Shortly after arriving in Johannesburg we set off to begin our African adventure. It was January, height of summer. Our first place to spend the night happened to be a small and nice camp by the National Kruger Park. It is the park where many documentaries on African wildlife, particularly African animals, are made. The camp happened to be cozy and charming place where one could sense wonderful African atmosphere. The bush, its unforgettable sounds and fresh, cool air left us in amazement. No one of the group sitting by the campfire, enjoying the traditional dishes seemed to remember the long journey. Pleasant atmosphere compensated for our long, intensive day.
It is impossible to visit South Africa and not even try to track down or photograph the ‘Big Five’ – the lion, leopard, African elephant, rhinoceros and Cape buffalo. So, the morning open-jeep-trip to the wildlife reserve then hunting with the camera to catch the above mentioned ‘individuals’ came as a surprise, a fantastic surprise. To make the experience even more complete, we had breakfast in an appropriate surrounding, namely – in the middle of the African bush.
We didn’t manage to catch interesting species at once, however we were far from being discouraged; Andre promised that Kruger Park never disappoints. At midday, in our minivan we ventured further into the Park looking out for and taking pictures of African animals living in their natural surroundings. Kruger Park is one of the biggest territories where nature always has the first say and takes precedence over everything. After an intensive day full of surprises and impressions, the lodging for the night is planned in a stylish hotel on the outskirts of the Park. The hotel is gorgeous, its entrance hall is remarkable and the rooms are comfortable and spacious. That evening we spent relaxing with a glass of wine, sitting on the verge of the bush under a fantastic tree, listening to hippos, just on that day they had so much to say.
What a day, what views, the space – impressions of that day will stay with us forever. To describe it, illustrate and express in words is simply impossible, one has to see it.
On our way back to Johannesburg we had a chance to photograph the well-known Berlin Waterfalls, there, we bought our first souvenirs. In Africa, one has to obey the principle – if something catches your eye, take it – there will be no second chance. Further on, we visited the great Blyde River Canyon. Standing on the cliff, feeling the space and enormity of the place and listening to the legends related to that place one can easily become bewitched by its beauty and forget the world around and everyday life.
The next station of our trip and a moment for yourself is the beautiful Bourke’s Luck Potholes. This is the place where the river and its brooklets furrowed such incredible landscapes that it is hardly describable. And when we thought, that there is nothing more astonishingly beautiful to see (the weather was favorable), high up in the mountains we saw the place where local peoples believe that God began to create the world right in there and we can only admit that they are absolutely right. What a wonderful God’s Window!
The night we spent in Johannesburg and the next day we headed for Cape Town.
The flight to Cape Town happened to be short and pleasant. Straight after landing we moved to a homey and elegant small hotel at the shore of the Atlantic. It is a quiet and picturesque place with the magnificentview on a proud Table Mountain. After lodging in our rooms, we were anxious to see the mountain. Even going in an ordinary cable car to the top offered us an unusual experience. Andre advised us not to stand in the middle of the wagon but against the wall. Later, when the wagon set off we understood why. This advice is of use on the way back as well. It is particularly important for those who want to capture the views.
Walking on the flat mountain is a sensation in itself and the pictures are taken in unique places. Every one of us had great fun finding the rocks where we would have liked to have the pictures to be taken. Creativity of a photographer puzzled and amazed us more and more. Even passers-by, seeing our photographer in action they wanted to have a shot for themselves. Relaxed, we didn’t notice that the day was coming to its end.
But it was on the Signal Hill where we admired the sunset, the place as if created on purpose for watching the sun set. The atmosphere there is so extraordinary and although spectators rush to have the best view, they share the awareness that all of us want to say goodbye to the sun and welcome another day. After all, seeing Cape Town at night from that distance is worth every journey.
Fifth and Sixth Day
The following three days we spent sightseeing Cape Town, the weather dictated what destinations we would choose. The weather decided when we had to visit colony of penguins, when we could take pictures of Cape of Good Hope or when we could go to the precious stones polishing shop. Each place had its charm; we found penguins astonishing, tiny and elegant creatures completely ignoring the tourists. Cape of Good Hope is simple the place to be. Taking pictures, whether in front of the plaques, on the rocks or amidst the waves, was great fun. Traveling the coastal roads, time for yourself, relaxing and just recreating, having supper at the seaside (ostrich steak, seafood, variety of fish was delicious) – that’s what these days were about. Cape Town is a colorful and lively place, a place which offers a lot and likes tourists.
On that day we were invited to visit one of the oldest vineyards, taste their wines. On the way to an arty town Prince Albert (our place to spend the night) we past many other vineyards, the largest one, in Paarl was quite remarkable. It was the first time we visited and heard about the history of South African distillery of Brandy in Stellenbosch.
However, tasting excellent regional alcoholic beverages was not the only attraction of that day. In a fairytale-like, tiny, private town Matjiesfontein we met John, a man of many faces able to cast a spell on public. Until now, we are not sure if his act pretending to be as the composed Nelson Mandela was better than as the energetic Ray Charles.
If Seventh Day was about tasting, visiting old towns and artistic climate, the Eighth Day was literally great fun. After breakfast we went to see the old and enormous Cango Caves. The next minute we were on an ostrich farm which offered many attractions for kids and adults, similarly to cheetah and crocodile farms which we visited later.
On our return route to Prince Albert we took a picturesque country, rubble road through the Swartberg Pass.
The next day we spent in Graaff-Reinet. The Valley of Desolation provided such landscapes, that no one wanted to go back, everyone wished to retain every single detail of that beautiful but peculiar place. Luckily, we stayed there for the night so there was no need to hurry, one could relish the moments there.
Diamond Mines in Kimberley. No need to say more. When we arrived ladies were immediately delighted by the beauty of the stones. Heritage Park also left everyone amazed. And the Big Hall, its colors…words are not enough…
Early morning after breakfast we were on our way back to Johannesburg. Aware of the fact that it was our second to last day in Africa, we were unhappy that time to say goodbye has come, but at the same time we felt we want to be here again, experience it again.
Last day of Safari, still, quite intensive as on that day we visited The Lion Park nearby Johannesburg. Feeding giraffes, playing with lion cubs crowned our adventure tour.
Unfortunately, in the evening we had to say goodbye to our coach, to this colorful continent and head for Poland.
However, there is one thing we know, we will be back here again as it is worth coming here.
© Copyright Kenako 2014
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