Hello,

this is the chronologically Blogposts from our 3 1/2 week trip trough South Africa. The journey was booked via www.erlebe-suedafrika.de and it was one of their pre-defined packages. We travelled by car and in middle class accommodation. regarding the nature and animals it was a great experience. South Africa is definitely a trip worth and we will come back for sure :-)
enjoy reading...
Lutz

Frankfurt – Johannesburg – Centurion (Pretoria)

Hi, after getting to Frankfurt quite early we were boarding the plane at 21:20CET.
trans
It was a A380-800 and i was curious how it will be in the A380. But it was a little disappointing. to be honest. The Seat spacing was not more than in other planes and the on board entertainment system had to reboot a couple of times before it worked well. But in the Air the things changes a lot. I never flew in such a quite plane. It was awesome.
So i had the chance to sleep some minutes. Poor corinna she didn´t sleep a lot.. don´t know why. In the middle oft he night then the crew mad an announcement that medical assistance is urgently needed. No idea what happened but it must be something serious i assume when they make an announcement waking uo a lot of people.
We arrived in time and our contact from the agency waited already. The Customs took really a long time. Direct in the airport i got an sim card form y phone with datatarif etc... So we stay connected
. And it paid off already to have it.....
On the way from Johannesburg to Pretoria the car suddenly showed the „flat tyre“ alarm. So we went asap to an petrol station to check the air pressure but everything was fine. At the South African (in future only SA) petrol stations you have normally full service by people. Wow not used this anymore... its nice...
Arriving
Natanja guesthouse in Pretoria-Centurion we just checked in and went tot he local Budget rental. They seemed first a little bt unwilling to help but calling the main office and clarifying that we won´t take a car on which the electronic seems to go weird thy took the car and went tot he next honda dealer for checking. Meanwhile we went tot he Centurion Mall and grabbed some nice to eat.
0101_Centurion_Natanja_Guesthouse 0121_Centurion_Natanja_GuesthouseAfter 1 1/2 h budget rental called us and told us that the car is ready and fixed.... i hope they did fix it and not only disable the alerting....  So without a local number everything would be much more complicated and expensive as the telephone roaming costs in SA would kill you... Local calls are 1,79.-€ and international are 2,99€.... what a rip off... The sim card with 100mins free call and 1GB data costs 20€ for the whole time.. We think this was worth it...

On the way back tot he Hotel we stopped at a local fire station and there i took the first pictures... Special for a good friend of us who is a little bit (say a little bit very much ) crazy about fire fighters here are the pictures... And at the end some pictures from our very nice guesthouse with my Fisheye 8-15m lens... Tomorrow we will head to Hazyview getting closer to Krueger Park... p.s. klick on the links to see some pictures....

Long time with no internet….. and we survived :-)

I´m writing this sitting in Swasiland at early morning and it is really cold…only 10degrees in the morning.
trans
From Centurion we headed to Hazyview  Idle & Wild BB. We stopped at a Bird sanctuary in which they have a lot of Bird of Prey in pension from other places all over south Africa. Unfortunately we had no time to wait the 3h until the next flight show was given. But they had large cages and to each bird there was a story telling why the bird was there or where he was found in what condition. Really a tip to visit.
In
Dullstrom we took a lunch break and I had a huge with Blue Cheese covered Beef Burger  in a cozy nice restaurant with a fire on and nice places to chill out. This was really necessary as it was cold otside as Durmastatt is above 2000m meters.
Unfortunately it was raining the whole day and as the Navigation system routed us some funny way so we arrived very late in
Hazyview Idle and wild B&B. <- klick for pictures
Susanne a german lady which we already met in centurion was waiting for us already and so we headed immediately to the
Ants&Elephant restaurant. Awesome 300gr File Steak was waiting there for me…  :-)
The next morning after a nice breakfast I took some pictures of the Rondavel we slept in and the we headed of to the Pezulu tree house lodge near Hoedspruit via the panoramaroute. Fist Stop was the
Mac Mac waterfall(wikipedia). (Pictures)
Proceeding on we were really lucky as the weather got much better and we had good views over the country from a place called
“gods Window” <- pictures(only open between 08:00-17:00 so we wonder what god is using the window for in between…) very often the whole area is covered with thick clouds and fog so it was really a nice day.
And also along the route we had nice views.  (
Pictures)
Suddenly we were stopped by two police officers accusing us not the have stopped at the last stop sign This should cost us 750rand = 70€. As Susanne was with us in the second car it was 1500.-. We were not amused in that and I started a little discussion about the hight of the fine etc… Suddenly they realized that we were all three of us tourists from Europe and the police officers changed their minds. They excused themselves at us and wished us a nice holiday and we should stop from now on at the stop signs and obey the traffic rules and let us go.. That was a surprise for us and we immediately started the engines and went away :-)
After gods window Susanne left for Kruger park and we hope to see you soon in Germany… was great to meet you.
Arriving in the
Pezulu Tree House Lodge we got our own tree house called “Jackaltree”. (Picture of Tree House)
On the way to the Lodge we entered already the Game Reserve and direct on the road we had Zebras (
Pictures)  and beside a Giraffe (Picture)  with a young one beside so we had a nice approach with this greeting committee... :-)
The next (very) early morning at 6:30 we had a game walk in the surrounding of the Lodge. When in got up at 5:30 I heard some strange noises so I stepped out to the veranda and within the range of 20meters two giraffes and a herd of zebras just had their Breakfast. Unfortunately it was too dark and I just had a bad torchlight to look at them so I couldn´t take pictures. But it was a touching moment to see these creatures so close in their own environment (even it is a reserve) and you realize that you are the guest here.
On the following game walk  We saw Zebras, Giraffes, Ostriches (
Pictures of Morning Walk) and a lot of other animals or at least the foodprints of them, which were really fantastic, explained by the Assistant Manager of the Lodge during the walk.
Then we had a nice breakfast and we must say the Staff at the lodge is really great. Also the food, which was provided in the evening, was superb.
We had a break then until 2p.m. and the we started with some other dutch family a gema drive in a reserve very close to ours.
And we thought we had seen already a lot of animals we were told something different.. The Rangers made it possible to come very close to a lion famly with 4 cups and we stayed there about 30minutes (and feeled 400
pictures <- just some of them)  observing them. We were only 5-8 Meters away from them so this was really an experience you won´t forget.
Also a
White Rhino  was spotted and a lot of other animals like Buffalos etc…)
It was and very nice experience this game drive and highly to be recommended.
The next morning was quite hard as it was very windy the last night and the tree house was slightly moving and the wood construction of the house was making noises the whole night… Nevertheless a cool experience to sleep in a tree house (which was quite luxurious).
We headed off to our next destination The famous Krueger National Park - so more to come the next days.....
cu
Lutz
P.s here are all the pictures at once:
1) the Dullstrom / Hazyview and Panoramaroute part
2) The Pezulu Tree House and the Game walk & Game Drive

Krueger Park & Swaziland

After a very stormy & windy night in the tree House we headed after a fantastic breakfast to Orpan gate. This is one oft he main gates to Krueger National Park.
trans
The drive through the park to our next destination the Pretoriuskop rest Camp was only approx. 90 km but as you have a speed limit of 50km/h on main roads and 40km/h on gravel roads it takes a while to get there. (all Pictures of Krueger park)
It took us 5h nearly. With all the stops on the animals you see very close direct at the road it is a fantastic experience. Just klick on the link to see more pictures of animals. On some pictures i have extra kept the frame oft the car so you can see how close the animals were,
The Rest Camp was a little bit disapointing  as the room were totally smelly and I had to escalate our problem up to the manager in order that we could change the room.
In the original rondavel they offered us something was sprayed on the wooden roof. Within 10mintues in the room you got headache and breathing problems. So we really had to change and we got a free upgrade to an nice 2bedroom house. (
Pictures)
In front of all houses or rondavels there were bbq grills so a lot of the guest prepeared their own food. We went to the restaurant and had a more or less acceptable steak and some vegetarian food for corinna. After all the nice food in South Africa this was also a little bit disappointing as it was not so tasty and well prepared as we were used to but it did fed you up and that counted… But really not to recommend at all to be honest.
The next morning we headed very early from the Krueger Park to Swaziland. But last 2km before the last Park Gate we encountered one of the highlights so far. A whole family of elephants was having their breakfast and afterwards they
crossed the street just in front of us.
I got a little bit nervous when the chief bull of the family was standing in front of the car just 5 meters away and was checking the situation. But all was fine and they finally crossed all so we could go and leave the park.
The Border to Swaziland was crossed within 30minutes and we were in Swaziland (
all Pics). Via Pigs Peek (Pictures) we went to our next accommodation. The Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary one of the first Game reserves in Swaziland and again full of Zebras, Gnu and other animals, which we already saw when, we headed to our accommodation.
The Huts were very basic but with a nice bathroom and even more important (for corinna)…. With a lot of
animals direct on the area. Wild Warthogs were running around and Bushbacks etc…. it is really nice there.  The Restaurant is directly at a lake and in the night time you could see (or better hear) Hippos coming out of the water and eat just in front of the restaurant while you were dining. With the help of a nice dutch guy we spotted the hippos the one evening and at last I got one good shot with high ISO from the back of the two dining hippos …..
On one day we did a day trip to a
school in Swasiland and to a local family having Swasi lunch the traditional style. It was a great experience and a good chance to see how the normal family on the countryside lives in Swasiland. Also the school was a interesting experience as there were 695 pupils in the school and each class had approx.. 45-60 pupils. So this is really a huge number… We had the chance to visit one class and it was a lot of fun… I think for both sides….
During the night it was real cold in swasiland down to 8degree or less so in the morning it was no fun to get up as the huts don´t have any heating… But we made it brave to the
open Air restaurant to grap some hot and delicious coffee… Just check out the pictures…
Next destination will be back in South Africa at Saint Lucia were a night Safari and a full day game Drive to a big five reserve is planned.
We hope you enjoy the blog... :-)
 

Saint Lucia – Night Safari – Hippo Boat Tour - Full Day Game Drive

After a nice drive through Swasiland we re-entered South Africa again. Passing the Border took no longer than 30minutes and was very easy and relaxed. Special the Swasi Customs did not want to check anything. The SA Customs wanted to open the trunk and that’s it….
trans
After another 200km on a very good highway we arrived at Saint Lucia in the Rhino Guest House.  A very nice Guesthouse with a good atmosphere. (as always klick on the links to see the pictures...)
It showed up that it was possible to join a night game drive to a very close nature reserve. And we were totally lucky.. we saw a
Leopard in the night crossing the street in front of us and marking his territory at a tree by rubbing his chin at it… With 25k ISO and a good spotlight I got him…. Ok blurry and with artifacts but better than no pictures at all…
The next day in the morning we went on a
boat tour to see the Hippos at St. Lucia Lake. About 800 Hippos and 1200 Crocodiles are living in this wide nature reserve. Just check out the pictures. When you see them with their mouth open you realize why these lazy looking animals are so dangerous. They even come to St. Lucia town in the night time. So the warning we saw are not only a tourist attraction.  After the Boat Tour we drove to Cape Vidal through the iSmangaliso Wetland Park spotting again Zebras, Hippos, Rhinos and a lot of other animals. The Cape Vidal has a big dune and awesome Beach with a lot of  leisure activities like Sports Fishing from the Beach…Surfing and Snorkelling and there are even some Huts to rent and a Campground. The 50km way (direct) took us nearly 5h as we went all gravel roads you could find to see some animals and we made a lot of stops… In the evening we had a nice seafood lunch at St. Lucia……
The next Morning we had to get up at 5:00a.m. in order to picked up at 06:00 for the
full game drive in the Hluhluwe – Umfolozi Nature reserve.
Except the Leopard we saw also here the big five and a lot other animals… A nice lunch at a rest area made he day perfect. On the way  we even encountered a big herd of elephants with some young ones. While we were passing by one of the young got afraid and started to run away with panic… and the herd rushed to it for assistance.. so bad luck for us that we were in between. One mother elephant was in front of us on the road and
focusing us.. so we had to rolling back very slowly with the engine off and all being quiet in the car. Then she passed us and we immediately started the engine and gave speed… it was a really tricky situation. But with the good reaction of the ranger we made it safe home…
In the evening we fell asleep very soon and tomorrow we will head to a one night stop to Salt Rock. Then the part part of our Holiday is over and we will fly to Port Elizabeth following the garden route….
Cu
Lutz & Corinna
P.s. All pictures can be found at: 
http://lbroemel.de/pictures/southafrica/06_st_Lucia/index.html

Addo near Durban Evening Safari at Scotia Private Reserve

Hello,
We just had one nigth stops and a flight to Port Elisabeth the last days…
trans
so not so much happened. Except when we arrived at our Guesthouse near Port Elisabeth (80km away) we met our dutch cpouple again which we had met now a several times as they go nearly the same route and even the same guesthouses (sometime not always). So from time to time we meet again….
They already had checked in and just wanted to make an evening/night game dire in Scotia Private Game reserve. We even hadn´t checked in yet we just also booked the tour. 660rand/pp with tea break and dinner…. We had something small to eat and then it was already time to leave for the Safari…
It was a great experience again and we came 1m close to two rhinos and two some lions…
Just see the pictures… It was awesome again. Unfortunately the rhinos were the horns cut off by some f**** poachers but at least they did not kil the Rhinos…. They just tranquilized them and cut of the horns…. The lion pictures were taken by total darkness we just had a spotlight to look at the it was very lucky that we found them… So they are very noisy because of the high ISO i had to use.. and i had no time to proper de-noise them. Only some lightroom work was done... i hope you like them anyway ...
Enjoy the pictures….
Lutz

Long time no time for updates & no internet again…. (Chrislin & Knysna)

Back again in civilization…. We are on our last days and we travelled along the garden route. A harsh contrast to te rest what we have seen the last weeks. Arriving in Port Elizabeth and staying only one night there we headed to our next place called Knynsa with a short stopover at Dolphin Beach with a nice Restaurant called "Hey Jude" <- pictures. We checked in at Bradach Manor <- pictures a nice house with a fantastic view over the Lake.
trans
From there we did a daytrip to Birds of Eden nature Reserve and Monkeyland. Both very nice places and Birds of eden is a Valley covered with a 50m high net so the birds really can fly and are not kept in any cages. So this was really great. At Monkeyland we had a look at various kinds of Monkey with a german guide who made a volunteer at this place. (pictures of Bird of Eden & Monkeyland) Just as we wanted to leave we saw a flyer of Tenikwa Wildlife Sanctuary and this was one of the best things that could happen.
They offered Cheetah morning walks and photographic walks…. As reservation was required we immediately called them from the monkey land reception and booked the next morning. Even we had to drive the next day 300km we wanted to do this. It meant also to get up at 05:30a.m. in order to pack the car, have a coffee & shower and then drive 1h to the Sanctuary….The morning walk started at 7:15…. In the evening we went to a great place to eat in Knynsa. The Olive Tree – run by Ellen a nice lady which makes every guest special and as there is no menu she brings to each table a big blackboard and explains each dish they offer…. Not much dishes but an exquisite selection.
The next morning I already regretted this idea to walk with cheetahs….. Arghhh i´m on holiday and not to get up so early…..
Nevertheless we got up & ready and went to Tenikwa. Arrived in the dark and cold we got a nice cup of tea and an introduction video of do´s and don´ts  with the cheetahs… as they are on a leash and used to go with people they are still wild animals and predators….
So next we got out and our two cheetahs came…. What a moment…. impressing to see the cats direct in front of you with no fence in between…. See
all the Pictures
And then the 2h walk started and it was the cheetahs which gave the pace… when they rested we waited and if they wanted to go faster we let the leash go as it is  one of the fastest animals on the planet with a high acceleration we would have no chance to keep them.
It was an awesome experience. Afterwards we got back to the camp and had a nice small breakfast. Then we did a tour to the other animals in the camp and got exclusive entry into the areas (quite big each of them) were they were kept. We went into the Servals, Caracal, Wildcat and Cheetah areas.
And within each I got the chance to take some
nice photos of the cats like the caracal….  What a great day…
At 12 we were finished with our tour and headed to Heidelberg – Skeiding guest Farm.
The route was nice and the garden route is total different as the north we have been before. Much more well developed areas. More farmland. And in the cities we passed by also much more fences to protect the property of the people….
Arriving in at Skeiding we got an Awesome room… but this is for the next entry…
Cu
Lutz
 
P.s all Pictures: 
http://www.lbroemel.de/pictures/southafrica/07_Chrislin_Knysna_Cheetah/index.html

Skeiding and Stellenbosch

After a nice drive we arrived at Skeiding Guest Farm. A real farm with a lot of Sheep 3000-5000) and Ostriches.
trans
The accommodation was in room “NGuin” and it was wonderful. We had a clay oven, which we fired on during the night to heat up the room and a whirlpool… awesome… In the evening they offered a 3set meal for 155Rand with Ostrich steak as much as you could eat and also nice veggie stuff for corinna. With the stuff and the other guests we had a nice chill out evening. The next morning at 07:30 we did a farm tour around the land and then a big breakfast. 8 different homemade marmelades and homemeade bread etc… all organic. A good start into the day.
Unfortunately we had to leave already after one night but we are sure we will come back to this nice place.
We headed then to Stellenbosch our next destination the Knorhoek Vinery. On the way we took some km extra to get to the
southest point of Africa…. Which is not as I now learned Cape of Good Hope.
I expected to see a lot of tourists but it was instead really nice and quiet. Then up to Stellenbosch and back near the big cities with a lot of traffic and buzzling activities…. We really went through these parts but the
Knorhoek Vinery is quite outside and in a peaceful and easy valley.
We enjoyed two nights here with doing nothing… this was nice. Just reading and strolling around in the area doing nothing..
On Saturday we headed to Cape town our last Destination.
Cu
Lutz
P.s. All Pictures. 
http://lbroemel.de/pictures/southafrica/09_Skeiding_Stellenbosch/index.html

Last Days in Cape Town - Helicopter flight to Cape of Good Hope

Hello,
just as we are packing our things together before we will have breakfast and head to the Airport a last post. 
trans
We spent the last days in Cape Town and did a Helicopter flight to Cape of good hope. Very nice experience and worth to do it. Corinna did go out with a boat to see the white sharks at Hout Bay - i couldot ga as i get too easy seasick :-( But she said it was also a very good trip.
So now we are packing our things and prepare for breakfast..... see you all soon when we are abck in germany....
South Africa was a great time with a lot of great experiences and meeting tons of nice poeple and shooting thousands of photos....
bye
Lutz & Corinna
 
P.s. Picture: 
http://www.lbroemel.de/pictures/southafrica/10_Capetown/index.html

At the Airport – conclusion and hotel ranking

So we are at the airport in Cape Town Already…..
....in 2h we can check in an then the trip home begins… what to say at the end???? Here is our conclusion 
trans
SOUTH AFRICA was AWESOME
- nice people
- great wildlife (not as much as in other Areas but for us it was great for the first time)
- very good to average accommodation.
- Very safe – we felt safe the whole time when you take the normal precautions. When you are a no-brainer and leave your camera or wallet unattended in a problem area it´s your own problem….
- Traffic – easy to go even when they drive on the wrong side :-) BUT always stick on the speed limits and stop at stop signs.. we saw a lot of traffic control and they even check speed limits on gravel roads in the national parks……
The Hotels we stay in our own ranking (the links at the names lead to their homepage were available):
1)
Pezulu Tree House near Hoedspruit – great to sleep in a tree House…. Awesome experience and the food and stuff were first class….
2)
Chrislin B&B near Addo Elephant park – very nice rondavels out of clay in a superb and quite area
3)
Skeiding Guest House Farm – the Nguin room is very nice with a oven and Whirlpool in the room. The Stuff (Alice) was superb friendly & helpful.
4)
Idle & Wild B&B in Hazyview – very luxurious when you are staying in the rondavels.
5)
Mlilwane – Swaziland. Not very luxusious huts but great atmosphere and very natural – wild Warthogs and other animals on the area. And nice Stuff.
6)
The Saffron House B&B  - Salt Rock. Great rooms and Ian our Host was excellent. Very helpful.
7)
Natanja Guest House – Centurion Pretoria. A normal B&B but very nice stuff and a nice & warm welcome when arriving in South Africa. A good start
8)
Bradach Manor – Knysna. Great view over the lake when you have the lakeside rooms. Stuff is ok but a little bit unorganized. No contact in the eveneing available when you have questions
9)
Knoerhoek Vinery Stellenbosch & Rhino Coast Guest House - St.Lucia. Was ok but at both locations the rooms are not good isolated against noises from outside. So when the place is booked fully u can have noisy nights and a bad sleep. The Vinery is in a more quiet area than the Rhino. At Knoerhook the food in the evening which is offered mon-fri. was great. Thanks to Lisl…. :-)
10)
Pretoriuskop Camp - Krueger Park – unfriendly Stuff. Bad food in the restaurant and we had to switch the room as chemicals were used in the rondavel we should stay in. When you are self catering and can cook yourself the food it seems to be a nicer place
11)
Sweet Orange Guesthouse Capetown – very noisy rooms. You can hear everything outside your room. WiFi is not free of charge and beverages were the most expensive during our trip through SA. Stuff is friendly and helpful. Breakfast was very good but this does not help when you have a bad sleep. The neighbourhood of Sweet Orange guesthouse is unfortunately also very noisy on working days with running generators or diesel trucks.
Will be go back to SA? Definitely YES…. But with less one night stopovers and more concentrating on one area. But to get to know SA it was a great trip.
Thanks for reading the blog and the feedback. We hope you enjoyed it.
Lutz & Corinna