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Moholoholo Rehabilitation Centre

A visit to the Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre is an unforgettable experience. Its known from National Geographic Channel. Moholoholo is located at the base of the Drakensberg in the Limpopo Province. Hoedspruit is the nearest town, about 20 miles away. On a Game Farm owned by wildlife enthusiast Mr. Strijdom, the center was started in 1992. Brian Jones was managing the place with a crowned eagle. One day people brought a old zebra, who needed special care. From there word got out that Brian was able to care and release animals and birds which is how the rehab center started.

The center provides a home for many of South Africa’s abandoned, injured and poisoned wildlife animals and is a highly regarded contributor to wildlife conservation in the country. From all corners of South Africa wildlife is brought to the center, and once healthy enough re-introduced into their natural environments. Those creatures who cannot be returned to the wild due to the nature and extent of their injuries, are cared for at the center and are used to educate the many tourists who visit the center each year, both from across South Africa and abroad. The aim is to get to the public awareness of the plight of the Environment in Southern Africa. The rehabilitation center has birds of prey, lions, wild dogs, hyena’s, cheetah’s, rhino’s, a leopard as well many other different species.

Another important function of the center is breeding. Moholoholo runs a successful breeding program, over 150 of these cats have been bred and released back into natural areas. Some of the females have since mated with wild males in the area, so was reported. They also have successfully bred and released into the wild the endangered crowned eagle, Moholoholo is for now the only facility in South Africa which can do that. The taita falcon, one of the rarest falcon species in Africa, is also part of the breeding program. The conservation efforts of Moholoholo make a huge difference to many species, including raptors.

The Moholoholo Rehabilitation Centre is a non-profit organization, relying completely on the support of the public. At first donations where welcomed, but as the rehab grew, the costs have been high, so they decided to also ask an entrance fee. The money is used for medicines, keep up of the cages and the expense of feeding. The management and staff are very committed to the preservation of wildlife. Their knowledge of the animals, they so lovingly care for and protect, is nothing less than impressive.

The tour guide shows all the animals they have and explains the conservation efforts they are pursuing. Almost all of the animals are close enough to touch. You can get in the cage whit the vultures to feed them. That’s is really a exiting experience, they are quit heavy and large when they are sitting on your arm. Last year (2009) they had also little rhino’s which you could pet, little baby’s weigh 200 pound, but so charming.

The entrance fees are for a child 45 rand (about $6.00 US) and for grownups 95 rand (about $12,70 US).

Balule Nature Reserve

Balule nature reserve is situated in the Limpopo province of South Africa. Southwest of Phalaborwa, and north of Hoedspruit. The Balule Private Nature Reserve was created when a few enterprising farm owners decided to drop the game fences between their farms. This has grown into a 40 thousand hectare Private Nature Reserve, with the Olifants River flowing for about 12.5 miles through the center of the reserve. Balule nature reserve forms a part of the 2 million hectare Greater Kruger Park ecosystem, the fence between the two has been removed. Because all fences are dropped the animals are allowed to roam freely between the Kruger Park and the private reserve on its western boundary.

Large numbers of lion, cheetah, leopard as well elephant, buffalo and rhino now move freely between Balule and the eastern border of the Kruger Park. A game drive experience is very exciting. Search for animals on a game-drive, conducted by a qualified guide. Experience nature from an open vehicle and enjoy the African bush. Your guide will give you information about animals, birds and more. At sunset there is a stop for a sun-downer after which the safari continues in the dark, looking for nocturnal animals such as civet, genet, bush baby and owls. A game drive can be arranged by the lodge where your staying.

In Balule there are several accommodations, we stayed at Amukela Game Lodge, located deep in the African bush. Amukela means ‘welcome’ in the local language Shangane. Amukela is ideal located to explore the diverse sightseeing and attractions in the region or for a self safari in Kruger park. They have a nice terrace to relax, covered in shade by 2 large trees. There’s a small swimming pool to cool down. Both have a view on the small waterhole which is lit by a spotlight at night. Then there is the Mercury star deck from where you can see the Milky way in all of its glamor. The southern hemisphere is perfect for star gazing and the owners of Amukela can tell you a lot about it. More information about the Amukela Game Lodge you can find at www.amukela.com

From Johannesburg it’s a beautiful drive to Balule, you take the N12 towards Witbank, here it becomes the N4, follow this road until Belfast. At Belfast you take the R540 towards Dulstroom and Lydenburg. In Lydenburg follow the R36 leading to Ohrigstad then take the R527 to Hoedspruit. In Hoedspruit you follow the road until you have reached a 4-way stop , turn left here towards Phalaborwa on the R40. After 16 km you see on your right-hand side the sign Balule – Olifants West Gate, turn right here. You are now at the entrance gate of the Balule game reserve.

The main entrance gate of Balule is situated just 10 miles. north of Hoedspruit. An entrance-fee of R60 per vehicle is payable at the gate. There is also the possibility to take a plane to Eastgate Airport, near Hoedspruit, then it’s just a half an hour drive.

Panorama Route

The Panorama Route is one of the most beautiful travel sightseeing’s in South Africa. It leads right through the rugged mountain range of the northern Drakensberg in the Mpumalanga province. The view from the Drakensbergen shows a huge, abrupt elevation, which ensures fantastic views of the plains of the Lowveld a thousands of ft below. The panorama route takes you along the Blyde river canyon, Bourke’s Luck potholes and Gods windows. Other highlights are the waterfalls in Graskop and Sabie as well the lovely towns Hazeview, Ohrigstad and Pelgrim’s rest.

Blyde river canyon cuts through the Mpumalanga part of the Drakensberg mountain range, one of the seven major mountain systems in Africa. Blyde river canyon is the third largest canyon in the world and one of the most spectacular sights in Africa. There are magnificent panoramic views over cliffs rising thousands of ft above river bed. The wonders of these views can be witnessed while walking the unforgettable trails laid out on the rocks. The Three Rondavels are huge rock spirals rising out of the far wall of the canyon. They consist slate under a hood of hard quartz where pine trees grow. They have been named after the traditional cabins from de Xhosa tribe, because they look alike.

The ‘Pinnacle’ is a single quartzite column rising almost 100 ft out of the deep wooded canyon. The Blyde river canyon nature gives home to spectacular wildlife, bird-life and plant-life. Klipspringer and dassies find food and shelter in the rocky areas. The grassland supports grey roebuck, rodents, reptiles, seed-eating birds and plenty of insects.

Bourke’s Luck Potholes are named after gold digger Tom Bourke who found some at this place. He thought that there would be more, but it didn’t make him rich. The potholes where created by the water, at the meeting point of the Blyde River and the Treur River the swirling water carved strange cylindrical sculptures. The smooth red and yellow rocks stand in contrast with the dark pools.

God’s windows is a spectacular viewpoint of canyons, waterfalls and rock formations. God’s Window is a small part of a 155 miles long earthwork of sheer cliffs and extravagant beauty. One can observe the hills and forests as far as the eye can see. There are curio stalls and toilet facilities at the parking area. Wonder view is at 5700 ft, the highest viewpoint along the Panorama route.

Pilgrims Rest is a beautiful and romantic spot in a world where a gold rush took place, it has been declared a National Monument. Near Sabie there are some impressive waterfalls like the “Bridal Veil Falls”, the “Horseshoe Falls” or the 230 ft high “Lone Creek Falls”. Particularly beautiful are the “Mac Mac Falls” between Sabie and Graskop, they are twin waterfalls with a height of 180 ft. Graskop lies above the Kowyn’s Pass, it was founded in 1880 as a settlement for gold diggers like many other villages in this area. It a very nice town , with shops, restaurants and curio stalls. For a wonderful cultural experience visit Shangana Cultural Village in Hazyview. Shangana offers tours during the day, traditional lunches and a festival at night.

Eastgate Airport

Hoedspruit Eastgate Airport (SA) lies just outside Hoedspruit, a little town in South Africa. Its situated in the province Limpopo, at the foot of the Klein Drakensberg. Eastgate Airport is part of the Air Force Base Hoedspruit which is an airbase of the South African Air Force. The base was officially opened on 1th of July 1978. It was designed to be a highly protected wartime base, therefore it has underground hangars close to the runway.

The base gained international media attention in 2000, when it hosted the United States Air Force in order to provide rescue and humanitarian support to areas of Mozambique, devastated by the severe flooding caused by Cyclone Eline. It is also an emergency landing site for the Space Shuttle. In the late 1990s an unused portion of the base was converted into a civilian airport which we know as Eastgate Airport. The airport is located within a double fence, with a watch tower at the gate.

Eastgate airport is used for civilian domestic flights. Eastgate can accommodate any sized aircraft from an private aircraft to an Airbus. In 2003 the former premier of Limpopo, Ngoako Ramathlodi, announced his approval of an international license for Eastgate Airport, but nothing has come of it. The tourism and agricultural sectors have been identified economic growth points for the region and international status for Eastgate is crucial for servicing these sectors.

Eastgate Airport service daily scheduled flights from and towards Johannesburg as well Cape town by South African Airways. There are also other domestic carriers who have regular flights to this airport. Eastgate Airport is also ideally suited to the handling of private charter flights. Eastgate Airport services over 65 luxury accommodations, B&B and lodges nearby the airport as well close to the world famous Kruger National Park, the towns Hoedspruit, Tzaneen and Phalaborwa.

From Johannesburg it’s just an 1 hour and 15 minutes flight. Because it’s a short flight, the plane flies lower than usual creating beautiful sightseeing over tropical African landscapes. Tourists can sometimes spot cheetah’s while landing on Eastgate Airport. They have been plotted in the field nearby, to chase away the birds and other animals.

Once the plane has landed safely, passengers proceed walking towards the arrival halls while the luggage is brought by tractor and trailer. The arrival hall is the same area where security screening is taking place which doesn’t go like the usual. No X-Ray machinery to check your carry on luggage. Military will do examination of your bags while staff are casual and friendly checking your passport and paperwork. There’s a restaurant on the airport which serves light meals, as well a curio shop and foreign currency exchange office. Travelers have the ability to rent a car from Avis or choose from one of the many airport taxi’s which can bring you to your next destination.


Oudtshoorn, also referred to as ostrich capital of the world is the biggest town, in the Klein Karoo area. Situated in the Western Province area South of the large desert land of Karoo, which covers a large part of South Africa. Located just a few hours from Cape Town, it’s an often underestimated as travel destination, but it has a lot to offer. As of latest measurement Oudtshoorn has a population of 80 thousand people.

Situated in the shadow of the Swartberg Mountains, the climate is somewhat different from most of the Western Cape’s warm, rainy average, with occasional snow topping the Swartberg during the winter months, and although the surrounding valleys are very fertile, the area is generally dry.

Oudtshoorn and the Little Karoo have an interesting history and a unique culture. The Khoisan, known upon their encounter with the Afrikaans settlers as Bushmen, were most likely the only humans to have occupied the area. The mountains, hills and caves just outside of Oudtshoorn are home to some of the more famous Iron Age rock paintings, and for a prime insight into Khoisan culture, they are definitely worth experiencing.

Some of the caves to not have paintings, but are still worth visiting, such as the Cango caves, an extensive network of tunnels and passages, estimated at a total of four kilometers, where impressive limestone formations and stone relics can be admired under the auspices of a professional guide.

Another major attraction of Oudtshoorn, and one of the defining features of its economic history, is the abundance of ostrich farms. Ostrich products became very fashionable during the beginning of the twentieth century, and the proceeds from this export have funded many of the historic buildings in the village.

Nowadays, although ostrich feathers are no longer the trend, ostrich meat has become increasingly popular, but some farms have diversified and cater for tourists, such as the Highgate Ostrich Show Farm, where visitors are exposed to the life cycle of the ostrich, with an extended tour of the farm. For the more adventurous type, several open farms allow visitors to ride the massive birds, a truly unique experience.


Langebaan is one of the most popular destinations on the South Africa West Coast. Situated about 70 miles North of Cape Town, it is often frequented by international tourists and Cape Town locals who are looking to take a break from city life alike. One of the main attractions of the coastal town is the wide variety and large quantity of different birds. The Rocherpan Nature Reserve is the perfect place to view them in their natural environment, and it is only a short drive outside of Langebaan itself.

There are two other Nature Parks boasting the ecological richness of the area; the West Coast Fossil Park, where the main attraction is an exhibit of Pliocene fossils, and daily guided tours are available. The West Coast National Park includes the Langebaan Lagoon, but also encompasses a number of bird colonies on small islands just off the coast. Boat tours can be booked at the tourist information centre in the village.

More conventional holiday activities which are promoted in the city are centered on the coast and lagoon. For water sports fans, the surprisingly moderate water temperature on this side of the West Coast, combined with the many small businesses catering for surfers, windsurfers, water-skiers and kite-surfers makes Langebaan lagoon a perfect attraction. There are a number of backpackers, catering for the surfing hippies, as well as some very lawny up market up accommodation, and the holiday resort visitors will be tempted to use the facilities available through the country club. These include a golf course, tennis courts, the Langebaan yacht club and a bowling green.

As for amenities, there are a lot of excellent seafood restaurants around, and Langebaan is known for its excellent homegrown oysters. The standard range of groceries and tourist shops can be found on the boardwalks and in the town center.


Situated along the popular Garden Route, Knysna is one of the larger towns on what is perhaps the most popular tourist trail in South Africa. With almost 80,000 inhabitants, it lies in between two other popular towns for beach and sun-loving visitors; Plettenberg Bay and George. The vein of the Garden Route is the N2 highway, and although it is tempting to explore the changing, mesmerizing view from the car, Knysna is the perfect place to get out and explore the defining features; the mountains, forests, lagoons and ocean.

As for the first one, the mountains, Knysna is ranked in the top 5 of mountain biking and hiking enthusiasts. Just outside the town itself, within a short drive, there are Natural Reserves and National Parks with free entrance, where mountain biking trails lead you past rivers, streams, waterfalls and gorges through the fynbos. But the most popular attraction is the lagoon, situated near the village itself. Knysna expanded from a harbor town, rumored to be founded by King George’s illegitimate son, into the tourist haven it is today. It is one of the most spectacular natural harbors on the African coast.

Fishing is a popular activity in the lagoon, and license permits can be bought at the local post office for a small fee. During the August through October period, whales can be spotted near the lagoon. After October, when the Mediterranean climate summer kicks in on the South coast, swimming, surfing, scuba diving, kayaking and sailing are some of the more popular water sports available. There are a number of companies and individuals who rent out all the necessary gear, close by the lagoon head.

Although most visitors will go to Knysna by (rental) car, there is another, more romantic option. The Outeniqua Choo Tjoe is a genuine steam train, which services passengers between Knysna and George. The train route and the antique train themselves provide for a unique experience.


Grahamstown is a city in the Eastern Cape, with a population of about 125,000, located North of Port Elizabeth. The city was founded by the British in the 1900s as an outpost during the Boer Wars, and there are some interesting historical military buildings and relics to be found throughout the city, as it has the largest number of forts of any city in South Africa. Grahamstown is the central city within “Frontier Country”, an area recognized by its turbulent past.

Firstly, the city has earned the nickname “the City of Saints”. There are over 40 religious buildings in Grahamstown, and the city caters for a wide range of different religions, including Hindu, Quaker, Muslim and Mormon adherents. The main bulk of the 40 buildings belong to the wide variety of Christian denominations. The Anglican Church is, logically enough, most well represented, and Grahamstown has an Anglican Bishop, who has his episcopal seat at the Anglican Cathedral of St Michael and St George. This Cathedral is perhaps the most impressive building in the city, with the tallest spire in South Africa.

Although I refer to Grahamstown as a city it feels more like a town even though it has a population in excess of one hundred thousand and a cathedral. It therefore also has a more intimate feel to it enhanced by the lack of high-rise buildings and the presence of thousands of trees inside the city boundaries. It is also not uncommon to find the odd donkey-cart in the streets. The town has three traffic lights excluding the pedestrian crossings with traffic light assistance. One of these can be found at St Andrews College, one of the world class schools in Grahamstown together with Kingswood College. The Diocesan School for Girls is also worth a mention and is the sister school to St Andrews College.

Secondly, Grahamstown is known for the Rhodes University, a world class institution with thousands of students. It is therefore not unusual to suspect that the night life in the city is something tremendous.

Nightlife in The City of Saints is almost always throbbing unless the students are between semesters then all of them are away at their respective homes. Even when the students are away the world class “The Rat and Parrot” pub is always busy and when the students are here it is almost impossible to move inside this double-storey double bar pub with a balcony area and an outside area. Grahamstown also has “Friar Tuck’s”, a well-visited pub with dance floor that usually receives its patrons late at nigh after they had visited The Rat and Parrot and other bars or private house parties. Slip Stream Sports Bar is further down the street from the Rat and Parrot and at this venue one can have a drink and try your gambling luck with slot machines.

This is also related to the third feature which makes Grahamstown such an attractive place to visit, is the fact that it is known as the festival capital of South Africa. Grahamstown hosts a number of cultural festivals throughout the year, which attracts visitors from all over the country. The main festival is the National Arts Festival, and during the week when it is in play, Grahamstown transforms into one large cultural exposition.

During the summer over December and January things become much more quiet in Grahamstown, but a mere fifty-odd kilometers to the South are the world class beaches at Port Alfred and Kenton-on-Sea where you will find thousands of holiday-makers. Port Alfred boasts one of the more impressive Marinas in the Southern Hemisphere whereas Kenton has two Blue Flag Beaches. If you like the beach and holiday atmosphere that accompanies summer then this whole area of the coast is for you.

All the large buildings and open spaces are occupied by musicians, dancers and comedians, and open-air theaters are erected on the main village squares, with ongoing performances throughout the day. Flea-markets span the street and hawkers sell extravagant goods on the sidewalks.

Grahamstown has something for everybody and it seems everybody is interesting. Get tired of this impressive city and you can take a quick trip to the beach or one of the game farms like Shamwari or a slightly longer ride to Port Elizabeth, one hundred and thirty kilometers away. I would recommend Grahamstown to any would-be traveler.

Port Elizabeth

Port Elizabeth is one of the largest cities in South Africa, and the largest city in the Eastern Cape Province. The extended city, the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan area, houses over 1.3 million people. The city was founded by the British in 1820, and it has played an influential role during the Boer Wars, which has shaped its history. There are a number of historical attractions available to visit throughout Port Elizabeth, or the Windy City, as it is known locally, including the Historic Donkin Heritage trail, which allows visitors to relive the settler experiences of the early 1900s by following a trail past some of the remaining relics of the era.

The city is usually considered the last locality on the Garden Route, and like many of the Garden Route towns, the Windy City offers some great opportunities for water-sports fanatics. The beaches of Port Elizabeth are generally accepted as the best beaches a large South African city has to offer, with warm water and perfect wind conditions for surfing waves. Closer to the CBD, Port Elizabeth has more to offer, and as the 2010 World Cup draws nearer, the city will be preparing for its own influx of international visitors, which will result in a better infrastructure, a revamping of the international Port Elizabeth Airport, and an extension of the already widely available accommodation on offer.

If you intend to stay in the city center, there are some interesting museums and extensive parks, including the King George Park, a sprawling cultivated garden with plenty of flora. Furthermore, Port Elizabeth has always been a sports-obsessed city, and there are some word class cricket and rugby stadiums featuring matches on a regular basis.

Finally, it has to be mentioned that even though Port Elizabeth is bordering the ocean, there is still an opportunity to see the Big Five in either the Addo Elephant Park, just outside PE, where Elephants and Buffallo roam free, and the luxurious Shamwari Game Reserve, where all the big animals of the continent can be seen in the semi-wild.

Greenpoint and Seapoint

Greenpoint is mostly a residential suburb. Located to the North-West of the central business district (CBD) in Cape Town, it is very close to the city center. For visitors, the main appeal of the suburb is the large number of restaurants, clubs, dance halls, bars and other nightlife. Since 2009, the Greenpoint Stadium has been in development.

This stadium will be the site of a number of 2010 Soccer World Cup matches, including a quarter and semi-final. Because of this, the number of accommodations is poised to rise exponentially over the coming months, and the suburb, which used to be both notorious for its high crime level and famous for its shopping and dining atmosphere, is set to be cleansed of its dark side.

Cape Town is often hailed as one of the gay capitals of the planet. If this is true, the Greenpoint is definitely the headquarters. GLBT emancipation has progressed a lot over the years, and the Seapoint on Greenpoint is characterized by Rainbow flags outside some well established gay bars.

For straight people, the suburb has much to offer as well, both night and day. During the day, the biggest African market in the city is set up near the site of the new Greenpoint Stadium. Sellers from all over Southern Africa set up their stalls most mornings, offering the widest variety of African art, in the form of statues, cloths and other handicraft items, of decent quality. Haggling is absolutely necessary if you intend to buy any souvenirs at the market.

The neighboring suburb of Seapoint has many of the same qualities, but the buildings are more expensive, there are a lot of high rise buildings, and the views of Lion’s Head, the little brother of Table Mountain, and the Atlantic Seaboard are an additional reason to visit.