Tuesday, 26 April 2011

South Africa by Annette Ross

My trip to the North West Province in South Africa was the most amazing trip, staying in luxurious lodges in Madikwe.

Madikwe (about 4.5 hours drive North West of Johannesburg), covers a vast area, with lots of hidden gems. We stayed at the luxurious Makanyane and Madikwe Safari Lodge’s. Enjoying morning and evening game drives at each, viewing a wide variety of game.

In the Pilanesburg it is a little easier to spot the game and would suit those with children of all ages. A highlight was at a hide by the side of a lake in the Pilanesberg National Park near Sun City. A herd of elephants came down to the waters edge to bathe and shower, carefully protecting and encouraging the baby elephants to go in for a dip! Hippos were watching from a safe distance in the middle of the lake.

Only a 2 hour drive from Johannesburg is Sun City, with its vast array of facilities and a choice of hotels to suit different needs and budgets.. Lots of fun activities to suit all ages including the Valley of the Waves and the famous zip slide. So this makes it a great choice for families and is also a great golfing destination with 2 championship courses.

The North West province is a great destination with a good range of accommodation and activities. My lasting impression is of the friendly, beaming faces of its people, the huge array of activities available, the variety of its wildlife, the amazing enthusiasm of the rangers and the privilege of sharing in their knowledge. Seeing the animals so close up, in the safety of our especially adapted safari vehicle. Elephants, giraffe, rhinos, zebra, hippos and a pride of Lions resting under the shade of the trees and not forgetting the smaller fry – Dung beetles, tortoise, locusts and other insects and a huge variety of birds.

I was joined by my husband when we travelled from Pretoria to Cape Town on the Blue Train. A luxury service akin to the Orient Express. Travelling through some dramatic scenery in ultimate comfort,in a luxury suite with an en suite shower. Fine a la carte dining, fine wines, and all drinks included. Big picture windows giving us good views as we went along, comfortable lounge chairs – the beds hidden away in the wall. In Cape Town we stayed with friends, we explored the Cape, finding time to visit the Penguins at Boulders Beach, Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point.

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