South Africa

Where can you see penguins in Sth Africa?

African penguinPenguins in Africa! It sounds like a contradiction in terms but there they were, on Boulders Beach, right where our guide book said they would be, dozens and dozens of African penguins. Also known as jackass penguins, because their call sounds a bit like a donkey, African penguins live along the south-western and southern coasts of Africa between Namibia and Port Elizabeth.  If you want to see them and you are in Cape Town just head out to Boulders Beach, Simons Town, a mere 45 minutes by car. Combine your visit with a trip to the Cape of Good Hope for a great day excursion.

Madi-Madi - A Luxury Safari Lodge in the Klein Karoo, Sth Africa

Executive Riverfront Cottage Madi-Madi
It is late afternoon in the Klein Karoo, five hours drive from Cape Town along South Africa's captivating Route 62. We are sitting on our private terrace at Madi-Madi Karoo Safari Lodge hoping to catch sight of some of the wildlife which populates Madi-Madi's private game reserve. We are not disappointed. As if on cue, a herd of springbok wander into sight. With their striking markings and regal bearing they are unmistakable.  An antelope with a predilection for pronking (leaping), the springbok has a habit of suddenly launching itself into the air in leap after elegant leap, cruising several metres before hitting the ground and repeating the performance. The springbok in our field of view remain, frustratingly, firmly anchored to the earth, much more interested in quiet grazing than giving us a show of their physical prowess, but this is Day 1 of our stay and I am confident they will perform for us eventually.

Kirstenbosch - Is this the world's most beautiful botanic garden?

Sunbird on protea
Kirstenbosch National Botanic Garden in Cape Town is one of the great botanic gardens of the world. Nestled against the slopes of Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch is 36 hectares of pure flower heaven. Somehow we missed seeing Kirstenbosch on our first trip to Sth Africa -  honestly I don't know how that happened, but this time it was so lovely we went back twice.

Take my advice and go in spring. We visited in the first week of October and then again in the last week. The flowers, especially the magnificent yellow proteas, were slightly better in the first week but any time in October will give you a stunning display.

72 Hours in Cape Town: The best things to see and do.

Bo Kaap
Cape Town has drawn us back. A year and a half after our first experience of the capital of South Africa's Western Cape, we couldn't resist another visit. What is it about Cape Town's eclectic mix of African and European culture which is so compelling?  Last visit we had only two days to explore the city, much of it spent in a jet-lag induced haze. This time, armed with a couple of Cape Town Passes, we were determined to see all the things we missed.

Our Cape Town Passes gave us entry to the city's best attractions and the phone app which came with them worked like a travel guide with descriptions and photos of each attraction and turn by turn directions showing how to get to them.

South Africa - Cape Town to Port Elizabeth via The Winelands and The Garden Route.

Africa - I had visions of elephants, giraffes, lions and zebras loping across the veldt, silhouetted against the setting sun, David and I giving chase from the back of a jeep, binoculars in one hand, long lens camera in the other.

As it turned out my 'wind in the hair, communing with wildlife' dream didn't quite match up with D's idealised view of the dark continent. Did you know they make wine in Africa - on picture-postcard estates with beautiful