Thursday, 29 May 2014

Avocado Adventure Part 2

Now we have been home for nearly two months it seems so strange to think we were sitting in the sun not long ago. Apart from one weekend we have had nothing but wind and rain!! Never mind, heating back on and it's our summer!

Having written about the first part of our holiday adventure I thought Part 2 had better follow while memories are still relatively fresh. As this is strictly speaking a blog about our adventures in our Bailey motorhome, a trip behind Fiona and Harry in their special Bakkie through game reserves and dirt tracks in the north of South Africa are vaguely relevant -  to me anyway! Trekking north to the sun, a strange concept for us, but lots of fun and loads of animals in their beautiful natural surroundings made the trip perfect.

Fiona and Harry thought long and hard about where to take us on our first trip. Africa is such a vast country with so many beautiful places to see, we were glad they made the decision not us! I should have taken more pictures and certainly will on our next trip, but you get to a point when a picture can't really tell the whole story. Africa is such a spectacular and beautiful country and around every corner was yet another fantastic view. The mountains, villages and sea all to take your breathe away.

We left the farm near Hazyview and set off towards Nelspruit ( one of the fastest growing towns in Africa and gateway to The Kruger.) Harry took us on the route via the banana plantation just outside Hazyview, we were very pleased we were in a 4X4.

Following a good breakfast at The Wimpy in Nelspruit, up into the mountains we climbed. We were searching for a dirt road that Harry had wanted to try out for some time, he called it a "short cut!" It was foggy up there....

This was one of those roads that had we been on our own I would have absolutely refused to follow!!  Fiona was made of sterner stuff. And so off we rumbled.

Following a quick bit of 4x4 tuition, we made sure we were on the right road.

Den managed really well considering the only bit of 4X4 driving he had done was a course he did around 30 years ago in a field. Hardly preparation for what was to come but we survived and really enjoyed the journey, shame it was too bouncy to take many pictures. The scenery made up for the rough road and the excitement and sense of adventure, made up for the potholes.

Finally we made it down the track!

Across a few mountains, through a game reserve and then we were at the highest point of the trip. Fiona's little bushbaby hanging in the front of the car bounced along over the stones and through the ruts. Then we were descending from 5000+ metres above sea level, down to the town of Piet Retief where we stayed for the night at a very nice lodge and camp site.

The Sundowner Lodge our first stop of the night. A typical African Lodge and camp site. Complete with roaming animals and birds!


For the camping fraternity. Camping African style. We had a lovely meal in the restaurant and a sound sleep.

The next morning we were off on the second leg of the adventure to St Lucia on the coast, destination Cape Vidal in the Isimangaliso Wetland Park a World Heritage Site. Completely different to The Kruger and far less commercialised.
Harry and Fiona loved this area and it was beautiful. Cape Vidal has a population of crocodile,hippo and millions of birds.St Lucia is a lovely town and one I certainly would like to go back to.

 Water Buffalo at Cape Vidal.

Our stay at Cape Vidal was beautiful. We stayed in a lodge by the beach which was empty and spectacular. The setting was perfect with wildlife everywhere including this cute wild cat who wistfully eyed our BBQ.

 Our lodge nestling amongst the trees.
                                                                 The beautiful and warm Indian Ocean
    at Cape Vidal. Peace and tranquility.

Our journey through the reseve gave an abundance of animal viewing including hippos, rhino and many more animals.



From Cape Vidal we spent a few hours at Kosi Bay in the top north-east corner of KwaZulu-Natal, just south of the Mozambique border.
 Kosi Bay is made up of a system of wetlands, channels and lakes with hippo, crocs. Access to the beach was down a "Harry Track" a dirt road only suitable for 4X4's. We were so lucky to get a permit to visit as only a few are given out daily. We set off with trepidation, but it was such a lovely and exciting drive.

Den and Harry on the beach at Kosi Bay.

This area is so special, the local community still does subsistance fishing on the lakes.

Our final journey was to Mukuze
A really interesting game reserve which really showed the animals in their own setting. Very uncommercialised with few people there, we really felt we were in the bush. Here we saw magnificent herds of giraffes, hippo and more rhino. We were so lucky! Harry and Fiona were keen to see the long tusked elephants, I wasn't!!!

 Fiona started to panic at this point that the hippos were heading in our direction. After her encounter with one in the bush in another place, she was a little apprehensive. Fortunately, it snorted and went on it's merry way.

Our acommodation, yet another lovely lodge with restaurant and pool.

 Fiona outside one of the safari tents on site. Complete with kitchen proper beds and ensuite !

 Animals in the wild, how they should be.

We had the most fabulous time in South Africa with Fiona and Harry who made us so welcome. We enjoyed every minute of our time with them and learnt so much about their country and it's culture and customs. Everyone we met was so friendly and helpful, yes South Africa has it's problems but so does every country! 

Loved Africa and we will be back.......................... very soon.

Choose a special moment, can't really we loved every minute but the people we were with made the memories.

Thanks Fiona and Harry. Love you lots XXX  Den & Lesley

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