Perhaps best explained as the absence of mankind, hard to find, restricted entry and at times far-away, Flora and Fauna living without interference from humans. These are the places we love the most, yet somehow when you get up close you find mankind has some hand at managing and preserving wild places on our behalf. Our undying respect for these nature lovers, dedicated and committed to conservation while eager to share. My quest is, finding more of these awesome places for our guests.
Travel in a luxury 8-seater bus or 5-seater fully equipped 4x4 vehicle or self-drive options.
An environmentally, socially and economically sustainable conservation and development initiative. Way up east, a stone throw from the 2nd oldest city in SA (Port Elizabeth) a small community of Eastern Cape conservation officers tend the entrance gates of this un-spoilt World Heritage Site. Here even the Chacma baboon calls out warnings infrequently due to the vast areas they roam and minimal interference from humans in this mega-reserve. 4Wheel-drive country, with limited access, spectacular in land forms and a rich biodiversity, it serves as a prime water catchment area. Drive through, without camping overnight, would be a waste and most of the wildlife would be missed. Kudu graze the succulent leaves hardly moving from the track. Shy Rhino are perhaps a greater challenge to capture on film but keep the camera ready! San occupied this area 100 000 to 30 000 years back leaving an abundance of rock art. Baboons are one of the main ‘conservation’ workers dispersing endemic and various fynbos seeds, while sub-tropical thicket is also in abundance along with five other biomes. Animal life is little disturbed over time and relates way back to the ancient Gondwanan continent. Cape Mountain Zebra, Klipspringer, Bushbuck, Steenbok and Blue Duiker can occur, while Leopard is in need of havens such as this. 300 bird species and 23 raptors (incl. Verreaux’s eagle) have been recorded. Not at all surprising that such a ‘Wild Place’ exists not far from the Sundays River Valley, while just to the north-east is yet another must see ‘Wild Place.’
Game farms cannot come close to the experience of viewing true wild life in natural un-spoilt surroundings. The big 7 - Addo Elephant, Cape Buffalo, Black Rhino, Lion and Leopard along with Sperm Whale and Great White Shark, all within the 120 000ha from the coastal region to Darlington dam. Spectacular viewing and photographic opportunities of a tour from Cape Town via the most southern tip of Africa, a stopover in a coastal nature conservation park, through the world famous Garden Route to Knysna, taking in the longest mountain pass in Africa to link up with Baviaans, through the Sundays River Valley to Addo. A trip not to be missed with plenty of wild animals, scenic beauty and unforgettable touring. In every way possible this is nature’s best ‘Wild Stuff.’
Heading from Cape Town is every body’s favorite: Route 43 and 62; L’Agulhas; De Mond and De Hoop Nature Reserves; The Little Karoo, Hot springs and Cango Caves; Garden Routes’ Wilderness National Park, Knysna National Lake Area and Tsitsikamma National Park; St Francis, Jeffrey’s Bay; Gamtoos Valley and Port Elizabeth and beyond.
If you plan to cover this in two days or so, rather save it for a second visit. The Garden route beauty is so different to the world-famous Cape Town scenery, yet very worthwhile, it deserves time. Stop at the fishing village near the southern tip of Africa for a photographic study of their harbour and fishing craft. Stories of yesteryear are indeed daunting but no different to the adventures of the day – `The Cape of Storms’ to all who sailed these waters.
Back to wild-life on the De Hoop Nature Reserve, stalking Bontebok, Eland and Chakma Baboons for those special photographs. The Port at Mossel Bay, oil rigs at sea and history of ancient Portuguese sailors. The southern edge of the Garden Route – all along this coastline are hidden bays and coves of magnificent beauty while inland the lakes and forests abound.
These areas are the most sought after for retirement, relocation or holiday, yet remain un-spoilt. Rivers have cut deep ravines between the forests over thousands of years adding to the sheer beauty of the landscapes and allowing man to tap into this resource for thrill activities as well as hiking. The river estuaries in particular, are very scenic and ocean life is abundant.
The mother city’s very special ‘Wild Place’ with the Atlantic Ocean beating the coastline into wondrous coves and gullies. Black Rock, Dias Point and Good Hope point will fill your mind with visions of early sea farer's battles to survive while just around the next corner a new born Bontebok calf runs in the shadow of it's mother. Bontebok once threatened with extinction, dedicated conservation staff have once again succeeded. This is just one small part of the world heritage site that stretches across the peninsula of greater Cape Town. These waters have blessed many local fishermen with good catches of prime sought after fish. I have much to share of this ‘Wild Ocean’ having spent some years very close to it indeed.
The northern part is dominated by Table Mountain, wild indeed, for the summit is over a kilometer high, proudly withstanding the fury of our winter and summer weather. Guides play an important part of orientation and history while geology, weather, safety and convenience improve your visit to this iconic wonder of nature. Our mountain is one of the oldest world-wide and is worthy of the time spent, even if it is purely for the breathtaking views, staying in your memory for life! The geological aspects of this landmark are very interesting, so too the Khoikhoi name, if you are able to get your tongue around it. Table Mountain’s triple status – a World Heritage site, a National Park and a World 7 Wonders of Nature.
Cape Town’s day trip adventures to Mountain passes; Winelands and farms; Fishing Villages and harbours; Botanical gardens and Wild flowers; Coastal and mountain walks; Butterflies, Birds, Monkeys; Lions; Humpback Whales; Bryde’s and Southern Right whales. One way or another, there are opportunities to see and experience more than most people have time for. Less than one hour out of Cape Town one can participate in a WILD game drive. Our migrant or resident whale species are easily spotted from the shores, while Orca too come into False Bay to feed. More than enough to satisfy the adventurous WILD side of you.
Should you need a calm relaxing visit, the ancient San people will lead the way. Healing herbs and berries to cure your shattered nerves, or a glass of Pinotage as the sun sinks in the west. Perhaps the wild flowers blooming amongst rolling hills of Fynbos will do the trick. Come to one of the top ten cities of the world for your next tour. Cape Town has much to offer. Diverse cultural backgrounds and history spanning centuries. There are a great many sights and sounds, as well as tastes that can fascinate and delight guests of the Mother City for days. Historical buildings like The Castle of Good Hope and the Cape Town Gardens then on to museums such as the Slave Lodge or Jewish Museum, to art galleries and sights of cultural significance. Have lunch or dinner at one of the many restaurants offering South African cuisine with origins of Malay, Dutch, German and a few others in the mix for a good meal. The V & A Waterfront offers even the most manic of shopaholics a pleasurable day out. Looking over the harbour and Table Bay with presence of Robben Island and its historical relevance to Nelson Mandela, the lime quarry and earlier days of the leper colony.
A route via mountain passes and on to farm-lands near Ceres, into arid Karoo (Koue Bokkeveld) and ancient San hunting ground with rock-art dating back 6 000 years. A 4x4 trail through rocky country and a camp-out were few have slept – Kagga Kama. A private nature reserve trail feeding through Southern Cederberg Mountains and into Tankwa Karoo. Burchell's Zebra and antelope - Eland, Gemsbok, Kudu, Blue Wildebeest, and Bontebok, Springbok, Grey Rheebok and Klipspringer. Nocturnal species - include Leopard, Aardwolf, Black-Backed Jackal and Caracal. Crossing the Doring River up fascinating rough, burnt orange, sandstone tracks flanked by Fynbos with flowering proteas into Rooibos country. A different world awaits you, Maltese Cross, Wolfberg Arch, San and Khoikhoi paintings, mountain fynbos, including the laurel protea, the red disa, and the rare and endemic snow protea. Rare Clanwilliam cedars once harvested can be seen on higher mountain cliffs. This too is a ‘wild Place.’
Heading North from Cape Town has even more to offer: West Coast National Park; Sandveld Spring flowers; Langebaan Lagoon and Saldanha Bay; Berg River Estuary; Bird Island and Lamberts Bay; Augrabies Falls (“Water that thunders”); The Great Orange(Gariep) River and Richtersveld National Park. A day trip from Cape Town to the Export harbour at Saldanha Bay, taking in the West Coast National Park, the un-spoilt beach and holiday Bay of Churchhaven, and providing it is August to September, a visit to the Postberg Flower Reserve (20 special passes issued per day for the flower trail). Zebra, Wildebeest (Gnu), Eland, Springbok and Gemsbok (Oryx). Not forgetting loads of smaller critters together with the world renown Fynbos – best examined on your hands and knees.
The fossil Park is a highlight of this region for discoveries and learnings while the farmlands teem with cattle, sheep and wheat. More adventure is available through the Cederberg, Tankwa Karroo and Koue Bokkeveld. The wild places here are reached with a 4-wheel drive vehicle and camping out, so equipment is important. Rock formations around high mountain peaks, fynbos including the Rooibos tea industry, prolific birdlife amongst the protea bushes, shy antelope and leopard.
Further north, not far from the little town of Kamieskroon is the entrance to Namaqua National Park, with a topography characterised by sandy alluvial valleys, granite outcrops and large round exposed quartz rock. Traces of stone axes and cave habitation reaching back hundreds of thousands of years to homo erectus have been found, linking the San people to this area while their descendants’ still live and work here.
Stock farming and mining followed until WWF-SA bought land to conserve the fauna and flora kingdoms to be taken over by SA National Parks. Spring flowers are a major attraction while relaxed accommodation in various chalets can be booked. Of particular interest to our focus on wild, far off places and for the very best scenery both inland and coastal is the Caracal 4X4 route. It covers the northern parts of the park taking you through all 34 biodiversity hotspots including the coastal areas. Here the park offers several basic camping sites down to Groenrivier.
The second days’ travel is through the West Coast 4X4 trail ending off at Strandfontein Park, near Olifants River mouth. Wild life includes: common duiker, steenbok, bat-eared fox, black-backed jackal, caracal, baboon, klipspringer, Cape fox, aardvark and African wildcat. Springbok, Red Hartebeest and Gemsbok has been reintroduced and Southern Right and Humpback whales may be seen.