Category Archives: South Africa

Off the beaten track on the Garden Route in South Africa

Dramatic cliffs, craggy rock formations, thick green vegetation and wide sandy beaches make up the South African coast.  It is varied and staggeringly beautiful.  The Garden Route is a particularly scenic 150 miles of coastal road that starts near Mossel Bay and passes through a series of pretty seaside towns until it reaches St Franis Bay.  What makes this stretch so special is that it is flanked on the one side by a continuous mountain range made up of the Outeniqua Mountains, the Langeberg Mountains and the Tsitsikamma Mountains and the Indian Ocean on the other.  This makes for an outstandingly beautiful drive with the mountains forming a spectacular backdrop and the Indian Ocean offering mile after mile of glittering vistas over the sea.

There are a tempting selection of things to do along the way too.  There are private safari lodges and vineyards to visit; extreme adventure and tranquil retreats to experience; local arts and crafts to see and excellent restaurants to try.  The area is also a haven for nature lovers with an endless supply of walking trails, coastal paths and nature reserves to explore.

The towns along the route are as picturesque and as they are charming and you can stop off to eat fresh oysters and drink locally brewed beer in Knysna; swing from bungies and whizz through forest canopies near Tsitsikamma; relax on long sandy beaches at Pettenberg Bay; or explore the wilderness at Nature’s Valley.

We visited Knysna and Plettenberg Bay.  These two towns are perfectly placed for exploring the Garden Route and each has its own unique character.

Knysna is a peaceful town nestled on the shores of an estuary between indigenous forests and the sea.  If you are visiting Knysna you mustn’t miss The Knysna Heads, which many consider to be the most striking geological features along the entire southern African coastline.  These rocky cliffs and outcrops flank a treacherous channel through which the sea pours to form a lagoon at the mouth of the Knysna River.  Knysna is also well placed to day-trip to Goukhama Nature Reserve and Buffalo Bay, which have fantastic swimming beaches.  Gouldveld Forest is also close by.  Gouldveld is part of the Garden Route National Park and is home to the old Milkwood Gold Mines and great hiking and mountain biking.

In contrast Plettenberg Bay is right on the beach and has golden sand as far as the eye can see.  It is a mecca for watersports and an excellent location for exploring the rugged hiking trails of Robberg Nature Reserve and its famous seal colonies.  Plettenberg Bay is also well-known for its ocean safaris because the waters around Plettenberg are the favourite places for dolphins, whales and seals and from July to the end-November whales come to these waters to calf in huge numbers.

Below are a few things we loved during our visit and if you have any special places along the Garden Route you can share them via the comments section below.

We loved Brenton-on-sea for its stunning views and the fantastic walk along the sandy beach to Buffalo Bay (click here to find out how:  http://www.gardenrouteadventureguide.com/brenton-to-buffalo-bay-beach-walk.html).

For drinks and sunsets we found the Butterfly Blu Restaurant at Brenton Haven.  This has a lovely decked patio that looks out to sea and from here you can watch the sun set over the ocean.  (For more information visit:  http://www.brentonhaven.co.za/).

Knysna and Pletts have an excellent selection of accommodation.  Knysna is very laid back and we recommend staying on The Knysna Heads.  However there are only a few places to stay in this part of town and the best views are to be found at Headlands House (http://www.headlandshouse.co.za/), The Alexander and Head Over Hills.

In Plettenberg things get a bit more formal and for those who like to stay in boutique hotels The Plettenberg Hotel is gorgeous and part of the Elizabeth Garth collection (http://www.collectionmcgrath.com/content/landing/the-plettenberg).  If you prefer a smaller and less formal place try Christana’s Lodge (http://christianalodge.com/) It is a small guest house just moments from the beach.

We also fell in love with Tsitsikamma National Park, which is an easy drive from Plettenberg bay.  The park straddles both the Western and Eastern Cape and has 80 km of dramatic coast. Tsitsikamma is considered one of South Africa’s must see destinations (click here to read about our visit to Tsitsikamma National Park).

Western Cape South Africa

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Tsitsikamma National Park, one of South Africa’s must visit destinations

Even the most hardened urbanite cannot fail to be impressed by Tsitsikamma National Park.  No words or photographs, however impressive, can really prepare you for the spectacular nature of the park. The thick forest foliage tumbles down to meet the coast of craggy rocks, sandy coves and beaches full of shells – making it is one of those rare beauties that is visually stunning and has the ability to energize the soul.

Tsitsikamma is the jewel in the crown of South Africa’s Garden Route National Park.  It straddles the Western and Eastern Cape covering an impressive 80 km stretch of dramatic coastline with lush green temperate high forests and fynbos vegetation.  It is the sound of crashing of waves that announces your arrival at the Tsitsikamma’s coast; the waves pound the rocks and claw at the beaches.  Whilst just a few hundred meters away the rich green tapestry of indigenous vegetation, that is home to vervet monkeys, genets, blue duiker, bush pig, Cape clawless otters, and leopard, rises steeply away. It is easy to see why many people choose to spend weeks here; it is a nature lover’s paradise and whether you are a bird-watcher, diver, hiker, adrenaline junkie or just like to chill out with a beer by the barbecue, Tsitsikamma has something for everyone.

A good introduction to the park is through its short walks.  These showcase some of the most beautiful parts of the park and have been designed with the day visitor in mind.  There are two entrance point, one in the Western Cape at Nature’s Valley and the other in the Eastern Cape at Storm River Mouth.

At Nature’s Valley the trails range from 2 to 6 km and can be combined into a single 20 km walk, if you want something longer.  Alternatively there is the much longer, 60 km, Tsitsikamma Trail.

At Storm River Mouth there are four main walking trails and the starting point for the famous 41 km Otter’s hiking trail.  For those short on time or energy there is an easy stroll along boardwalks that starts near the visitor’s centre and goes to the famous Suspension Bridge and Lookout.  This route gives breathtaking views of the coast and passes through indigenous forest. For those wanting a longer walk there is the Blue Duiker Trail that combines forest and coast and includes the Agulhas lookout where whales and dolphins can often be spotted in winter.  The Lourie Trail is a shorter version of the Blue Duiker Trail and passes by a pretty waterfall and has plenty of stunning views over the marine reserve.  Finally there is the Waterfall trail; this is the main coastal walk.  It is a short but demanding walk that follows the first 2.65 kilometres of the Otter Trail. The Otter’s Trail is one of the most famous hikes in South Africa, it takes 5 days to complete and goes through some of the most spectacular parts of the park, many of which are only be accessible to those with the permits to hike the Otter’s trail.

Alternatively, if it is an adrenaline rush you seek, then head for Bloukrans Bridge near Storm River, which has the world’s highest bungee jump at 216 metres (709 ft).  Or try a forest canopy tour, where you can zip between the tree tops on wires for an adrenaline fuelled forest experience. Or you can spend your time on the water, racing down river rapids with the unique Blackwater Tubing experience.  Tsitsikamma is often referred to as one of South Africa’s must visit destinations and it is easy to see why it has this reputation.

If you have some tips or suggestions about  visiting Tsitsikamma National Park please feel free to share the information in the comments section below.

For more information about visiting the park go to:

http://www.sanparks.org/parks/garden_route/camps/storms_river/

http://www.tsitsikamma.info/

http://www.tsitsikamma.info/listing/tsitsikamma_national_park

South Africa National Park

Goukamma – a hidden gem on South Africa’s famous Garden Route

Goukamma is one of those special places that takes you far away from the crowds and lets you explore some of South Africa’s unique environments up-close.  This hidden gem boasts miles of golden sandy beaches, some of the highest vegetated dunes in South Africa, large expanses of coastal forest with milkwood, yellowwood and candlewood trees and Groenviel Lake.  This lake is unique in the fact that it has no inflowing river nor an outlet to the sea, instead it is feed by an underwater spring.

Goukamma is the jewel in the crown of the Garden Route National Park, hidden away at the centre of the South Africa’s spectacular Garden Route just a few kilometres from the bustling coastal towns of Knysna and Sedgefield.  Whales and dolphins can often be seen close to shore here; and between June and December the Southern Right Whales come to breed here and these magnificent mammals can often be spotted in large numbers off the beaches at Goukamma.

One of the best ways to explore the reserve is through the series of beautifully kept and well-marked walking trails.  We loved the Bush Pig Trail; it is the perfect circular hike which explores some of the best parts of the reserve, passing through the famous fynbos, which flower in September and October.  The trail goes along the high dunes and has fantastic views across to the sea, as well as passing through fascinating and well-preserved areas of indigenous coastal forest.  There is an optional detour that goes down to a particularly spectacular part of the 14km of beach that is protected by the reserve. The whole walk is very enjoyable but it is the stretches along the fynbos ridges that are especially memorable as they offer breathtaking views of the coast and the estuary.

There are five other day hikes of varying length, each covering a hugely diverse terrain with different habitats. The Galjoen Trail is a 12km beach walk; The Porcupine Trail (13.5km ) explores the extensive dune systems; whilst The Cape Clawless Otter Trail ( 6.5km) goes through the different habitats near Groenviel lake.  The shortest walk is The Buffalo Bay Trail that meanders for 4.2km through the forest and coastal vegetation of Buffalo Bay.  Whilst on the Groenvlei side of the reserve is The Blombos Trail.  This is a must for anyone interested in birdwatching and the trail has 15km, 13km or 6.5km options.

As well as hiking we loved watching the sun set from Goukamma’s beach near Buffelsbaai.  This stretch of the coast is rocky, rugged and breathtakingly beautiful and there is a small sandy stretch which is perfectly placed to chill out and watch the sun go down over the Goukamma Nature Reserve.  A little further on is the wide sandy swimming beach of Buffalo bay and at its furthest end is Brenton-on Sea and the lovely little restaurant Blu.  Blu sits above the beach and has a fantastic terrace that faces out to sea with views across the bay towards Buffalo and Goukamma.  We thought Blu was the perfect place for sundowners and dinner, its position is unbeatable and the views are stunning.

If you have any special places or things to do at Goukamma and would like to share them please do so using the comments section below.

Getting there:

The main entrance is on the main road to Buffalo Bay on the N2 between Sedgefield and Knysna.

Useful links:

http://www.capenature.co.za/reserves/goukamma-nature-reserve/

http://www.gardenrouteadventureguide.com/goukamma-blombos-trail.html

http://www.sahikes.co.za/Details.asp?TrailID=82

Exploring the indigenous woodlands in Goudveld Forest, South Africa

Towering trees, dense green foliage, moss covered forest floors and the famous giant Outeniqua yellowwoods draped in Old Man’s Beard are just some of the majestic sights found in South Africa’s indigenous forests.  Sadly there are only a few pockets of these indigenous forests left and Goudveld Forest, near Knysna, is one of them.  The Goudveld Forest is part of the mosaic of protected areas that make up the Garden Route National Park.  It offers the visitor the chance to explore these ancient environments and is a haven for walkers, birdwatchers and cyclists.  It is a unique place and there is a magical feeling to be surrounded by the three metre high ferns, giant yellowwood and ancient ironwoods that are home to the red-billed wood hoopoe, baboons, bush pigs, porcupines, bushbuck and the famous emerald green Knysna Loerie.

There are some excellent walks here, some of which are self-South Africa walksguided.  The 9 km Circles in the Forest walk is entirely in indigenous forest.  Starting and ending at Krisjan-se-Kek picnic site, which is known for its spectacular 800 year-old Outeniqua yellowwood tree.  This circular trail is a well marked and follows small tracks that wind their way through the old growth forest eventually leading to an old mining path that goes along the bank of Forest Creek and back to Krisjan-se-Kek.  There picnic sites, mountain biking trails and several others walks in the area: including the Jubilee Creek walk and Milkwood Mining Walk.  The Milkwood Walk has beautiful views over the Milkwood Nature Reserve and across to the Outeniqua Mountains, which can be seen in the distance.

For those looking for a challenge there is the outstanding Outeniqua hiking trail.  This trail can be done as a series of day walks or as a full seven day hike staying in rustic huts along the way.  The trail starts in Beervlei near George, passes through Goudveld and ends at Harkerville in the East between Knysna and Plettenberg Bay.

We loved Goudveld Forest and if you have discovered any other special places or things to do in Goudveld Forest and would like to share them please do so using the comments section below.

Getting there:

Goudveld State Forest is only around 30km (19 miles) from Knysna.  From Knysna take the N2 towards George, about 8km out take the Rheenendal turnoff to the right. Follow this road for 12.6km and take the Bibby’s Hoek / Millwood Gold Fields turnoff to the right (becomes gravel just after the turn).

Useful links:

http://www.sanparks.co.za/parks/garden_route/tourism/activities/forest_excursions.php

http://www.gardenrouteadventureguide.com/circles-in-the-forest-hiking-trail.html

To have a glimpse at some of the other fantastic things we saw in South Africa click here for spectacular views along the Garden Route coast and here for views and the big 5 in Kruger National Park and here for wildlife in Sabi Sands.

If you are thinking of going to safari in South Africa click here to read about staying in Lebombo in Kruger National Park and here for our blog about Sabi Sands.

Goudveld State Forest Indigenous forest walk

Sabi Sands and The Greater Kruger, South Africa

The Kruger National Park is spectacular and offers some of the best wildlife viewing opportunities in Africa. Surrounding the Kruger National Park are the private game concessions that make up the Greater Kruger and Sabi Sands region. The Sabi Sand Reserve areas itself is an association of freehold landowners, many of whom manage commercial safari operations. These areas were originally private hunting lodges or cattle farms owned by wealthy white farmers and have been passed down through the same family for generations. Many of these families have now turned their hands to wildlife tourism. There are a bewildering number of lodges and options in the area and something for every budget. The main difference comes down to the number of guests the private reserve allows on its property and the size of the land they have access to. As some of these private reserves are relatively small they have done deals with neighbouring lodges and share land access to increase the likelihood of seeing wildlife. This can mean that there are a lot of vehicles and people trying to get a glimpse at the same thing at any one time and the animals are highly habituated to vehicles and people. The upside is it is easy to see wildlife.

Singita and Malamala offer the most exclusive and authentic experiences in the area. Having stayed at Singita properties before it is fair to say that they offer the guest an exceptional stay (click here to see the post about Singita Lebombo). Whilst in Sabi Sands we stayed at Sabi Sabi and Londolozi both are excellently located within the Greater Kruger & Sabi Sands area and it was Sabi Sabi Selati that revealed itself to be the real hidden treasure in Sabi Sands.

Sabi Sabi has 4 gorgeous lodges and each lodge has a distinctly different feel to it: from the traditional colonial to uber eco-modern cool. Each lodge is located in a different area of their reserve and the diverse habitats of the area mean that each lodge has a unique setting compared to the others. The area has a very colourful history and was one of the first in the area to turn its hands to wildlife eco-tourism. The first recorded camp at Sabi Sabi was back in 1830 when European hunters used the south bank of the Sabie River as a base

Sabi Sabi private game reserve
Sabi Sabi private game reserve

for their hunting expeditions. Nowadays the only shots are those taken with cameras and Sabi Sabi is an excellent place for wildlife photography and specialises in photographic safaris as well as regular wildlife spotting. Of the four lodges Sabi Sabi Bush lodge is the largest and has a classic African safari lodge feel to it; Sabi Sabi Little Bush Camp is more intimate, with a rustic in the bush feel. In contrast the new Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge is a uber modern African eco-lodge and the pretty Sabi Sabi Selati has an old world charm to it that conjures up the 1870’s great safari era, as it looks out over a classic African watering hole.

Sabi Sabi Selati only has 8 individually thatched suites, which are scattered throughout a beautifully kept garden surrounded by the wild African bush. It has an interesting past and is close to the oldSelati railway line, from which it takes its name. The railway line was built-in the 1870’s to take gold mined from the Drakensburg Mountains in the interior of the country to Mozambique. The railway disappeared long ago but the old railbed can still be seen in the north-eastern section of Sabi Sabi and is a favourite hang-out for the Sabi Sabi pride of lions. The camp is full of old colonial and railway memorabilia and is a reminder of days gone by when the white settlers tried, and succeed, to create ordered gardens in the wilderness to remind them of home. There is a colonial style bar and dining area with fantastic views over the waterhole and we enjoyed several meals watching buffalo, wildebeest, elephant and rhino coming down to drink. The pool and lounge area also look out over the waterhole and are perfect to relax between game drives, unless you are lucky enough to stay in the Ivory Suite,

Ivory Suite Sabi Sabi Selati
The Ivory Suite at Selati, South Africa

where you have your own private plunge pool and veranda that look directly onto the bush. Evening meals are taken under the stars in the traditional boma, which is lit up with light from scores of pretty lamps and candles and has a camp fire at its centre.

Game drives go out early morning and late afternoon and every drive is different. This is one of the exciting things about going on a game drive, it is a blank page, and no one is sure what one will see on that drive. The Sabi Sabi reserve is composed of a diverse range of habitats and their area is made up of open plains, rocky outcrops, river frontage, indigenous thickets, seep lines and arid bushveld. This in turn creates an environment for different plants and trees to grow, which attracts different herbivores which attract the predators. You are likely to see the “big five” and plenty more, forSabiSabi is home to giraffe, zebra, waterbuck, wildebeest, kudu,inyala,impala, leopard, lion, rhino, buffalo, elephant and hippopotamus, as well as a huge variety of birds and smaller animals.

Leopard sighting in Sabi Sabi private game reserve

We saw a great variety of wildlife during our stay and highlights included a pride of young lions at night setting out to hunt; a female leopard with her club who had just killed and dragged their kill into a Marula tree; a crash of rhinos with a very young and curious calf; 3 lionesses who had recently brought down a waterbuck; and a tiny, tiny chameleon hiding on a twig by the roadside, which Polly our tracker managed to spotted in the pitch black of night as we were heading back from our last night safari. Click here and here to take a look at some of our sightings in South Africa.

Londolozi on the other hand is very different. It clearly has a powerful marketing vehicle at its back, which is focussed on its main market: America. What it lacks on the ground it makes up for with a super slick website and social media feed. They sell themselves as having five separate lodges, but the truth it is that all the accommodation is in the same place. The 5 lodges are linked by boardwalks and are only 5 minutes walk apart. Londolozi has over 30 rooms, designed to accommodate large family groups, and this means it can be pretty busy both at the property and out on safari. Londolozi has the feeling of being managed as a branded hotel resort and this is noticeable in every aspect from the food, to the decor, the activities and the staff. This approach is undoubtedly a successful model, in fact it has been successful exported around the world and many visitors may prefer this approach to hospitality. But it is worth noting that Londolozi is definitely more disneyesque than anywhere else we have visited* in Africa. The game drives felt like we were being driven round the roads of a wildlife park rather than the African bush. Our guide/driver seemed to work off a script, the same stories were churned out daily and he was unenthusiastic (or nervous) when it came to taking the vehicle off the designated roads, unless other vehicles were already there. Unfortunately the guide/driver seemed to be completely oblivious to his surrounds, insisting on talking loudly the whole time, raising his voice when we were close to wildlife and causing the animals to move away. Londolozi will probably appeal those who are looking for a hotel experience in a lovely setting. Sabi Sabi on the other hand was a real gem, authentic, caring and personal, with excellent wildlife viewing opportunities and professional guides who seem to have a genuine passion for their job.

For more information about the Sabi Sabi camps and lodges go to: http://www.sabisabi.com/

For more information about the Singita Sabi Sand lodges (Boulders and Ebony) visit: http://singita.com/ and click here access our post about Singita Lebombo.

For more information about the Sabi Sands area and different private lodge concessions in the area go to: http://www.sabisand.co.za/ and http://www.sabi-sands.com/

For more information about Londolozi, click here: http://www.londolozi.com/

* the writer has spent time in both East and Southern Africa. She lived in East Africa for 2 years and over the years has had the privilege of going on safari in the different parks in Tanzania, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa. She has also visited the Congo (to see the Gorillas), Uganda, Malawi and Swaziland and continues to visit Africa whenever possible.

Sabi Sabi Selati
View across to the Sabi Sabi Selati waterhole from the camps viewing deck

Singita Lebombo and South Africa’s Kruger National Park

“Place of miracles” is the English translation of “Singita” and the natural settings where Singita lodges are found certainly justify the name. Renowned for their spectacular settings, exceptional wildlife viewing opportunities, outstanding service and sensational food and wine, Singita lodges offer an experience that few can match. They also care about the places they touch and the communities whose land they share and this is reflected in everything they do, their whole philosophy is dedicated to environmentally conscious hospitality, sustainable conservation and the empowerment of local communities, which makes a stay even more rewarding.

Singita Lebombo has a privileged location within the Kruger National Park. It is, in fact, one of the few private game reserves within the actual boundaries of the National Park.

The Kruger National Park is one of the oldest and largest protected natural areas in the world. First protected in 1898, it became South Africa’s first national park in 1928 and today still protects 2 million hectares of wilderness and is home to an unrivalled diversity of fauna and flora. It is a fascinating place not just because of its wildlife and Kruger is home to an impressive 336 trees species, 49 types of fish, 34 amphibians, 114 reptiles, 507 birds and 147 mammals, the park has an incredible history; key archaeological sites, it is rich in traditional culture and has a formidable reputation for ground breaking research and is a world leader in advanced conservation methods.

Singita Lebombo occupies 15,000 hectares within the south eastern reaches of the Kruger National Park. This corner of Kruger is diverse and the area managed by Singita has four of the five eco-zones found in the Kruger within its boundaries. This diversity of habitat types brings with it a great variety of wildlife, enhancing Lebombo’s reputation as one of the best places to experience a pristine wilderness region in Africa.

Room with a view at Singita South Africa
View from one of the suites at Singita Lebombo

The Lebombo Mountains dominate the landscape and the lodge itself is perched along the rugged cliffs above the N’wanetsi River. Each individual guest suite overlooks the river and the rich surrounding habitat, so that guests can relax watching wildlife from the privacy of their own private balcony in between their daily safari activities. It is quite simply, an experience unmatched anywhere else in the world.

Singita Lebombo has been designed around the theme of an eagle’s nest, allowing for elevated views over the Kruger National Park. These views are central to the experience at Lebombo and glass has been used extensively, so that one can enjoy the magnificent landscape wherever you are on the property. The interiors are beautifully decorated with natural wood and organic textures mixed with steel and contemporary touches. Singita’s philosophy means that it touches very lightly on its surroundings and keeps its impacts to a minimum and there are only 15 suites and a maximum of 30 guests at any one time. This makes for an exceptionally personalised experience, from a dedicated butler, to the creative menus that Cheetah and cubs Kruger South Africachange daily and the exceptional guides and trackers who take a personal pride in fulfilling your safari dreams.

The lounge area, where guests meet before game drives and meals, showcases the expansive vistas that surround the property. Its spacious interior is airy and stylishly decorated with furniture and decorative pieces made from grass, wood and steel. There are beautiful rustic pieces designed and created by the local communities using raw materials from the region, which add a soft edge to the contemporary space. The dining area is encased in glass, creating a simple yet elegant space with beautiful views across the tree tops. There is also a traditional boma for more social gatherings and a gorgeous pool that provides the perfect spot to refresh and relax between game drives.

Singita is renowned for its food and wine. It is recognised as one of Africa’s most influential wine collectors and each lodge has an extensive wine cellar onsite. It is safe to say that wine is a key ingredient to the Singita experience and each meal is accompanied by carefully selected wine suggestions to compliment the food, as well as an extensive wine list. Each meal is unique and created that day based on the ingredients available. The menus are inspired by the local surroundings and use home-grown ingredients that add a special flair to each dish. The results are memorable.

No two nights are quite the same at Singita Lebombo and during our stay we were treated to an evening of wine tasting followed by dinner in the dining area that looks out over the euphorbia trees that are endemic to the area; a relaxing dinner under the stars beside the pool; a campfire dinner in the traditional boma with fellow guests, guides and trackers and a presentation of local music and dancing from the Singita choir; and finally a secluded candlelight dinner for two where we dined surrounded by scores of flickering lamps and the sounds of the African bush.

As with the evenings no two days are ever the same either and there are a range of activities to keep you busy such as walking safaris, visits to the Singita School of Cooking in the staff village, mountain biking, stargazing safaris and archery. But game drives are the main event and with 15,000 hectares of African bush to explore and some of the best guides and trackers on the continent you will not be disappointed. During your stay you will see a great variety of wildlife. There are plenty of herds of the grazing animals that attract the big cats, such as giraffe, zebra, waterbuck, wildebeest, kudu, inyala and impala and you are likely to see leopard, lion, rhino, buffalo, elephant, hippopotamus and cheetah, as well as a huge Lion cubs in Kruger National Park South Africavariety of birds and smaller animals. We were lucky enough to see all the “Big 5” and much more during our stay. There were so many amazing sightings during our time at Singita Lebombo that it is difficult to choose a few highlights, but to see the famous white lion cub was a real bonus and spotting a family of rare Ground Hornbills was pretty amazing. Yet another treat was watching 2 lionesses’ chill out with their 8 playful cubs, but perhaps the biggest surprise had to be coming across two shy leopards embarking on their elaborate mating ritual.

Game drives go out early morning and late afternoon when it is cooler and the animals are more active. The open Land Rovers are especially designed for wildlife viewing and photography. Each day is unique and has its own surprises, although you will most certainly be treated to morning coffee and evening sundowners in the most spectacular places. One morning we sipped our coffee whilst watching rhinos wallowing in mud to rid themselves of ticks and a herd of zebra with foals frolicking close by. Another morning we enjoyed our coffee break watching a female cheetah and her two playful cubs pass by whilst stalking a small group of impala. These are truly magical moments. And then there is the evening sundowner – enjoying a drink out in the bush as the sun sets is a sheer Drinks in the wilds of South Africadelight. Before ones eyes the sun begins its slow descent, bathing the African bush in a golden light until it finally disappears behind the horizon, leaving behind it a black and starry night. These are experiences that simply should not to be missed.

Kruger National Park and particularly Singita Lebombo offers a unique experience to see a pristine corner of the world that has been protected from the march of man’s “progress” for over 110 years. It is a rare privilege that is surprisingly accessible to those who wish to encounter remoteness and nature’s beauty.

For more information about Singita lodges and stays go to: http://singita.com/ and here for more information about The Kruger National Park.

Credits and footnotes: The writer stayed at Singita Lebombo as a regular guest and paid for their stay in-full. Photography has been taken for use on this blog, click here and here to have a glimpse at just a few things we saw during our trip to South Africa. Please ask if you would like to use any of the photography on the site. We are happy to share. We just ask that you ask first and credit accordingly.

African Sunset
Sunset over the Africa bush

Spectacular views on the Garden Route in South Africa

Beautiful Africa – remote and wild

South Africa is a country of outstanding  beauty.  Sabi Sands and the Kruger National Park are renowned for great lodges, fantastic wildlife viewing opportunities and adventure.  Read more about our trip to these two different areas, click here for the post on Sabi Sands and here for the post on our stay at Singita Lebombo in the Kruger National Park .

On Safari in the Kruger in South Africa

Here is a peek at some of the things we saw whilst on safari in South Africa.  Read more about the ultimate safari experience offered by Singita Lebombo in Kruger National Park and our visit to the Sabi Sands region in the Greater Kruger.