Continuing my South Africa journey from my previous post on Victoria Falls and Kruger National Park..
To be honest, the first leg of the trip was pretty tiring. We had 4 flights in 6 days, covering 3 countries and 2 national parks. Well, it was actually planned that way cause in case we didn’t manage to see the animals in the national park, we could see the guaranteed ones in the Game Reserves of Cape Town.
To be honest, after visiting the real deal in the national parks, looking at caged/enclosed animals ain’t awesome anymore. Spotting animals in the ‘wild’ is so memorable that nothing else can beat that awesomeness.
Day 7 – Thursday
[10:30] Transfer from Hotel to Kruger Airport
[13:00] Flight from Kruger to Cape Town
The flight from Kruger to Cape Town is rather pricey (~$350) but we kind of had no choice cause of the little one (3 years old).
To reduce cost, most people would take a bus from Kruger to Johannesburg and then transfer via plane back to Cape Town.
Lucky to be sitting on the correct side of landing to see Table Mountain and Lion’s Head on landing.
[15:45] Arrival at Cape Town
Transfer to Island Club Hotel
[18:31] Dinner at Mama’s Kitchen (Chinese/Sushi Resturant opened by Taiwanese)
Day 8 – Friday
[10:00] Transfer from accommodation to Aquila Private Game Reserve (Approx $247/pax – includes afternoon and morning game drive, 1 lunch/dinner/breakfast)
In a game reserve, you are able to kind of get a more guaranteed sighting of the animals as the area is actually barricaded. It is different from a zoo as zoo enclosures tend to be very small whereas in a Game Reserve, they have sufficient space to roam and graze around. My bro planned this game reserve visit after Kruger National Park as he said that in case we were so suay to not see anything in Kruger, we can still see 4 of the Big 5 in this game reserve.
Prior to this trip, I had the weird assumption that ‘Game’ refers to hunting and that ‘Game Reserve’ was a hunting enclosure and I was like, why are we visiting such a controversial and sad place? Thankfully, my idea of Game Reserve was incorrect and this just a huge safari for animals.
[12:30] Lunch at Game Reserve
[15:15] Afternoon Game Drive
We were in a 4 x 4 safari vehicle – somewhat bigger than the one we had in Kruger. Safety belts were not required – the terrain was rather decent – and the seats were ‘bench-style’ rather than seats; which means that it was not gonna be a bumpy ride.
As seen from the photo below, the drought situation was rather bad in the Western Cape of South Africa. The grass were turning brown and the vegetation seems like it was drying up.
There’s only 2 elephants in this reserve – I think it was a rescued elephant (explains why one does not have a tusk). There were a lot of Ostrichs in this reserve. If you don’t already know, Ostrichs, the world’s fastest bird, is native to South Africa.
The lions had a special enclosure – to protect them and to protect the other animals. The guide cautioned us to keep out hands within the vehicles as these animals are not one that you can take any chances on. The lions are well fed every morning – to keep them happy and full – so don’t expect to see any hunting within this enclosure.
There were baby rhinos when we visited! They are pretty proud of their rhino conservation project and have successfully bred quite a number of rhinos in this private reserve.
[18:30] End of Game Drive
[19:30] Dinner at Game Reserve
[20:45] Stargazing session
This was a free activity available at some dark corner of the resort. They set up a telescope and explained to you the popular stars in the sky. Yea – not all stars are famous; only the popular ones are. The shot below was taken using my Canon s120
Day 9 – Saturday
[06:09] Early morning Game Drive
Yes – the game drive starts insanely early at 6am – that’s when you get to see all the morning activities of the animals. The sky brightens up pretty early so by about 6:30am, it is somewhat bright already and the sun rises at about 6:50 to 7am and the skyline is so so so beautiful.
[07:50] End of Game Drive
After the morning game drive, breakfast will be ready. You can either go back to sleep or start eating straight away.
On the way back to Cape Town, we stopped by the lovely town of Franschhoek (full of vineyards and Cape Dutch architecture), for lunch. I have no idea where my brother picked up Fine dining from but I guess it was a lot more affordable as compared to Singapore. The La Petite Ferme estate was so beautiful (note: it’s also a luxury accommodation with rooms >$700) that I would love to stay there if I was rich enough. aww.
Still in the process of learnin to appreciate fine-dining. Every plate is a work of art – but sometimes/most of the times – I don’t feel full.. Nevertheless, it’s still an experience to enjoy relatively cheaper fine-dining in South Africa.
[14:00] Drive back to Hotel
[16:00] Check-in @ Island Club Hotel
[19:30] Dinner at Canal Walk Shopping Centre (Col’ Cacchio; Italian Food)
Day 10 – Sunday
[08:45] Depart Hotel
[10:00] Arrive @ Hout Bay for a boat cruise to see Seals @ Seal Island
For this boat cruise, you will be driven out to this random island (or rocks) in the middle of the sea which is home to a lot of seals. That’s about it. You will not be able to get too close to the seals but it’s still a pretty decent distance and.. we tried to count the number of seals but obviously, my niece gave up and just said its ‘many many’.
Round the corner of the Hout Bay area, there was a local flea market which we dropped by. Nothing too fancy but we bought a couple of snacks and quick bites there.
[12:05] Groot Constantia Cellar Tour + Wine Tasting
As part of our private tour package, we were brought to a vineyard for a cellar tour which comes with wine tasting.
(On a side note) It was tough trying to manage a bored 3-year-old kid who was obviously not interested with the tour. Nevertheless, I enjoyd the tasting at the end and you’re even given a free wine glass to keep as a souvenir!
[12:58] Lunch at Vineyard
[14:13] Visited Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden
I personally feel this place is skippable; unless you’re crazy over plants. The nicest part of this garden is the large grass area for kids to run around but since we were on a tour – we didn’t have the luxury of time to sit and have picnic and nua the afternoon away. Our driver was quite thoughtful. He stopped us at the top and asked us to enter and walk downwards; and then waited for us at the entrance at the bottom, so we didn’t have to climb back up again. We didn’t even spend an hour at this place. Oh wells.
[15:10] Depart for Table Mountain
[15:57] Cable Car up to Table Mountain
[17:12] Cable Car down from Table Mountain
[18:00] Back to Hotel
[19:31] Dinner at Canal Walk Shopping Centre (Had kebab which was.. not delicious)
Day 11 – Monday
[09:00] Depart Hotel
[09:41] Visited Rhodes Memorial
[11:11] Stopped by Fish Heok and Clovelly Beach
[12:00] See the Boulders Penguin Colony
[13:15] Lunch @ Asian Restaurant (where the average tasting food took forever to be served)
then again, we can’t blame anyone cause.. we requested the guide to bring us for asian food.
[14:57] Entered Cape of Good Hope National Park
[15:30] Took the tram up to the lighthouse @ Cape Point
I’m not sure if the blurry white lines in the ocean (photo below) belongs to the line where 2 oceans – atlantic (cold) and indian (warm) ocean meets.
[16:00] Tram down
[16:54] Took photo with the most ‘South-Western Point’ of the African Continent
[17:40] Drive along Chapman’s Peak (supposedly the most scenic drive of it all)
There was a super bad jam (due to an accident) and we took almost +2 hours to get back to Hotel
[19:50] Chinese Food (Sichuan) @ Sables Bar & Bistro
Day 12 – Tuesday
[08:57] Sent the baby to her kindergarten
[09:27] Had breakfast @ cafe nearby
[12:00] Lunch at La Colombe @ Constantia (Best fine dining restaurant according to recommendations)
[16:11] Brought the baby home
[18:20] V&A Waterfront
[19:20] Dinner @ V&A Food Market (Food Court)
[20:40] Back to Hotel
Day 13 – Wednesday
[09:00] Start of Garden Route [430km drive]
[12:33] Arrive @ Montagu Dried fruit shop
[16:30] Visited Cango Wild Ranch (somewhat like a zoo)
Saw crocodiles, flamingos, leopards, lions, tigers, cheetahs
[18:00] Stay at Yamkela Guest House
[19:20] Dinner @ Bello Cibo (Italian food, pretty delicious)
Day 14 – Thursday
[09:00] Breakfast @ accommodation
[10:30] Arrived @ Cango Cave but decided not to enter (a lot of steps + someone’s gonna carry the young one which is a hassle)
[13:00] Highgate Ostrich Farm (had a super short tour as it was raining)
[14:20] Lunch at Ostrich Farm
[17:11] Arrive @ Kynsna
[17:45] Took the John Benn Cruise around Knysna Estuary(but we didn’t exactly enjoy it much)
[20:20] Dinner at 34 degrees south
[21:40] Stay at The Graywood Hotel
Day 15 – Friday
[10:37] Visited East Head View Point
[12:54] Visited the World’s Highest Bungee Jump from Bloukrans Bridge
[13:51] Lunch at Storms River (Marily 60’s Diner)
[15:30] Storms River + walk to suspension bridge
[16:09] Arrived @ suspension bridge
[16:50] Back to vehicle
[20:00] Dinner at Turbine Hotel (nothing nice)
[21:50] Stay at The Graywood Hotel
Day 16 – Saturday (500km drive)
[10:00] See the ‘map of africa’ view point
[14:00] Lunch somewhere
[19:00] Back at Cape Town
[19:50] Dinner @ Steamboat ‘House’
Day 17 – Sunday
[08:45] Breakfast at Chinese eatery which serves youtiao and soybean milk
[10:45] Visited Audacia weekend Market and had super fresh oysters
[12:30] Explored Vineyards and had lunch at Webersburg
[15:30] Back to Cape Town City
[19:51] Chinese food again at a restaurant owned by Taiwanese
Day 18 – Monday
[06:30] Depart to Airport
[07:15] Settled tax refunds, Check-in etc.
[08:30] Breakfast @ airport
[11:00] Depart Cape Town
Day 19 – Tuesday
[06:30] Arrival in Singapore
Thanks for reading till the end.
My sincere apologies that I did not give much details and writeup on the places that I’ve visited as the memories are a little blurry given that it has been one year since my visit. I’m typing this paragraph as at 25-March-2019; and based on IG stories memory, I was at Hout Bay (Seals Boat Tour) and Table Mountain one year ago. Time really flies and I guess there’s no looking back. Anyway, as we were traveling with a private tour guide + having my bro ferrying us around between places, i can’t exactly provide much ‘free and easy’ information in this post. Should there be any places that you would like to know more details about, feel free to leave a comment or drop me an email or message via Facebook. I’ll be happy to assist whenever possible.
Anyway, I was reading my post one year ago where I wrote while I was on the plane ride back – http://www.flyhoneystars.com/2018/04/02/the-night-before-i-return-home/ – and I realized that the problems that Cape Town was facing back then was on water shortage and one year later, the city is out of electricity. There have been several power outages in the recent weeks and my brother has been stocking up on power bank (and oh my gawd he just ordered a solar-panel charger off lazada). Times like this makes me realize how lucky we are living in Singapore. I guess you really won’t know how much you are blessed with until you step out of the country.
On a random note, I saw these tips from their govt website and thought it was pretty interesting that they are so prepared with educational messages.
Switch off and unplug all electronics and appliances when the power is due to go off as it may come back with a spike in the voltage, which can damage electronic devices such as computers, television sets, DVD players, etc.
If your electricity remains off for longer than the period specified in the schedule, SMS the City’s technical operations centre on 31220. The restoration of power sometimes results in what is described as ‘nuisance tripping’, which often goes unreported due to the assumption that the outage is due to load-shedding.
Communication: Ensure that your cell phone, laptop, tablet and radio are always fully charged when power is available. This will allow you to be able to communicate with friends and family during load-shedding
Transport: Make sure that your vehicle always has fuel in the tank as most petrol stations are unable to pump fuel during power outages.
Cash: Keep some cash on you as ATMs cannot operate without electricity
Security and safety: Backup batteries for electrically operated gates, garage doors and security systems should be kept in a good working condition and be able to last through periods of load-shedding. Store temporary lighting such as battery-powered torches, gas lamps and candles in places where they will be easy to find in the dark
Eating: If you do not have a gas stove, prepare meals before the power is scheduled to be switched off. Boil water in your kettle and keep it in thermos flasks for hot drinks. You can also use an insulating cover on teapots, pots and pans to keep drinks and meals warm
Most medication requiring refrigeration can be kept in a closed fridge for several hours without spoiling but you should check with your doctor or pharmacist if in doubt
Now that I’m done writing about my 4th longest holiday (1st place: USA Work & Travel, 2nd place: Summer Exchange in Korea, 3rd place: Grad Trip in Europe), it’s time to start planning for the longest-ever-trip which will likely be overtaking USA as my longest holiday. I’ll share more in the weeks to come but till then, do continue to check back for updates! I’m intending to switch my style back to the casual conversational entries rather than the factual-writing style as I thought that the former best displays my personality.
Till then ^^