up on their offer. It was the year of our 25th wedding anniversary, so a splurge was in order. They had already made plans and had another couple joining them. Fortunately for us, that couple, Ed & Marilyn, were also RVing friends of ours and they all agreed to allow us to tag along. We were doing better financially then, but being able to split some expenses three ways certainly helped.
Jackie assisted us with travel arrangements and reservations. The plan was to spend a week in Cape Town - Jackie's sister was, at the time, running a bed and breakfast there - and then three weeks in Kruger National Park where we would stay in five different "rest camps". We were fortunate to get reservations at the rest camps for the times Jackie had already booked, although we didn't always get the same level of accommodations. Of course, we didn't care about that - we were just thrilled to be able to go.
We will be forever grateful to Jackie & Tony for planning this trip, including us, and helping us with logistics and preparations.
Trip Overview Our trip was planned for the month of October as that is a "shoulder" month between the dry and wet seasons in Kruger National Park, it is before the peak crowds, the temperatures are relatively mild, and it presents an opportunity to see more baby animals.
The first week of our trip, we stayed in the Cape Town area (Durbanville Hills) and experienced a wide range of activities including:
Day Trip to Hermanus - considered one of the best land-based whale-watching towns in the world
Visit to Wine Country & Spier Wine Farm (home to a raptor sanctuary and cheetah conservation)
Day Trip to Boulder Beach in Simon's Town (African Penguin colony), Chapman's Peak scenic drive, & Hout Bay
Tram Ride to the top of Table Mountain
Great White Sharks in Gansbaai
The rest of our trip, the next three weeks, was spent in Kruger National Park. Jackie had rented a van since she and Tony knew where to go for wildlife viewing. Tony did all the driving and, for those three weeks, we went on "game drives" every single day to view the amazing wildlife.
We rested during meals and slept at night, but the vast majority of our time was spent driving, searching for wildlife, and watching animals and their ways of life.
Now, Kruger is a dangerous place. You are not allowed to be on the roads after dark, and you are not allowed to get out of your vehicle except at designated rest camps, picnic areas, and a few other places. If staying in the park, you have to be inside the gates of your camp by a certain time or you will be locked out and have to pay a steep fine. The people are locked in behind high fences, while the animals roam free all around.
Every morning, we were in the van waiting for the gates to open so we could possibly glimpse some of the nocturnal animals or get to viewing spots before the crowds. Sometimes we did two or three game drives a day, and we usually arrived back at camp in the last hour before the gates were closed. Never once did we consider taking a full day to just relax.
It was certainly the trip of a lifetime.
Detailed Journal Entries Go to our South Africa Travel Journal to see the details of each of our 28 Days in South Africa. These entries include maps and many of our best photos.
Or, if you just want to look at pictures, you can check out some of our best photos from the trip on our South Africa Photo Gallery.
Thank you for your interest, and we hope you enjoy following along on our South African adventure. If you have any questions, please use our contact form and we'll do our best to provide an answer.
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