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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Rovos Rail

Step on board of Rovos Rail and be pampered in 5-star luxury while you slowly move through the beautiful landscape. There is everything from shorter journeys between Pretoria and Cape Town to longer trips that depart once a year. Why not take the train from Cape Town to Dar Es Salaam?

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Since 1989, Rovos Rail has become known as the world’s most luxurious train. The adventure often begins at Capital Park just north of Pretoria, where Rovos Rail’s private station is built in colonial style. This is the point of most of the departures and arrivals.

Rovos Rail has the most spacious compartments in the world, with all the luxury and comfort you can imagine. With beautiful wood panelling and furniture in Edwardian style, the compartments accommodate two people and you can choose between two single beds or a spacious double bed. There is a safe, room service around the clock and a mini bar stocked with the beverages you want, all included in the price.

Rovos Rail offers three types of accommodation:

pullmandaycutawayThe Pullman Suite has a size of 7 square metres with private bathroom with a shower. You can choose between an upper and a lower bed or a double bed which during the day is converted into a sofa. This is the smallest compartment on offer.

deluxecutawayThe Deluxe Suite is a slightly larger option at 11 square meters. You get a small lounge and a private bathroom with a shower and you can choose if you want two single beds or one double bed.

royalcutawayThe Royal Suite is a full 16 square metres big and is very spacious and elegant. The compartment personifies opulence. It takes up half a carriage, with its own lounge and bathroom with Victorian bath and separate shower.

All meals are served in one sitting in the charming Victorian design restaurant carriages. Every morning a breakfast buffet with a wide selection of croissants, cold meats, jams, pastries, yoghurt, cereal and fresh fruit is served.

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Lunch and dinner begins with a starter and then your choice of fish, meat or a vegetarian dish, followed by a tempting dessert. And of course you will have excellent South African wines to choose from.

During the day the dress code is casual, while more formal attire is worn in the evening. A jacket and tie is a minimum requirement.

Doesn’t this sound lovely…?

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!

New regulations for travelling with children

It’s been about a year since South Africa changed its immigration regulations and the rules became stricter in terms of staying for longer periods in South Africa. The idea was that new rules for travelling with children would be imposed at the same time, but due to strong protests this was postponed.

But now it’s time, as from 1st of June 2015, these new stricter rules for travelling with children to and from South Africa will be introduced and these rules apply to all children under 18 years.

The following documentation must be produced when entering and leaving South Africa:

Parents travelling with a child:

  • an unabridged birth certificate of the child reflecting the particulars of the parents of the child.

Single parent travelling with a child:

  • an unabridged birth certificate of the child reflecting the particulars of the parents of the child.
  • consent in the form of a Parental Consent Affidavit from the other parent registered as a parent on the birth certificate of the child authorising him or her to enter into or depart from the Republic with the child he or she is travelling with.
  • a court order granting full parental responsibilities and rights or legal guardianship in respect of the child, if he or she is the parent or legal guardian of the child.
  • where applicable, a death certificate of the other parent registered as a parent of the child on the birth certificate.

Person travelling with a child who is not his or her biological child:

  • an unabridged birth certificate of the child reflecting the particulars of the parents of the child.
  • a Parental Consent Affidavit from the parents or legal guardian of the child confirming that he or she has permission to travel with the child.
  • copies of the identity documents or passports of the parents or legal guardian of the child.
  • the contact details of the parents or legal guardian of the child.

Here you can download the Parental_Consent_Affidavit.

All documentation must be in English and in the original or certified copies.

We hope this information is helpful, but please double-check with the South African Embassy in your country to make sure that you have the latest information and that it is completely correct 

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 🙂