Tales from Kruger | 04 | always on the road

If you’ve never been to the Kruger National Park – or any game reserve for that matter – then there’s one specific quality that you have to have to be able to enjoy it. you need to be okay with spending hours in the car. The only way to see the animals is to drive to where they are, and the only way to do that is to spend lots of time in the car. The fact that you’re limited to 40km/h most of the time and the fact that you’re generally not allowed to get out of the car makes being content with hours in a car even more important.

Now, being in this amazing place for three weeks on end means quite a lot of hours logged behind the wheel. And I can tell you that the moments where you get to photograph some awesome animals are exactly that, just moments. Moments compared to hours spent in the car. I’m not complaining though. I managed to make the most of the car experience, bonding with the windmills, including the car window in my shots and staring at the deserted road in front of me through my lens every now and then.

Check out these five recommended roads to drive to spot animals in the Kruger

Lonely windmill

Probably the loneliest road I've driven so far.

Hyenas on the H6

Sometimes, just sometimes, the cars are in the way a little. But it’s always nice when the animals decide to some to you rather than you trying to crop that bush out of the shot.

Zebra on S1/Doispane Road

Baboon love

Stomp stomp stomp

At this particular instance, I made the stupid mistake of driving by a herd of elephants that were busy munching just off the side of the road. So just as I drove on, they all decided to cross the road en mass. Pity.

June

How a rental car looks after two weeks in the bush. I dubbed her June.

Impala on the S114

Life from my window

Biyamiti private road/S139

Life through the other window

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A Cape Tonian in Umhlanga

Not having been to Durban before is not uncommon in Cape Town. I don’t know whether it’s because we already have a whole heap of beaches or whether we just think that there’s no better seaside city in South Africa and therefore we won’t visit any of the others, but there really are a lot of Cape Tonians who have never been to Durban. Me included.

Until today.

Thanks to work and a press trip to San Lameer I’ll finally be able to see the Sunshine Coast. Although I won’t be spending that much time in Durban itself, I’ll be seeing quite a lot of Umhlanga Rocks. I hear it’s quite the holiday destination and, even if it’s not, it’ll be nice to soak in the sun for a few days.

So what does the Cape Tonian plan to entertain herself with while she’s in Umhlanga? Here are a few of the things I’m looking forward to.

The beach

umhlanga beach

It may look a little crowded here, but I’m hoping that the winter months bring with them fewer crowds. I love the idea that I’ll be able to swim in warm water in the middle of winter while the sun is shining. You don’t get that in Cape Town. 

The curry buffet

oyster box

From what I’ve gathered, you can’t visit Umhlanga without burying your face in the smart buffet of curries at The Oyster Box Hotel. This really is one of the things I’m looking forward to the most and I’m thinking it’s definitely going to be worth the R240.

A touch of Argentina

bar ba coa

A strange thing to look forward to in a South African seaside town, but this seems like a warm and friendly place. Also, everyone seems to love Bar Ba Coa‘s steaks, and what better way to balance out a night of curry than with a good steak?

A nature reserve and a forest

umhlanga

So apparently the Umhlanga Lagoon Nature Reserve is quite the treat. With pretty walkways and lots of reeds in which to loose yourself. Sounds like a good way to walk off above mentioned steak and curries. There’s also this indigenous forest called Hawaan Forest, sort of next to the nature reserve, that I’m quite amped to explore.

A shark dissection

shark

I’m still deciding if I’m really excited about witnessing this particular experiment, but I hear it’s something the kids enjoy, so I might as well check it out. Right? This is going down at the KwaZulu Natal Sharks Board.

Getting pampered

san lameer

Not that I’m really a pamper-loving sort of girl, and not that San Lameer is anywhere close to Umhlanga, but getting a free massage has never been a bad thing.

Please post comments on the things you think I should do (or whether you think I’m being completely insane and Umhlanga is actually a horrid place where no one should set foot – which I highly doubt). I’m amped to finally see this side of my country though.

Matroosberg – my every-winter place

It’s not often that I return to the same weekend-away spot over and over again. But I just can’t help making a weekend to  Matroosberg Private Nature Reserve an annual event. I’ll even go as far as to say that this is my favourite place to go away to during winter.

The obvious reason for my return is because this is the one place in the Western Cape where you’re most likely to experience actual snowfall and white mountains. I haven’t been lucky enough to make snow angels in my home province just yet, but I will keep on going back until I do. Still, although the chance of snow is a very strong drawcard, Matroosberg is about much more than just seeing snow. It’s simply an inspiring place to be.

As mentioned previously, this is a winter destination. I don’t think that it will be horrible here in summer, but I do think that if you can find a place that can make Cape Tonians enjoy winter then you’re on the winning end. Plus, it’s only 2 hours’ drive from Cape Town.

It’s one of the few places where we are happy that it’s below zero degrees and we wrap ourselves up without complaints to go out and find frosted grass and frozen puddles in the early hours of the morning. It’s our excuse to mass produce smoors and binge on red wine in front of the fireplace. It’s about finding yourself surrounded by the province’s highest mountains, in a hut crammed with mattresses for 20 people, where there’s no electricity but where none is needed and where you wake up to the most magnificently crisp and vibrant sunrises imaginable. It will make everyone love winter.

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Market on Main – hanging with Joburg’s cool kids

Johannesburg is hipping up their city centre. Every Sunday, creative cool kids from all over flock to the heart of the city to eat artisan food, drink artisan coffee and beer and shop local design. Much like some of the Cape Town markets, like Hope Street Market, Earth Fair Market and the V&A Market at the Wharf. Yet, Market on Main has a much more grungy feel to it. Perhaps it’s the graffiti against the walls outside, perhaps it’s the fact that you’re inside Arts on Main, a warehouse type venue where local artists strut their stuff, or perhaps it’s the still winter smog that hung in the air. Either way, it’s a place worth checking out if you happen to find yourself in Joburg’s city centre on a Sunday morning.

The food is great, the jewellery beautiful, there’s a neat courtyard and a rooftop or two to enjoy a craft beer and a cigarette on and the tunes are indie, rocky and happy. All in all a happily creative atmosphere.

Market on Main happens every Sunday at Arts on Main from 10am – 3pm, and the first Thursday night of each month (besides January) from 7pm – 11pm in Fox Street. Get directions.

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Tales from Kruger | 03 | sitting, eating, drinking

I have now spent three weeks on my own in the Kruger National Park, and while I’m home in Cape Town, taking a break before heading back up, I thought I’d share one of my favourite activities while in the park – sitting, eating and drinking.

Anyone that has travelled on their own will appreciate the wonderful discovery that is a beautiful spot to sit, on your own, sometimes for hours. It could be in a restaurant with a book, it could be at a lookout point with a pen and some paper or it could be somewhere outside, early in the morning, with a cup of coffee in hand. These are some of my most memorable times spent travelling. Because it’s while you’re, sitting, eating and drinking on your own that you truly appreciate the strange place that you’re in.

Simple, yet delicious, toasted sandwich at Tshokwane Picnic Spot. The monkeys almost stole it right off my table.

Simple, yet delicious, toasted sandwich at Tshokwane Picnic Spot. The monkeys almost stole it right off my table.

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Teatime: pancakes at Afsaal Picnic Spot. This place smells of bacon and sunshine.

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A quiet Sunday morning at Pretoriuskop Rest Camp. Groups and families were all enjoying a lazy brunch, so I decided to join them.

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Late afternoon drinks on the deck at Skukuza Rest Camp. Here you can look out over the Sabie River and spot hippos an crocs in the water.

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Lake Panic bird hide is a wooden structure on stilts that hangs over a massive, tranquil lake. The most peaceful spot to sit and enjoy the subtle bird sounds all around.

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Early morning sunrise and coffee beside the Biyamiti River

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Much needed coffee after a morning game drive. The trees at Berg-en-Dal Rest Camp’s restaurant supplied just the right amount of shade.

A lookout point, high up on a hill, where you can out of your car and sit on the massive boulder. This was my favourite sunset spot.

A lookout point, high up on a hill, where you can out of your car and sit on the massive boulder. This was my favourite sunset spot.

Tales from Kruger | 02

Today my interest lies the monkeys of Kruger National Park. The monkeys and the baboons. First, the monkeys.

Vervet monkeys are a known ‘threat’ around the camps. They are probably the cutest monkeys I’ve ever seen, but they’re known for hanging around the camps and stealing food. I didn’t think this was such a serious threat, until I left my packet of sugar on the table outside and turned my back for about 10 seconds. A monkey came, grabbed and was gone, off to indulge in a sugary feast.

They do look pretty sitting on the fence at dawn though. This particular incident happened at Crocodile Bridge Rest Camp.

Vervet monkey on the fence of the camp

Vervet monkey on the fence of the camp

And second, that baboons.

As I was exploring a mountainous area in the south of the park, the Steilberg Loop, to be exact, I came across this family of baboons. First I saw these two, looking like someone just told a really funny joke and they’re cracking themselves up. Just a few metres further I saw a little family. It looks like that picture taken just before the well-posed, all-smiling family photo is taken, with some looking away and some still getting into position.

Baboon on S120. Steilberg Loop

Baboon on S120. Steilberg Loop

I’m currently on a six-week trip in the Kruger National Park, so excuse me if my blog revolves around animals for the next while. You can follow my journey on Twitter (@Adelgreen) or the hashtag #crossingkruger.

Platbos Forest – off the grid camping two hours from Cape Town

Platbos Forest lies outside Gansbaai, which is only about 2 hours drive from Cape Town, and it’s just the best little camping spot. The forest itself is the southernmost indigenous forest in Africa and some of these trees are truly ancient. It used to be much bigger, but unfortunately a few folks attempted an agricultural development in the area in the past. The forest is still big enough to get lost in and the trails that run through it envelopes you in a wonderland of green.

The campsite itself lies in a clearing and the tents are already set up, with proper beds inside them. The shower is beautiful, with one side completely open to the forest and hot water generated with a fire. The kitchen is fully equipped to self cater, with a two-plate gas stove and everything, but it’s the nicest to braai on the open fire while sitting on the stump chairs, enjoying a cold one. The camp sleeps nine comfortably and, for a small amount, you can bring more tents along and pitch them in the clearing. As you’ll see, there’s more than enough space. And what’s more, it’s very affordable.

There is something truly magical about camping underneath a leafy canopy, just you and your friends or family, completely hidden from the outside world.

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Platbos Forest

info@platbos.co.za
www.platbos.co.za

Price: R700 for the first six guests and R75 extra per guest thereafter.

Quiet time at the West Coast’s most popular resort

A while ago, I posted a short little blog about a night I spent at Club Mykonos, along South Africa West Coast. Well, I’ve finally come around to editing the rest of the photos and I thought I’d make it look as quiet and slightly eerie as it was. Goes to show that the middle of the week might not be the best time to expect an eventful holiday at a huge holiday resort like this one. I quite liked it though – there’s something special about walking along the winding paths of the Greek-styled houses without another soul in sight.

Club Mykonos
West Coast South Africa

West Coast South Africa

West Coast South Africa

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West Coast South Africa