WINNIPEG, MB. - My husband and I escorted a South African safari trip in September. We were all very excited to visit one of the most beautiful and diverse countries on earth. It was a trip of a lifetime for us and my adventure-seeking clients.
It began with a “Welcome to Cape Town” South African dinner. The local people were kind, humble and accommodating. They were anxious to share their culture with us and made us feel so comfortable
Cape Town is the cosmopolitan hub of the Western Cape province. We toured some of the famous landmarks such as City Hall and the Castle of Good Hope, built in 1666 by the Dutch India Company, and St George’s Cathedral, Anglican diocese of the Nobel Peace laureate, Archbishop Tutu.
A proud and well-known fact is that the two Nobel Peace laureates, Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela, lived on the same street in Soweto.
The landmark Table Mountain was voted one of the world’s new Seven Wonders of Nature for it’s startling beauty, both from below and from the top, and for being a rich haven for a variety of animals and plant life. Line ups were enormously long to buy tickets for the cable car but these we avoided by getting there very early in the morning.
Robben Island, a 40-minute ferry ride from shore, once housed political prisoners including Nelson Mandela, who was imprisoned there for 27 years. Nelson Mandela is considered a hero by the South African people.
A full day winelands tour included South Africa’s principal wine routes of Paarl, Stellenbosch and Franschoek, with wine tasting along the way, of course.
A special private tour for our group was arranged to the boutique Kleinwood Winery. Here we were hosted by the owner, Gerard de Villiers, who treated us to an exquisite wine-tasting event not to be forgotten.
The best way to appreciate South Africa’s brilliant wines is with South Africa’s world-class cuisine prepared by some of the best chefs on the planet. The favorite foods of our group were Kudu Carpaccio (kudu is similar to a deer) and Bunny Chow, a sweet curry served in a half-bread loaf. Not so appetizing were Mugabe worms, spiced, crisp and crunchy that, surprisingly, some of our group bravely ate.
At the top of the list was the safari experience. We stayed at Kapama Lodge just outside Kruger National Park.
Going on a safari is definitely the experience of a lifetime.
Your wake-up call comes hours before sunrise so that you can track leopards, lions and other nocturnal hunters before the heat of the day kicks in. After a quick cup of coffee, you embark on a three- to four-hour game drive with your knowledgeable ranger and tracker, and the sightseeing begins.
Not only a single elephant was spotted, but we saw two to three dozen, from a playful baby to a two-storey bull, who wouldn’t take his protective eyes off us. We could hear the roar of a male lion a few yards from the safari vehicle. It left us breathless. Those with a strong stomach could watch the lion eat his breakfast on a freshly killed giraffe close by.
We then returned to camp for a freshly cooked breakfast. After lunch it was nap time, to get ready for an evening safari drive that included a stop for a sun
downer or a cocktail to watch the sunset.
It was all amazing and wonderful and a gift to be able to view these animals in their natural habitat.
All good things must come to an end and ours ended with a traditional farewell Boma dinner. Indeed, these memories will stay with us forever. Life does not get any more beautiful than this!
Agnes Smith, for Manitoba Post
Agnes Smith is the senior manager of One Canada Travel, on Henderson Highway.
Photos provided by Anges Smith