Guest Post by Shannen Doherty.
South Africa is a vast country with some of the best and most accessible, wildlife habitat in the world. Taking a trip there opens up new places in your heart and mind, as a recent safari there showed.
The nation certainly held much promise for us when we were planning our most recent excursion.
While many of the group had experienced what South Africa could offer in terms of activity and adventure holidays, age meant that spending significant time sleeping outdoors was not something any of us especially relished.
Thankfully, there are now plenty of great safari options and tours that do not require the constitution of a Royal Marine to get through.
The real beauty of the rainbow nation is its variety of scenery and wildlife habitat, as well as the quality leisure options it offers when the hard work of seeing animals is over.
Taking the view that we wanted to see as much of this variety as possible, we opted to take a tour from Kruger Park to the Cape.
This allowed us to begin with spotting some of the most iconic African animals in the park, before relaxing and unwinding in Cape Town, with its crisp wines and gorgeous sea views.
Finding the Big Five
The trip began with a day to get used to our surroundings in Johannesburg, to where we had flown the previous day.
Thankfully, the time difference between South Africa and the UK meant that jet lag was never a problem at the beginning of this African safari trip. It was a day later that things really got cracking as far as seeing animals was concerned.
Kruger Park is everything that you expect from an African safari location. This stunning area looks exactly like the nature programs you see on television and members of our party who had never visited before were suitably excited.
The mission here was to try and see the so-called ‘Big Five‘, of lion, leopard, Black Rhino, African Elephant and Cape Buffalo.
We managed lions and some elephants, but our hunt for Leopard was typically difficult and this most elusive of cats had our guides searching in vain.
We spent the next few days exploring some of the wonderful landscape of Swaziland, before heading on to the Drakensberg Mountains.
These hikes were pleasant as well as enjoyably challenging and it was nice to get out of vehicles and onto the ground for a while.
Activity and adventure holidays always work better with a bit of variety.
Coming To the Cape
By the time the tour moved into its third and final week, we were along the coast near Hermanus, watching whales from ashore.
The sea air was certainly refreshing after the altitude of the Veldt and the whales were not bad either.
The next day’s trip to the penguin colony also offered some new perspectives after seeing the completely different beasts which lurk in the bush further north.
Cape Town provided a fitting end to the trip and not just because of the crisp white wines which we all enjoyed.
Table Mountain really is like no other place on earth and a trip to the top is an experience everyone should try.
By the end of the tour, time seemed to have stood still for three weeks.
Getting back to normality is always hard after a magical trip to South Africa like this.
Shannen Doherty has been exploring southern Africa since her first trip to Botswana on a British Army training expedition, which took place longer ago than she would currently care to remember.
Since leaving the Army, Shannen has spent much time in South Africa on safari, but now spends much of her time writing about Africa for a range of travel websites and blogs.
She likes to write articles on activity and adventure holidays, African safari etc.