Baz Bus and Durban

  After a great time in the Drakensberg we took our transport, the Baz Bus, to Durban.  First, the Baz Bus.  It was running when I was here in 2001.  As a backpacker ( or a backpacking family) you are most vulnerable when you walk out of a train or bus station and try to get to your accomodation.  Any ne’er-do-well knows everything you own is on your person.  The Baz Bus links many hostels and takes you door to door. I find it a genius system in a country where crime is such a concern.  It has very good …

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Lesotho and Adrian the Alien

While at Amphitheatre we chose to do a hike in the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho.  Most people have never heard of Lesotho and my kids were in that tally.  I had spent 10 days in Lesotho before – 6 of which were on horseback and it is a beautiful place with lovely people.  It is often ranked as one of the 30 poorest countries.  The moment we arrived in Lesotho, the lovely paved South African roads were gone and it was crazy, rutted mud/dirt paths.  You knew you were in a very different place. The people are famous for conical …

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Amphitheatre Backpackers, North Drakensberg

Now it was time to head south of Johannesburg and our first stop was the northern Drakensberg and stayed at a backpackers hostel called Amphitheatre.  We had a great view of the Amphitheatre area of  the Drakensberg and the area was famous for hiking.  This was the girls first exposure to a Backpackers Hostel – rooms were small but great common areas.  they learned the idea was not t o be in the room but to be mingling in the common area.  This place was really great- hot tub, sauna, small climbing wall and a little plunge pool!   Willow …

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Kruger National Park

Kruger National Park is the biggest game park in all of Africa.  It has the Big 5 (leopard, lion, elephant, buffalo and rhinoceros), Small 5 (leopard tortoise, ant lion, elephant shrew, buffalo weaver, rhinoceros beetle),  Ugly 5 (hyena, maribou stork, wildebeest, vulture, warthog),  Shy 5 (meerkat, aardwolf,  aardvark, porcupine, bat-eared fox). We only did 2 days in Kruger since Mjejane was so darn good!  Mjejane was right in between two gates to Kruger so we did one gate each trip – first Crocodile Gate and then Malelane Gate the second trip.  Any time you can go on safari it is …

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Awesome timeshare – Mjejane Bush Camp

In our 15 years in Hong Kong, one of our best buys has been our Marriott timeshare in Phuket.  While on our adventure we have saved up a few weeks to exchange for other timeshares through Interval International.  We had spent a fair bit of time trying to figure out how to explore Africa’s largest game park, Kruger National Park.  One morning we suddenly saw a large unit for exchange in a park called Mjejane which borders onto the Kruger Park and is open to Kruger.  IT WAS AWESOME!   We had animals all around the place and a small …

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Hazyview Part 2

While at Hazyview we had a fantastic day visiting two distinctly different wildlife centres.  Unlike safaris, these centres allowed us to get right up close and personal,with many cool beasts.  The girls loved it…and the adults too!  This was a bigger hit with the kids than the natural wonders… Moholoholo Rehabilitation Centre First stop was Moholoholo Rehabilitation Centre which has a distinct plan to rehab animals caught or injured by poachers and farmers in traps, snares etc.  They also try to teach farmers about the wildlife and ways to help avoid the wildlife attacking the livestock. It was a truly …

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Hazyview Part 1

After a totally amazing time in Johannesburg, we spent 4-5 days near the town of Hazyview which is just west of Kruger Park, the largest game park in Africa.  I remembered Hazyview for its amazing natural sites – huge vistas, canyons and rock formations.  We had planned to see a few but also found some other gems in the area which really made our stay perfect.  Our  cool accommodation also had a water slide which helped.  With kids, natural beauty has its limits and on the day we were to drive to see all the sites we found that we …

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Soweto Part 2

After the poor part of Soweto, we got to see some better areas.  First we went to the Hector Pietersen Memorial and Museum.   http://www.soweto.co.za/html/p_hector.htm   This place was not open when i was here in 2001.  Mandela opened it in 2012. To understand Joburg and Soweto it seems one must understand apartheid and it’s oppression – and the uprisings against that oppression.  One of the most famous uprisings was in June of 1976 and Hector Pietersen was the youngest victim of the Soweto shootings.  The police had guns while the students had songs and rocks.  Guess who lost?   Hector …

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Soweto Part 1

Soweto is arguably the most well known part of Johannesburg. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soweto        It is the largest township in South Africa with over 1.2 million people.  Townships like Soweto are where the black people would go at night when they left Joburg after work in aprtheid era S。A。  https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Township_(South_Africa)       Most of the city was then left for white people. I had last been in Soweto in 2001 and was amazed at the differences today.  The improvements were very clear and it was more like a city than a shanty town like I saw in 2001.  Many houses were …

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Acrobranches

The day after the Apartheid Museum we needed a lighter mood to our day so we went to a place called Acrobranches.   We had all done something similar in Montreal and loved it called Voiles en Voiles.  https://www.voilesenvoiles.com/en/        It is all about climbing, balance and channelling your inner monkey.   This was a bit different as we had to hook and unhook ourselves from safety line to safety line.   Overall it was super fun as we climbed  our way on 4 courses through the trees of a lovely park in Joburg.

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