Trails of the Old Transvaal – 5th November – 21st November
Just returned from our third trip to South Africa in 18 months – a wonderful country of wide open spaces, a great variety of scenery and wildlife, and friendly people.
The tour started off well with a friendly face to meet us at the airport – Chris Beattie, now a Ramblers Worldwide Holidays’ leader, whom we had met when he joined our last tour for a few days to get a feel for leading.
A long but interesting bus journey across the plains and then into the tiny mountain kingdom of Swaziland, where we stayed at the lovely Piggs Peak. I remember stepping out of our garden room when we arrived in the dark to hear those wonderful night sounds of Africa, and being greeted the next morning by Vervet monkeys playing on the lawn. Here, we did walks in the National Park and visited a village, where we were treated to a display of traditional dancing including the head-high leg kicking!
Next onto Kruger and Skukuzi Camp where we stayed in detached rondavels with open-sided kitchen/breakfast rooms – a very nice site with lots of birdlife, monkeys and a mother hippo with her baby who put in an appearance most days. We did game drives but the most memorable event of this stay will always be a bush walk with two armed rangers and a far-too-close encounter with a male white rhino!
Then on to Hippo Hollow, where our detached lodges had riverside verandahs, again with wonderful birdlife and hippos appearing after dark outside the restaurant. Good walks in Blyde River Canyon, Pilgrims’ Rest, etc. with lots of wild flowers and waterfalls.
Then all too soon, the journey back to Johannesburg airport stopping for a short break in the attractive city of Pretoria. We still feel the same way about South Africa and aim to return again next year to see more of this wonderful country.