Sunday, August 23, 2009


Rovos Rail through SOUTH AFRICA --- What a Fantastic Trip!

ROVOS RAIL --- It is known as

For seven weeks I travelled through South Africa visiting family and friends and then the cherry on top was the Rovos Rail train trip back to Cape Town. If you ever have the money, book it through me it is worth all of it and I can give you some deduction on the price.
We left Pretoria with a steam engine in the afternoon on Friday and traveled very slowly through the cities of Pretoria, Germiston, Johannesburg and Krugersdorp. The steam engine was changed to electricity somewhere on route, but it still was traveling slowly
through our lovely country. The city houses seem not to end too quickly, but if you find nice people on the train and start drinking and chatting to them, time flies. Before dark we got into the lovely Savanna fields (grass and thorntrees) of the Old Transvaal! Until dark we were all sitting in the lounge, wagon at the end of the train with tea, coffee and cakes or later anything from the bar.

Then we had to go and dress up smartly for the evening supper. The dining room was really special with all the lovely woodwork of the days gone by, the old colonial times.
We met new people and the food was absolutely exquisite. In French style and a four course meal was something special. At night one could sleep well with the rocking of the train through the country-side. If you do not sleep well like that the train also stands still for 4 to 5 hours (I could not sleep again once it was standing). The rocking train puts one to sleep, I found.

The next morning, (Saturday) after a too large breakfast, we stopped in Kimberley and spend about three hours with a good guide at The Big Hole of the Kimberley diamond mines. Very interesting Video of 20 minutes showed us also more of times gone by a long time ago. Back on the train we could sit down for a lovely lunch and perhaps a little sleep afterwards in our cabins or rather suites. Each suite has a specific name. We were in the Umkomaas suite, just next to Tutu. Some others had animal names like Kudu, Impala and Springbok. Now we were traveling through the Groot Karoo. A lovely way to see the Karoo. Right at the back of the train was an open area to sit and take photos. The Karoo had so much rain that it is very green at the moment. At sunset there were thunder clouds coming up and some heavy rain came down for a while and we had to go back inside to rather have a drink and a chat at the bar.

For supper it was dressing up again. I do not know if it was for woman's day or always done, but when we arrived in the dining room, a red rose for the men and a pink rose for the ladies where put onto our dress to beautify the occasion of the last night on the train. There were people from the UK, US, Singapore, New Zealand, Ireland and of course many from South Africa (mainly Jo'burg, one lady from Rustenburg) on this train.

The Sunday morning the train stopped at 8h00 at about 5km before Matjiesfontein. It was fantastic sunshine weather after the rain in the previous night. Those that wanted to walk could take a walk of 5km into Matjiesfontein, while'st the train carried on. We were about 20, (half of the tourists) getting out to do that walk. After all that eating for two days it was really good to do such a walk. I really enjoyed that. We took about one hour to do this walk.
In Mastjiesfontein there is the Museum at the station and also a car and train museum to look at and the whole village is really a museum of bygone colonial times. The train started moving again towards Cape Town at 11h00.

Now we started entering one of the most beautiful areas of the Cape. The high mountains started to appear in the distance. The Hexriver Mountains, then the highest peak of the Boland, Matroosberg, full of snow, the Drakenstein Mountains and then the Bainskloof Mountains as we were traveling passed Worcester, Ceres, Thulbach and Wellington. As it was getting dark we also came passed Paarl with the Paarlberg and soon after this the icon of Cape Town, Table Mountain, became visible. We arrived on the Sunday at 18h00 at the Cape Town Station and were kind of sad that this lovely train trip came to and end.


Sunday, May 24, 2009

Garden Route, Addo and Klein Karoo Tour with Köditz from 23rd February to 2nd March 2009

A very pleasant couple from Germany, Mr and Mrs Köditz, came with me on this tour. The first two nights we stayed at the Gästehaus Pinkepank in Plettenberg Bay.
When we left Somerset West driving over the Sir Louriespass there were terrific strong winds and a terrible fire on the Hottentot Holland Mountains. We were glad to leave these terrible fires in February at the Cape behind us and leave for the healthier air on the Garden Route.
My guests enjoyed very much the boat trip to the Knysna Heads, the Elephant Park, where one can FEED,FEEL and HUG an Elephant and we all really had fun with the Elephant orphan babies. We also enjoyed a beachwalk at Plettenberg Bay.
The next day we went to learn more about the different monkeys at the Monkey Sanctuary and Stormsriver Mouth with its scenic walk to the hanging bridge over the river. We had fabulous weather to enjoy this scenic area of our coast.
We then spend a full day and night at Leeuwenbosch Private Game Lodge for Game viewing in a malaria free area. The Game drive on this private Game Park is always very special, since we see most of the well-known african animals, eg. Giraffe, Rhino, Elephant, Buffalo and many antilope species.
We then stayed one night in the fabulous,five-star, Woodall Lodge in the Addo village. There is always some special food in their restaurant. From here we spend the next day in the Addo National Park for more lovely Game-viewing.
From Addo our tour goes into the Klein Karoo and we stayed at the lovely Groenfontein Retreat at the foot of the Swartbergpass which is situated in a very rural farming district between Oudtshoorn and Kalitzdorp.
The next day we went up the most famous Swartbergpass, now rated as the second most scenic pass in the world. This tour over the pass is something one must not miss, if you spend some time in this area. My guests were also enspired about these scenic pictures as seen above.
We then still spend some time during the next two days in the Cango Caves and Ostrich farm and driving back to Cape Town through the lovely Klein Karoo, one night in Montagu and then wine tasting through Robertson. My guetst really enjoyed the whole trip as they told me and thanked me so much at the end of our tour.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Garden Route, Addo, Schotia und Klein Karoo – 1.bis 7. Januar 2009 mit Ute, Dirk und Inge.

Gleich am 1.Januar 2009 fing diese Tour an. Es ging diesmal am ersten Tag bis nach Knysna. Hier eine Bootfahrt, die Elephanten Kinder und der Holzschnitzer wurde besucht. Ute hat vorallem das schöne Holz gefallen und hat sie sich vom wilden Oliven Holz 6 Stück mitgenommen, wovon sie dann ein tolles Kunststück zum aufhängen daraus machte. Am dritten Tag machten wir eine schöne Tour bei Monkeyland mit und besuchten dann die herrliche Bucht, Nature’s Valley und danach den tollen Pass über den Grootrivier wieder zurück zur N2.
Am 4. Tag besuchten wir den wunderschönen Stormsriver und Tsitsikamma Park, wo man die tollen Wellen die sich auf der felsigen Küste zerschlagen lange beobachten konnte. Hier machten wir auch wieder den Spaziergang am Fluss entlang zu der Hängebrücke über den stürmischen Fluss. Wunderschöne Landschaft. Danach ging es dann weiter nach Addo in der Nähe vom bekannten Addo National Park. Diesen besuchten wir dann am 5. Tag unserer Reise. Hier gab es wieder viele Elephanten, Kudus, Zebras, Gnus usw. zu sehen. Am nächsten Tag machten wir die “Tooth and Claw Safari” bei Schotia mit, die auch immer ganz toll ist und man ganz bestimmt hier Löwen sieht. Am Abend gibt es dann ein ganz feines Essen um ein grosses Lagerfeuer.
Die letzten zwei Tage waren wir in der Klein Karoo mit Vogelstrauss Farm, Cango Grotten und eine schöne zurückfahrt durch die Klein Karoo was zwischen zwei schönen Bergketten liegt.