penguins

Boulders Beach Penguins, Cape Town

Meet the boulders beach penguins

As part of a tour around the Western Cape one of the main parts of this trip and one we were looking forward to the most was a visit to Boulders Beach Cape Town which has one of South Africa and Africa’s largest penguin colonies.

The breed of penguin is the rare African penguin in fact its the only place in the world you can get close to African Penguins

The rare African Penguin

A bit of history

It was back in 1982 that a few of these penguins settled here on Boulders Beach. The area was perfect with large Boulders made of granite that protect the beach from wind and wild waves.

The population of the penguin is sadly dwindling to between 2000 and 3000 and is classified as protected.

Penguin spotting

On a good note Boulders Beach and some of the surrounding areas are part of the marine protected area in the Table Mountain National Park. This meaning the beaches are protected and both safe and clean.

Our trip

We arrived in False Bay the location of Boulders Beach out on the Cape drive from Cape Town.

Around this little town there are local shops, restaurants and cafes for you to explore. However we headed straight for the boardwalk. (A fee is payable on entrance to the boardwalk 65 SA Rand).

The boardwalk took us out onto a elevated boardwalk above where the penguins are running around playing, swimming and waddling about. It’s a beautiful site to see. The view out to sea is breathtaking and to catch a glimpse of them playing in the waves is just a bucket list item.

Watching the penguins at sea

The boardwalks meander through the dunes and don’t interfere with the penguins in fact they provide great shelter for those penguins nesting with there chicks.

Nesting penguins

Take a guide

Our guide Chris who was with us through our Cape Point tour was so knowledgeable on the penguins and although its a easy trip to take yourself I would well recommend a guide as the history and the habits of penguins was so interesting to learn. We used City Sightseeing as our guide for this tour they are experts in the field and have regular tours to Boulders Beach and also well known over South Africa.

We love penguins

This wasn’t our first trip to see rare penguins on a trip to New Zealand we took a drive out Curiio Bay on the most southerly point of the South Island of New Zealand.

It was here we got to see the yellow eyed penguins waddling in for the night from the shore.

Yellow eyed penguins

To see more on this check out our trip to Curio Bay.

More South Africa

We had 4 parts on our stay in South Africa. See some posts below and see what we got up to.

Zimbabwe Travel Advice & General Information

Here is a guide to some best Zimbabwe travel advice and general information, worth having on hand for any Zimbabwe trip or even for pre planning.

This is designed as an attachment to our 12 day South Africa and Zimbabwe trip South Africa Itinerary 12 Day Tour

Capital

The Capital city of Zimbabwe is Harare, located in the north east of the country.

Population

The Population of Zimbabwe is 15.06 million with it’s most populated city being the capital Harare with a population of 3.1 million.

Time Zone

The time zone in Zimbabwe is GMT plus 2

Best Time To Go

Zimbabwe is an all year round destination. The Zambezi is a popular spot for water activities and rafting and this is best august and December because of lower lying river levels.

If you a fan of green, lush vegetation then December to May is your time. Known as the best botanical months.

Climate

Summer

Summer months are October to April, days are generally hot and sunny in the mornings and chances of possibly thunderstorms in the afternoon.

During the day temperatures can reach 30 C with a nightly temperature of around 14 C – 16 C.

Along the Zambezi and around Victoria Falls temperatures could generally be higher due to the lower lying area

Winter

In winter May to September, temperatures are generally dry and sunny with temperatures sitting around 20C during the day with a low of around 5 C at night time.

A perfect time to visit with better guarantee of weather, with a lot less rain.

Currency

USD is the main currency used in Zimbabwe. The South Africa Rand is often excepted in many places within in Zimbabwe.

Language

The official language of Zimbabwe is English, however there are local indigenous languages spoken, such as Ndebele and Shona.

Tipping

It is not compulsory but it is customary to tip in tourist regions of 10 to 15 % in restaurants or hotel bills and 10 % to persons who are for example taxi drivers, local guides or private drivers.

Vaccinations

Please check with your GP and local authorities for further information, as such information can change.

Electricity

With the amount of gadgets, phones, cameras and computers have the right adaptors is important.

Zimbabwe uses 220/240 Volts AC, with 3 pin 13 amp plugs.

Did You Know

Camouflage clothing is strictly banned in Zimbabwe with imposing fines and potential imprisonment for people wearing such attire. Please be aware

Finally

Hopefully this lends to some useful information for yourself to have on hand or when planning a Zimbabwe trip. For any further assistance more information can be obtained on the Zimbabwe Embassy Site and information page

I hope this Zimbabwe travel advice is of use to you.

Want to read some interesting articles on Zimbabwe well here is the popular Victoria Falls Adventure – nature’s true wonder

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South Africa Itinerary 12 Day Tour

Introduction

Our most popular trip to date has been our trip to South Africa, and a couple of days in Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. We spent a long time making and researching a South Africa Itinerary

A few people have asked for this South Africa itinerary or advice, so after delving through some paper work I found our full South Africa itinerary, complete with all the companies and guides we used and have put it into this post here.

Why Travel South Africa

Before Michelle and I, met it was always on our radar we had just never got round to doing it, or never had the opportunity to do it.

The diversity and sense of adventure we thought this region would bring excited us. And in the early days of being together always talked about it.

So a few years on and when we had set a date for our wedding, we decided honeymoon would be 2 week trip to South Africa.

Where We Chose

Although people tried to persuade us to avoid Johannesburg, our sense of adventure and the history involved surrounding Johannesburg meant we were not going to rule it out. Added also that Johanessburg was the only airport being served direct from Australia, it made the decision easier.

This was one stop that should be in any South Africa Itinerary

We decided to do another four stops on this trip, another decision taken was a quick few days in Zimbabwe to see the stunning Victoria Falls.

Cape Town was the region of choice next. We heard about the things to do outside the city and the rugged and stunning coastline and of course Table Mountain.

Definitely have some down time on the trip it was a honeymoon after all. We had look at the wines region and two stood out Stelonbosch and Franschhoek, and after much choice opted for the latter.

And a South Africa itinerary would not be the same without safari. We went with the Sabi Sands a private game reserve. A little tip, a private game reserve allows maneuver to access off road if pursuit for a BIG 5 sighting. Where a park like the Kruger National Park are strictly roads and tracks only.

Note: The big 5 are Elephant, Lion, Cape Buffalo, Rhino and Leopard

Safari Packing List

We wont tell you what to pack for on your holidays. However for the safari section of the trip here is a few tips.

What To Bring

Bright coloured clothing should be avoided, but with that said whites are also a bad idea driving around in those open Jeeps kick up a lot of dust. Red makes you very conspicuous wildlife especially on a walking safari blue tends the attract the local tsetse fly.

Recommended colours would be Khaki, brown or olive these are known as the ideal colours.

Other recommendations would be other than standard clothes

  • Walking boots
  • Hats
  • Wind breaker jacket
  • Thick jumper (when the sun go’s down its gets very cold)
  • Camera, extra battery is also handy, you don’t want that camera running out.
  • Binoculars (these reserves are so big a little help seeing is always a positive)
  • Sun screan (is very open and very hot)
  • A notebook ( the guides are so knowledgeable and are always talking its too much to take it all in)

Reading Materials

A few book recommendations before you arrive to get you in the mood and when planning your South Africa itinerary.

  • Safari – A chronicle of Adventure – Bartie Ball
  • Scramble for Africa – Thomas Pakenham

Right lets get cracking on this itinerary

Our South Africa Itinerary

So we will break it down into days, and will use all the local guides, transport and tips we got along the way. South Africa itinerary done the right way.

We will add links bringing you to the companies websites. And not to make this to long we have given brief descriptions of the tours but links to our full tours will in each section (see underlined content)

Day 1 Arrival Johannesburg

So we arrived into Johannesburg, early morning around 5am once through immigration you go through the sliding doors and to the left is where drivers meet you.

We pre booked a driver with Sun Transfers, we had our own private air condition mini van which took us straight to the hotel Garden Court Sandton City.

Garden Court is a 3 star hotel, right opposite Sandton shopping center. Which is also the home of Nelson Mandela Square. Sandton is a fairly new area of Johannesburg and is known for being relatively safer, an area where many moved to from the center of Johannesburg to escape the rising crime rate.

The rest of day 1 was a relatively relaxed one, we generally are go go go but flying Brisbane to Perth and Perth to Johannesburg was in all a whole day travelling, we guessed and booked nothing for the day, so we sampled food and wine and had a early night in preparation for the next 11 days.

Day 2 Johannesburg and Soweto Tour

Up and at it early for breakfast at 7am to get ready for a busy day. We had booked a full day guided tour with the African Travel Specialists company. We dont normally use guides but being Johannesburg and being sceptical with travelling alone in this city we opted for a guide.

But we chose these because all the guides were native to the Johannesburg region, and in the case of ours a Soweto township native. And we had booked it as a private tour so we had full range without distractions.

The tour took us to Apartheid museum, Constitutional Hill, Top Africa, Mandela House and Regina Mundi and Hector Pieterson. Being a private tour as well, there was time to see Where Winnie Mandle resides (has sadly since past) Nelson Mandela’s first office, a hillside view over Constitutional Hill and a drive through the Soweto Township, and the Orlando Towers bungee jump.

This whole day was mind blowing the history and all that was learnt was a stark reminder of what has happened in this city and country as a whole.

For a more in depth view you can check out our more in depth look at Johannesburg itself with our Johannesburg Our First Stop post.

Day 3 A Few Days In Victoria Falls

Again up and at it early for a 7 am pickup with Sun Transfers to fly out of Johannesburg to Victoria Falls Airport. We had prearranged pick up with our hotel prior to our arrival.

We arrived early afternoon at Ilala Lodge and after checking in, we didn’t want to waste any time and headed off for a sunset river cruise down the Zambezi with the luxury Ra-Ikane river cruise. When researching we pick these guys because it was a small company owned and run by locals of Victoria Falls.

After the cruise we settled into the Palms restaurant at the Ilala Lodge for a snack and night cap before of to bed and recharge for a big day tomorrow

Day 4 Exploring Victoria Falls

Day 4 and continuing the theme we woke up early for sunrise as our room looked straight out at the falls. Buffet breakfast was eaten (and my it was a good breakfast) We took some time to get organised and got ready and we walked the street of Victoria Falls to the entrance of the falls.

We had orgainsed a guide to walk and talk us round this natural wonder. Again a local man who we had arranged with African Travel Specialists.

The tour was 2 hours long and we saw 16 vantage points of the falls and the Victoria Falls Bridge which connects Zimbabwe and Zambia.

After seeing this absolute wonder we only had one thing on our mind and that was we going to see this from the air. Raging we hadn’t booked this prior we found a local helicopter company Chikapokoko Helicopters. And after a quick phone call we managed to get on a cancellation and get an early evening flight aboard and see Vic Falls by air

All our trips in Victoria Falls can be found in more detail in Victoria Falls Adventure – nature’s true wonder

Day 5 Off To Cape Town

We were flying out around lunch time, so that gave us time to visit another local site the Elephant’s Walk Shopping and Artist’s Village. This was a local curio market with handmade woodworks and carvings, clothes and jewelry all handmade by locals.

We flew out of Victoria Falls into Cape Town International. There we were picked up by Airport Shuttle Cape Town. A private car and a fantastic service all sites were pointed out and there was no problems in stopping for photo opportunity.

We were dropped at the V & A Waterfront area of Cape Town and at our hotel the Victoria and Alfred.

As it was late evening we settled in and headed off for dinner at the lovely Harbour House Restaurant.

Day 6 Cape Town Sightseeing

We had an early morning trip booked for the 3.5 hour tour to Robben Island. Robben Island was the island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years. However due to rough sea the boat trip was cancelled. For those interested we booked tickets with the ferry company direct,

Not ones to waste the morning, and after a quick google search we headed off to City Sightseeing depot to get aboard the hop on hop off bus which took us to all parts of Cape Town. With multiple stops and routes you can see in all and spend a day exploring.

This is where we saw Table Mountain, the superb coastline, the city and the impressive stadium built to host the 2010 world cup.

Day 7 Cape Point Tour

Day 7 was one we were looking forward to. We had booked a guided tour through City Sightseeing as well, we were put in a small group of around 10 and had a driver and guide all day long.

The tour took us out onto the Western Cape and to Hout Bay, Cape Point and Boulders Beach . A great day had with so much seen from stunning views up at Cape Point, boat ride to see the seals and the penguin beach of Boulders Beach. And add some great stops along the way for a photo opportunity.

That evening we went to the V & A Food Market, to sample some street food and craft beers set in a funky warehouse setting.

To see a more in depth run down on these trips here is our Cape Town post Cape Town Where Africa Meets Europe,

Day 8 Off To The Wine Franschhoek Wine District

As you can tell there wasn’t much way of rest on this trip however this leg of the trip was a slight way of recuperating and enjoying as after it was our honeymoon.

So off we set from Cape Town to the wine district of Franschhoek. Again we used Sun Transfers, with great service and the driver pointed points of reference along the way.

Arriving in the mountains of Franschhoek we settled in to our hotel which was the Franschhoek Country House, and my what an lovely setting, lush gardens, mountain views and spacious rooms with own courtyard.

This was the only part of the trip that we hadn’t really planned we knew it would be relaxing so we said we play it by ear. We did our research and knew the wine tours and restaurants which Franschhoek are known for we would be easily booked on arrival.

For the rest of the day we opted for the pool, some cocktails and room service. A great way to catch up on some rest, and plus potential for a day of wine tasting the next day could well be imminent, a good preparation was welcomed.

Day 9 A Day Wine Tasting

Up and refreshed, we took full advantage of the continental breakfast. We decided shortly after ten to walk into the center of Franschhoek and scope out the wine tram schedule. Yes that’s right a tram that takes you round the wineries.

There are 8 different lines all servicing the large selection of wineries. We went with red line, for no apparent reason. I would say unless you research and know what wineries or wines you want to go to there is not to much difference.

The tram comes along every hour and goes along each stop. You don’t have to stop at them all if you don’t get off the tram moves on to the next one. What a great service and great idea.

After a day of wine tasting and if truth be told a quick nap we headed out to our hotels flagship restaurant the Monneaux. Even to date this experience was one of the best meals out we have ever had.

A more in depth look at our time in Franschhoek check out our Franschhoek Wine District post.

Day 10 Off On Safari Sabi Sands

Oh day 10, even after a day of wine tasting and cocktails, day 10 was the most i have ever been excited to wake up to in my life. Why? It was time to go on a real African safari.

5am was the calling time to be up and out back to Cape Town International Airport, again transferring with Sun transfers. Up early for breakfast but to our surprise we were a 5am room service call with continental breakfast was a nice and pleasant surprise.

We flew in to the Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport and was collected by a local who worked for the game reserve. We hopped in the 4 by 4 and headed off to the Sabi Sands private game reserve. The guide again was great an hour journey through rough terrain but talked us through every area and gave as much local knowledge as possible.

We arrived at the Savanna Private Game Reserve in the Sabi Sands, around lunch time we had a quick look around bite to eat, met our guide and spotter and were off on our first game drive.

At Savanna dinners were different styles or location every night for our first night we ate out under the stars in the middle of the reserve in pure nature

Day 11 Game Drives

So we wont go into to much detail of the game drives we will put a link to more detailed version below but basically a full day of game driving, eating and resting. So this is a structure of how they work a day. And its the same every day.

6 am wake up, coffee and and a few treats to start you off for a

7 am depart and out for a 3 hour drive around the reserve stopping half way through for coffee (ask for the special its like a baileys coffee)

10 am back to base for full buffet breakfast.

10:30 12:30 down time sit around your rooms, your own plunge pools and watch nature go by.

12:30 Buffet lunch and a refuel for a 1:30 depart for the afternoon and sunset game drive. This one is longer and is 4 and half hours and you stop for sunset and drinks, beers, gins, wines and snacks you name it they were carrying it.

Then a drive back through the plains in the dark to a different dinner. This night was a Boma Dinner and show. This was where local African cuisine was sampled and local traditional African dancers performed.

Day 12 More Game Drives

Day 11 followed the exact same theme as day 10 with regards to timings and drives.

The meal for this evening was traditional African menu and we sat down with everyone at the reserve and enjoyed a three course meal together.

For a more in depth look at the safari and Savanna itself here is our take on it below.

Safari Sabi Sands South Africa

Savanna Private Game Reserve Sabi Sands

And Home

I hate to say it home day!!!! We were picked up after breakfast and taken to Kruger Mpumalanga. This transfer was arranged by the hotel so make sure you ask.

We then had the short flight to Johannesburg to bored our flight home

Itinerary End

And there we have it a perfect 12 day South Africa Itinerary and quick stop in Zimbabwe. If there are any questions or you need a help customising your Africa trip please let us know and we are more than happy to help.

Visas

South Africa

Depending on where you have come from you may need a visa prior to travelling, always check as this could at any given time. you can visit the government site for the latest visa requirements.

Zimbabwe

Depending on where you have come from you may need a visa prior to travelling. Zimbabwe has 3 categories of visa requirements. Category A no visa, Category B visa on arrival and Category 3 visa need to be obtained before travel.

We were under category 2 at the time which was on arrival. (please note only US dollars is accepted here to obtain the visa)

Always check which category your country is under and remember this could change at any given time. Check the Zimbabwe visa site for the latest visa requirements.

Airlines

All our internal flights within South Africa and Zimbabwe we used South African Airways. Its a airline with a great reputation and we highly recommend. Virgin Australia was the carrier they used for the first leg of the journey.

For flights into Africa check with your local airport on who travel to the region.

And Finally

We have put together a couple of little pages with general information on South Africa and Zimbabwe. Some useful things to know like weather best times to travel etc. If you are looking to travel South Africa this could be handy.

Check out below for the relevant one

South Africa Itinerary General Information

Zimbabwe Itinerary General Information

I hope this is useful and can be of help check out our posts through this guide for further information and feel free to contact us for advice. We hope this inspires you to travel South Africa

Michelle and Richard

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South Africa Travel Advice & General Information

Here is a guide to some best South Africa travel advice and general information, worth having on hand for any South African trip or even for pre planning.

Capital

A little confusing so Cape Town is the official legislative capital, with the administrative capital being Pretoria and Judicial capital being Bloemfontein

Population

The population of South Africa, as of 2020 is 59.3 million

Time Zone

South Africa operates its time at GMT plus 2

Best Time To Go

South Africa is known as a destination accessible all year round and is also generally visited all year round. However some regions may have more advantages than other (see below)

The northern regions are good destinations in the winter months, at this time game viewing is at it’s best, and temperatures are far milder.

The southern regions are known for more summer times and holiday makers with low rainfall and warmer temperatures.

Climate

Summer is October to April and winter is May to August

Summer temperatures average between 15 – 30 C (60 – 96 f) Despite a few regional differences, the climate of south Africa is generally mild throughout the year.

On a whole South Africa is a dry country with a mean average rainfall of 502mm and snow is normally only seen and limited to mountain peaks

Currency

The currency of South Africa is the South African Rand. 1 rand is made up of 100 cents. Banks notes are in denominations of R200 (orange) R100 (blue) R50 (pink) R20 (brown) and R10 (green)

Languages

Throughout South Africa there are a total of 11 official languages. these being Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Southern Sotho, Tsongo, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa, and Zulu.

For English speaking visitor to the country you would certainly be able and have no problem with travelling through the country and communicating.

Tipping

It is not compulsory but it is customary to tip in the region of 10 to 15 % in restaurants or hotel bills and 10 % to persons who are for example taxi drivers, local guides or private drivers.

Vaccinations

Please check with your GP and local authorites for further information, as such information can change.

Electricity

With the amount of gadgets, phones, cameras and computers have the right adaptors is important.

South Africa uses 230 to 240 volts 50Hz. The visitor to South Africa should purchase the correct adaptor with compatibility with South Africa. These can be purchased in South Africa or at most International Airports.

Hopefully this lends to some useful information for yourself to have on hand or when planning a South Africa trip. For any further assistance more information can be obtained on the South African Embassy Site and information page.

I hope this South Africa travel advice is of use to you.

Want to read some interesting articles on South Africa well try out a few from our own experiences. A look at Johannesburg, Cape Town, Franschhoek and Sabi Sands Safari.

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Savanna Private Game Reserve Sabi Sands

Sabi Sands Game Reserve A Brief History

The Sabi Sands game reserve consists of a private group of game reserves and lodges (our stop being Savanna Private Game Reserve).

The Sabi Sands runs adjacent to the Kruger National Park. and is its own reserve. Its a 65000 hectare reserve created by local landowners in the 50’s.

There is a 50 kilometer unfenced boundary with the Kruger. Prolific sightings are high in the Sabi Sands with it being a hotspot for the Leopard.

The Sabi differs from the Kruger in that a spotting of a big 5 allows game drivers access to go off road to get up close and personal. Compared to the Kruger, where it is strictly adhered to stick to the roads.

Savanna Private Game Reserve Arrival

We arrived at the private game reserve after a long and bumpy drive from Kruger Mpumalanga airport. Once we arrived the sense of being in the wild is there to be seen. Savanna Private Game Reserve is right in the midst of the Sabi Sands reserve surrounded by dense forestry.

We were greeted at the entrance by the manager and some staff and brought through to the bar / restaurant area for refreshments and a meet and greet. Once paperwork’s were done we were told our first game drive would be that afternoon. All of a sudden a sense of excitement of a safari a dream of mine all my life was about to become true in a short time.

The Rooms @ Savanna Private Game Reserve

We were escorted to our room , much to our surprise we had own private executive suite, complete with our own walkway and plunge pool. And the view straight out onto the game reserve where we could see Warthogs roaming around.

The rooms at Savanna Private Game Reserve
The View from the rooms into the wild

We stepped inside our suite it looked amazing the biggest bed you ever seen, beautiful wooden furniture and then a walkway behind a wall, we wondered round to see a huge double bath, his and her sinks and a indoor and an outdoor rainforest shower. My words couldn’t describe the luxury we were in.

The room was a fully stocked with complementary mini bar, complete with champagne, wines, beers, spirits snacks and the room itself came fully air conditioned, ceiling fans, mosquito nets, safe, coffee station, fresh water machine, telephone and even complimentary Savanna branded water bottles. this place was heaven.

Every evening after we arrived back from our afternoon game drive we would return to an already run bath and alongside that one day there was a bottle of champagne waiting for us and another day a decentered bottle of port. It was just perfect to come back and unwind without having to think.

The Food @ Savanna

Breakfast

Firstly was breakfast was amazing there was a menu and buffet area. The menu itself was beautiful and you could create your own if you fancied something a bit different. The buffet was full of fruits, meats, cheeses, pastries, muesli’s, yoghurts and toppings. Al delicious and perfect after the early morning game drive.

Lunch

Secondly was lunch, so clean and so fresh. There would be a buffet self serve of the freshest salads, cold meats and cheeses. And then to accompany that we had fresh seafood and some perfectly cooked meats.

Dinner

Lastly the dinners, now this really took us by surprise, each night was a different theme. Our first night we had dinner under the stars surrounded in fairly lights in a big clearing out in the wild.

The chef was there cooking like a bbq style of game meats, fresh fish and a great selection of vegetarian options. Plenty of sides were available and some beautiful red wine. The scene was set so perfectly we sat around in a table of 10 chatting and having the best time.

The second night was back at the lodge were we had a beautiful 3 course dinner. This was were I tried Ostrich for the first time which I must say was beautiful and so tender. The one great thing with savanna is the one long table so everyone joined in and mingled which was great to meet other like minded people. .

Our last night was a night I will never forget a traditional BOMA dinner complete with locals performing there local dances which was incredible to see and everyone got up and we all joined in. The dinner was a BBQ style with beautifully cooked game meats and seafood and tempting sides a feast fit for a king.

Traditional local dancers

.

Private Game Drives In The Sabi Sands

Now where do I start, a lifetime of waiting to do a real life safari in the wild to see the animals in the own habitat. The time had finally come to get out and see it all containing ourselves was not possible like children on Christmas morning.

Having a coffee before our first game drive, we met our driver and guide Kevin, made us feel very comfortable and really took and interest in getting to know us. We got on board our jeep and we were with one other couple from Alaska. Just before we set off our spotter Lybon arrived and took his place at the front of the car. We were ready to finally set off.

We were told to brace ourselves it would be exciting but we were warned that there could be slow periods when would be looking for sightings.

Straight off and if by magic about 100 meters out of camp we came across a huge Elephant we couldn’t believe it so soon the excitement was unreal. Out came the camera and the snapping began and as you can see below my favourite elephant selfie.

metersElephant selfie

There were two drives each day consisting of about 3 hours each time. a drive just after sunrise and a drive just before sunset. Then there was plenty of downtime to relax and look over our photos.

During the six drives we done we saw so many animals and even luckier to see the BIG 5 Leopards, Lions, Buffalo, Elephant and Rhino. And on top of that we saw Crocodiles, Hippos, Hyenas, Wild Dogs, Wilderbeast, Impalas, Giraffes, Warthogs and Zebres. the gallery below shows a few of these.

Our Driver and Spotter at Savanna

These two were amazing I don’t think you could find two more passionate people, who absolutely love there job. And also very friendly and tool time to get to know us personally. Which made the whole experience that much better.

To be honest it made the drives so much better to have there knowledge firstly from kevin the Driver / Guide. He was so passionate about all the animals and gave great insight to there behavior and how they survive and behave in the area.

Lybon who was the spotter who I believe was local to the area knew the land like the back of his hand, It was fascinating to see him picking out tracks and spotting everything in sight.

Ourselves with our Guide Kevin and Spotter Lybon
Drinks break in the wild

Community Projects In The Area

The Savanna is very passionate about giving back to the locals and the community projects they have in place are amazing.

If I’m honest would not do them justice to explain them so check out Savanna community projects and take a look for yourselves they are a credit to this community.

Summary Of The Savanna Private Game Reserve

So to conclude our trip to Savanna Private Game Reserve this was truly an experience of a lifetime, we will never forget it and one memories we will never forget.

We would highly recommend to anyone, if you are planning a safari in South Africa please look these guys up you would not regret it.

SAVANNA

Check out a few more of our Africa posts in our Africa sections

CAPE TOWN

jOHANNESBURG

Thnaks for stopping by hope you enjoyed the post

Vic Falls By Helicopter, Chikopokopo Helicopters

You must do a helicopter ride

We had just finished our walking tour of the falls and got back to the hotel we sat back at the bar with a coffee still full of excitement from seeing this wonder of the world. We started chatting away about the best bits. All of a sudden we were chatting with the barman. We were telling him everything we saw, until he told us you haven’t seen the falls until you do the helicopter ride and told us about the local helicopter company Chikopokopo Helicopters. .

Will we do it

It was our last day all of a sudden now we felt we had missed out. We looked at each other and thought let’s see if we can get on one this afternoon we didnt even really consider it.

We went to reception and voila “can you be ready to in 30 minutes” 2 second pause ” of course we can” I dont think we even asked the price we just handed the card over and it was booked.

Chikopokopo Helicopters

We flew with Chikopokopo Helicopters. A great and efficient company organized by our hotel Illala Lodge They picked us up from our hotel in a SUV air conditioned car. About 20 minutes drive out from our hotel, the journey once we got a bit close was a bit bumpy but was fine and the helipad was surrounded by beautiful scenery.

Our Helicopter
My all prepared for our flight

Short flight? long Flight?

You can do a short or a long flight, the short being 12 – 15 minutes and the long 25 – 30. We opted for the shorter one as we just wanted to see it, embrace it and snap it.

If I’m honest the short flight is enough it doesn’t seem long 12 – 15 minutes but its no distance to get there and you see it all and circle a few times.

Time to fly

We were given a pre video and safety instructions, and again once we were on board all safety instructions were clearly explained and safety checks were taken. No corners were cut here, our minds were totally at ease.

The Flight itself was unreal, I can honestly say I have never seen anything like it. If the falls were a painting they would be a masterpiece. I cant explain how good it is, we flew over and circled round and came back over. Every angle was unreal, even the flight back to base was amazing the pilot pointed out some watering holes were we could see Elephants and Giraffes. I even think we got a few extra minutes so we could see the animals in the wild.

The Falls
The Falls
Elephants in the watering holes

Return to base

Once you return you can choose to purchase a video of the falls, have some refreshments and soak up what you have just witnessed which was truly amazing.

After a few minutes our driver arrived and was happy to get out and join us and find out how our experience was. There was no rushing he seemed just as excited to hear our experience as we were.

Do we recommend?

Yes Yes Yes we do, don’t think about it just dive in head first and do it you wont regret it.

What to bring

  • Money
  • Camera
  • Phone
  • Water

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Victoria Falls Walk

Going on this great walk

We decided to do the walk along the Victoria Falls. Our hotel ilala lodge was only situate down the road, and we were going to walk but we decided to book a tour and guide just because we love to soak up as much info as possible, and locals to the community always know best.

Our guide was linked to the hotel and was so knowledgeable we were delighted we took this option.

Mapping out the falls and track

That map below shows all the vantage points along the walk through Victoria Falls you can stop and see the falls.

Our favourite points were 1 and 2, this was where the falls are running at its hardest and its the closet you get. To see it is incredible because the speed at which the water is going is both amazing but at the same time scary because its shows incredible force.

Here is the scene from point 1

Don’t miss these points

My other top points were 4,5 and 15 with the later giving great views back across the falls. and 4 and 5 giving a different perspective to the first two. These points also give great vantage points for photos.

Shot from point 4

Our top tip

TOP TIP: The splash back from the falls gives off so much water its like it is constantly raining. We put our phones in ziplock backs to keep them dry but still had the ability to use them. Other than a bit of cash and passport (if you are going to go on the bridge) I wouldn’t bring anything else.

Rain jackets are provided by your tour guide, but obviously if you make your own way there bring a rain jacket.

Victoria Falls Bridge The Border

The Victoria Falls bridge acts as a border between Zimbabwe and Zambia. The views of the bridge are unreal. As I said this is a border and although the bridge itself is considered ‘no-man’s land’, you still need your passport to access it (and no, you don’t get a stamp when you do this unfortunately). But its well worth the view.

Shot of the Victoria Falls Bridge

Devils Pool, Would You Dare?

Another attraction of the Falls, which unfortunately we didn’t get to try. The Devil’s Pool , a zone of low current and rock barriers, from September to December, is possible to swim in. I wouldn’t say its a safe activity, because there is still some danger due to its location on the edge of the falls and only a few feet away from one of the cascades over the falls. But however this is certainly one thing those adrenaline junkies will be dying to try.

Unfortunately we went in March and the water levels were far to high. I have attached a photo not of us but to show what it is like.

Tours And Prices

Admission to walk Victoria Falls is $30 USD for adults and $15 USD for kids we. The tour itself was $23 USD or $11.50 USD for kids, and that included pick up and drop off to and from the falls and a guide for the whole group which if I remember rightly was around 20 people. So all up was $55 USD for adults and $26.50 USD for kids. We used Victoria Falls guided tour and they were amazing

Another must Chikopokopo Helicopters

These is a great experience and a must on a Victoria falls trip but a recommendation of our would be a helicopter flight over the falls with Chikopokopo Helicopters it’s one you would never forget.

Lastly a brief history on the falls

Victoria Falls, one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the world. Located on the Zimbabwe and Zambia border and is part of the Zambezi river. Its considered to be one of the worlds largest waterfalls being 1708 meters wide. It is roughly twice the height of Niagara Falls.

There are two national parks around the falls, the Mosi-oa-Tubya National Park being on the Zambian side and the Victoria Falls National Park, being on the Zimbabwe side. Both national parks are registered UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Franschoek Country House & Villas

Franschoek Country House & Villas

We had the pleasure of staying in this unbelievable Hotel whilst on our honeymoon in 2018, situated a short 2km outside the center of town and access to the wine trams. The Franschhoek Country House is also perfectly situated with pristine mountain view setting.

So the setting is beautiful, the building was 1890 Manor House and was renovated using Provencal influences to the highest quality. And add to this beautifully landscaped gardens its a site to behold.

With only a total of 22 rooms Country House offers quality rather than quantity. Attention to detail being very prominent throughout the rooms and around the grounds. And the care taking into looking after the place is obviously high on there agenda.

An onsite Spa, pool and the very impressive award winning Monneaux restaurant, its a must for anyone wanting to soak up the scenery and kick back and just relax. And well enjoy some great wine

The Pool

The Rooms @ The Country House

We stayed in a luxury room, which had ample room, extremely comfy bed, a beautiful view out towards the pool and the beautiful range. The bathroom again spacious, very clean and in great condition.

They are 4 types of rooms Standard, luxury, cottages and villas. All come as standard with complimentary wi -fi, nespresso machine, tea making and fully air conditioned. I heard also the luxury and Villas also have fires in them, with the later having its own private balcony.

We had our own balcony area with table and chairs where we could sit back and listen to the beautiful running water from the many water features around. Which was a perfect place to sit and unwind with a glass of Pinotage at the end of the day.

Breakfast

Breakfast was served in a beautiful first floor room in the centre of the country house, with views all around the country house and the surrounding area. A great start to a day means the world, and here would certainly do that and in style

Breakfast was in 2 styles, you can order off a lovely fresh cooked breakfast, all also the was the buffet style table, which had some of the most amazing meats, cheeses, breads and pastries. A great freshly brewed coffee or pick from a selection of teas would accompany your breakfast.

The breakfast was absolutely divine and worth the visit alone. And even the service was second to none and enjoyed a lovely chat with our waiter, who was also very knowledgeable with the local area.

The Monneaux Restaurant

What can said about the Monneaux, well really this restaurant deserves a post on its own to be honest. I’m a chef myself and I can hands done say was one of best restaurants I have eaten in.

Right from the moment we walked in until the last sip of gin we had as a nightcap we were so impressed. The food was so fresh the care and attention that went into the flavours was brilliant. And the presentation was works of art. I always say first impressions count, and when the dishes landed a sense of excited lifted us.

Now they say a picture paints a thousand words below is a little gallery of the food and drink we had over the 2 nights we stayed.

As for the service I wish I could remember the waiters name because he was fantastic, and being a chef I have had many fall outs with waiters. So was pleasantly surprised. We love wine but we wouldn’t be connoisseurs by any means and he was able to talk us through the wines and pairings. He was obviously passionate about his job, and his recommendations were greatly appreciated.

Summary

Would we recommend the Franschoek Country?? I think the answer to that is obvious a big YES. We are already thinking about when we can visit again.If you get the chance please do check it out, or at the least check out the Monneaux as it is open to the public also.

We will leave a links to the country house and restaurant below please take the time to have a look. And why not contact them maybe see what’s available you wont regret it. These businesses need our support in these times lets all stick together.

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