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Written by: MD

12 January 2001

I got in from South Africa a few days ago after enjoying a month travelling up the coast from Cape Town to Johannesburg via Durban and Swaziland. What a great way to unwind before arriving home. I would reccommend South Africa to anyone as there is so much to see and do, as I will explain in my summary below:

I flew in to Cape Town passing by Table Mountain to the airport. The first thing I noticed on arrival was the relaxed pace of life which I had almost forgotten existed in the Southern Hemisphere. Bliss!

I spent 10 days in Cape Town (Kaapstad - in Afrikans)which allowed me to see and do a lot. Some of the highlights included a drive out to Cape of Good Hope, climbing Table Mountain, enjoying a Stellenbosch Vineyard tour, visiting the famous Cape Flats black townships, sipping on a few sundowners at “Le Med” in Clifton, watching Gary Kirsten’s cricket testimonial at Newlands Cricket Stadium over a braai (BBQ)under the scoreboard, and also the Super 12 match between Western Stormers and Auckland Blues in a 48000 one eyed Newlands crowd! I can’t get over how beautiful Cape Town is as a city. It certainly has to rate in the top 5 I’ve visited.

I next headed up the coast along the Garden Route to a small holiday resort called Knysna where I enjoyed the outdoors. I spent 2 days mountain biking, kayaking, and abseiling/rapjumping. Awesome.

Then I headed to a small seaside village called Kenton-on- Sea. It was a pretty sleepy retirementholiday destination but the locals were extremely friendly and knowledgeable about their country both sport and politic/history. It also had reasonable surf for boogieboarding.

After a couple of days I headed to East London for a week where I caught up with friends of mine who I worked with in London (UK). While there I pretty much just hung out catching up and relaxing while occasionally visiting the beach.

Durban was next stop but not before going through the Transkei (Nelson Mandela country). Just beautiful.

Unfortunately I didn’t get to camping out on the wild coast as I had stayed longer than I had planned in East London. Still there’s always next time. Anyway once in Durban I caught up with Joanne (my mate Adrian’s girlfriend). She showed me how to party the South African way….heaps of braais, booze, and friendly hospitality. A great weekend, but very full on.

My next stop was the game reserves of Umfolozu & Hluhluwe in Zululand. I spent 3 days in and around here viewing many animals including…giraffe, zebra, cape buffalo, water buffalo, white rhinos, black rhinos, warthogs, elephants, hippos, but no leopards or lions. Pretty amazing and great photo opportunities. I also got to visit a local traditional zulu village. Very interesting culture and crafts.

My last stop before flying home was Swaziland. Wow what a wonderful place and very interesting culture. While here I enjoyed more game reserve viewing, visit to a modern Swazi village and the memorial of their late king, who has been very influencial in keeping peace and diplomacy in the Southern part of Africa for the past 60years. We stayed in a large game lodge. A great place to wake up to….bird’s chirping, waterbuck feeding from the waterhole in front of the lodge, hippos belching, etc. A mini paradise.