South Africa in 30 days – Day 1. From Johannesburg to Graskop

In the Airplane
Just to get you into the spirit of the actual journey …
That was my third trip to South Africa and I was about to embark on the journey of a life time!

This is going to be good, are you guys with me on this one? I just read that a good blogger is supposed to use very little words and very much pictures to get his point across.

My journey however, needs a little intro. From then on I’ll try to keep the text brief and the photos coming!

Here we go: I ‘ve travelled a good 250.000 km in South Africa alone (believe me, my husband’s job depends on it) and I’ve been lucky enough to see the good, the bad and the … awesome sides of the nation and would love to share one such trip with you guys.

Maybe you have some spare time and enough change, and you want to travel the classic garden route and other famous South African spots. Maybe you are, like a dear friend of mine, financially and health wise not able to travel at all and just love to read and browse through some pictures and read about other people’s journeys. Maybe you want to find a place you haven’t yet been to.

We will go from the Airport to the High Veld of Mpumalanga into the heart of the Drakensberg Mountains where we will stay a few days visiting stunning nature, historical sites and the Kruger National Park.

From there we drive to the East Coast, Natal, staying over at Umhlanga where we travel leisurely down to Durban (you are in for a treat if you like exotic cuisine!), stopping at several beautiful coastal villages. Then it is inland again, the Midlands Meander teeming with artisans and skilled crafters awaits.

We travel further South via Pietermaritzburg to Mosselbay and George,  spending a day or two.

Then on to Port Elizabeth, and from there to world-famous Cape Town! We will spend several days in and around the Mother City and exploring the beauty of the Western Cape. Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Hermanus will guarantee days full of beauty and exceptional cuisine.

Out of Johannesburg
The first thing that hits you when you leave the buzzing city of Johannesburg on the National Highway N4 is the difference in Sky. At first I didn’t like at all how much sky there is in Africa, it felt like there is much less earth and much more sky compared to Europe, where the landscape is made of so much more hills and mountains and high forests etc. Africa’s horizon is definitely more sky than in Europe!

The way North will be a brief ride stopping only in Bloemfontain and going straight up to Pretoria where we rest and take a day to explore the historical city.

From there we go North, Limpopo where it’s all Heritage Sites, Elephant Safari and Lions. By then you will just want to stay forever in South Africa, invest all you money and heart into this nation and help transform it to the Paradise on earth it can be! (At least that’s what I did).

This is a long journey which I actually took excactly like that. It helps if you chose your companions well, as South African distances are vast. The main roads are in excellent conditions as are the Public Restrooms at franchise Fuel Stations along the road. Those stops provide excellent snacks, restaurants and shops generally every 60 -100 km.

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South Africa is called the rainbow nation. My journey began with heavy rainfalls and many splendid rainbows, and hundreds of literal rainbows ever since. Come see for yourself!

I was quite reluctant, especially because I was passionate about Germany and just established myself as a freelance therapist plus secured a teaching post at a College!  But road trips have a way of connecting people. I came armed with a box full of index cards of at leat 55 strategic questions (yes we had just been pen pales, nothing romantic) about him and his life … I don’t think you necessarily should bring your life’s questions along, but South African roads and the stunning variety in scenery promotes long, meaningful heart-to-heart conversations if you, indeed, connect…

South Africa is called the rainbow nation. My journey began with heavy rainfalls and many splendid rainbows, and hundreds of literal rainbows ever since. Come see for yourself!

Back to the road. We are driving through Germiston, Middleburg, Nelspruit and Sabie until we arrive, tired but full of impressions in Graskop. I have a special treat for your first night in South Africa: Let’s stay at the Panorama Rest Camp in Graskop. Why? You will enjoy the view overlooking the Graskop Gorge when you wake up the next morning!!! See for yourself … So far I returned 4 times, taking overseas guests (which helps pay for all the traveling) and they were always super impressed!)

Enjoy the view!

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Apartments (Chalets) overlooking the Graskop gorge.
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The Restcamp reception with it’s own peculiar little curio shop, offering a nice breakfast and a chatty chef (if he’s right now there I do not know). Breakfast on a verandah overlooking the stunning landscape. Perfect.
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It’s a jungle right below your feet, the screams of the baboons make you feel: Yes I have arrived in Africa.
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What you see when you look up from your bacon and eggs.
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You got a pool like that at home?

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