Day 16 – Completing Walking Safari and Return to Johannesburg

During dinner last night, we made a decision to wake up at the normal time to head out on our last walking safari. So right at 4:30 AM, our wake up call came to rouse us from our slumber. After the usual oral hygiene care and change of clothes, we headed out. Right off the […]

Day 15: Finishing off the Big Five Game Animals in Kruger National Park

The last full day of our walking safari exceeded expectations. We encountered four of the five big five animals including several close encounters with a leopard and lions.

Day 14: Making Hemingway Proud — Tracking Rhinos on Foot

Our first full day in Kruger National Park. Began the morning by tracking a herd of rhinos on foot that we spent almost two hours following. The afternoon hike introduced us to several herds of Cape buffalo as well as a leopard tortoise.

Day 13: Begin Walking Safari in Kruger National Park

Began four day walking safari today at Klaserie Reserve at Kruger National Park. We drove from Pretoria to Kruger over six hours and then another hour by Land Rover into the reserve. Went on first hike in afternoon followed by game drive in evening. Encountered two lionesses.

Day 12: Out and About in Pretoria, South Africa

Arrived in Pretoria early in the morning and checked into the Victoria Hotel. Spent most of the day hanging around the city center and going up and down Paul Kruger street to Church Square and Burgers Park. Also, checked out the prison museum at the Pretoria Correctional Facilities.

Day 11: Farewell to the Zulu Village, Then Durban to Pretoria

We woke up in the Zulu town of Maphephetheni, had breakfast, and returned to Durban. I purchased our bus tickets to Pretoria on the Intercape and then spent a few hours at The Pavilion Mall with another couple we met. We left Durban at 10 PM for an overnight ride to Pretoria.

Day 10: 24 Hours with the Zulu

We spent the day today in the Zulu village of Maphephetheni (Ma-fe-fe-tha-nee) in the Valley of a Thousand Hills in the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa. We were taken to the village healer, or sangoma, and then went down to the spring to learn about the Zulu marriage process. The rest of the day was spent hanging out in the village and watching some Zulu dancing by the children.

Day 9: A Day In Durban, South Africa

We spent today walking around central Durban and the beach area along the Indian Ocean. Visited the Victoria Street Market which is the main area of Indian culture and markets. Saw the Juma Mosque, which is the largest mosque in the entire southern hemisphere. We ate some bunny chow and then spent a few hours at the beach and uShaka Marine World area. In the evening, we returned to our backpacker lodge.

Day 8: Rovos Rail Journey Ends at Durban, South Africa

Today was the last day of the Rovos Rail train journey. Our morning excursion was at the Ardmore Ceramic Gallery. Following that, the final route of the train went through the Valley of a Thousand Hills before reaching Durban. There, we checked into the Hippo Hide Backpackers Lodge.

Day 7: Rovos Rail and Safari Drives

We spent a large chunk of time on the second day of our Rovos Rail journey off the train. There were two excursions that were planned for the guests. The first one was a morning drive through the private Nambiti Game Reserve, which lasted for about 4 hours. The afternoon excursion was either another game drive around Spionkop Nature Reserve or a tour of the battlefields where the Battle of Spionkop was fought during the Second Anglo-Boer War . Following the afternoon activity, a South African braai (BBQ) was held at the Spioenkop Lodge. Returning back to the train well after sunset, I spent the next several hours at the bar in the Observation Car speaking with a couple of the hostesses about Rovos Rail and life in South Africa.


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I've always felt that a life full of experiences is far more valuable than a life full of material goods. I have yet to come out of one of these experiences poorer than when I first went into it.