Eastern Transvaal - 03 January 2008

Another chapter to add to my adventures in South Africa. This time me and Lindsey travel to Mpumalanga, not too far from the Kruger Park


Eastern TransvaalIt's a shame that I managed to find some time to write a report about my long weekend with Lindsey in the Eastern Transvaal, now known as Mpumalanga , only now.

So many things happened since then: I went to Europe, spending some time in London to work with my usual imedia8 crew, and I had a fantastic week in Italy, spending Christmas with my family and friends.
I came back to enjoy an unusual sunny new year's eve and now it's 2008.

The pinnacleSo the great memories of a fantastic weekend are losing all the silly details that so often pop in my reports. I looked at the 400 pictures from London, fighting by a blistering cold weather, they all seemed taken a while ago.

It is weird to sweat and moan about the sun when all my family and friends are living in countries where temperatures stay in 1 digit numbers for the whole time. Tough life, uh?

External Jacuzzi!Anyway, we left Gauteng quite late to avoid the horrific traffic that cripples the area. It was raining quite hard and after upsetting Lindsey with my very conservative way of driving (80km/h on the motorway, I didn't want to have any troubles with her car...) we arrived at the destination.
The drive, especially the mountain pass, was supposed to be panoramic but the fog was so thick that we didn't really se anything.

Lindsey and the valleyAThe place we booked was somewhere outside Graskop. It was a lodge within a silk farm, surrounded by a lot of litchis trees. I love the fruit, but I never imagined how they grow, so it was a pleasant surprise seeing ripe fruits waiting for a worth eater: me.
The room booked was incredible: a giant bed with silk cushions and sheets, a modern kitchen and a view of the valley from the natural terrace, with external Jacuzzi, that we tried the same night (bubbles were a disappointment though)

After a good night of rest, it was time to explore the area.
Without fog I could finally appreciate the surroundings, and I was surprised.
South Africa is a beautiful country not just because of the amazing coasts and parks: it's the variety of the landscapes that hits the tourist willing to explore the country.
The area where we were staying, for example, reminded me of a pre-alp Switzerland in the middle of some sort of black carnival. The trees, the mountains, the passes: all beautiful.

Lindsey drove us to Hazyview, when we had lunch before going to the elephants' sanctuary. Now, I don't know about you but since I was a kid I was always in awe with the big African animals, (warthogs included), at least since my parents decorated my room with big posters of the Disney's Jungle Book , back when I didn't even know about school and all the terrible things that expect you once you can walk, talk and poo with your own strength (aaahh.. the 30s).

Lindsey and the elephantThe happy elephantThe happy elephant

The 3 hours spent with the elephants at the sanctuary where fantastic. Me and Lindsey had a chance to talk, touch, feed and even walk Kitzoo and Casper (the big 4.5 tons beast).
Holding the wet and snotty trunk was one of the strangest experiences ever. And the elephant enjoyed my touch a little too much. Just check the picture...

Canopy tour in HazyviewCanopy tour in HazyviewAfter a well needed rest we came back to Hazyview to go on a canopy ride, similar to that one that we did in 2006 . As proper experts, we showed the family who was with us how to fly above valleys, streams and mountains.

The last part of our trip consisted in the exploring of the natural attractions in the area. The pinnacle, a giant rock formation in the middle of a valley, was fantastic, and so were the gardens by the area known as God's window .
You won't find a tropical jungle at 2000m above the sea levels anywhere else.

God's window was unfortunately rolled up, and we couldn't get a decent view of the valley, the sudden fog was just too thick. Probably God's celestial window cleaners were on strike.

The last stop was Bourke's Lucky Potholes , a sort of mini grand canyon with strange rock formations and many waterfalls.
For some reason I've always been fascinated by waterfalls, and the whole place was full of them.
We could relax by the river, and contemplate the postcard surroundings.

Lindsey and the canyonBourke's lucky potholesOlaf at the potholes

I know that I've been using already too many superlatives to describe our trip, but for eyes like mine, used to human made constructions everywhere, seeing what Mother Nature created some millions years ago is always a surprise.

Can't wait for some of you guys to come over here for my wedding. You won't be disappointed by what South Africa has to offer (ok, once you forget about Zuma's showers , criminality and poverty…)

It's 2008, and in few months (less than 3) I will get married. Just a reminder.