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South Africa – A Mystical Place

I dreamed of visiting South Africa. I always thought of it as a mystical place full of mystery and wonder. It has met my expectations. WOW is all I have to say about my visit.

After arriving in Johannesburg, we were transferred to the Emperors Palace where we spent our first night. Our accommodations were very comfortable, the room pristine. I must say this is the first time we have had a room without walls separating the bathroom and shower from the bedroom. It was very different from what we Americans are used to, but it was very cool. Be careful, don’t lean on the curtains thinking they’re hiding a wall or you’ll be in serious trouble when you fall into the marble sink.

Emperors Palace is a hotel complex. Ours was the Peermont Metcourt which is connected to the Casino by walkways. We walked to dinner at the casino. There is a wide variety of restaurants to choose from. The food selection is also varied and extremely tasty. My husband ordered the Karoo, we had no idea what kind of meat that was. It turned out that the Karoo is an area in South Africa where the animal originated. we think the meat itself is mutton. I’m not as adventurous as my husband, so I ordered beef cooked on a skewer. Both meals were delicious and very cheap. We spent US$20.00 for the two of us and our dinner included a lovely African wine and dessert.

Our second day in Johannesburg after breakfast we were transferred back to the airport and caught our flight to Kimberley, South Africa We were met at the airport by our guide Steve for the next three days with Jacels Tours.

The Kimberley is the area where diamonds were first discovered in South Africa. The diamond mine called the Big Hole and Museum Village is located in the center of town and is today preserved as a living museum of days gone by. A very interesting place to visit!

After lunch at the Big Hole, we set off for a three-hour drive to Mattanu (Hebrew for Gift from Above) Private Game Reserve located in the North Cape Province, the largest, safest and most malaria-free province in South Africa, about 58 kilometers North West of the city Kimberley Digging for Diamonds. Upon arrival we met the Owner/Manager, Jacques Kriek. We toured Mattanu after the welcome drink. I am including some of the photos I took while in Mattanu.

                       

After our Mattanu tour we took our first game drive. It was perfect. We drove all over the reserve and looked at many different animals in the wild. I got some great photos and so did everyone else in our little group. After our wild ride in the lodge we returned to the main house and enjoyed a wonderful dinner prepared by the owner’s wife and daughters. After our delicious meal, we were transferred to our rooms for the night where we were able to rest and recover from a long day.

Early the next morning we had another great meal, breakfast, and then went out on a game drive where we were allowed to help with the activities. This was quite an experience for us. The owner of the sanctuary is a well-known and well-respected veterinarian who specializes in South African endangered species.

Dr. Crick drove in his helicopter to find the two wild animals that we were going to transport to another area. Below is one of the animals called “Oryx Antelope” that we captured and moved. It is the largest of the Antelope species.

I am including a photo of our capture and move. It was quite an experience to watch the Dr. shoot the tranquilizer from his helicopter over the animals. Once the animals were under the influence of the drug, we were signaled to shut them down and gently bring them into the flatbed truck that we used to transport them to their new location.

Once in the new location, we were given the opportunity to vaccinate the animals against diseases common to their breed. I was the lucky one chosen to give the shot to bring the Oryx back from anesthesia to full operation and my husband was so engrossed in what I was doing that he didn’t even take a picture. I was upset with this dilemma. I probably won’t see another opportunity like this again.

After the game safari was over, we packed up and headed to Twee Rivieren located on the banks of the Nossob River bed. We were met by the camp ranger who showed us to our accommodations for the night before meeting for dinner. The facilities are lovely and clean, we saw lots of animals and plants in the camp and in the immediate areas. Twee Rivieren is the only camp with 24 hour electricity (except when we had a storm and all the lights went out at night) and cell phone reception.

The next morning after breakfast we headed back to Kimberly Airport to catch our flight back to Johannesburg to make our connection to Sun City for the ASTA International Destination Expo. We were met in Johannesburg by our coach transfer to Sun City, another 2 hour drive. It turned out to be quite a long day.

Our hotels in Sun City were the Cascades Hotel. We stayed in a suite which was very comfortable and quite nice. The meals were excellent. Outside our room and everyone else’s there were wild monkeys that would come into the rooms if a door or window was left open or unlocked. They were little devils, we saw them climbing out of the hotel and breaking into rooms on the upper floors where the windows were left open. They will steal food from the mini-fridges.’ It was a lot of fun to watch them.

During the conference we learned about the surrounding regions of Southern Africa (Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, the Garden Route (wineries), the Western Cape, the North Cape, the Northern Cape and the Eastern Cape. We also learned about the industry spa in South Africa We were treated to another game safari and local entertainers The food was excellent and we were treated very well by our hosts.

Places to see:

South Africa is a region of great diversity. You will have the opportunity to see many elephants, land turtles, zebra, wild boar, bungee jump, zip lining, ocean surfing, fish, visit local tribal people, go hiking, ride a donkey cart, visit historical sites .

Don’t miss Cape Town. Cape Town’s unusual elegance makes it one of the most impressive cities in the world. Cape Town enjoys amazing beaches as well as the outstanding Table Mountain that can be seen from anywhere in the city. The restaurants are comparable to the great restaurants in big cities like New York or France, as are the wines. Cape Town is one of the main ethnically diverse cities in Africa and is known for its social tolerance.

East of Cape Town one can visit the Winelands with their dramatic views and beautiful mountains. This area is known for its culture and past history with several wonderful examples of distinctive Dutch architectural design dating back to the 17th century. The Winelands include several regions with their own tasting tours.

Knysna is a township at the center of South Africa’s stunning Garden Route. Knysna is located between the Outeniqua Mountains and the Indian Ocean. Knysna has defined South Africa’s favorite city, a pleasant and friendly place with lots to see and do. There is a large lagoon ideal for water sports and the adjacent forests are great for walking.

Durban’s “Golden Mile” is a series of beaches protected from shark nets and policed ​​by lifeguards throughout the day. This is prime surfing ground, but has plenty of room for swimmers and body-surfers too.

Shopping: Victoria Indian Street Market in Durban has a large Indian population, their ancestors were laborers transported by the British to work in the sugarcane fields in the late 19th century (as was a young Mohandas Gandhi). The Indian open air market is a bustling fascinating place that houses mosques and temples, lots of shops and delicious food.

Cape Town’s most stunning shopping district is Canal Walk. The shopping temple with its architecture that presents designs from the East and the Renaissance hosts more than 350 shops and restaurants, as well as theaters. Outside meander canals that reflect Venice. Here one can buy most of clothes, toys, attractive homewares, books and jewelry.

Wedding ceremonies take place here above the pool at Mattanu Private Game Reserve

Food and beverage:

A great South African dish is Cape Malay. It is very spicy, as it is a mixture of Dutch, and a mixture of East Indian and Oriental mixtures, all combined with colors and flavors that are definitely African in basis. Don’t miss the prospect of seeing, feeling and tasting this extraordinary Cape Town experience. The cuisine throughout South Africa is not to be missed.

South African wine country

Best times to go: South Africa is a year-round destination, so the time of year you visit depends on your travel plans. The best time to watch game is in early spring (August to October). Southern right whales are best seen inshore from mid-June to late October and humpback whales from August to December.

Diving is usually at its best from April to September, as is surfing. However, one can participate in these activities at any time of the year. The flowers are best presented in August and September. River rafting is always best in late winter. and summer (late November to February) in KwaZulu-Natal.

In the states of Mpumalanga and Limpopo, spring and autumn are unbeatable for hiking, as summer tends to be very hot. If you enjoy the beaches, midsummer is the best time to do it. however everyone else will be there too. KwaZulu-Natal’s beaches are temperate and sunny, even in the middle of winter.

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