An Awesome South Africa Adventure
Larry and Michelle Knight of Rogers, Arkansas recently returned from South Africa. Always intrigued by the idea of a safari, they were persuaded to go when one of Michelle’s work colleagues who is from South Africa told them how truly wonderful it is, and invited them to visit when she returned to her home country. I recently interviewed Larry about their experience. Here is their story:
“We called Linda [Margolin] to book this trip because she had helped us with Australia a few years ago. She always does a great job.
“We arrived in Johannesburg. The travel arrangements were perfect, so everything was all set for us to go out and explore. We were met by our guide at the airport for a private tour. We felt perfectly safe although Joburg does have reputation for crime. We saw Nelson Mandela’s home as well as much of the city. The Apartheid Museum was incredibly educational and an absolute must for anyone traveling to Joburg.
“We also spent a few days in Durban.” This east coast city is becoming a popular tourist destination thanks in part to the “Golden Mile,” a 3.75 mile stretch of sandy beach on the Indian Ocean. It is also culturally diverse, home to the most Indians anywhere outside of India, and a major center for Zulu culture -- with Shakaland, Zulu Safari Park and Isithumba Adventure Park, an authentic Zulu village 40 miles west of Durban.
Larry also said that “One of the best parts of our trip was the Nambiti Game Reserve, a few hours from Durban. We were so glad that we went to this incredible private game reserve.The private reserves are usually smaller, well managed properties. In the national parks, you might not see any animals since the property is large and the beasts may choose to avoid the road. In a private reserve, you can really get up close to the animals. Unlike some reserves, we got to tour in an open vehicle. We went out for about six hours a day, three hours in the morning, and three in the afternoon. We learned a lot about the animals and land thanks to our knowledgeable guide.”
“Best of all, we got to see all of the ‘big five.’ On Saturday morning we saw a female lion and her three rather large cubs hunting a cape buffalo. We saw both black and white rhinos. The preserve is fenced to aid with preservation of the animals, and this means they stay on the property. Because of this, you can see lions, giraffes, elephants and others in close proximity – sometimes even drinking from the swimming pool or lolling just outside your lodge.”
“The whole experience was phenomenal. If you’ve ever thought you wanted to do it, the experience is definitely worth the time and money. You may see the animals on TV or YouTube, but actually seeing them live in their native habitat is unbelievable!”
I asked Larry if what I’ve heard is true, that a safari is a life-changing experience, to which he answered, “Absolutely!”
Larry and Michelle went on to spend five days in Cape Town, a city rich with culture, history, nature and culinary arts. Highlights include Table Mountain where you can take the cable car to the top to enjoy spectacular views of the city. Kirstenbosch, the 1,000+ acre botanical garden, may be one of the most beautiful parks in the world. Of course there are the beaches: Boulders (see the penguins) or Clifton Beach for sun, sand and surf. Museums such Robben Island explore the city’s struggle against apartheid. The city also has a rich wine culture, and just beyond you can tour the vineyards, or try the local wines and all kinds of fabulous foods along the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront.
I also asked if they would like to go again, which elicited another enthusiastic, “Absolutely!”
Let us hear about your awesome travel adventures…