Sunday, October 3, 2010

South Africa 06.28-07.29 - Cape Town and Stellenbosch

We spent our last few days in Cape Town by going to the street market, wandering around the local shops, a pirate ship sunset cruise and taking a day long tour of wine country. 

Our wine tour was through Cape Wine and Leisure Tours and was led by Will Swanepoel. Highly recommended! We were picked up at our place and had tastings at 4 wineries: Tocara, Muratie, Delheim and Warwick, and even had an olive oil tasting and cheese platter to round out the evening. The convenience and expertise were well worth the cost.
Here are some photos from the rest of the Cape Town adventures.

All in all this was an excellent trip. There are still many things we did not get to see but overall were able to see most everything that we wanted. The people were amazing, the price was right, and it left us wanting more. Can't wait for our next African adventure!

South Africa 06.28-07.29 - Johannesburg and Cradle of Mankind

Upon leaving Kruger we headed straight for Johannesburg to stay with some friends. We only stayed for two days but were able to see some of the Cradle of Mankind by taking a tour of the Sterkfontein caves and a little museum in Maropeng complete with a ride through time. We were also able to check out the casino in hopes of getting a kilo of shrimp for 66R (less than $10!) but went on the wrong day :( fortunatley, there was some delicious Indian food next door.

Cradle of Mankind is a region where many notable hominid fossils have been found, including the Taung child, Mrs. Ples, and Little Foot (which they had just finished excavating the week prior to our tour after a 10yr endeavor). The cave was originally mined for limestone so most of the typical cave architecture was not present (very few stalagtites and stalagmites). However, the caves were still incredibly beautiful.
Gate blocking the Little Foot excavation.

After the cave tour we headed toward Maropeng for the 'theme park' we had been told existed. We ended up sneaking into the ride through time and the museum. The ride was pretty ridiculous and at one point our raft got stuck between the ice (presumably from the ice age) and we had to work to get it free! After the ride through time you had to walk through the Black Hole which was incredibly disorienting and dizzying, but super fun! We then headed out toward the museum part of the theme park.

On the way back to Cape Town (yes, we made the 15hr drive from Johannesburg to Cape Town in one day) we stopped by Soccer City. From here we began the journey back to our starting point, to wrap things up and finish seeing the sites.

South Africa 06.28-07.29 - Kruger

From Nelspruit we ventured off to Kruger for a 3 day safari. The first night we stayed in a safari tent in Skukuza, the following day venturing north to Letaba where we stayed in a 'hut'. The first day we entered through the Melalane gate and slowly made our way to Crocodile Bridge and the Lower Sabie before ending in Skukuza. The second day we worked our way north up to Letaba, and the last day made our way back down toward Satara and out of the Orpen gate. We even tried a night safari but had better luck during the day! As an aside, we only saw hyenas when we were at the camps, and they were much bigger than expected! Apparently they get fed by some of the tourists as well as each from the garbage that is disposed of. I would just like to know who thought it was a good idea to feed one through the fence!

We were able to see all of the big 5 - lions, elephants, water buffalo, rhinos and one leopard. Additionally we saw cheeta, zebra, giraffes, hippos and tons and tons of impala and other antelope species. The only thing we didn't see was a male lion.

Here is a sampling of what we saw, there are too many pictures to choose from so hopefully I haven't left anything out!

Can you find the leopard?