Around SA in 7 days by Ameer Aleker

By Ameer Aleker

20 January 2019

 

We really didn’t know what to expect. In the build up towards this trip, we found ourselves second-guessing the possibility of exploring each province in such a short time. However, the trip turned out to be pretty awesome. We drove about 5500 kms and with one day to spare, we toured the whole of South Africa.

Our first stop was the Gariep Dam in the Free State province. The dam borders the Northern Cape, Eastern Cape and Free State. It’s South Africa’s largest dam, and the second largest in Africa. Both, upstream and downstream, it is quite spectacular. If you have an interest in structural engineering, the sight will leave you mesmerized.

Thereafter, we drove through Bloemfontein to our next stop, which was the Big Hole in Kimberley. Being a geologist, I found the experience quite thrilling. The mine revealed to geologists, for the first time, that the primary deposits of diamonds could come from volcanic pipes…GROUNDBREAKING, literally. Thereafter, we drove to Johannesburg.

Day 3 was probably our most hectic day (yes, already 3 days had gone by, and we only reached Johannesburg). From Johannesburg we drove to the cutest little restaurant in the North West called French Toast; they even have an Eiffel Tower…needless to say more? Soon after, we made our way to Limpopo; Magoebaskloof where we saw the most amazing landscapes. Little did we know what awaited us in Mpumalanga. Now if you are from Cape Town, anything with “Langa” in it will put you off right? WRONG! Mpumalanga is one of the most underrated and beautiful places in South Africa. This, for me, was the highlight of the trip. The view from God’s Window was absolutely breathtaking. I could not have thought of a more appropriate name for the lookout point. And FYI, Sabie is filled with halaal food.

Thereafter we made our way to KwaZulu Natal. Our first stop was to Durban. This might be a bitter pill for most Capetonians to swallow, but Durban’s beachfront whacks ours for a solid six. The beach water and air is warmer. There are markets and restaurants, combined with Ushaka Marine World plus its aquarium and a carnival park all along the beachfront. We had a blast!

Day 5 saw us overnighting in a town called Butterworth as we made our way to Port Elizabeth. Even though the weather was not in our favour, we crashed a few waves at Algoa Beach, visited Swartkop River Mouth and the Boardwalk mall. It was the perfect place for us to stop and take a mini time-out. Finally, we conquered our ninth province as we entered the Western Cape. It was like our first time here. Knysna, Sedgefield, George, Wilderness, Victoria Bay, Rust en Vrede WaterFall and Kaaimans Kloof reminded us of why the Western Cape is one of the best tourist destinations in the world.