Vacation Photos – South Africa

I was fortunate enough to get to take a three week trip to South Africa over the holidays and I want to share some of my photos from the trip (this post is fairly photo heavy…but it could have been worse, I took something ridiculous like 300 photos. But fear not, this is a heavily edited photo sampling! You’re welcome.)

Now, I’m just a small town girl at heart and this was my first trip out of the US (exciting, I know!) so there were so many amazing aspects of this trip for me. We spent a fair bit of time with family which was wonderful and we actually got to see a fair bit of the country in the time that we were there which was incredible.

After visiting family near Johannesburg, we drove up to Kruger park (lots of photos of wildlife if you missed that post) and that was one of the most beautiful road trips I’ve ever taken.

If you’ve ever seen the film The God’s Must Be Crazy, you might recognize God’s Window from the end of the film. It was absolutely one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been.

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After going to God’s Window, we stopped at Bourke’s Luck Potholes which is part of the same nature reserve and another stunning location.

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There was a troop of baboons chilling in the picnic area of the park. They were absolutely not bothered by our presence one single bit.
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This was actually a big day for us. The drive from Joburg to Kruger was something like 3-4 hours but we stopped at so many beautiful places along the way. We also went on a tour of some caves and we stopped for coffee at Pilgrim’s Rest.

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This glittery coffee was absolutely the largest cup of coffee to be found in South Africa.

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Everywhere else, this is a “large” coffee. And instant. Everything is instant coffee.

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A sign at one of the B&B’s we stayed at.

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This little Jack Russel slept outside of our rondavel all night then she took us on a tour of the property the next morning. As it turns out, she doesn’t even live at the B&B, she lives on a neighboring farm but anytime there are guests she sleeps outside their room and acts as a tour guide.
 

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South Africans clearly have superior packing skills. There were trucks piled this high with personal belongings as well. I could have made serious use of these skills during our two recent moves.

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I made a new friend! This is a Giant African Land Snail and we nearly ran him over!

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Chonogololo’s were some of the coolest bugs. These dudes are around 6-10 inches long and they curl up into a little ball if you touch them. My 8th grade science teacher actually managed to procure two chongololos and they lived our class room until one of them escaped never to be seen again.

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Red chongololo!

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For some reason, all of the pineapples were super tiny.
After Kruger Park, we drove down to Durban and spent some time there with family over Christmas then we flew down to Cape Town for New Years.

We were weenies and rode the cable car up to the top of Table Mountain rather than hiking. The time quote that we were given for the length of the hike to the top was “anywhere from 30 minutes to 4 or so hours”. That seemed a little sketchy and we were not really prepared for the “or so hours” bit.

 

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Dassies live on table mountain and this little fellow is a big fan of young tourists who might drop lots of food on the ground.

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Stan the dassie says “what up!”
We also hiked up Lion’s Head and watched the sunset.

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We did walk up all of the multitude of steps to reach the lighthouse at Cape Point and then we played in the ocean at Cape Of Good Hope. I’d never been to an ocean where there are pools and that’s an entirely different experience! There were tiny starfish and anemones and blue bonnets and it was really beautiful.

On new years day we drove through Stellenbosch and looked at all of the wineries then drove through Franschhoek which was breathtaking.

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Franschhoek

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Our lunchtime view in Stellenbosch.
There of course were some not so beautiful things in South Africa as well. Particularly in Johannesburg (but everywhere to some extent), there are walls topped with electric barbed wire around every house because the crime rate is quite high. There were squatter camps that sometimes extended for miles. One of the important things about traveling somewhere new is that you see how truly blessed you yourself are. The poverty and violence were heartbreaking. South Africa is such a beautiful and diverse country and the people are all such an incredible people, but there is such a sense of turmoil and unrest and conflict. It was definitely not something that we see here in the US and on a personal level it was a reminder to be careful of how I treat the people around me and to approach all of my interactions with people with love and compassion. We definitely could use more understanding in this world.

Thank you for stopping by and sharing my vacation photos with me! I hope you enjoyed them!

Tidbits:

  • The cats are finally starting to get a little settled in the new house. Gray Cat was basically just a little cat loaf on the bed for a full week but he’s now venturing out in the rest of the house and he chases his sister a lot which makes her happy (Thing Cat’s favorite game is tag).
  • Last weekend we went to IKEA so we spent a good chunk of last week assembling various pieces of furniture.
  • Next week we’re painting! So with that in mind, there may not be many blog posts next week…you know how that goes.
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6 thoughts on “Vacation Photos – South Africa

    1. Thanks!
      We’re actually doing a lot of light soft gray! 😀
      There will be a couple of accent walls in other colors (so far we’ve decided on maroon for one wall but the rest of the house is still up in the air).

  1. Awesome photos.
    I’m scared of baboons… like they’d rip my face off.
    On the topic of coffee cup sizes, it’s getting out of control! Small is basically large nowadays.
    That’s cute about the Jack Russel tour guide! Hope you tipped her with a treat! 😉
    SNAIL! I love snails.
    I guess you’ve seen District 9? That’s how I think of Johannesburg…
    Aw so glad to hear the cats are getting acclimated to the new house.
    I secretly (not so secretly) LOVE assembling IKEA furniture! My SO leaves it all to me unless the instructions states it’s a 2 person job. 🙂

    1. Thanks!
      Baboons are actually very scary. They tend towards some fairly aggressive behavior and they will absolutely attack a human.
      I love snails too! They’re so cool!
      I think District 9 wasn’t as far off from Johannesburg as I had hoped that it would be.
      There is definitely something cathartic about the IKEA assembly process. And the weird directions are surprisingly thorough and easy to follow! Also, my house smells like a woodwork shop now and that’s pretty wonderful.

  2. Those baboons woulda scared the pants off of me. The chongololos are so cute!
    Great vacation photos, that sounds like so much fun. I can definitely see why you would feel the unrest, though…

    1. They are actually very scary. The fact that they were so fearless was pretty freaky considering they can get really aggressive. Aren’t they great?! I loved them 😀
      The whole unrest bit was definitely different than I had anticipated.

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