Where to Stay - South Africa

by Dalene Ingham-Brown

If you’ve never been to Boulders Beach Penguin Colony – you’re going to love it! It’s the magical bay where you’ll find crushed-shell sand, sheltering rocks and one of the last places to observe the waddle of our endangered African Penguin in one of Africa’s best cities – Cape Town. A true sign of a gem-of-an-attraction is if a healthy dose of locals are found among the tourists. At Boulders, that’s exactly what you’ll find.

Visit the penguins at Boulders Beach

Penguins up for viewing along Willis Walk


Chimpanzee Eden Nelspruit South Africa


The Jane Goodall Institute has just launched a Volunteer Programme in April 2013 at their chimpanzee sanctuary close to Nelspruit, South Africa. The sanctuary rescues chimpanzees from circuses, zoos, the bush meat trade and also takes in orphaned chimps from all over the world. The dedicated team at Chimp Eden provide a safe and loving environment where chimps are given the best treatment possible.

Early beginnings

Jane Goodhall is an extraordinary woman having dedicated nearly her whole life to learning more about chimpanzees and working tirelessly to spread her message. Her fascinating life really took off when she was 22. Having saved very hard as a waitress she bought a round-trip ticket to Africa leaving England in 1957. She went to stay with her friend’s family who lived on a farm in Kenya and within a few weeks had met and become friends with the famous archaeologist and palaeontologist Louis Leakey. He hired Jane to work for him as an assistant and asked her to set about studying a group of chimps that lived on the lake shore in Tanzania. At the time not much was known about chimpanzees and Luis Leakey was keen to understand if they could help him with his work on evolution. READ MORE

Lion cub brothers at Moholoholo Animal Rescue

Photo courtesy moholoholo.co.za

A trip to a game reserve in South Africa is on many people’s bucket list and our country is blessed with some beautiful national parks as well as stunning private game reserves. For many visitors the thrill is all about getting the perfect photo and seeing the animals in their natural habitat.

The on-going survival of these animals is of huge importance and the role that the parks and reserves play should never be underestimated. For a number of years now Moholoholo Rehabilitation Centre, which is not far from Hoedspruit in Limpopo, has been actively engaged in rescuing and rehabilitating injured, poisoned or abandoned animals. They have combined a unique educational experience with a luxurious holiday at their Moholoholo Mountain View Camp or Ya Mati venue.

Their aim is to, where possible, rehabilitate the animals back into the wild but in some severe cases they are impelled to offer a permanent home at the Rehabilitation Centre. These animals are often used as part of their education programme and in some cases to provide ‘up close and personal’ experiences under close supervision. READ MORE

two new lions introduced into Karoo National Park

Photo courtesy of News24.com

The Karoo National park has two new residents as of Thursday 7th February 2013. Two new male lions have been introduced to the park as part of a programme to limit the inbreeding amongst the current lion population. The new three year old male lions are called Niklaas and Witwarm and have been transferred from the Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park.

It’s only three years since an initial batch of lions, taken from Addo National Elephant Park, were introduced into the park. The lions are an important ecological piece in the jigsaw puzzle for the park as they are allowed to hunt and control the population of herbivores which currently need to be culled to ensure numbers don’t get out of control. Over time it is expected that these two younger males will gain control of the current prides as the existing male lions get too old and effectively have to retire their roles as pride leaders.

The Karoo National Park is 75,000 hectares in size and lies just outside Beaufort West and is one of the biggest attractions in the Central Karoo region. From Cape Town it’s about a 5 hour drive to the park and the gates are open from 05h00 to 22h00 but the reception desk is only open from 07h00 to 19h00. Travelling from Cape Town you will need to follow the main N1 road and Karoo National park is just off this road before you get to Beaufort West.

The park is best explored with your own 4×4 vehicle as there are a number of dedicated 4×4 trails like the Klipspringer Pass which is very scenic. If you want you can pay for a guided game drive. The park offers morning (2 to 3 hours) and night (1.5 hours) drives but you will need a minimum of four people to do this. Prices range from R196 for adults on the morning drive and R160 for adults on the night drive. If you are up for a walk then there are free guided walks that will show you the amazing diversity of this Karoo Park. Walks vary from 1.5 hours to 2.5 hours but check in advance to make sure they have guides available.

The low levels of rainfall in the park create an almost desert-like landscape punctuated by the Nuweveld Mountains. The network of 4×4 trails are just waiting for you to explore them and when you are ready for a rest check out one of their nice picnic spots like the Bulkraal picnic spot where you can braai or even have a swim.

Although there are only a few lions in the park the adult male lions are tagged so the rangers can track them at all times. Tagging the lions also helps the rangers understand where they like to eat and the habitat in which they spend most of their time. The original set of lions introduced into the park has settled down well and have already produced cubs.

The park is home to two different types of Zebra; the Burchell and the Cape Mountain Zebra. Naturally there are lots of Springbok which the lions are now helping to keep in check. Other animals you will see in the park include Klipspringer, Kudu and Red Hartebeest.

uMkhuze Game Reserve in Zululand, KwaZulu-Natal

Fever Tree

Properly spelt uMkhuze, this is one of the ‘must see’ conservation areas in South Africa, and happens to be one of the oldest in the world. Established in 1912, the park covers 38,000 ha of varied habitat, ranging from the forested banks of the Mkuzi River, to the dry sand forest, wooded open grassland, as well as reed-beds and pans.

The park consists mostly of flat and undulating grasslands, with the Nsumo Pan being a large and prominent fresh-water feature. Forests and woodlands are dominated by the distinctive flat-topped Acacia tree that typifies the Southern African bush, and with the bright green and yellow barked Fever Trees making a striking feature. The giant and majestic Sycamore Fig thrives in this area and can reach heights of up to 20m or more, forming an impressive canopy offering refuge from the African heat. READ MORE