Giraffes and Waterfalls
Gauteng and Mpumalanga, South Africa, 2009-09-27 12:00 by Laerke
We started our time in South Africa by couchsurfing ( with a South African girl and her Italian boyfriend, it was a nice soft landing – we slept well and ate well! One of the days we went to Groenkloof NP, here you can go walking on the trails in the park. When we got there and hit the trails with red dust clinging to our shoes, the hot sun baking on our shoulders and the bush landscape playing out in front of us, it hit us – we are in Africa! Moments later we wandered up to a herd of giraffes, we saw their long necks before anything else. We got pretty close, no fences or anything; it was a really cool moment!
Later on we saw a family of kudus; dad with huge horns, mom and a teenager, we also saw wilderbeast, and some boks.

The same evening we went with our couchsurfing host to a dinner at her friend’s place, followed by us all going out to listen to some live music and sampling the local beer. They know how to have a good time in Pretoria, and the drinks weren’t too expensive :-)
We have rented a car that is going to be our companion for the next 2 months, it is a red Citi Golf, it is a bit small but is has oodles of charm, and we have managed to squeeze all our stuff in the trunk! It does have its quirks and the wheel and stick in the wrong places, though it’s easy to get used to.
From Pretoria we drove to Sabie, a small town at 1000m elevation, here we found a nice camp site and explored the many, many nearby waterfalls, enjoyed the views and froze a bit by night. It’s quite a different climate than the Asian we’ve gotten used to.

Our tent and the campsites lawnmowers

Now we are in Graskop, another small city on the edge of Blyde River Canyon. We’ve checked in at the Valley View Backpackers, have put up our tent and just ate dinner. We arrioved pretty early and it was a beautiful day, so we quickly headed out into Blyde River Canyon – it is one of the biggest canyons in the world and offers some amazing views and even more waterfalls (we skipped these; waterfall overload!).

We had lunch at “The Potholes”, a series of pools carved into the rock by the Blyde river. Blyde river really begins here, and the scenery is quite spectacular. At the Three Rondalvals Viewpoint the views were simply breathtaking!