When Just You traveller Roger Tull was given the opportunity to take early retirement, he was finally able to achieve his lifelong dream of visiting South Africa and enjoying a full-on Kruger safari.
Roger's South African Adventure
Our trip began in Cape Town, where we admired magnificent views from Table Mountain, strolled around the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront and drove along the stunning coastline to Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope. We saw the enchanting colony of African penguins at Boulders Beach and visited the incredible Kirstenbosch Garden as the spring flowers bloomed.
Moving east we enjoyed a taste (or two) in the winelands and witnessed majestic whales in Hermanus. Next on the menu was ostrich (literally as it turned out), when we called at a farm in Oudtshoorn to learn about these fascinating creatures. Another day brought another highlight, as we drove along the Garden Route to the intriguing Cango Caves. And then we reached the enchanting town of Knysna, where a relaxing lunch cruise on the lagoon was a delight. A short flight took us to Johannesburg, where we took a tour of Soweto, a humbling and somewhat shocking experience, which brought to life the history of apartheid and opened my eyes to the progress that’s been made since.
It had been a fantastic tour so far, but the best (for most) was still to come. A journey along the scenic Panorama Route took us to the doorstep of Kruger National Park. Here we enjoyed two epic, full days of game drives, getting up (relatively) close and personal to a huge array of wildlife from cheetahs and zebras to bee-eater birds and vultures.
For me, this was the absolute highlight and a fitting finalé to a truly magnificent and inspiring adventure. I’m a big wildlife fan and had never been on safari before, so the thought of seeing these animals up close and personal in their natural environment was really exciting. The safaris were such an awesome experience, I couldn’t have asked for more. At the end of our first game drive we saw a cheetah and a leopard walk right in front of us – it was sensational. Another experience that will stay with me forever was when we spotted elephants heading towards us. We stopped the truck and sure enough, they crossed the road in front of us – I wasn’t about to question if it was their right of way! For me though, the animal of the trip was actually a bird, the beautiful lilac breasted roller.
"The evenings were great fun too"
One night we decided to play pool. The table was a bit rickety, but it didn’t matter, we all had a laugh and some drinks, and our Local Guide joined in too. I’m so pleased I chose to travel with Just You. As a solo traveller, part of the experience was meeting other people. It was really good fun because there was always someone to chat to and share experiences with, but at the same time I could still go and do my own thing at times.
I often read people’s concerns about solo travel, but I found meeting and enjoying the company of like-minded travellers to be one of the big pluses and I would encourage anyone thinking of dipping their toe in to do just that. You won’t regret it!
As for me, my next eagerly anticipated adventure beckons... Canada East to West. I cannot wait!
Roger's Top Tips
If you’re planning a trip to South Africa, here are Roger’s tips for making the most of your time there.
- Don’t miss the food market on the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town. I went during some free time and was amazed by the massive array of food from all over the world.
- Be sure to try the Ostrich steak. We were served it as one of our evening meals and it was gorgeous. It was the first time I’d tried anything like that and I’m so glad I got the chance to sample a local delicacy.
- I’d also recommend visiting the painted houses in Bo Kaap in Cape Town. This was another discovery we made during our free time and it’s well worth a visit to see all the different colours.