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20
south AFRICA: new explorations
Souvenirs are cheap here and the people
PoT gold
heart-warmingly friendly. The southern
border of this Kingdom – surrounded
entirely by South Africa – adjoins the
province of KwaZulu Natal, home of
the mighty Zulu tribe. When Zulu impis
(warriors) enact a war dance, as they do
at Shakaland Zulu Cultural Centre, it is
easy to understand why other tribes ran
the rainbow nation has long been a popular destination for sunseekers
in terror away from Shaka’s fearsome
looking for an enviable mix of wildlife, open space, adventure, beach
war parties. The earth shook with the
vibrations of their pounding feet and
and general zest for life. and it’s easy to see why, says Carrie Hampton: rhythmic drums.
south africa is quite simply a fun country in which to travel.
KwaZulu Natal presented more safari
possibilities, and I went in search of
rare black rhino in Hluhluwe-Umfolozi
T
hey say a buffalo looks at you as – in a safari that took in Kruger National brought back to my senses with a jolt Game Reserve. This undulating park
if you owe it money, and when Park and nearby Thornybush Private when the earth suddenly disappeared. has plenty of game and a sub-tropical
it comes to collect you had better Game Reserve. The difference that set the The little track leading to God’s Window terrain quite different from Kruger. On
have an escape route. I didn’t two areas apart was the sheer luxury of viewpoint gave no indication that a giant a good day from Hilltop Camp you can
appreciate the full meaning of private safari lodge accommodation and ravine was up ahead. The immensity of see right across Hluhluwe to the Greater
this until I became a spectator in a real personal guiding by a qualified ranger, the view across Blyde River Canyon was St Lucia Wetland Park and all the way
life nature documentary; two male lions who bushwhacked his way through shocking, like being winded by an ice- to the Indian Ocean. In a single day it is
stalked through long grass towards an thickets for the best view of animals like cold ocean. Aptly named the Panorama possible to see elephant and rhino from
unsuspecting herd of very dozy-looking lion and leopard. Route, each viewpoint around the gorge the comfort of a 4WD, then loggerhead
buffalo. Then all hell broke loose. The I left with the scent of wild sage in my gives an alternative perspective, all of turtles laying their eggs on the beach in
lions leapt on top of one snoozing beast nostrils and newly attained knowledge which incited gasps of admiration in me, the moonlight.
and instead of starting a stampede in the that I should climb a tree if needing to along with a bizarre desire to jump. The KwaZulu Natal coast is renowned
opposite direction, the herd came at full escape from a buffalo, and stand my Where there are tourists there are for its bath-temperature ocean – the
speed towards the lions. It was the kings ground if charged by a lion. I didn’t feel buying opportunities, and I had the envy of Capetonians who can only dream
of the African bush who had to high tail it like putting either to the test, but thought crazy notion of returning home with a about warm water. I braved a quick dip
out of there in fear of their lives. these tips might come in useful for my tall wooden giraffe. No packaging, just in the Atlantic at Camps Bay in Cape
I wasn’t expecting to see a lion hunt next safari, because I was hooked! a fragile sticker dangling from its neck. Town, and emerged zinging as if my
every day, or even the much sought after I hardly noticed that the scenery had I found just the right one in the little skin had absorbed the active ingredients
Big Five (lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant changed dramatically and that Kruger land-locked Kingdom of Swaziland not of extra-strong mentholated mints. I
and rhino), but I got them all – and more Park was far behind and below me. I was far from the southern end of Kruger Park. scolded myself for not noticing that I was
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