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Ranger in a Box
14 Sep 2013
 
     

Every year I look forward to The Getaway Show at the Coca-Cola Dome! Not only does the show offer a ‘buffet’ of travel, adventure and outdoor ideas but it also showcases what can only be described as extraordinary gems right here in South Africa. 

Exploring every aisle, I absorb all the travel suggestions and love to meet people who too have a passion for the outdoors, sharing with me their adventures and personal experiences. Each exhibitor displays a snapshot into their ‘out there’ offering, and I always leave feeling encouraged and motivated to discover more of this magnificent country. 

One of my favourite finds at The Getaway Show was a product called ‘Ranger in a Box’. At first I gazed upon the little box, inquisitive of its contents and most importantly – its purpose. I had never seen anything like it and I was intrigued by its existence. 

'Ranger in a Box' will give you the experience of having your own personal ranger in the car with you at all times – in your CD player. Enhance your own safari experience by taking your own personal ranger with you in the car – ‘Ranger in a Box’. 

‘Ranger in a Box’ gives you all the interesting information, facts and stories on the wildlife you may come across on your game drive at the touch of a button on your car CD player.  An easy identification chart helps you select the required track for each animal so you can easily select the information about the animal you have just spotted. 

The information includes interesting facts, behaviour, myths and legends and even research information where applicable, as well as tips and hints on how to maximise your viewing experience. Ranger-in-a-box will, for example, tell you all about lions while you are watching them in their natural habitat– what physical characteristics to note, any fascinating behaviour to look out for, social activities that can be expected and the indigenous meanings of these animals names.” 

This is a really helpful self-drive safari tool and I also think it’s a great idea for gifts! 

To find out more about Ranger in a Box visit: www.ecostudios.co.za/riab.html

 

 

 

 

 

         
Night Safari in the Kruger National Park
7 Sep 2013
 
     

Travelling to the Kruger Park is something you need to plan a little in advance as the roads can get quite bad, either affected by potholes or flooding. It’s always advisable to phone the gate of the area that you are planning to visit and find out about the conditions of the roads. 

Arriving at the Numbi Gate I was welcomed by some game rangers and proceeded to sign all the indemnities before entering the reserve. I watched two eagles perched in a nearby tree and right then I realised that I was in animal paradise. The sun was slowly setting on the park, and seeing its rays stretching through the indigenous trees was astounding. 

When visiting the Kruger National Park it’s always advisable to book or join a safari either in the mornings or evenings. Being with an expert game ranger will increase your chances of seeing any game as they keep tabs on where animals have been spotted during the day. Also, the park closes at night due to all the rhino poaching, and during the day the reserve gets so hot that the animals tend to go into hiding to keep cool.

Spotting animals at night is a skill all of its own and you need a flashlight because the reflection of their eyes in the dark allows for easier spotting. Less than 10 minutes into our safari we spotted a herd of elephant that were making their way through the dense bush. To get so close to elephant and to have the matriarch female stare at me was an enthralling experience... all that stood between us was a few metres and a vehicle. 

Driving through the rest of the area we spotted buffalo, bush babies, owls, buck, and vultures encircling a kill. On our way back to the gate I had one of my most memorable experiences: an elephant, that I called Dino, came out of nowhere with a branch in his mouth and ran down the road with us chasing after him before he tried to back up near a bush. He stared at us as if to say, “Please don’t take my dinner”. This was a special encounter and it made me feel so privileged to have experienced it. 

Having this time in the Kruger was an incredible and exhilarating occasion. It just goes to show that every moment in the Kruger is an opportunity for a spectacular lifetime experience. 

It was finally time to say goodnight…

The Panorama Route in Mpumalanga
31 Aug 2013
 
     

The Panorama Route in Mpumalanga

There is a place in Eastern South Africa that is touched with astonishing views and breathtaking locations. Whilst driving to Mpumalanga, I was teased by glimpses of the sunset beaming through some mountainous terrain on the tarred road. An aroma of winter grass was drifting through my vehicle as I munched on a road snack dropping little pieces of biltong everywhere. 

Travelling the ‘Panorama Route’ is always best done with a map of the area showing places of interest. This will also ensure you don’t miss out on any spectacular views but don’t be shy to try out any places that may come along your way that aren't necessarily on the map. 

First stop was the ‘Pinnacle’. I was pleasantly surprised to see a massive tall rock in the middle of a gorge. It was a very appealing rock with all its rockiness and foliage scattered on top. 

Travelling a little further up I came to a very well-known view called God’s Window a place that took my breath away. Feeling the breeze and listening to the birds made me fall in love with Africa all over again. 

I stumbled upon an area with an open panoramic view and my first reaction was a very loud... “Oh WOW” that had this sort of echo ability! Little did I realise that an entire viewing crowd was seated there staring in the quiet. They all kind of looked at me with this awkward frown as if to say, “Look what the hummingbird brought in”. I was flabbergasted by the display of non-verbal communication and it made me wonder if it was a rule in a hiker’s etiquette handbook to be silent at views. Next time I think I’ll approach a view with caution... 

There are a few waterfalls around the area that are truly spectacular including the Berlin Falls.

‘Bourke’s Luck Potholes’ features massive circular potholes with the Treur River running right through it.  

My journey brought me to the ‘Lowveld View’ which in my opinion has to be one of the most beautiful views I’ve ever seen. 

The Blyde River Canyon was unbelievable! Apart from being one of the biggest green canyons in the world, I think it’s also one of the most awe inspiring wonders as well! The ‘Three Rondawels’ stood like monuments of rock almost seeming like guardians of this magnificent canyon. 

There are moments like these that become priceless in my life... moments that I just want to take in and treasure. South Africa is beautiful!

Visiting the Knysna Heads
24 Aug 2013
 
     

Visiting the Knysna Heads

Just 64km from George is a coastal paradise along the Garden Route that has been named one of the Top 100 destinations in the World. Knysna is a picturesque town with the surrounding Outeniqua Mountains, indigenous rain forests, rivers, lakes, breathtaking coastlines and the home to spectacular wildlife including elephants. Located on the banks of a ‘Featherbed’ estuary, Knysna is an ecological delight for any holidaymaker or traveller. 

Travelling to the Knysna Heads, I was shadowed by the sun that was slowly setting whilst the lagoon attracted and displayed its rays on the peaceful surface. Finding the entrance to the Heads at Coney Glen was a somewhat interesting experience. For some reason, I thought the little hole in the middle of the bush was the path leading to my destination. I took my chosen path and ended up in a thick bush wondering why no one had ever created it into a designated paved walkway. I got my hair caught in branches and scraped my back under extended twigs trying to move quickly in case an unexpected creature happened to enclose on my territory. 

Awaiting my arrival can only be described as a view that I had never experienced before. I looked over the ocean that brushed up on the shore a white foam and carelessly engulfed some of the protruding rock structures that completed the remarkable setting. After absorbing the scenery, I started making my way back through the jungle towards my parked vehicle when I noticed an interesting entrance a few metres away… 

It was the official entrance for the Knysna Heads Coney Glen view and it was paved! I’m completely convinced someone quickly built it there whilst I was trekking through the wilderness because I never noticed it there before. The gentleman who was standing outside his garage watching my bizarre behaviour did seem quite suspicious. Hehe 

The Knysna Heads is a spectacular feature welcoming boats into the lagoon where two points perhaps once joined. This was the perfect place to wave goodbye to the burning star and in the distance I could see a ferry sailing afar whilst the beacon rotated its warning light. The waters below held onto so many stories of boats that sunk through its rocky and treacherous opening. 

Knysna is breathtakingly beautiful, words cannot closely describe its magnificence and waking up to its view every morning made it that much more special!

Guided 4X4 Off-Road Trail
17 Aug 2013
 
     

Experience Driving on a Guided 4X4 Off-Road Trail

I was welcomed by a team of off-road professionals with various 4X4 vehicles and wanted to find out which dirt monster was the preferred choice for roughing it in the big wild universe. Suspension... torque... compression ratio... cylinder... brake force distribution... blah blah blah... 4X4’s are very complicated metal carriages to understand! 

The time came for me to experience an off-road guided 4X4 trail and I couldn’t stop pondering how this vehicle was going to hover over ditches the size of super sized potholes and climb hills that were so steep. The driver assured us that we were in safe hands and we headed off on our journey. It was such an exhilarating experience to say the least... would we get over the hill or get stuck in the wild being chased by a herd of buffalo? All this adventure got me so excited and each successful obstacle made me more of an off-road 4X4 fan. 

This experience was a truly thrilling one that I would recommend, especially if you’re thinking of purchasing one. You may not understand all the terms and technology verbalized but actually experiencing the vehicle in action makes it all an easy decision.

Visit Umhlanga
10 Aug 2013
 
     

We are delighted to welcome our latest guest blogger, Pamela Buckle, also known as Little Miss Mission Impossible. Pam is a blogger, radio presenter and gadget girl, and a travel and adventure seeker. In short, she works hard And plays hard! She will be sharing her adventures with us, but to start you off, tips for a visit to Umhlanga.

Top 10 Places to Visit Near Umhlanga

Umhlanga is known for its diverse adventure activities and entertainment facilities. Here are my Top 10 recommendations to visit near this picturesque coastal town. (~drum roll~) 

  1. Take an evening walk to the Lighthouse- Pick up some ‘Dinky Donuts’ on the way!  

  2. Enjoy a dinner at Maritimo’s at The Cabana Beach Resort watching the sunset over the panoramic views of the ocean.

  3. Low Tide Fishing in Rock Pools – Purchase a kid’s net on the beach and take your little ones in the rock pools to fish during low tide.

  4. UShaka Marine World – Africa’s No.1 Theme Park! Visit the Sea World which is the largest aquarium in Southern Africa.

  5. Gateway Wave Pool

  6. KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board – Find out more about how they protect bathers from shark attacks as well as what they are doing to research and conserve the shark population.

  7. Picnic on the Beach

  8. Dine at the Miami Spur in Umhlanga Sands with fantastic ocean views.

  9. Book a Seafari with ‘Ocean Ventures’.

  10. Umhlanga Lagoon Nature Reserve Hike – The 1 ½ hour- 3 hours hike takes you on a breath-taking trail through a dune and coastal forest. A budget friendly day out! 

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