Flight Centre's Craig Barrow travels to South Africa to explore the culture and history of 'the rainbow nation'. Craig also visits some game parks, including the Addo Elephant National Park, and is fortunate enough to see a number of Africa's big game. Craig's trip includes the cities of Cape Town and Johannesburg.
I arrived into Cape Town two days earlier. I looked at the weather and started to get a little bit worried. Cape Town is an amazing place but if it's raining and cold it does put a damper on the city. Two days later, as I started to pick up everybody, the clouds blew away and the sun came out. This set the weather pattern for the rest of the trip. We had an amazing time, the people were friendly and the places we went were amazing, As we explored further into the country we were welcomed every step of the way.
As a South African, it was so great to see how well the tourists were looked after. South Africa has amazing service levels and we took full advantage of this. We ate at some of the best restaurants, stayed in some of the best hotels and drank amazing wine. Every day brought new experiences and new delights. Our first tour guide, Willie, went out of his way to show us the best of the Cape. We went into the townships and met the locals and saw how they lived, to me a very important aspect of any trip.
Addo Elephant National Park was our first game drive and this was the only cold day we had on the tour. Animals tend to be very elusive in the cold and I'm sure had it been a bit warmer we would have seen more.
Before we moved to Johannesburg we bade farewell to Willie and the Cape and started preparing ourselves for the ‘City of Gold'. After we landed, we were whisked off for a tour of Soweto and a history lesson on the apartheid era of the country. Driving past the large mine dumps and through the city, we gained a clear insight into the lives and history of the people of South Africa.
With the business end of the trip done, we set off in search of the wild life of Africa. On the way up we drove through the Blyde River Canyon and we witnessed the amazing scenery of the highveld. As we approached Thorny Bush we were greeted by a big male giraffe and that set the scene for the next three days. We saw lion, leopard, cheetah, buffalo, elephant, rhino and many other animals of Africa. Thorny Bush is an amazing camp and the staff and guides looked after us like we were kings and queens.