Custom Tours

Not Your Regular Road South African Trip: PART FOUR

6 July 2019

Our next adventure was a 3-day luxury safari at Kariega Big Five Private Game Reserve.

We had a tire blow-out on the other side of Port Elizabeth but, as I thumbed down a passing car, trying to look like a damsel in distress, the first car stopped, and Sipho and his two sons rushed to our defense.

We stayed at Ukhozi Lodge in the Eastern Cape on the Sunshine Coast – I was on assignment to write a few articles.

The red carpet is rolled out when one visits this reserve. The four lodges (all four or five stars) range from family-friendly to upmarket luxury tented safari accommodation.

We saw plenty of game and the Big Five (except the leopard) up close. I was given the royal treatment and taken on a four-hour site inspection of all the lodges on this 10 000 acre (4047 hectares) property.

I was still in travel writer mode when we overnighted at the Dockside Guest House in Port Alfred, and popped into the Royal Port Alfred Golf Club for photos and a chat. We had a great pub dinner at The Highlander with my brother Pieter, wife Doffy, and two sons, Derek, and Anton who were visiting from Ireland and Bolivia respectively.

The spicy appetizers (samosas, chicken wings, and spring rolls) had us gasping for air, but the chicken curry was mild enough, and the fish and chips and beef stew delicious.

We stopped at the van der Byl farm and farmstall, Natureview, on our way to East London airport before flying back to Johannesburg.

Their farmhouse and Bed and Breakfast accommodation are perched high on a cliff overlooking the Kap River way down below. It truly has magnificent views. The farm is known for its high bird count, so the Port Alfred Birding Society have regular meetings there. On this Sunday, there were quite a few birders with binocs and khaki hats prowling around.

Doffy and Pieter make a highly recommended freshly squeezed half-frozen pineapple juice – very popular with all the tourists who stop by. And of course, Doffy’s scones have become famous internationally since I take all my guests there for tea!

We took the road to East London to catch the plane back to Johannesburg. We stayed at the Signature Lux Hotel opposite the Nelson Mandela Square and Sandton City Mall. Karen still had two days left, so we were able to sample the food at The Big Mouth and Cilantros – another article in the making!

On Monday, we left for an encounter with the five tribes at Lesedi Cultural Center: Zulu, Xhosa, Ndebele, Swazi, and Basotho.  One is warmly welcomed by singing and marimba music and has a quick introduction and film to show how the tribes settled in South Africa. The tour includes a visit to the different cultural villages, followed by a lively show of their traditional dances. The sheer energy and enjoyment of the performers always bring tears to my eyes – the heartbeat of Africa!

Having had no breakfast, we enjoyed their sumptuous African lunch buffet in the beautifully decorated Nyama Choma restaurant: crocodile, warthog, chicken, beef, roosterkoek, putu pap, boerewors, chakalaka, salads, and malva pudding, custard, and fruit salad. It was great to share my country with Karen, and I hope it is not the last time she TravelswithElsa!