Here I am living my best life in South Africa. Johannesburg (including Kruger National Park) Cape Town and Victoria Falls were my destinations on this trip and it was amazing. I am sure all safaris on the way to Kruger National Park from Joburg will stop by The Blyde River Canyon where you can see some pretty wonderful natural scenes, like that pictured in the background above.
Southern Africa is worth exploring for the sheer beauty in the different countries. Let me share my two weeks itinerary that covers visiting Kruger National Park, Cape Town and Victoria Falls with a day trip to Chobe National Park in Botswana.
Day 1-5 (Johannesburg and Kruger National Park)
To access Kruger National Park you have to fly into the international airport in Johannesburg. It is worth spending a day or two checking out the city. The Apartheid Museum and Mandela’s house are worth visiting and learning more about what they offer. I do understand if this isn’t something most people want to do because of the crime levels. I find that staying at hostels and booking some trips locally works well and is often cost efficient. This was the case with the safari I took to Kruger as well.
It is quite a few hours drive to the park and there are many opportunities to take some great pictures on the way. I find camping safaris to be the cheapest option and I did this for two nights. I did this in August and even though I was dressed for winter the morning and nights were freezing.
It is customary to do early morning drives to see animals that are out at that time. There are also drives in the day time and evening while on a safari. This means you have a chance of seeing many animals throughout the day, including those that are nocturnal as well.
I like doing safaris because they allow me to see some of the many wonders of nature up close. A good guide who is knowledgeable also helps to make the entire experience more worthwhile. I had a good guide and he was good at entertaining us while giving us key facts, about the animals and the park among other things.
It’s like we are making eye contact. It’s good to blog about this trip a few years later and relive these wonderful memories.
I find that two nights is enough for me to rough it. Thankfully the park is developed so that even those of us doing a camping safari have access to hot showers once we camp for the night. It is a good idea to take your own sleeping bag though companies generally provide them. I like to take my own and donate it after a safari.
At the end of the safari, it’s back to Joburg for a night then fly off to Cape Town the next morning.
My interest in Cape Town was to enjoy the beautiful scenery of course but more so to visit where Mandela was imprisoned for so many years.
Day 5 – 10 (Explore and Enjoy Cape Town)
Cape Town is bittersweet for me. I remember arriving at the airport and being singled out for my bag to be scrutinised after passing customs and rushing to catch my ride from the hostel. The lady doing the search was nice enough but the guy who selected me clearly had a grudge. He refused to believe I was from Jamaica even when he was looking through my passport. He stated that I look like I was from Zimbabwe – sigh. Can you believe he dogged my steps all the way outside of the airport. Xenophobia is something else.
It left a bad taste in my mouth but I was determined to shake it off and enjoy my trip. It was nice to offload a bit of this with the Zimbabwean receptionist at the place where I stayed. She was really nice and shed some light on what they were subjected to – sigh.
Cape Town has some breathtaking views. These fews will lift anyone out of a funk.
Table Mountain forms a fabulous backdrop to the city and it is worth going to the top to view the expanse of the city below.
Look at those colours, oh the wonder of nature. Cape Town is one of the most beautiful cities I have visited so far.
I suggest that at least five days are dedicated to the wonder that is Cape Town. Of course you won’t scratch the surface but many of us have only so much vacation time each year. Those interested in Apartheid ought to visit Robben Island Museum and see where Nelson Mandela and others were locked away for years. It is a rather moving experience.
After this I spent a day exploring the Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden to help soothe all my feelings.
There are many day trips that one can take from Cape Town as well. I took the one that enabled me to see this:
There are so many majestic sceneries along the way to this point. That area is just wonderfully beautiful.
Day 11-14 (Victoria Falls between Zambia and Zimbabwe)
Fly from Cape Town to Victoria Falls on the morning of the eleventh day. I found that flying into Livingstone, Zambia was cheaper than flying into Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. I stayed at a hostel on the Zambian side and it served me well.
Many people may need a visa for both Zambia and Zimbabwe which may be pricey. Since I can enter both countries visa free I visited Victoria Falls (Mosi- oa-Tunya – the smoke that thunders). It sure thunders so you need a rain coat not to be soaked while walking by it on the Zambian side.
The rain coat is loaned to you there which is convenient. I also took a trek way way down below the bride to see the kids playing around in the Zambezi river. There are quite a few cheeky monkeys who will relieve you of any food you have.
It is much better to see the actual falls with much less mist on the Zimbabwean side in my opinion. See below:
It is really great to be able to experience things that I dream about seeing in different parts of the world. I am extremely grateful. I had so many wonderful conversations with the locals and it was really one of my favourite memories traveling step by step through this world.
A full day or even half a day is enough to experience the falls. There are many activities for thrill seekers such as bungee jumping, hanging out on the falls themselves and others I am sure.
I also enjoyed walking around Victoria Falls town and the town of Livingstone to see how people live. There were many similarities with Jamaica and I felt at home.
On the final day before I ended my epic two weeks in the region at did a one day trip to Chobe National Park to do a river safari. This was an impromptu trip. I discovered this very reasonably priced tour at the hostel I stayed and and decide YOLO! It was really a wonderful day.
Livingstone is near Chobe and a ferry of sorts is all that separates the two. Here are some of my highlights from that safari:
Yes, it was that close and so were many others. It reminded me that we need to respect these fierce animals.
This is a great way to cap off a great trip and head home sated with many wonderful memories and of course pictures to reminisce, dream and maybe visit again.