South Africa Safari Adventure – NoHo Arts District

South Africa Safari Adventure with Active World Journeys.

It was finally here, our South Africa Safari Adventure.

Our Safari Adventure in South Africa was an opportunity to see the 5 large animals in their natural environment (lions, elephants, leopards, rhinos and buffaloes) as well as giraffes and other exotic African animals!

We flew to Johannesburg and rested for a few days, visiting the Mandela House Museum on the outskirts of Soweto where Nelson Mandela lived from 1946 to 1962 before his long prison term for opposing the government apartheid of that time. The house is a one-story red brick matchbox built in 1945. It has bullet holes in the walls and the facade shows signs of burns from Molotov cocktails (gasoline bombs). The interior houses original furnishings and memorabilia including photographs, quotes given to Nelson Mandela and the world championship belt given to Mandela by Sugar Ray Leonard. Then we drove past the house Desmond Tutu lived in nearby and in downtown Johannesburg we saw Nelson Mandela’s law firm. The Mandela and Tambo law firm was the first in the country to be run by black partners.

The continuation of our South African safari adventure was a short internal flight to Hoedspruit Airport, near the Kruger National Park region of South Africa. Then we checked into our lodge located in a private game reserve called Kapama. This wildlife arena spans 13,000 acres and we immediately felt like we had escaped to a place beyond time.

South Africa Safari Adventure with Active World Journeys.

For the next three days, our schedule would allow us to get up early around 5.30am for coffee and breakfast and a morning nature safari from 6am to 9am. Once back at the lodge, we had a full breakfast and then were free until lunch, usually around 1pm. The lodge had several swimming pools, bars, as well as a spa and a gym. At around 4 p.m., we left for our approximately three-hour game drive in the evening and returned to the lodge for dinner around 7:30 p.m.

(A note to the reader – these were photo safaris with scenic, up-close sightings of the animals from an open-top vehicle in Kapama, there was no wildlife hunting involved.)

It is difficult to describe the joy and wonder of seeing African animals in their natural habitat. For me personally, it was another reminder to be mindful of our environment and our planet, as well as to respect the shared space humans have on planet Earth with animals, no matter where we are or live. There is harmony between life and the natural world and we must work hard to restore the self-destruction that we have imposed on it.

After an absolutely amazing experience in Kapama on a safari, we took a flight to the port city of Cape Town. One of the first things we did was go to the top of Table Mountain, the majestic plateau towers over the city skyline and is South Africa’s most photographed attraction. We took the cable car to the top and walked for about an hour. The views are spectacular from up there.

South Africa Safari Adventure with Active World Journeys.

After getting back down, we stopped to see all the colorful houses in the Bo-Kaap neighborhood. However, it was not until after Nelson Mandela’s release from prison in 1990 that it became possible for the owners to paint the neighborhood in these vivid colors. During apartheid this would have been illegal. Today, Cape Town is certainly one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Later that evening, we were treated to a wonderful immersive African Heritage Dinner Show at Restaurant OR.

South Africa Safari Adventure with Active World Journeys.

Just outside Cape Town, we visited the Cape Winelands region, made up of vineyards, historic estates and contemporary wineries, dating back around 350 years. We took a day to do tastings there. As a self-proclaimed Californian snob, I really appreciated the quality and varieties of wine from the Winelands, especially their blended reds. We visited Fairview Winery it’s been in business since 1693 !. Then we visited Solms Delta, an old farm today a cellar managed by the descendants of slaves then workers under apartheid who now own half of the cellar and finally profit from it. Also in the area, you may have seen the famous images of Nelson Mandela coming out of prison after 27 years. It was here, in the vineyards of Drakenstein prison, where he walked through the gates as a free man in front of crowds of supporters.

South Africa Safari Adventure with Active World Journeys.

The next day we took a road trip around the Cape Peninsula with a stop in the Cape of Good Hope area, a beautiful rocky promontory at the southern end of Cape Town. We hiked the “Lighthouse Keeper’s Trail” – a moderate 1.5 mile out and back paved trail with spectacular views near a lighthouse. We continued our journey on roads that crossed sheer cliffs and skirted emerald green mountains. Along the way we encountered many animals including antelopes, ostriches and baboons. With a must stop at Boulder’s Beach in Simon’s Town, we saw the little and charming African penguins. It was fun watching them for a while, they were so cute!

Saying goodbye to magical South Africa, we took a flight to Zimbabwe to see Victoria Falls, a UNESCO World Heritage natural site. The massive falls are twice the height and width of the famous Niagara Falls in North America. It is believed that David Livingstone (“Dr. Livingstone, I presume”), the Scottish missionary and explorer, was the first European to see the falls in 1855. As we walked to the various views of the falls we were inundated mist, which felt good in the heat of the afternoon. We stayed nearby at Victoria Falls Pavilion and had an awesome interactive dinner show at their Boma Restaurant.

South Africa Safari Adventure with Active World Journeys.

We ended our tour with a sunset cruise on the Zambezi River between Zimbabwe and Zambia. As the elephants frolic in the water and the deep red / orange sun set just over the river, I knew Africa had become a part of me by then.

South Africa Safari Adventure with Active World Journeys.

At the time of writing this article, we have been back in the United States for quite some time and our incredible adventure is still flowing. It was the trip of a lifetime. Before going, I thought going on an Africa safari would be a one-time trip, although listed. But I would definitely do it again because it is such an amazing experience. So, therefore, I will be hosting another super South Africa Safari Adventure group visit in 2023. Let me know if you are interested!

Stay tuned for next month’s article as some of us then went to Uganda for chimpanzee tracking and gorilla trekking in the jungle. I look forward to sharing this immersive, almost spiritual experience with you.

Credit: Some of the amazing photos of Keri Hargbol, tour participant


Jack Witt, MS, CPT

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