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African Safari


After spending the month of March in Canada a visit to Africa in April was on the cards.  From the Ice to the Desert.

Flying with South African Airways we took off from Brisbane with Virgin via Perth to Johannesburg to Cape Town approx. 22 hours flight.  Johannesburg and Cape Town airports are vast but easy to move around. 

Our guides arrived at the airport we filled the bus with our bags and headed off to our Hotel.  Our 2 night stay at the ONE & ONLY hotel Cape Town is situated in a prefect location.  The hotel is close to the waterfront one block away.  It is out of town but great view of Table Mountain.  The waterways that run through the resort is beautifully stunning.  The room OMG.  As we checked out the Hotel our guide showed us the resort and then escorted us to our rooms.  I was sharing with a friend but these rooms.  HUGE!!


We unpacked and had about half an hour to freshen up before we had to meet in the foyer of the hotel.  We were off on a guided walking tour of Cape Town.


We took off on foot listening to our guide.  Full of information on how Cape Town has developed and why the houses are painted in their colours.  The streets were alive with lots of people.  We were told to keep our valuables close.  Many eyes were watching us.  Walking the streets, we found many lovely shops, old buildings listed back to the early 1800s.


Our tour of Cape Town continued.  Our second day found us passing through the local areas.  Housing has many levels in South Africa.  We came across lovely homes then down the road sanity town.  All living next door to each other.  Very difficult to understand when you first see it.


We drove to the Cape of Good Hope the most southern part of South Africa. We stopped for lunch at the lovely seafood restaurant on the point.  Driving through the scenic route on our way an Ostrich took up along side of the bus.  Following us It was our first sight of wildlife.    Then within a few seconds we saw our next animal.  Not sure what it was. But everyone was excited on the bus.  We had driven a couple of hours through main highways and then wildlife. So close to cities.


The bus pulls up in the major car park and what we see but Baboons.  Cheeky buggers!! Have to watch these animals.  The ranger was up on the hillside scaring them away with his cap gun.  They come down to the parking bays and shop, hoping to pinch anything you have on you, or in your hand.  They will come close and they are dangerous.  So never leave a drink or anything sitting by your side while standing around.   Very smart animals.

Stunning area.  We found ourselves walking to the point up a slight climb with many stairs.  Well worth the walk. 


Our lunch stop Seafood restaurant on the point.  I ordered a prawn salad.  Amazing lunch.  Of course all fresh seafood from the local area.

Our two nights and days in Cape town were amazing but it’s time to pack our bags and head for port Elizabeth.  We were heading off to take up our Marine safari and land safari for the next 6 days.

Port Elizabeth is along the Garden Route. The Garden Route begins about four hours outside of Cape Town and included one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline, the starting point of which is constantly contested as towns such as Witsand, Stibaai and Albertinaia join the route that winds its way for some 200 km via George, Wilderness, Sedgefiedl and Knysna on the Plettenberg Bay culminating in the Tstiskamma Forest, a fairyland of giant trees, ferns and birdlife.   This is a 8 hour drive so we did take a flight.   Our flight was fine, short and sweet.  Flew with South African Airways on 737.  Couple of hours and we were at our next destination.   The Garden Route has so many things and places you could stay.  Teaming with wildlife both on the land and sea.  Stunning area of South Africa.


We find ourselves unpacking in a hotel overlooking the water.  What a picture prefect place.  So lovely waking up in the morning with the sun and sea.   The BEACH HOTEL.  The Beach Hotel is one of Port Elizabeth’s finest family Hotels.  Situated on Port Elizabeth’s magnificent beachfront, directly opposite Hobie Beach and next to the Boardwalk, Casino and Entertainment complex.  The Beach Hotel service was excellent with quality accommodation, stylish cuisine and the facilities were perfect.  This hotel would suit families, business trip or just anyone wanting a relaxing getaway.  I’d send a honeymoon couple here no trouble.

The hotel is 4 star and offers 58 spacious, en-suited bedrooms, some with stunning sea views and others opening onto the tranquil courtyards.  They have 3 onsite restaurants that would suit everyone’s palate.  The Veranda Restaurant over looks the ocean.  Great at night sipping those cocktails watching the sun set.  The Crest Restaurant has their famous buffet, while the 3rd hotel Ginger’s was voted one of the best restaurants in Port Elizabeth.  We had so many choices for meals we were never hungry.


Our first safari is the Marine Park.  Hoping to see Whales, seals, dolphins, Sharks, penguins you name it.  I did travel in April so maybe won’t see all these sea creatures but I’m sure we were going to enjoy this.

Best time of year to explore the Garden Route

As with everywhere along the coast in South Africa, the spring and summer months are the best time to visit. This is from around October to April. Daily average temperatures during this time range from 24c and 30c, and you can expect long sunny days. It can rain occasionally during the summer months. And when it does, it tends to linger a full day, rather than be a flash rain storm. But don’t worry, there are plenty of things to do on the drive if you do have a day of drizzle. 

With the great weather, of course there will be larger crowds. The Garden Route is likely to be busy in some areas if you visit in the peak summer season.  The Marine life is best seen between July to October, into November.  The best place to see marine life will be Hermanus or perhaps Pletenburg Bay.  Between July to October you could see the southern right whales. 

We headed down to the bay for our first look at Port Elizabeth.  Early morning start we were up as the sun rose.  Early breakfast then straight to the docks.  We were met by a local guide from Raggy Adventures.  We were going to board his boat for the day’s activities on the water.  A young guy with so much knowledge of the area.  Cold morning, we brought along our bennies and gloves.  So glad I did. Very cold out on the water in April.  We cruised out pass the shipping lane.  Very busy with freighters.  Parked along the coast line waiting to get into Cape town.

Our day was unfolding no diving with sharks today.  I had no plans of hoping in the water with any sharks!!  We headed out to a place called lovers lane.   We came across a pod of dolphins.  Close to 500 plus 1 seal.  Too funny.  The seal was laying on its back with one flipper high mask.  Just enjoying the breeze.  Not worried at all that it was surrounded by hundreds of dolphins.  Most likely knew it was safe from the big sharks cruising beneath.   The dolphins would start at one end of the island and lovers lane, catch the waves and roll down to the end.  Swim back and do it again.  Was amazing watching them.  It seemed as if they loved it.  Back and forth in the waves along this small island in the middle of the Indian ocean.  We could have watched for hours. These were bottlenose dolphins.


Here is a list of the marine species in Algoa Bay Port Elizabeth where I was. Raggy Charters can take you on your Marine Safari.  They of course can’t guarantee you’ll see all these, but they are out there throughout the year. Funds generated from whale watching boat cruises, African penguin boat cruises and other marine eco-tours with Raggy Charters are used to fund the Baywatch Project.  They undertake regular beach clean ups in the Port Elizabeth area and has started an initiative to offset their carbon footprint by plating one indigenous tree for every boat cruise they do.

Here’s a list of the Marine life in this area.

Southern Right Whale

Humpback Whale

Bryde’s Whale

Bottlenose Dolphin

Common Dolphin

African Penguins

Cape Gannet



Killer Whales – Orcas

Port Elizabeth has a lot more to offer.  The local population is into creating, and we visited this small business area to find some amazing craftsmen and women at work.  Visited the local brewery trying their many beers.  Visited the local leather designer and made a luggage tag for my bag. Still have it on my bag now.  Visited that evening a local pub downtown for dinner. Not sure how or where it came from, but the Chef came out with a very large bottle of champagne and a very sharp sword.  With one big bang the bottle was sliced at the top and we all sang happy birthday to someone.  Not sure who it was. But the champagne was lovely.


Our next few days we were about to embark on an inland journey.  Our land safari!!! We drove for miles.  Seemed like all day to our next destination.  What a buzz.  Seeing wildlife on the side of the road.  Zebra’s, and those quick like animals, that like to jump.- Springbok. 

The road signs telling us 12 kms from Alexandria.  I’m thinking what the??? We didn’t drive that far.  We were now in the out back of South Africa.  But we could still see the coastline. Amazing country.  We pulled up into our home for then next 4 days.  We each had out own bedroom and bathroom.  Each room had our own key to lock the big wooden doors.  The camp site and lodge were hidden in the jungle behind very tall fences.   Hearing the sounds as we drove in, we knew we weren’t alone.  Lions roamed these jungles.  Camera’s at the ready we wanted to catch the big 5!!   Our rooms came with tick spray.  One thing walking through the bush you had to spray your clothes and shoes.  I did clean my shoes before leaving.  I was pulled up at the airport in Brisbane on my flight home.  That’s another story for later.  Make sure your shoes are clean!!!!

Our lodge. KARIEGA GAME RESERVE. The park has 6 different lodge sites, we found ourselves on the main site up on a hill overlooking the vast plains.  What a site. The Bar was open.  All drinks were included so we unpacked, freshen up and of course poured our first drink for the evening.  As we were waiting for dinner our guide heard some noises very close.  So yes we were off on our first night drive.  We quickly grabbed our jackets, head gear and gloves.  The cold air at night was chilly.  I would always suggest taking a jacket etc.  Well needed.  The guide was sure he heard the Lions.  A pack has been seen a few days earlier on the other side of the park.  They were close.  We thought we saw them on the track up from the lodge.  Not to be.  They escaped our travels that evening.  We had some time to reflect on all we had seen so far and tell our stories around the fire.  We had a very early start the next morning so not many drinks were taken.  Up at 4 breakfast had we were away before the sun rose.  Within minutes the wildlife was everywhere.


Warthogs everywhere – funniest animal out there.  Lions, Zebra, Vervet Monkeys, IMpula, Jackals, Waterbock, Reedbuck, Porcupine, Onbi, Nyala, Black & White rhino, Kudu, Spotted Hyena, Elephants, Giraffe, Lynx, Leopard, Cape otters, Buffalo, Hippopotamus, Wilderbeast, Hartebeast, Baboons, Wild Cats, Bushbig, etc.  The Bird life is amazing.  If your into birds this reserve has a list very long. Nearly 300 different bird species. 

Our first day was full of animals all grazing together.  They didn’t seem to mind us driving down around them.  We had have a few run from us and some that wanted to get closer.

Our vehicle was a 10-seater no top and 1 guide.  Ok I’m thinking what happens if we’re charged down by a hippo or a lion?? No top this could get interesting.  I hopped in the front seat next to the guide.  All he had was the radio, a light and a horn.  Well if anything happened I’m sure we’ll be ok.  By mid morning we had soaked up so many animals our hearts were pounding. We headed back to the lodge for lunch.  We gathered our thoughts and pictures and met the crew and staff.  Lovely family owned lodged.  Couldn’t do enough for us.  The kitchen was open to us night and day.  Hot and cold drinks on tap all day long.  Our afternoon was time to relax for a couple of hours around the pool.  We were setting out around 3 for our afternoon safari.  Back in the truck we took off for the other side of the Reserve.  Teaming with animals I took so many pictures, it would be hard to show them all here.  I’ll have to create a gallery of pictures. 

Over the days to come we would see so many animals, birds, monkeys and just all the landscapes possible.  We had some very close encounters.

The Elephants – OMG up close they would come at their own pace.  One evening however we were late getting back from our night safari.  About an hour late.  It was very dark   The driver was panicking a little.  I noticed he was getting a little worried and watching the jungle with his light in one hand and his other on the wheel.  We were coming down this bush track when all of a sudden, he puts his foot on the brake.  We all fell forward. He turned off all lights, told us not to BREATH.  WHAT!!!! We had run into a huge Bull of an Elephant. This animal spun on its spot to face us. OMG.  We’re goners!!! We could hear the girls in the back, hearts pounding.  I’m thinking omg I’m in the best seat away from this thing

The tusks on him could have sliced us in half.   The guide slower than a slug moved the car and us down the track as the Elephant shook its ears, let out a mighty roar and fudge we all held on.  He had moved the car pass the elephant as it stomped the ground, let out another roar and we took off.  OMG that was so close.  The guide said nothing the rest of the way home.  I think he turned white with fright.  I know I did.

Our next close encounter was with the lions.  For days these animals had eluded us.  Running circles around us they weren’t that far away.  As we drove up on to a flat plain to check out the view, the guide had driven around placing me between him and the lions.  I look over and not more than 3 feet away are 3 lioness’s and one LION.  Where are the rest of the pack.  OUT HUNTING says the guide.  We ok this CLOSE??? Now I’m thinking sitting in the front seat on this occasion isn’t the best seat in the house.  The guide says they may come over and rub themselves on the tyres.  I look at him and in a panic voice on ….way.  IM OUTTA here.  My heart racing I duck down in the front seat showing only my camera on the window ledge.  No windows of course!!!!

So close they laid there while we took some pictures.  Amazing.

The safari morning and night now for 4days we didn’t want to leave.  I can understand why these people love it here.  Stunning scenery, wildlife everywhere.  Just wonderful to be in a natural wild area and know these animals are going to be around for future generations to see.

Sad to say but we had to leave.  Our next small flight was to Johannesburg.  Our group had 10 of us, 1 leader and 9 agents.  We rocked up at the airport in Port Elizabeth to find that our seats had been cancelled.  They had 6 of our group on the flight.  4 of us missed out.  NO WAY.  6 checked in and headed out to the lounge to board.  The flight was leaving in an hour and we still had no seats.  Sitting around waiting there were 3 business class passengers sitting waiting for seats too. They had kicked them off the plane.  An Hour had passed.  The 3 businessmen had been checked in, but as we found out placed on another flight via Cape Town.   Now the plane had already closed its doors and was on its way out to take off.    They finally called us over gave us a standby ticket and said follow us.  Well our luggage somehow had already been ticketed and gone.  It Was ahead of us.  We were lead out back through some strange gates and we found ourselves on the tarmac .  Told to follow our guide we walked across the runway to stairs that had just been pushed out to the plane.  Yes it was about to take off.   We climbed on board to the passengers cheers and found 3 of us had business class seats and our leader had to sit with the crew.  OMG. Our 6 other group members had words with us later.  Business class to Joburg!!! Had a great flight.

Due to flight changes we had a night in Johannesburg.  We spent the first day arriving and then straight into a tour.  I found the area very intimidating.  I did take a tuk-tuk drive through Soweto.  Why I don’t know but I saw their homes and the lack of water, sanitation.  IT just doesn’t exist. 

I’ll put all my pictures in a gallery on here.  Some of the sites were eye opening.  We visited the home of Nelson Mandela home.  I was sharing the tuk-tuk with our guide and another agent of Indian descent.  She got out and walked across to the markets, before he knew she was gone.  Next thing a tribe of zulu warriors come yelling down the street.  They were in full gear, spears, shields yelling at someone.  He says, where is she? I’m pointing over yonder.  I had already brought some Zulu jewellery and a Zulu hat the women wear.  He was like we have to get out of here NOW!!.  She was between us the ZULUS.  The guide was telling us about the tribal wars there and how they are still very dangerous between certain tribes.  They have different classes of people and my buddy was out there.  He quickly ran over to here in tuk-tuk and said get in quick.  We were off. 

Our hotel was a little out of town.  I wouldn’t walk the streets of Johannesburg without a guide.  Even then I’d think twice.  Police were pulling people over checking for drugs, guns etc.  Very scary.  A lot of the business closed, and the town was like the 70s.  Hadn’t moved on.  Young people standing around on corners. NO older people to be seen anywhere.  There’s a part of the town our guides wouldn’t even go to.  They said never go down there.  We keep moving and found ourselves out of the city.   Still very poor conditions by our standards, but I found the people I spoke to happy.  They loved their life there and some lived in shanty town with 7 families in one home.  No bigger than a small room of one of our homes we all live in.  No running water or bathrooms. The rubbish was everywhere as the bins supplied were always full.  Goats on the side of the road scrounging through the rubbish.


Our flight the next morning was that afternoon after our tour.  Arriving at the airport to find OUR FLIGHTS Cancelled.  WHAT!!!  Ok this was getting a little embarrassing.  With our guide from South African airways we finally found a light.  They had cancelled 2 and placed everyone on one flight to Australia. (Perth) now they didn’t advise that the Brisbane flight was cancelled too.  Landing in Perth I found my connection was non-existent.  The check in staff advised nothing they could do and gave me a $24 food voucher for drinks, and a meal.  Being an agent, I’m thinking ok its 10am I want a flight home to Brisbane.  They should be one.   I request a flight via Sydney Or Melbourne.  I’m told none available.  I’m like no way.  They can’t all be booked out.  So the Brisbane agents found out way into the Virgin lounge to sit and wait 12 hours for our connecting flight.  OMG. I had a sleep had a meal or two through out the day.  We watch a movie, had a massage.  Feel asleep again.  Unbelievable.  NO FLIGHTS in Australia to Brisbane from Perth.  COMEON lol.  They couldn’t get us on any flights.  We had to wait.  Finally landing in Brisbane the next morning tired, thinking ok what not to book for clients.  The flights didn’t go well from the start. 

I've framed a few pictures.

Quick Facts

Passport Validity

Some countries won’t let you enter unless your passport is valid for 6 months after you plan to leave that country. This can apply even if you’re just transiting or stopping over.

Some foreign governments and airlines apply the rule inconsistently. Travellers can receive conflicting advice from different sources.

You can end up stranded if your passport is not valid for more than 6 months.

The Australian Government does not set these rules. Check your passport’s expiry date before you travel. If you’re not sure it’ll be valid for long enough, consider getting a new passport.

Your passport must have at least 2 completely blank pages to endorse your entry permit on.

If your passport doesn't comply with these requirements, authorities may stop you from boarding.

Visa-free travel for short stays

You don't need a visa if you're visiting South Africa for tourism purposes for up to 90 days. In other cases, you'll need a visa.

Leaving and re-entering South Africa won't automatically give you another 90 days.

Check South Africa's immigration rules about:

overstaying visas

working in or migrating to South Africa

changing your visa status

extending your visa by travelling to a neighbouring country and attempting to return


Consider your physical and mental health before you travel, especially if you have an existing medical condition.

See your doctor or travel clinic to:

have a basic health check-up

ask if your travel plans may affect your health

plan any vaccinations you need

Do this at least 8 weeks before you leave.

Yellow fever at least 10 days before arrival is required for travellers originating from tor transiting through WHO-designated yellow fever countries

There are limits to how much money you can bring into South Africa. Foreign nationals can enter with a maximum of either:

25,000 Rand (ZAR)


foreign currency equivalent to $US10,000

You may have to declare the amount of money you're carrying when you arrive or leave


Get comprehensive travel insurance before you leave. Your policy needs to cover all overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation. The Australian Government won’t pay for these costs.

If you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. This applies to everyone, no matter how healthy and fit you are.

If you're not insured, you may have to pay many 1000s of dollars up-front for medical care.


what activities and care your policy covers

that your insurance covers you for the whole time you’ll be away


Not all medication available over the counter or by prescription in Australia is available in other countries. Some may even be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.

If you bring restricted medication or don't have the right documents you could:

be arrested

have your medication confiscated

This includes countries where you don't leave the airport.

If you intend to bring medicine, check if:

it's legal

there's a limit on how much you can take

you need any certifications

If your medication is illegal in South Africa, ask your doctor in Australia about alternatives.

Take enough legal medicine so you remain in good health on your trip.

Carry a copy of your prescription or a letter from your doctor stating:

what the medication is

how much you'll take

that it's for personal use

Dual Citizenship

If you're an Australian-South African dual national, you can’t enter or exit South Africa on an Australian passport.

If you try, you may be:


turned away from border points

jailed for up to 12 months

If you're unsure if you will be treated as a South African dual national, check with:

the South African Department of Home Affairs

the nearest South African embassy or consulate

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