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Embarking on a South African adventure adding in Eswatini for good measure, pre-travel plans… 

Planning a holiday is always rather stressful, with trying to find an all-round agreement between all parties, where they would like to go and what they would like to do, allowing for everyone to enjoy what they expect from a holiday. It might seem easy at first with you having a set idea, forgetting someone may have the completely opposite idea as you, one party member expecting luxury travel, hired car and eat out every night, while the other had backpacking, public transport and eat on the go meals. Other huge factors include agreeing the destination and the biggest question what can be achieved with the budget. Now to add to holiday complications, imagine including a parrot and a boyfriend that is working on the go. 

Coming from a country filled with prospects of nature at every turn, sunshine and culture, I expected a lot more simplicity when it came to travel with ones feathered friend, especially when South Africa has an extremely high percentage of pet owners. I found searching for pet friendly places to stay a real challenge. Booking.com was one of the more helpful sites with an option for pet friendly, though it still said on many of the properties that it needed to be pre-arranged, and where there were no pet friendly accommodation in an area, I was left asking some definite pet-unfriendly places, sometimes being surprised at the answers, like Addo elephant national park. I would have thought places near National park areas like Addo would have easy pet boarding facilities, allowing one to visit the parks more easily, Kruger national park has a number of initially promising looking dog kennels that in the end wouldn’t board other pets like birds.

Don’t even get me started on camping, I enjoy camping, but there is no easy way to find pet friendly venues, this was truly the most challenging (tech-know people out there, here is a niche to invest in!). One beautiful camp I came across got both of us excited, only waiting on the confirmation that Buttons (my parrot) would be allowed to join, it was a pet-friendly place but on request, I was a bit shocked to hear my parrot needed a full history of why I have it and what prospects of its freedom in the future and staying in a cage wouldn’t be allowed, I had a good laugh. 

Working challenge, this does complicate things as you can only really travel on the Saturday, as work finishes at 6pm on a Friday and to find somewhere to work after check out (often 10am) is not very practical, with South Africa being a large country and our main direction is Kruger National park 2500km away from Cape Town, it involves rather lengthy drives giving around a day to get to a location that is suitable on Sunday to be ready for Monday morning. This also needs to be a place where I don’t give him grey hairs being cooped up in the same room all day either, therefore a convenient area with plenty to do was essential (whilst he can parrot sit if needed 😊)

Our break down plan is as follows, leave Cape Town straight into roughing it for the night on a farm with a beautiful dam. Making our way to the beautiful forests and lagoons of Knysna where we are hoping to have some close interaction with some cheetahs, we head towards St Lucia for a more extended stay, whilst passing through small towns for overnight stops. We will then be heading on our Kruger journey where we will get to sleep in a shoe, a tree house and later popping into see Swaziland, after this we will head up towards Polokwane from here we have decided to take a little less planned approach but we are hoping to make our way to Clarence to stay in a mini castle, see the ostriches of Oudtshoorn and perhaps float down the river on a wine tasting tour in Robertson. Activities wise we are leaving no rock unturned and hoping to do a bit of everything. Not sure if a budget breakdown should be given out on this trip, I might not recover after seeing it in black and white. 

All this is being done from the UK and setting off 1 week after landing back in SA, we will also be doing it in a Tata Indica, a very small car. In this little car we are planning to fit us two humans, one bird and her spacious cage, stuff for 2 months’ worth of traveling, camping and maybe a blow-up boat. I am not sure how we will fit it all in, but what we have agreed on is the back seats need to go, and we are pimping my little car up as a mini camper van, I will follow up this article (on Facebook) with progress pictures and hopefully not disaster ones. 

Travel tips and suggestions related to this trip are welcome and probably much needed, this is going to be one big adventure. Posts will be updated automatically from the 13 September 2019 for two months, as I will not be on hand during this time, as for me personally only electronic device I enjoy on a holiday it my camera and phone for emergencies, I look forward to sharing with you our new materiel and perhaps a vlog or two if I’m brave. 

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