We spent 5 days in Cape Town, which is an absolutely gorgeous city! Its easy to see why it's heralded as one of the most beautiful cities on Earth. The imposing mountains set the scene for the impressive backdrop, and form a "bowl" shape that the city center sits in the middle of. Minutes away, pristine beaches and pricey properties hug the Atlantic coastline and I couldn't stop thinking how much the area reminded me of Malibu.
Our time in Cape Town was spent touring the city center, driving through the Stellenbosch wine region, searching for penguins on the beaches (we found them!), touring the scenic coastlines out to the Cape of Good Hope, and partaking in a shark boating excursion. We were supposed to do cage diving with the great whites, but unfortunately I was horribly sea sick and couldn't remove myself from the fetal position on the boat. :(
After Cape Town, we flew roughly 2 hours to an area known as Kruegar National Park. This area holds some of the most luxurious safari lodges and camps in Africa. Our 8 room lodge was situated in the Sabi Sands area of Kruegar. Our days were filled with twice daily game drives (the first being at 5am!), napping, eating, and gazing at the brightest stars I've ever seen at night......quite the schedule! Adam & I are both major animal lovers, and witnessing lions, rhinos, elephants, giraffes, leopards, etc was an absolute dream for us! Being able to watch wild animals, dangerous and untamed moving through the untouched wilderness was a deeply satisfying experience. I now understand why so many people crave that feeling of "getting in touch with nature".
Following Kruegar National Park, we flew to the country of Zambia. By contrast, Zambia seemed more "real Africa" compared to South Africa. On our 1.5 hour drive from the airport to our lodge, most of which was on a bumpy dirt road, we saw a few sporadically spread out local villages, and vast undeveloped wilderness. Our lodge was situated on an island on the peaceful Zambezi river, which was only accessible by river boat. There was only 1 other couple staying at the lodge (also honeymooners) so we basically had the place to ourselves. It was so quiet, sometimes the only sounds you would hear were the birds chirping away, or the sound of the hippos honking from the river below.
Our excursions in Zambia were comparatively much more relaxed. We visited Victoria Falls, which is one of the seven natural wonders of the world and the largest waterfall on earth. The falls are simply magical. I have never witnessed anything so powerful in my life, and it really makes you feel so small & insignificant in comparison to natures power. The spray from the waterfall billows up for miles, in fact we could see it from the airplane as we were descending into Livingstone. We also rafted down the Zambezi river where our lodge surprised us with a unbelievable lunch setup in a grassy knoll on the side of the river complete with a full bar, and our own personal chef & waiter! I felt like I was in a scene of The Bachelor! Every evening, we took a sunset cruise on the riverboat where we would drink Chenin Blanc (my new favorite wine), search for game on the sides of the river, and watch the sun display dazzling shows of orange, pinks, and purples while slowly sinking into the horizon.
My favorite experience in Zambia was our village tour. We had the opportunity to take a boat down the river to the nearest local village to see how the villagers live. This was a real African village where the people live off the land; no electricity, no running water, no cars, nothing. The children of the village knew that we were coming, and as we arrived by boat they were waiting for us, excitedly waving and shouting. They were so excited that they had visitors! Our guide, who lived in the village, spoke good English and explained about the crops that they grew, the fish from the Zambezi river that supply the village, different leaves and tree barks that can cure various ailments, and the process of how they build their homes using the river mud. Speaking for myself, I have never seen such poverty before and it was a truly humbling experience. Families with 5, 6, 7 children live in small homes the size of my bathroom, yet they are so happy. Our guide calmly explained that her family is healthy, and they have all the food that they need to survive the upcoming winter. They have all that they need. Such an experience makes you think about your own priorities in life, and certainly shows you how little you need to survive.
So basically that is the shortened version of our experience in Africa.
Here's a few details on the hotels we stayed at (click on the name to view the info):
- Saxon Boutique Hotel, Johannesburg (we only stayed here for 1 night. Justin Bieber was also staying there as well lol)
I truly agonized over which pictures to share with you, as I took over 1,000 pictures. Here is a sampling of my faves, I hope you enjoy!!
Africa, you have captured our hearts and I can not wait to return to your beautiful continent. If I had to sum it all up in one word it would be INCREDIBLE!