South Africa 2012
October 3rd - 16th, 2012
 



October 15th, 2012

Our last day on tour and we visit Kirstenbosch and enjoy lunch in the Moyo Restaurant (check out the face painting)…. The perfect ending to a perfect tour! And to finish off the day we had our Farewell dinner at the Pigalle Restaurtant…a place that was from the 20’s it felt with swinging music to dance too!

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden is acclaimed as one of the great botanic gardens of the world. Few gardens can match the sheer grandeur of the setting of Kirstenbosch, against the eastern slopes of Cape Town’s Table Mountain. Our guide was fantastic as we moved from area to area.

Kirstenbosch was established in 1913 to promote, conserve and display the extraordinarily rich and diverse flora of southern Africa, and was the first botanic garden in the world to be devoted to a country's indigenous flora. Kirstenbosch displays a wide variety of the unique plant life of the Cape Flora, as well as plants from all the diverse regions of southern Africa, both outdoors and in the Botanical Society Conservatory. There are over 7 000 species in cultivation at Kirstenbosch, including many rare and threatened species.

The Garden covers 36 hectares in a 528 hectare estate that contains protected mountainside supporting natural forest and fynbos along with a variety of animals and birds. Kirstenbosch lies in the heart of the Cape Floristic Region, also known as the Cape Floral Kingdom. In 2004 the Cape Floristic Region, including Kirstenbosch, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site – another first for Kirstenbosch, it is the first botanic garden in the world to be included within a natural World Heritage Site.

October 16th was our departure day…always sad to see but it was great to see this beautiful country with some truly special guests…hope to see you on the 2014 tour!

Some of the inspiring comments I have received on this tour…

The trip was amazing. I know you worked very hard to pull everything together and finding Charl really helped to make the trip a success. His ability to communicate his knowledge as well as his friendly and caring attitude was very basic to our enjoyment of our travels in South Africa. The time spent at Kapama was like nothing else we have done before and exceeded all our expectations. We also enjoyed the Garden Route into Cape Town as well as Cape Town itself. You know that Ron has had a desire to get to the top of Table Mountain so it worked out well that you switched the day on that. We did not see Table Mountain as clearly again until Thursday afternoon when we were heading to the airport! The scenery around Cape Town as well as the “vibration” of the city was something we really appreciated at the end of the trip. Of course, Cellars Hohenort, Vergelegen and Kirstenbosch were highlights as well. We would both return to Cape Town and to a game reserve in a heartbeat.’ Ron and Sherry, U.S.

Donna. I am telling people about the spectacular scenery and plant life as we neared Cape Town, the outstanding natural flora of Kirstenbosch, the beauty of the gardens at Cellar Hohenort (as well as the hotel itself), and the memorable two days at Kapama Game Reserve! Also, a highlight of the trip was being able to visit the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point, a destination I have dreamed of seeing since studying the early explorers in Grade 3! In addition I found Charl to be an excellent guide and the many meals beyond expectation. Certainly a very memorable time, thank you and happy travels in 2013’. Lily, Canada

I just wanted to thank you for a wonderful tour, it was so nice to see familiar faces and meet new friends, and I love that you are enjoying yourself too. I think our guide Charl was probably the best guide I have ever been with (I know others thought so too). I think the highlight for me was the safari - seeing the animals up close in their natural habitat, watching an altercation between lions and buffalo, following the huge herd of buffalo on their trek from the waterhole into the sunset - magical. Also for me this was a special trip as we were following the route that my parents took 40 years ago to many of the same places, I know there were times that I had tears in my eyes just thinking about it. It was also an experience to see just how South Africa is coping - the gardens were wonderful, I have so many photos. Thanks again Donna, see you in China 2013.’ Rosalind, Canada

South Africa was one of those chances and very fine it was too. I enjoyed everything about the trip, even the long bus journeys because there was so much fine scenery to be seen. I thought the time at the lodge was just right-perhaps a bit more time in Capetown? I liked going down to the Cape of Good Hope but hated to miss the wineries. It was great fun spending time in downtown Capetown as well-interesting market and the shop that Charl recommended was really worth going into. And the gardens, especially Kirstenbosch, were superb. In summary: the highlights for me were the game drives, the art gallery, St Lucia, the gardens, Capetown. I can hardly wait to join you again in China. Another memory in the making!’ Michele, Canada


The Safari Lodge, the great hotels., the great food, the wonderful guide we had in Charl, the fun we had at all the gardens and how interesting it all was., how I will gladly go again (possible in 2014 when you put this trip up again). I enjoyed everything. We did a lot of driving which wasn’t my favourite thing to do, however, I did enjoy the stops along the way, the countryside, the little market. Since I’m not a morning person I didn’t enjoy the early mornings but did appreciate the need to be up and moving early. I’m glad we saw all the stuff we did. I also appreciated the guides insight into what to see, where to shop, safety tips, tipping advice, etc. I was also impressed with his knowledge of the plants and flowers. I don’t remember any other guide with quite the same knowledge or ability to provide that much information. He was very, very good.. I do think my favourite thing of all was the Safari Lodge. The rooms were spectacular, the food very good, the service friendly and helpful, the guides and trackers excellent. I’d go there again without a doubt. I just enjoyed the whole experience.’ Lynda, Canada


We both felt that the SA trip was most enjoyable. Of course the journey to the reserve was the high-lite with the animals & lovely accommodations. But the Botanical gardens in Durban & Cape Town were very special in their own way. In addition, we felt very privileged to be allowed entry in the spectacular Oppenheimer home & garden. The trip to the winery with the tour by the head gardener was also super. The hotels were all very nice. In sum the whole experience was great experience and one that we both would recommend to others.’ Brian and Dianne, Canada

I have told my friends that this was a wonderful trip. I was really happy to see so much of the country's animals and plants. It was a great trip.’ Kevin, Canada

I have told them about the sheer range and diversity of plants. It was very hot. That SA is very westernized and a lot like travelling in Europe. The animals (lions and penguins!) were great. My roommate Lily and Tsitsikama NP were highlights. Cape Town and the Cape of Good Hope are not to be missed.’ Kathy, U.S.

I am putting together a little Power Point in order to share the pictures with my family. Gladys and I went to the Apartheid Museum and I really felt that this was important to understanding the politics and lives of people living in South Africa. The information given by Charl on the four different groups of people also helped in that understanding. It is hard to share the former, but sharing the beautiful gardens, animals and scenery is easy. When I close my eyes, I see the Indian Ocean water crashing over the rocks and standing in the wind at the Cape of Good Hope. Good trip. Hope to see you again.’ Helen, U.S. 

 

 

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