Hlhilewie: Cool, 80-90F, Sunny, rained 1 day
Capetown: 65-75F, Sunny, Windy
Currency: South African Rand
No visa needed
Immunizations: Malaria is suggested, but more so for Central African. I would suggest getting a prescription for cipro (antibiotic) from your doctor if you are prone to getting traveler’s diarrhea.
The flight took about 19 hours from Washington Dulles to Johannesburg, SA. It is a good idea to stay overnight before jumping to another flight. The next day we flew from Johannesburg to Richards Bay and were picked up by a private driver to be driven an hour south to Hluhluwe. We stayed at the Zulu Nyala Resort. (View from our room)It was a smaller safari land so we went to the neighbor safari land called Phinda. It was definitely worth the money. They have more “cat” animals and we were able to watch a mother Cheetah hunt an impala, kill it, and feed her cubs. Other extra excursions we visited were the Cheetah Rehabilitation Center and feeding a 5 ton elephant.
This was a breathtaking trip. The flight and hotels were the most expensive, but the excursions, car rental, souvenirs, and meals were cheap.
Cheetah Rehabilitation Center: is a wild cat rescue. The majority of the cats there were hit by cars or attacked in the wild. The center heals them in order to give them another fighting chance in the wild. Some cats are there permanently. The Cheetah I was allowed to pet was hit by a car and blinded. Since he would never be able to go back to the wild, they sensitized him to humans and we were allowed to pet him without being attacked (well we were told he hasn’t attacked anyone… yet).other cats were kept there because someone in the local community thought they could domesticate a wild cat. While it was too aggressive to stay in a home it was too domesticated to be wild.
Elephant Encounter: The two adult elephants were just babies when poachers slaughtered their family. The poachers were going to come back for them the next morning, but we’re intercepted and the two elephants were rescued. They are now grown up and have had a baby girl. Each elephant has a person who is specially assigned to them. They have developed a close bond with their humans. One day a lion was circling one of the human guides and the elephants charged the lion in order to protect their human.
The weather was a little more chilly in Cape Town, but only light sweater weather. We stayed at the Fire and Ice Hotel where they had parking for the car we rented and good customer service. The milkshakes from the restaurant were excellent.
A “must do” in Cape Town is going shark cage diving with the great whites. The water was a bit murky so it was hard to see the sharks under water, but they would swim right up to the cage. It was a sight to see when you came above water and saw the sharks right next to you. The wetsuits and masks were provided along with weights that helped hold us down. When the shark came close to the cage we held our breath and pushed ourselves underwater. There was a bar we held onto in order to pull ourselves back up. Shark Cage Diving
We visited Groot Constantia, a 300 year old winery and the oldest winery in SA. They offer wine tasting and an option to pair the wine with chocolate. Depending on where you live, you can have bottles shipped back. I was able to stick 3 bottles back in my luggage and I ordered a case of 6 different bottles to be shipped to Seattle, WA. The total for the shipping was only $125 USD and took a little over a month. Well worth the wait. Groot Constantia:
Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was kept, was an interesting source of history. The people giving the tours of the prison were former prisoners of Robbens Island. I would suggest reading the shortened version of his autobiography if you plan on visiting the Island. Robben Island/ Nelson Mandela’s cell:
Table Mountain was a breath taking sight and the gondola ride was so much fun. The floor of the gondola rotated 360 on the way up so try to get a spot by a window and don’t get stuck in the center. Cafeteria style food is available for purchase if you want to eat at the top. Table Mountain:
The waterfront was a great place to get food with many different options. The food is cheap, but the service is slow so don’t be in a hurry to go anywhere. We rode the ferris wheel at night and were able to see all the lights on the waterfront light up. Waterfront: