10 DAYS IN AFRICA
Our trip to Africa was unlike anything I've ever experienced. If you're debating on if you should go - GO! You will make remarkable memories and experience an unforgettable journey. We spent two weeks in Africa, split between South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Below is our itinerary and activities, plus tips and recaps.
CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA
STAY: AirBNB in De Waterkant
We rented the cutest three-story airBNB. The first floor was sleek and modern, the second floor had a luxurious bathroom and master bedroom, and the third floor was our own private jacuzzi. Located in a quiet neighborhood, this airBNB was still in walking distance of restaurants, and only a short drive to the main city.
ACTIVITY: Cape Point, Boulder Beach, Shark Diving, Table Mountain
Exploring Cape Town was a great way to ease into the trip. After a long flight, it was nice to have a comfy bed to relax in. We rented a car and drove around to major tourist spots in the area. It was so cool to see the wildlife as well as the scenery. Breathtaking. We went in September and I would advise to bring a windbreaker when you hike up to these spots. It definitely was chilly! We also went cage diving with a great white shark, which is probably the coolest thing I'll ever do. The water was very cold and chummy, but you can hardly think about it when you see rows of teeth rushing towards you. The cage lifted up over our heads and I truly never felt like I was in any real danger. We were pretty lucky because the previous excursions were cancelled, but we had decent weather and were able to make it down to Shark Alley even though it was inching towards the end of the season. Such an unforgettable way to ring in my birthday!
VICTORIA FALLS, ZIMBABWE
STAY: Ilala Lodge
We also stayed in Zimbabwe for only one night. The reason being that we wanted to stay on both sides of Victoria Falls. This lodge was gorgeous. I did not want to leave (or get out of bed). We witnessed an amazing, red sunrise that got us out of bed to start our day. The staff was extremely helpful. We would highly recommend this lodge.
Going from Cape Town to Zimbabwe was pretty epic because we all of sudden felt like we were really in Africa. Exploring Victoria Falls was perfect this time of year, and it was a short walk from out hotel. Its their "dry" season, so you're not constantly getting splashed by the waterfall. We got to see how massive the falls were and also where we would be sitting along the edge the very next day! That night we went to a Boma Dinner where we got to wear traditional garments and taste the local food. We got to venture out and try alligator, warthog, and impala. The staff even performed with drums and danced for everyone. The next morning we got up to go on an elephant encounter and ride. We got to touch the elephants, ride them, and feed them afterwards. Elephant skin was a lot more rough than I was expecting!
We stayed at this resort for only one night. It was absolutely beautiful, with an almost Moroccan themed style. We were greeted with staff members dressed in traditional warrior clothing that danced for us. They even got us to join! It was an awesome welcome. My one warning would be to close your windows and sliding doors at all times. There are wild animals roaming the resort! We had the opportunity to see baboons and zebras. In one encounter, we had just sprayed bug spray on and left the door open to ventilate. Before we knew it I saw a baboon approaching our balcony door. My first reaction was flight, as I darted to the bathroom, thinking we would be stuck in there all day. Luckily my fiance at the time picked up a chair as his weapon of choice. Needless to say, he won that battle and it left us cracking up at 5am getting ready for our day.
Devil's pool was inexplainable. It's a short swim to the actual area. I would recommend water shoes for sure. Once you're there the current is a bit strong, but you don't feel like it will push you over the edge. You actually don't even realize how close you are until you see the pics and videos afterwards - that's how safe I felt! We also had a chance to encounter a cheetah. We got to pet these amazing creatures and take them for a walk. There were a lot of trainers nearby so I didn't feel unsafe, but being that close to a wild animal definitely gets your heart pumping! We ended our stay in Zambia with a relaxing sunset cruise. I wouldn't forget the bug spray, but other than a few bites, the ride was amazing, getting to see that red African sun.
KRUGER NATIONAL PARK, SOUTH AFRICA
STAY: Tydon Safari Camp
We do not have nicer things to say about Tydon Safari Camp. It was truly something special. Upon arriving at the smaller of the two camps, we were greeted by our tour guide who was staying on camp with us. There were only 4 tents, and somehow we got lucky enough to be the only ones staying during that time period, so it was almost like we had a private experience. The third day, we stayed at the larger camp. Definitely more people, and more fun! There are onsite cooks that prepare all the meals, including traditional African dinners. It was the perfect glamping experience, staying right inside Kruger Park.
ACTIVITY: 3 Day Safari
I don't even know where to start with this unforgettable safari experience! We did two days on the private reserve and one day in Kruger Park. First of all, I would recommend a private safari reserve versus the publicly accessible Kruger Park. Kruger was great and so vast, but you cannot off-road and you don't get very close to the animals. Plus by the time you do spot something, a ton of other cars will stop right next to you to see what's going on, scaring off the animal. In the private reserve with Tydon Safaris, we were able to get unbelievablely close to the animals. At one point, baby hyenas were sniffing our tires, and at another, we found ourselves in the middle of a buffalo herd. We got extremely lucky seeing 4 of the "Big 5" on our first safari outing. What's better than that? Seeing hyenas and a three Lion coalition devour an elephant carcass. It smelled gross, but it was more than worth it. Since it was just us and our guide, we decided to stay 2 hours after curfew and were late for dinner just so we could catch a glimpse of the lion brothers. Our guide was amazing and our experience rummaging through the bush was something I'll never forget.
I highly, highly, highly recommend going to Africa. The terrain, the climate, the animals, the culture - it's truly something special to just this part of the world. We've traveled a lot, and anytime people ask us our favorite trip, we always say this one. It was nothing like we have ever experienced before and truly one of the top trips we've taken.