South Africa is an amazingly beautiful country. When I picture Africa in my head, I have the image of the flat Serengeti, with the lone tree and a herd of impala grazing near by. However, South Africa is nothing like you might imagine. There are gorgeous mountains the surround the coast and envelop the sprawling city. There are insane wineries with a delicious selection of vintages to taste. The light is just stunning. So, when my cousin Simon said he was going to marry his unbelievably amazing and beautiful girlfriend, Sophie in Stellenbosch, South Africa, how could we resist! I traveled with my amazing Mom and we had the most wonderful three week adventure. We did so much that it felt as though we were gone for longer, but the trip flew by in a flash. Our journey began in Stellenbosch where we witnessed Simon pledge his love to Sophie. She looked stunning and I loved her wedding dress! The winery had a view of a mountain range that glowed as the sun set. We drank wine and champagne from the winery, ate to our hearts content, and danced late into the night. I was even able to sneak a few shots of the Simon and Sophie.
From there, Mom and I spent a few nights in Cape Town visiting my cousins and Great Aunt before heading up to the Kruger National Park. Now, if you spend 24+ hours flying somewhere, it is a requirement to at least spend a few nights game watching. We were incredibly lucky since we got to spend a whole week! Our first stop was to the Gomo Gomo private game reserve where you go on two game drives: the first in the very early morning, and the second in the evening (which ends as a night drive). The thing that I love about the private game reserves are that the rangers can drive the vehicle right up next to the animals, and they don’t see the car as a threat whatsoever. You get a very intimate view of these animals – and for me, I was able to get close enough to get some photos! After two nights at Gomo Gomo, we headed into Kruger National Park where we spent our final 5 evenings. We had rented a car which was interesting in itself, as the stick-shift was on the left and we had to drive on the wrong side (excuse me, “the left side”) of the road! While in Kruger, Mom and I would wake up at 5 am and be at the park gate when it opened in hopes to see the animals as they were the most active. Since it was the winter time, the grasses were longer, so the best game we saw, happened to be crossing, or walking along the road itself. The most exciting of these sightings were a pride of three female lions who appeared to be hunting. We came upon them as they were walking down the road. The remained on the road for about 10 minutes, and you could really get a sense of how large and powerful these animals are as they walked right past the windows of our car! They then ended up moving pretty far off the road and settling down in a sunny area in the distance. If we hadn’t seen them before, we wouldn’t have seen them at all. After waiting for a bit, I looked behind us, and crossing the road were four cheetah! They were moving at a decent clip, and ended up in the exact same area where the lions were resting (although at that point they had become very alert). Suddenly, one lion sprang up and started chasing the cheetah! It seemed as though it was a game to the lion, as it was just the one, and not all three who ended up doing the chasing. It was very exciting!
I feel so lucky to have been able to have gone on this amazing adventure and I’m already itching for the next one!!! A huge thank you to my wonderful Mom for such a special time together.