To lower yourself down a mountain…

We’ve been so busy these last few months, which is wonderful of course, but it leaves little time for anything else. So it’s been a long time since you heard from us here.

My boyfriend Wayne and I did however take some time off to try abseiling, what an awesome adventure.

A Sunday in the middle of September we headed south from Wayne’s hometown Krugersdorp, to Parys, a small town situated about 100-150 km away. We had an early start and when we arrived we were met by our guide.

To come down you must first go up, so we had to walk up to the top of the old quarry where it all happen. From the top it was 45 meters to the bottom, it may not sound like much but once you are up there, it feels like…pretty much…

We were given a safety briefing and some instructions and then it was time to go. Wayne had the pleasure to start…and he made it down in a rather composed and dignified way. I didn’t feel so tough anymore when my turn arrived. The very first section was the scariest; it takes some guts to lean out over the edge and trust that you’re safe! But once I dared to lean back and rely on the harness and ropes to hold me, it went really well. And it was fun! 🙂

Wayne finished it all with a dip in the dam down below, I was not as brave – perhaps mostly because I had neither swimwear nor a change of clothes with me. Sorry, no pictures guys 😉

We had a wonderful day and we both left Parys with big smiles on our faces. Now that we’ve had a taste of a slightly more adventurous experiences, we will definitely make more room for that in the future!

Until next time!

-Lina

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The elephants of Mfuwe Lodge

We would love to experience this… 🙂

Every year when the mangoes are ripe a family of wild elephants visit Mfuwe Lodge in South Luangwa National Park in Zambia. Led by their matriarch Wonky Tusk they carefully make their way through the lodge’s reception area and onto the the grounds where the mango tree stands.

Once they’re done they simply walk back…

Go see the spring flowers of The West Coast

I love my Johannesburg, and right now we are experiencing summer temperatures that are very welcome after the cold winter. However, I wish I could visit Cape Town, or rather the West Coast, now…

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Between July/August and September/October each year this part of South Africa explodes. The first spring rain falls and turns the dry and rather barren landscape into a display of bright colours when the ground becomes covered in flowers of thousands of species.

It is impossible to predict exactly when this annual flower parade will occur, but the safest bet is probably from August to September. The key is of course the arrival of the first rains, but the temperature is also important and the flowers will only open up until later in the morning and hardly at all on cloudy days.

The Namaqualand region is located in the northern part of the west coast and is divided into two parts either side of the Orange River – Greater Namaqualand in Namibia and Little Namaqualand in South Africa. It’s in this region that the flowers of west coast reaches its full strength.

But you don’t have to travel all the way up there to experience this magical spectacle. Spring flowers are abound from Darling and Yzerfontein up to the West Coast National Park, so if you are visiting Cape Town during this period – take a day to visit this beautiful area.

Before you dash off on your way, I advise you to call Flower Line on +27 (0)71 320 7146 in order to find out which area has the best show of the day.

Stop Rhino Poaching

For every client who books a trip with us, we donate R50 to the organisation Stop Rhino Poaching. We also ask our clients to help out and donate a small amount, and almost everyone do so without hesitation and to all of you we want to say a big THANK YOU!!

From the time we started this, at the end of last year, until now, we have together been able to donate R13 900 and we continue to do what we can to help in the fight against rhino poaching.

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Since 2008 South Africa has lost over 4 000 rhinos and the number is growing daily. Stop Rhino Poaching is a nonprofit organisation that, since 2010, has been working to raise awareness and to provide support where it’s needed in the fight against rhino poaching.

If you want to donate money, you can do so easily on their website – otherwise you can always book a trip with us and we will take care of it!

Is it safe to go on safari?

I don’t know how far outside of South Africa this news has spread, but perhaps you have heard of the lion attack that happened here a few weeks ago. An American woman visited The Lion Park outside Johannesburg and died from the injuries she sustained when a lion attacked.

So that no one will jump to the wrong conclusions and think that it’s dangerous to go on safari, I would like to explain the situation.

The Lion Park is sometimes called a game reserve, wildlife park, nature reserve and wildlife park. It’s really not much more than a glorified zoo. You can drive around in a small reserve and see lions, among other animals. “Super Close-Up Animal Views Guaranteed” it says on the website…

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Entrance to the Lion Park

The woman had her window fully open, just like the private guide she was there with. No one can miss the signs that are everywhere, clearly telling everyone in the park to always keep windows closed. So no matter how tragic it is, it’s their own fault.

Lions are wild and dangerous animals! But this is precisely where misconceptions can arise… How can you go on safari in an open safari vehicle if it’s so dangerous to have a window down?!?

These lions began their lives in the area of the lion park where you can pet the lion cubs. And no wonder that draws people, admit it – how many of you are not thrilled by the idea? I admit, we’ve been there and cuddled with these wonderfully cute little lion cubs. It was many, many years ago – before we knew better.

Because the question is what happens to these lion cubs when they have done their 3 months as cute cuddleable cubs. According to the website, they are sent to a farm near Hartebeespoort Dam where they are housed in large enclosures.

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Lion cub cuddles

The Lion Park also says that they do their utmost to ensure that their lions are not used in so-called “canned hunting”. They donate or sell the lions to reputable zoos or wildlife parks. If the lions are not sold, they stay at the farm until they die of natural causes.

Sounds great, doesn’t it? But how many lions are needed in zoos and wildlife parks and how many can they keep at the farm until they die of natural causes..? With the amount of lion cubs the Lion Park must have in a year, I’m not sure the equation adds up.

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The Kruger Park

But this wasn’t really what I meant to write about… The wrong conclusions that can be drawn is that it’s dangerous to go on safari in the bush in a game reserve on an open safari vehicle. Every day, tourists in southern Africa experience the magic of sitting in an open vehicle next to a flock of wild lions. And yet nothing ever happens.

Wild lions in areas like the Kruger Park are completely wild. They haven’t been handled by people, fed, petted or photographed with people. They don’t associate humans with food. They are completely wild and have a natural fear of humans.

They also have really big areas to move around in and can easily move on if they get irritated, something that the lions in the lion park can’t. They have no choice, they can’t escape …

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Lions in Lalibela Game Reserve

In a car, whether it is a normal car or a large open safari vehicle, you are also safe since the lions see the whole silhouette as a single unit. You are significantly bigger than the lions. So before heading out on safari your guide will explain to you that you may not stand up and break this silhouette. You may of course never leave your car if you drive on your own… And you should keep the noise level down and never disturb the animals, of course.

As long as you stick to the rules, you need not worry about being attacked by lions in the African bush.

Rugby

On Friday evening there was a knock on the door, Freddy opened and there was our neighbour asking if we had any plans for Saturday. The answer was no, whereupon he presented two tickets for the game between The Blue Bulls from Pretoria and The Cheetahs from Bloemfontein. Not only that, it was tickets to a Platinum Suite 🙂

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So on Saturday we headed off to Loftus Versveld Stadium in Pretoria and found our suite. Free food and free drinks and a lot of big – no, huge – men who brutally dives into the fight for the ball.

It wasn’t an important game, so the number of spectators was unfortunately quite low, but believe me – the noise levels can become high anyway. South Africans are very passionate about rugby!

I have said for probably 15 years that I want to go to a rugby game and this sure was a nice way to do it. But next time it will have to be when The Lions from Johannesburg play. But we had a great time!

Leopard vs. lion

Guests at Jaci‘s Lodges in Madikwe Game Reserve were really fortunate when they were out on a game drive in early March. Their ranger saw a leopard that had a kill, a young zebra, up in a tree. That in itself is an amazing thing to see.

But there was more to come! A male lion had tracked the kill to the tree and managed to jump up and climb the tree to steal the kill, while the leopard balanced in the top of the tree.

There you are, that‘s what you can experience on a normal game drive in South Africa 🙂

You can read the full blog at Africa Geographic.

South Africa’s winelands

One of our favorite areas of ​​South Africa (yes, there are many of them!) is the winelands in the Western Cape, they have so much to offer. Picturesque vineyards, restored farms in Cape Dutch style, excellent wine routes, fynbos and majestic mountain ranges as a backdrop, the list goes on… Many of the towns and villages in the winelands have historical buildings and monuments that tell of the area’s rich history, and during a visit you will experience so much more than just wine.

Groot Constantia

Groot Constantia

South Africa also has its very own grape variety, Pinotage, which was created in 1924 when Professor Abraham Izak Perold crossed the two varieties Pinot Noir and Cinsault. The latter was called at the time the Hermitage in South Africa, which explains the name Pinotage. However, it took many years before Pinotage received the attention it deserves, the international breakthrough came in 1989.

Huguenot Monument in Franschhoek

Huguenot Monument in Franschhoek

How much time you spend in the area, depends a lot on how interested you are – or how much you like – wine 🙂 You can choose to visit the winelands during the day with your base in Cape Town – within a radius of 100 km there is so much to see and do.

Beautiful house in Cape Dutch style

Beautiful house in Cape Dutch style

If you want to concentrate on a smaller area, make your way to charming Stellenbosch, which is considered to produce the best range of wines with hundreds of vineyards, or Franschhoek, located in one of the world’s most beautiful wine valleys. Both are within a short driving distance from each other through the beautiful Helshoogte Pass.

Harvest time at Ormonde in Darling

Harvest time at Ormonde in Darling

You can also stay at one of the many beautiful guesthouses available here and also enjoy really good food. Franschhoek is such as South Africa’s “food and wine capital” – many of the country’s hundred best restaurants are here!

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Beautiful mountains as backdrop

You can also choose to have any of the winefarms as a base. Then you’ll stay at a winery where wine is produced and work is ongoing every day. They come in size large, as for example Spier, to size small as our favorite Temple Wines. Prices vary quite a bit…

Môreson outside of Franschhoek

Môreson outside of Franschhoek

For those of you who don’t want to be self-driving, there are excellent guided tours, both as full-day and half-day options, which provides transportation (even to and from Cape Town) in air-conditioned minibuses, wine tastings, cellar tours and time to discover areas on their own and much more.

Neethlingshof

Neethlingshof

Usually, when people talk about the winelands in South Africa, it is the areas around Paarl, Stellenbosch and Franschhoek that brought to mind. But there are so many other wine routes that all offer high-quality South African wines and beautiful scenery.

Boschendal

Boschendal

Please read more about all the wine regions in South Africa on our website Destination South Africa.

Wedding

Lately we have – even if it has been a while – told you a lot about our trip to Cape Town. And we will surely have some more small treats from there, Cape Town really is full of wonerful experiences.

The trip to Cape Town had been planned a long time, but we added one more thing that we wanted to do while we were there. We threw in a small wedding 🙂

My Freddy proposed inside the Kruger National Park last August, at sunset by a dam full of hippos. Absolutely perfect… We knew early on that we wanted a small wedding, not a big spectacle that shrinks the bank account and makes you stress, and we agreed that combining a wedding with our trip to Cape Town was a very good idea. The only guest was Lina, who was also the bridesmaid, best man, ring bearer and our right-hand man..eh..woman.

In 2013 I helped a Swedish couple who wanted to get married in South Africa and I put them in touch with Weddings out of Africa who helped them with everything and they got married on top of Table Mountain. When we saw the pictures, I think both Freddy and I quietly thought that this might be it (but by then it was too early to talk about marriage).

We also asked Kirsty at Weddings out of Africa for help and we  too chose to get married on top of Table Mountain. There are some paperwork that needs to be sorted out before you can get married in South Africa and I will soon write a post and tell you exactly what is needed and how to proceed. If you are marrying a South African like I did, you must nowadays also go for an interview at the Department of Home Affairs.

So we booked a time, two days before the wedding, and the interview was a strangely unpleasant experience. I never thought it would be so hard to explain why you love someone, or answer any other questions, but despite my stuttering we were considered to be a genuine couple and we got permission to get married.

On February 25 the day had come and I had the pleasure of being prettified by a real pro who came “home” to us. If anyone ever needs someone who can do your hair and makeup I can really recommend Bernice Dodd.

Unfortunately a big fat cloud, the famous table cloth, decided to park right on top of the mountain and we couldn’t have the ceremony there, so we had it at the foot of the mountain instead but that was very nice too. After the ceremony, and the mandatory paperwork, we went to Signal Hill and Glen Forest with photographer Jilda G, she too is amazing.

The evening ended at the restaurant we chose – The Roundhouse Restaurant that offers really great food!

I’m super pleased with our day and very happy.

Hugs,
Mrs. Lindgren-King 🙂

Meet crazy Tong from China

On a bench at Africa’s most southerly point, Cape Agulhas, we met Tong. Three years ago Tong quit his job as a computer engineer in China, hopped on his bike and left. We’re not qute sure which route he took to get there, but during the last year he has cycled through Africa, from Egypt to South Africa. So there he sat preparing some food.

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And now that he’s come as far south as he can, he’ll cycle along the Garden Route and then …well, Europe maybe … 🙂

It’s very cool to just leave like that and live your dreams, but surely one has to be a little crazy. Right?

Have anyone else met or seen Tong along his travels? Please leave a comment and keep us posted!

Cape Aghulas is by the way a very nice destination for a day trip and one of the places in South Africa you need to go to get that classic photo. And it’s kind of fun to say that you have been to Africa’s southernmost point. If you want you can pay R24 to get up into the lighthouse, it’s probably a beautiful view from there, but we chose to stay on the ground since we were in a bit of a hurry.

L’Agulhas is the small fishing village with beautiful fishing boats in the harbour, just north of the cape, and this is Africa’s southernmost village.