De Addis Abeba a Ciudad del Cabo (From Addis Ababa to Cape Town)


Mpumalanga rocks!
April 5, 2012, 1:40 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

After a somewhat shaky welcome to South Africa, things drastically improved, starting off with our eventual arrival at Nelspruit Backpackers. Natalie and Paul and their three kids (plus the three dogs and two cats) soon made us feel at home. Their warm hospitality, their kind and friendly travel advice and the laidback atmosphere of their home/backpackers made me remember some of the things I miss about South Africa.

It seems that some nasty little bedbugs followed Alberto from Maputo so after nuking some of our clothes and throwing out a few more, we had a much needed mini shopping spree (never thought I’d be so excited to see a shopping centre, after a few hours in one though, the feeling soon passed) which also lifted my spirits after my horrible illness the day before.

For our first weekend, we hired a car to explore a little bit more of the surrounding area. I’ve never visited this part of the country before and Mpumalanga’s beautiful – I definitely want to go back. After a slow drive with the Drakensberg escarpment keeping us company for most of the way, we stopped off at Maholoholo, a wildlife rehabilitation centre situated between the mountains and the Kruger National Park. The guys at the centre really do an impressive job and are obviously passionate about what they do – rescuing lions and cheetahs severely injured when caught in snares (not a nice thing to see at all), nursing orphan rhinos as well as rehabilitating leopards, numerous birds of prey and wild dogs.

Lovely leopard at Maholoholo

Lovely leopard at Maholoholo

Lord of the beasts

Lord of the beasts

Just some of the vultures at Maholoholo

Just some of the vultures at Maholoholo

The orphaned rhino

The orphaned rhino

We camped that night at Swadini, an immaculate resort within the Blyde River Canyon nature reserve (the ablutions at the camping grounds were spotless and SO much cleaner than any of the bathrooms we’d used during the last four months!) and were up early the next morning to see the beautiful sights of the Blyde River Canyon.

Swadini camp grounds

Swadini camp grounds

We stopped off at various viewpoints (including God’s Window) along the way, the Three Rondavels spot being my favourite, and visited the famous Bourke’s Luck potholes.

Blyde River Canyon

Blyde River Canyon

Blyde River Canyon with one of the Three Rondavels

Blyde River Canyon with one of the Three Rondavels (top right corner)

Bourke's Luck potholes

Bourke's Luck potholes

The aptly named 'Wonderview'

The aptly named 'Wonderview'

With the afternoon still ahead of us, I persuaded Alberto to drive to one of the Kruger gates (at R48 – approx. £4 – per (local) person per day, it’s certainly money well spent). We spent the next three hours driving around spotting elephant (Alberto almost drove into this guy, he didn’t see him as he stepped out almost infront of us), giraffe, rhino, hippo, fish eagles, various types of buck, zebra and warthog. I could have happily stayed for hours more but it was getting dark and we had to get to the gates before they closed. And to round off a really great day, I even saw the Jock of the Bushveld memorial that’s placed outside one of the gates!

Front row seats for a prime viewing

Front row seats for a prime viewing

Giraffe bum!

We got to see their faces too . . .

Rhinos!

Rhinos!

Beloved Jock

Beloved Jock

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4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

¡Qué pasada de viaje! Es lo que tiene un día de guardia tranquilo, que te puedes leer el blog entero. “Terribly sorry” por no haberos posteado antes, pero es lo que tiene ser un “dejao”. Me alegra mucho que hayais llegado a “Simone’s country” y espero que nos veamos pronto para que nos conteis mas detalles de este “paseito” que os habeis marcado. Hasta entonces, muchos besos y abrazos de vuestro tío Julián.

Comment by Tío Julián

Hola tio! Me alegro un monton de haberte entretenido un dia de guardia. Ya contare muchos mas detalles cuando vuelva a Cuenca, no te preocupes. Hasta entonces, un abrazo muy fuerte.

Comment by albertocuesta

The Canyon is one of the most stunning pics I’ve ever seen out of all the pics I’ve seen ever! Stunning! I’m definately going to have to go there! I named the rhino Haribo, elephant Elliot, giraffe Talia, leopard Matty and vultures Sid and Gus. So exciting you were able to drive around the safari grounds yourselves too! I’m kind of imagining the guy who stepped out in front of you was of a tribal origin who lives and breaths land and has a special bond with the wild animals but I’m guessing he wasn’t. Still in my mind, he is barefoot, with a loin cloth and long stick to walk with.

Looking forward to hearing about more adventures!

Love Valerie

Comment by Valerie McIntosh

Que pasada los potholes! Dan ganas de tirarse a darse un chapuzón!

Comment by Ángel




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