After my bus trip to Joburg, I flew to Cape Town and met my family for a week and a half road trip across the Garden Route and mountains of South Africa. It was great being in Africa with my family, and sleeping in B&Bs rather than backpackers lodges was definitely an improvement.
Before even beginning the trip, getting everyone there proved an interesting challenge. A couple of days before my family, I flew into Cape Town and had to meet a South African gentleman who I was going to stay with. Never having met him before, I looked up his picture on LinkedIn and hoped that I could find him at the airport. All I knew was that he would arrive at 9:45 pm. Unfortunately, there were two flights (one domestic, one international) in different terminals arriving at exactly that time. Luckily I guessed correctly and wasn’t stranded. Meanwhile, my brother traveled through London on his own, and my parents and sister came through Atlanta. In Atlanta, they wouldn’t let my dad on the plane because he didn’t have two full pages empty passport pages. Somehow he got pages added, made it the next day and we were on our way!
The rest of the trip was great and we saw lots of South Africa’s natural beauty. The people were so friendly too. Highlights of the trip included:
Hiking Table Mountain (They make it sound easy but it’s not!)
Driving to the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point
Acting cultured in South Africa’s wine country (Winelands)
The Retreat at Gronfontein, which used to be an Ostrich Palace during the booming ostrich feather and meat business of the 1920s. My siblings and I were also the youngest people there by a good 40 years
Knysna, where we hiked along the coast and met crazy British people. Knysna also has one of the most dangerous harbors in the world (It was closed in the 1950s because something like 20% of the ships that attempted to come through sank).
Storm’s River and Tsitsikamma National Park. One day in the rain we took kayaks up the river and jumped off bluffs, swam and floated on little rafty things.
Addo Elephant National Park – actually we never made it into Addo, but we did a safari at a private game reserve up the road. It was great, maybe better than safaris I’ve done in Masai Mara. We saw lions hunting (eventually killing a giraffe), antelope, gazelle, impala, wildebeest, hippos, elephants, rhinos, and a few other things that I’ve probably forgotten.
Finally, we arrived in Port Elizabeth where my family flew to Joburg and I drove to my friend’s house in George to spend a couple of days.