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Travel Up Africa Posts

Addo Elephant National Park – The main camp…

This park is situated in the Eastern Cape of South Africa and is very accessible from Port Elizabeth. Addo takes pride in being the country’s third largest park, consisting of 120 000 hectares of land. Though this park does have a tough history, things were a lot different in the past than today. During the 1700s and 1800s there were huge conflicts between farmers and elephants destroying farmer crops, roads and water supplies, many people hunted them and tried to eradicate them from the area. This was not isolated to the elephants, most wildlife suffered from this mind set. In…

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Lichen – Small things sometimes have a big impact

Not many people are aware of what lichen is, yet we are surrounded by them constantly. Found growing almost anywhere, they play a huge role in the environment. Comprising of many different colours and growing on so many surfaces that are thought to be inhabitable, rock, bark, walls, air, arctic tundra and even inside solid rock. Lichen is made up of two parts, algae and fungi working in a symbiotic relationship. The algae are responsible for photosynthesis (creating of carbohydrates), which supplies both parties with food, whilst the fungi are responsible for protection, anchor and providing moisture from the environment…

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Kuzuko Lodge – Place of glory

Kuzuko lodge is part of the Greater Addo National park, they are not joined with the main camp of Addo Elephant National park and different in a lot of ways. This 5-star lodge is placed in a beautiful spot, right on top of a high hill, where you are able to sit on the decks and enjoy a phenomenal view. The main Addo is more renowned area where you are able to self-drive from morning till evening but if you would prefer, there are guided game drives available at an extra cost at specific times of the day. Kuzuko has…

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Rhinos – Do you know the difference?

When we were young we were taught about rhinos, but who would have guessed there were so many different types. Today unfortunately the hot topic is all about poaching, how numbers are decreasing and how some species are close to extinction, some have even crossed that line. This is due to the high monetary value of Rhino horn, the rest of the rhino has no purpose. The horn is made from keratin and is nothing more than an overgrown fingernail that has been well groomed by the individual, to a perfectly formed pointy weapon and deterrent to all that might…

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Quiver tree forest…

The quiver tree forest in Namibia, is not too far from Giants playground, filled with quite unusual plants. The tree itself is a part of the aloe family and only found in Southern Africa, mainly in South Africa and Namibia. Living in very harsh environments with minimal water, the plant can grow up to 6 meters high with the base growing as wide as a meter, but this can take two to three centuries to achieve if it manages to beat all the elements. Due to its slow growth, many people today cultivate them for landscape gardens, but the rarity of…

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Beaverlac – A bit of walking and swimming is all you need….

If you want a place to get away, relax and find yourself, consider Beaverlac. There is an array of accommodation options from camping to small cottages, all relatively basic and very comfortable. Beaverlac is situated in the Western Cape region, hidden away in the Olifants River mountains. It is very secluded, surrounded by 5000 hectares of valleys and mountains from all sides, seemingly untouched and unpolluted by people. Basic rules here include no load music and pets allowed, which makes it an ideal getaway for friendly pets and their owners. One of the top characteristics of this area is the walking…

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Namibia’s Dune 45 – The spectacular reward…

Dune 45 is situated in Namib-Naukluft National Park in Namibia, the colours and contrasts of this area are inspiring, with the burnt oranges of the dunes, the black shadows from the sun and often blue skies with tumbling white clouds make for picturesque photos. The dune got its name from being 45 kilometres from the Sesriem gate, being the main access point for the Namib-Naukluft National Park. The dunes are said to be formed here from wind blowing sand in from the coast, and the red colour to these dunes are formed from the iron oxide found in the sand.…

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Giants playground…

  The name might seem to over promise, after all there are no giants so how on earth would they have a playground. Once your there, you will understand. These huge cube like stones, piled on top of each other, so high it makes you feel very small. I am not just talking about one small monument that looks crazy for a bit of magical nature, it’s as far as your eyes can see. Solid square stones stacked up like lego pieces or children’s playing blocks, scattered between, there are quiver trees that are dwarfed giving the feel of a…

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Kruger National Park – A ultimate nature lovers dream…

It’s hard to know where to start when talking about Kruger. This must be my favourite place in South Africa, I enjoy all the places I have been to, but if I had to decide today where to live, hands down it would be close to Kruger. My first introduction to Kruger National Park, were pictures in National geographic, to my surprise we took one of our last-minute family trips from Cape Town up the garden route, Durban through Swaziland over several days. When we reached the park, I was not sure at first what to expect, I found however…

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Oudtshoorn – The ostrich capital…

The ostrich capital of South Africa, this is what first made the town popular in the 1750’s. Today we may think ostriches are useful for their meat more than anything, but this is a relatively new development. In 1975-1980 it was all about the feathers; ostrich feathers were very fashionable and high up on the scale equalling that of diamonds. A pair of ostriches in 1975-1980 would cost $1200, that is still a lot of money today but with inflation over the years that would be worth R11 500 now.  Whereas today you can buy a pair for $700!  Since…

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Snakes…

South Africa has many species of snakes, over 170 of them. They are often badly portrayed as all being dangerous and untrusted, but this is not always the case. Locals often kill snakes, in many places these snakes have become extinct with years of prosecution in cities and towns. This has led to problems of its own, with snakes being responsible for controlling insect, mice and other pest populations that often pose a problem in developed urban areas. Snakes are not often looking for trouble and do not enjoy wasting their hard-produced venom on a useless cause, they are not out…

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Albertinia…

A quiet village in the Western Cape, situated at the foot of the Langeberg Mountains, not too well known making it a hidden gem. A farm started in 1900 and became a municipal area in 1920, the name derives from Johannes Rudolph Albertyn, who was the first Dutch Reformed minister to serve in this community. It’s a quirky town and has quite a lot of interesting things to offer. When we visited Albertinia, we stayed at self-catering Zoutpan guest farm cottage. It was rustic and had a very authentic feel, with creaky floorboards and a real feeling of an old farmhouse,…

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Cape Town – Victoria and Alfred Waterfront

Cape Town is a huge topic and many books have been written about everything you can do and see here. So, I will concentrate more on the V & A waterfront, as just going here is a day in itself. V&A waterfront as most of us call it, is called Victoria and Alfred waterfront, but not many people know it by this name. Prince Alfred, the second son of Queen Victoria came to South Africa in 1860 and this is how the name originated, as the young prince made a good impression with the cape colony. Being South Africa’s oldest…

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Panorama Route…

This is a very scenic road situated between Mpumalanga and Limpopo, it connects a variety of culture, magnificent views, walks and activities. It is not entirely clear where it starts and ends, but it goes from Hazyview to Ohrigstad.  It’s also seen as a circular route, regardless of this one thing is for certain, it’s a route filled with hidden treasures. There are many waterfalls in this area, some are at the end of a walk and others are next to the road. Therefore, it can appeal to everyone, they are surrounded by tranquil woodlands and the sounds of water…

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Owl…

Rarely seen during the day, these birds are full of talent and amazing to get to know, in South Africa we are fortunate to have many species of owls that are quite different from each other. Being nocturnal you will often hear them hooting at night, and if you’re out with a light you may see them perched listening for prey, if you get to see them during the day they are often perched and fast asleep in trees or burrows, however there are a few owls that are more active in the day. One of the most common is…

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Kind gestures go a long way…

I have enjoyed wildlife since a very young age, collecting little critters and bringing home many things (I don’t think my parents were always happy with it, but they always supported me), one thing I felt hard to deal with was, what do you do when you see a helpless bird or an injured animal? When you’re young, you have no real idea about money especially when it comes to police, doctors and vets, they are just superheroes that fix them forgetting they are normal people and have families of their own. So I was sad to find out, when…

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Betty’s Bay…

Betty’s bay is a very small town about an hour from Cape Town, the drive is quite lovely going around the coasts and through other towns with interesting things to do, making the road a little longer if you decide to stop along the way, but something to enjoy. Betty’s bay has two main sites to visit. The first is the Harold Porter Botanical Garden, this is a very large (about 10 hectares) beautifully made up gardens to be walked through and enjoyed, with benches available and many picnic spots. The natural fynbos (a type of plant biome that is…

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Bush Walks…

Bush walks are great and a unique experience. Everything seems very different compared to a vehicle, you notice the fresh air and the life of an animal. The grass you looked down to from the car that looked short will now be up to your knees, and the 10km distance you could see is now barely a meter, that is how much the perspective changes. I became a qualified guide/ game ranger in 2008, and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it. The days usually consisted of a good long morning walk, studies under the shade in the heat of…

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Night life…

The hot summer nights are really a time to relax in South Africa, during the day it tends to be very hot, usually 25-35°C or hotter. It can be quite exhausting, but in the evening, as the sun starts to set, it starts to cool off and then it’s time to feel a bit more alive. Often the best thing to do is light a fire, glass of wine or a beer and enjoy a good chat around the fire with a braai (barbecue), a few salads and maybe if you remember afterwards some char-grilled marshmallows. I really enjoy having a…

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The long road…

Driving around South Africa is very rewarding, we do not have the big wild animals roaming the streets, and we do have tar roads and we have robots instead of traffic lights. The country is vast, you can drive and keep on driving with no problem, it sometimes seems endless. I find the roads compared to Europe are much more spacious and wider too, you can often see so far ahead too and feel as if you own the road, if you had to break down or saw something you really want to see closely there is more often than…

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Trick or treat…

Work by any other name is still work, but if you are in the field where you want to be and aimed for, well count yourself as fortunate. Many people are forced to take jobs to earn a living just to get by, some people have jobs to do the things they enjoy in their spare time and others get to be their work. I am one of the fortunate ones, I realised early what I wanted to do and found the right paths to achieve it, but even then, every job has dull, frustrating and boring days. This story…

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Stellenbosch, A must visit

Stellenbosch is a lovely Dutch town 45 minutes East from Cape Town, it’s known for its university and its wine, but there is a lot more than just these. The town has a strong Dutch influence, making the buildings stand out with striking white walls and thatched roofs. The town is filled with old oak trees, they were first planted when the first settlers arrived 1670 -80’s, not native from South Africa they were  imported to provide wood for building ships and wine barrels. Later it was found that the trees grew too fast and ended up being too porous to…

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How to spot an elephant

What first comes to mind, how can one not spot an elephant, we are talking about an animal that is what some would say the size of a house! African elephants are the largest land mammal, reaching around an average of 6 tons and a height of around 3 meters, they are very large indeed. They are found in most national parks in Africa if they were recorded to be there naturally once upon a time, although elephants roamed almost everywhere in Africa they did however not stay long in certain areas due to the plant life not being able…

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Namaqualand flowers

Along the West Coast of South Africa it is very dry and flat.If you don’t know the area well and not sure why your going there, most people would probably go elsewhere, but you would be so very wrong to do that. The west coast offers a few wonderful stops and things to see unique to its area, but there is one highlight not to miss if given the chance, the Namaqualand display of flowers. It really beats any flower show or garden centre you may have been to, but the there is always a catch, you timing needs to…

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Some things just stand out more than others…

Game drives, a person may say they are all the same, you get in an open 4×4 vehicle, you drive around for hours seeing a bunch of animals that are available in a good zoo, not to mention a lot of bugs, especially mosquito’s. Myself and many other nature enthusiasts will beg to differ. Nothing beats waking up before the sun rises, hearing all the birds waking up and starting their day, followed by a  fantastic African sunrise. I can tell you, this needs to be on everyone’s bucket list. Every game drive is unique, it is impossible to have…

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Plan to a point, then stop and enjoy 

There is nothing better than getting that feeling your going away on a fun adventure, you get all excited and start think where to go, what to do and see, it seems to be a bit overwhelming sometimes. From experience, it’s great to plan and get everything in place but once you set off on your journey ENJOY it. Don’t worry about the things you can’t change, you’ll ruin your holiday over it, take it as it comes and enjoy it. Many holiday makers all over the world come to Africa to have the famous breath-taking safari. I always started…

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