Into the African Bush #Kruger

Before I start with this story, I want to establish a point and that is if you do find yourself on the way to Africa ever, you must promise yourself to learn how to be patient and really quiet because these are the two traits that almost completely dominate the scene here guaranteeing the most sightings and most importantly the most wonderfully captured shots. Well now that the point is clearly established we can move to the actual story.

So, the story begins on the beautiful south African road from Durban to phalaborwa. Now the interesting thing here is that we decided to enter Kruger through phalaborwa for a number of reasons. Generally Kruger national park is immense and is spread over two countries, South Africa and Mozambique.

Phalaborwa is a town situated in the Mopani district, Limpopo province South Africa, it is the only town in South Africa that borders Kruger National Park, the border of Mozambique being only 2 hours drive away, it’s a perfect place to start the Kruger experience.

We reached phalaborwa in the evening, driving all the way from Johannesburg, it’s a small little town swarmed with tourists who want to get to the Kruger national park. I really liked the vibe of this place. The best part was the dinner, that we had in a small local pub, totally mouthwatering and so welcoming. I would say when travelling, look for the places the locals frequent, there’s the treasure.

The next morning started with our much awaited adventure, we entered Kruger through the phalaborwa gate, and in the first 500 meters we had the startling realization that we were in the thick of the African wild. A family of giraffes were right in front of our eyes, I regard that moment as the most spellbinding in all of my travels. They were close enough to touch!

…and then from there started our journey into the most fascinating part of nature, the untamed, uncut wild. There were just so many spellbinding adrenaline pumping moments that I can’t even summarize in one blog.

From phalaborwa gate we covered Mopani, Letaba, olifants, Satara and orpen over the next few days, Letaba and olifants being my favourites.

The picture of the sightings board in the restcamps

On the last day we were literally chased by a Matriarch of an elephant herd, that was crossing the road and even though we stopped at a respectable distance for them to cross, I think she perceived us as a threat and charged a little distance then stopped. After her entire herd had crossed over she looked back at us one last time and peacefully went away.

I can never forget the look on the elephants face and my respect for these magnificent animals has only grown.

So from there we moved on to hazyview where we spent another lovely day, the top of the list was the hippo point in hippo hollow where you can see hippos in the wild and right up close, we spent hours looking at the playful hippos.

So now that I have inspired you enough to plan this journey here is some information that might come handy..
Getting to Kruger
By Air
Phalaborwa airport
Hoedspruit Eastgate airport
Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport
By Road
Johannesberg 405 kms driving time around 5 hours with leisure .
Leaving you with some pictures we clicked on the way.

The local watering hole phalaborwa
Beautiful herd of deer inside Kruger
The gate phalaborwa
We were greeted by this sight within 500 meters of entering kruger
This guy was totally oblivious to us.. Inside Kruger
The Beautiful sabie river
The hippo point in hippo hollow
The beautiful African huts in hazyview on the banks of the river sabie

..So I urge you travel bugs to visit Kruger once, it will change your life forever, and for the better.

Take care,

The Gypsy Gurl

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Wine Tripping #Stellenbosch

The wine guide of Stellenbosch

South Africa is quite well known for producing one of the best new world wines but, what surprises me most, is the lack of knowledge about one of the best wine tourism destination, there is.. Yes Stellenbosch is totally a breath of fresh air and comes as a wonderful surprise. I must share that I was excited to begin with ( that’s why it was part of the itinerary .. ), but to be truthful I never expected it to be this outstanding.

I don’t even know,  if the beauty and charm of stellenbosch is possible to be described without experiencing it first hand,  however, I will try. So here goes..

Navigating the South African roads from Capetown, we reached stellenbosch in no time, 45 minutes to be precise. What struck me most was the amazing transformation of the landscape as we neared the lovely town.

The stunning vineyards of Stellenbosch

Soft hills took place of gentle slopes and amazingly enough, soon we found ourselves surrounded by vinyards and estates. Capetown crowds just melted away into the solitude of the beautiful countryside with myraid colours.

As we headed for the Delvera estate, where we were booked for 2 nights, I was wondering if that’s going to be enough to soak all this beauty,  but as we had to travel to so many places within South Africa, time was definitely limited. That ended my wayward thought.

The picturesque Delvera wine estate, is a great place to stay

Stellenbosch is a unhurried and laid-back destination, complete with amazing food and awesome wines. While you are there, do try The Basic Bistro for some lip-smacking delicacies and don’t forget to head towards the drakenberg mountains for some wonderful wine tasting, my favorite was the Delaire Graft Estate their amazing collection of wines, cheeses and the wonderful organic fig preserve is to die for.

Delaire Graff Estate the ultimate vine tasting experience

Other than that, just lie back and enjoy nature at its best, and yes a glass of wine.. doesn’t hurt.

Next up is the pretty village of Hermanus, on the western Cape of South Africa, travelling on the scenic garden route.

Stay connected.

– The Gypsy Gurl.

Hiking in the vineyards Delvera Estate

Do you also have an amazing experience of stellenbosch? Did you like my discription of the destination? I would love to hear all about it in the comments section. 

Finding AfricaΒ 

Inspiration is a funny thing, it can find you through almost anything, the most exquisite or the most mundane.

My inspiration the mundane (understatement) view from my seat.

My inspiration came from the sheer length of my flight (9 hours and it’s just the first leg of the journey…aaargh! ).

It’s really interesting how craziness hits people, out of boredom and a combination of sleep deprivation, travelling over time zones etc etc. So just to save my sanity I decided to escape into an alternate world populated by words and phrases and ruled by imagination, feelings and experiences.

So then, here I am at 40,000 feet in the sky somewhere over the African continent escaping into my own world, bringing to life the wonder of my first footsteps on the African soil.

Let me share the feelings of my first contact with the majestic African breeze laden with the perfect and intoxicating aroma of spices, musk, freshness and something totally indescribable,the zing that reverberates through everything here.

As I stepped outside the aircraft in Kigali, Rwanda  after a long long ( I really mean it) flight. The pleasant African breeze lifted my spirits and the unmistakable scent of the continent just took over. The beautiful hill country had already announced  its presence through my aircraft window.

Having travelled all the way from India, I think I am bound to get awestruck, it’s a whole new world out here, raw, untainted and somehow extremely thrilling.  The Kigali airport is right on top of a hill and the view it presented was superb. The early morning haze that greeted me at the runway was well worth the long flight. The 4 hour halt at Kigali was a welcome step because that led me to witness my first African sunrise over the African hills, the first in the long list of firsts. It was totally spectacular.

After such a wonderful little break I am back on the road or rather in the sky for the second leg of my journey to Johannesburg, North America of Africa (I read something about it somewhere, at some point of time and it generally stuck with me).

As the seatbelts are being fastened and the aircraft is getting ready to land at the Johannesburg airport, I am ready with the huge bucket of expectations from my bucket list, to soak in the beautiful multicultural, dynamic city of Africa, or so I have heard. It’s about time to find out.

I will be back with the story of Johannesburg and thereafter. As for now, I need to get in a queue to get out of this aircraft and that …couldn’t be sooner.

Till later.

– The Gypsy gurl

Have you ever been to Africa?  How was your experience?  If not, does it feature in your bucket list?  Do share your thoughts on Africa in the comments, I would love to hear all about it. 

It’s time for Africa!

I do believe, very sincerely, that people don’t take trips, Β trips take people. Once again I have been chosen by one such trip, this time to the wildest continent in the world..Africa.

So like shakira says.. It’s time for Africa, well, South Africa to be precise.

As I am typing away from the sanctuary of my cocoon right now, Β I can’t help but wonder at the time left at hand.. 5 measly days. Stuff is being stuffed in travel bags, things are being bought with much gusto, work is being completed or procastinated till after I come back (..meh).

Well, I guess you get the picture, preparations are in full swing. A few days from now I will be basking in the South African winter chilling away the accumulated heat of a solid Indian summer. One month of idling and exploring the African life, from lively Capetown, exciting stellenbauch, scenic garden route, southern city of Durban and finally to the African Bush.. The iconic Kruger national park for a true blue African Safari.

The wait.. is on.

– The Gypsy girl.

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