The South African Tour Diaries

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Day One: Cape Town Sightseeing

[March 2016]Β It’s day one of our South African tour and we’re beginning in Cape Town. We got tickets for the Citysightseeing bus and I have to say that it’s not a bad way to see the city, especially if you’re on a tight schedule.

For our tour today, we took the Blue Mini Peninsula Tour which operates on a circular route around the back of the Table Mountain with stops in Kirstenbosch, Constania Nek, World ofΒ  Birds, Imizamo Yethu and Mariner’s Wharf.

We started off at Sea Point – where our hotel is located and moved on to the starting point of the bus at the V&A Waterfront.

Our next stop was the Kirstenbosch, where we strolled through the gardens and the tree canopy walkway. Before this trip, I hadn’t really heard about this botanical garden but I’m glad we stopped by as it turned out to be a really pleasant visit.

We continued on the bus, skipping the Constantia Nek and World of Birds stops and heading over to Mariner’s Wharf, Hout Bay Harbour. We ended the day early, riding along the scenic routes around Camps Bay and the ’12 Apostles’ back to Sea Point.

Day Two: Cape Town, Cape Point & Boulders Beach

It’s the end of our second day in Cape Town and what a day this was! Today, we continued on the Citysightseeing bus, taking the Red City Tour line up to Table Mountain. We also went on the Harbour Cruise along the V&A waterfront and ended the day with a visit to Cape Point and Boulders beach.

We purchased the two day bus tickets, so the Harbour Cruise was free. (Costs R40 if purchased separately). We decided to begin the day with the cruise. It lasted for about 30 minutes, which was just right. Any longer would have been boring in my own opinion. A little tip for ya; take a seat on the right hand side of the boat if you go on this tour πŸ™‚

After the cruise, we decided we’d look around the Two Oceans Aquarium. You know, for the kids and the kids loved it!

Then we hopped on the bus again and began our journey to the Table Mountain Cableway Station. It was a pretty long ride up to the station, longer that we’d anticipated. We had booked for an afternoon tour back at the hotel and didn’t want to be late.

Unfortunately, we returned to our hotel late and missed the bus by minutes. We weren’t even aware it was a group tour until the bus came back for us with some visibly upset occupants. Ouch! We apologized and continued on the tour. Our stops included the Cape Point Nature Reserve and Boulders beach which happened to be another long drive from Cape Town, about an hour, maybe more for a one-way trip. We returned to our hotel in the evening, completely exhausted but it was all worth it!

Day Three: Paragliding!

We went tandem paragliding and it was such an amazing experience! Paragliding is highly dependent on the weather and we were very lucky to have great weather today considering the fact that Cape Town’s weather is quite temperamental.

We flew with Cape Town Paragliding from Signal hill down to Sea Point. Being the first time I’ll ever try something like this, I was nervous but my Pilot, Pete, managed to keep me calm throughout the flight. He is such a nice guy and has been paragliding for over twenty five years!

Paragliding isn’t as dramatic as skydiving, so anyone can do it really. It’s totally worth the experience! Here’s a short video from our little adventure.

Day Four & Five: Cape Town to Jo’BurgΒ 

What a day it’s been! Or more accurately, what couple of days it’s been! We’ve just spent 33hrs on a train/bus ride from Cape Town to Johannesburg! Longest ride of our lives and worse, we were stuck on the sitter the whole time!

We booked the Shosholoza-Meyl train from Cape Town scheduled to arrive Johannesburg the next day by 12:16pm. To cut the long story short, we arrived later than that. Much later. Five hours later! We tried booking a sleeper berth but unfortunately, there were no berths left for the time we were to travel.

The carriages weren’t completely filled up, so we had enough room to stretch and lie down (barely). But it did get a little too noisy most of the time as we had lots of drunk and chatty passengers on board.

As for the ride itself, first, the train left the Cape Town station one hour thirty minutes later than planned and stopped at several stations for several minutes. I did regret our decision of taking the train at least twice during the trip!

After a while, we were asked to get off the train and get on buses heading to Johannesburg. That took another two hours or so. Eventually, we arrived Johannesburg Park Station at about 7:00pm! Whew! Anyway, now that we’re in Johannesburg and are checked into a lovely hotel in the Sandton area, I’m glad for the money we’ve saved and I think we’ll just sleep the whole of tomorrow off!

Day Six: Jo’burg to KrugerΒ 

We didn’t sleep the whole day off. Maybe we should have ‘cos I lost my phone today. It’s terribly upsetting but yeah, I’ll get over it. On the plus side, we’ve arrived at our hotel just outside one of the Kruger National Park gates. Β It took us five hours to get here from Johannesburg since we came in a car. The trip itself wasn’t bad at all, (well, except for the missing phone). And our hotel is just wonderful.

It’s located within the wildlife reserve, so we have seen a couple of animals already, including cheeky monkeys which happen to be a problem. There are many warning signs to keep windows and doors locked cos these monkeys don’t play. Tomorrow, we’ll visit the park in search of the big five.

Day Seven: Kruger Safari

For Day Seven, we visited the Kruger National Park and had a very successful outing. Our first major sighting was this leopard. We then went on to spot a few more animals – including all the big five members.

Day Eight: Kruger to Jo’burg

For the last day in South Africa, we got a free ride to Hazyview from our hotel and then hopped on a bus back to Johannesburg. We arrived at Park Station quite early which was great cos the bus park was nothing to write home about!

The Park Station itself isn’t bad at all. It was the same place we had arrived in after we took the never ending train from Cape Town to Johannesburg but we had taken one of the smaller buses and got dropped off at the bus park behind the station. Let’s just say, it’s not a place I’d want to arrive at late at night.

Anyway, we found our way into the station and got picked up by a relative of ours who then took us to Johannesburg Central Business District (CBD), the business hub of the city. We spent a good amount of time there getting introduced to our ‘fellow brothers and sisters from the East!’ πŸ™‚

We spent the rest of the day trying some of the local cuisine before we eventually called it a night. And thus, our little tour (if we can call it that) of South Africa has come to an end. Until next time…

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