Guide to South Africa

It has just been my 5th wedding anniversary so I thought I would share with you where I went for my honeymoon.

My husband isn’t very good at relaxing. He likes to be busy and doesn’t sit still for long, so I knew a safari in South Africa would be the perfect holiday for us! We packed our days full of activities and loved every second of it.

If you are thinking of going to South Africa and need some inspiration of what to do, here are some of our favourite things we did there and where we stayed.

Where we stayed

We stayed at the Vuyani Safari Lodge which is on a privately owned game reserve in Limpopo province and the Drakensburg cliffs can be seen as a backdrop. The lodge had an intimate setting and now has 10 suites which are decorated to a high standard and display African art. Upon arrival the staff were very friendly and made us feel welcome from the start. We stayed in one of the honeymoon suite chalets which had its own hot tub and outside shower. We were told we could go where we wanted in the day but would need to be escorted to and from our rooms in the evenings (for safety reasons as a wide range of animal roam freely).

What to do

South Africa safari buffalo

Game drive

We went on daily game drives which ran in the morning at 7.00am and evening at 4.00pm and lasted around 3 hours each. Our visit was in July which is winter in South Africa (however it felt the same as the British summer). It could get a bit cold on the drives, especially in the evenings so I would recommend wearing layers. We were also given blankets to wrap up. Our rangers would track down different animals on the drive which included giraffes, wart hogs, wildebeest, hyenas and other grazing animals. It was amazing to see the rangers using their knowledge to track down the lions which were quite hard to spot. On the drives we would stop off for drinks and snacks by a lake inhabited by a crocodile and hippo. It was an incredible view to watch the sun go down over the lake.

South Africa Elephant

Elephant ride

We were given a talk and shown the elephants responding to different commands such as “salute” and “speak”. We were also allowed to touch and feed them before having a ride. We had to climb onto the elephant when it was laying down and then hold on to straps on the seat. It was quite a bumpy ride but not as difficult as we had heard. It was an amazing experience and something I would highly recommend if you get the chance.

South Africa Hot air balloon

Balloon ride

One of the things my husband enjoyed the most was the hot air balloon ride. The first time we tried for the balloon ride the weather conditions were too poor so we had to return a different day. We had an amazing view from the balloon of the mountains, wildlife and surrounding scenery. My husband got to pull the rope to bring the balloon down as the landing party hadn’t arrived yet.

South Africa safari

South Africa giraffe

Kruger park

We woke up at 4.45am to leave for Kruger Park which is a must if you go to South Africa. The animals seemed at ease with humans and cars as they are used to seeing them driving past. We were so lucky to see the “big five” (elephant, lion, buffalo, leopard and rhino) and it is amazing to see the animals in their natural habitat. A sick buffalo was limping and the others helped it across the road. We also saw a rhino eating a zebra it had just caught!

South Africa Safari

South Africa river canyon

south africa hippo

Blyde river canyon boat trip

After such a busy schedule of trips and activities the boat trip was a lovely way to relax. The Blyde River canyon is the third largest canyon in the world. The water was still and the weather was beautiful. The best view of the canyon is thought to be the “three rondavels” which are huge, round rocks which look similar to the huts of the indigenous people. The canyon is also famous for its Kadishitufu waterfall. The formation that has been produced is supposed to resemble a face crying.

We thoroughly enjoyed our trip to South Africa and managed to see and do so much when we were out there. We were well looked after at the Vuyani Lodge and the food alone is worth a trip. I don’t think I have ever eaten so much and we were served meals including crocodile carpaccio as a starter and wildebeest with vegetables for a main. It was lovely to try different foods and everything was cooked to perfection.

What to pack

If you are unsure of what to pack for your holiday to South Africa, here are a few ideas to make it easy for you.

SEA  off -the-shoulder midi dress £385 | Le Specs Liar Liar cat-eye tortoiseshell acetate sunglasses £40 | Whistles Cargo pocket short £65 | BROTHER VELLIES Zanzibar wraparound sandles £225 | Warehouse saddle cross body bag £25 |

Have you visited South Africa before? What were your favourite things to do there?

Lily x


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