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#WeOpenAfrica roadtrip GP-Limpopo: 5 things I’m looking forward to

This has been a pretty good year for road tripping – first, exploring the West Coast with Guillaume in June, then going to Addo with Mom in August and now, in just 3 sleeps’ time, I’ll be heading off on an epic adventure up north with Open Africa.

Forming part of the #WeOpenAfrica campaign, this 5-day trip will take us from Johannesburg to Limpopo and back again, with some magical stops along the way.

While the whole itinerary has me doing little happy dances, there are five things I’m especially excited about:

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Snaps: Rose-picking at Chart Farm

For the longest time now, I’ve wanted to visit Chart Farm in Wynberg to wander among the roses and – best of all – pick a selection of my own to take back home.

But, on one condition: that my mom could come along, as her love for these fragrant blooms runs deep and connects with a tender nostalgia for the birthdays of her childhood in Piet Retief. Born on the 16th of November, my mom’s celebration of life falls slap-bang in the middle of peak rose season, which also happens to be most spectacular in the highveld areas of our country.

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Why a Sunday in September is no time to visit the West Coast National Park

Last Sunday, Guillaume had some time off work for the first time in ages, so we decided to take a casual drive up the R27 and check out the flowers in the West Coast National Park.

Well, let me tell you, a Sunday in September on the West Coast is CHAOS. We arrived at the park’s gate somewhere around 10am, only to find at least 30 cars already queuing to get in (by the time we left a couple of hours later, a new line extended about 200m down the highway). Luckily the wait wasn’t too long, but naturally, we found ourselves constantly stuck in some sort of traffic.

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addo, travel, eastern cape, addo elephant national park, wildlife, south africa

My Addo top 5

As I mentioned the other day, my mom and I recently spent a week in the Addo Elephant National Park, just to take a little break from our busy lives.

While we have this long-standing dream of doing the Camino de Santiago together (which I know we will eventually get round to), time and finances haven’t really allowed (just yet), but we both felt like taking a bit of much-needed time out, so decided to do a more manageable local trip instead.

Both avid bush-lovers, we knew we wanted to go somewhere a little wild, but also didn’t want to spend too very many hours on travel… which made Addo the obvious and perfect choice.

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jeffreys bay, beach, supertubes, travel, south africa, shells

Snaps: A morning in J-Bay

At the beginning of August, my mom and I took a little trip up the coast just to get away for a bit and spend some time together. She had recently wrapped up five intense years of political work as a ward councillor in the Overstrand municipality and I was on the brink of starting a brand new job after a few months of trying to make ends meet as a freelancer (more about all of this another time).

In short, we both needed a little breather before stepping into something new.

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Winter wandering along the West Coast: Cederberg Wilderness Area

The final leg of our West Coast trip was spent at CapeNature’s Algeria rest camp in the Cederberg Wilderness Area.

After stocking up on a few groceries, visiting Strassbergers leather shoe shop and popping in at the Rooibos Tea Factory in Clanwilliam, we headed on into the mountains.

Even though it was a couple of degrees colder here, the skies above were clear. So, we agreed to do the camping thing once again.

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Lamberts Bay, sunset, yo yos, camping, explore, adventure, West Coast, South Africa, travel, gypsified, road tripping, south african road trip, backroad adventures in south africa

Winter wandering along the West Coast: Lamberts Bay camping

On the short (and possibly illegal) drive from Elands to Lamberts Bay, we encountered several cars heavy-laden with surfboards and saw a few stoked-looking bodyboarders changing into and out of wetsuits at Doringbaai.

This spelled only good things for Lamberts, which made Guillaume step a little more firmly on the accelerator.

True as bob, popular surf spot Yo Yos was pumping: 3 – 4ft lines marched into the bay, with a stiff, yet gentle offshore wind combing the perfect a-frame peaks. Surfers whooped as they carved up the playful walls, the sun slowly setting behind them, leaving streaks of incandescent pink, orange, purple and blue in its wake. (This beautiful description courtesy of Guillaume).

We witnessed all of this from the neighbouring municipal camspite, where we were pitching our tent for the next two or three (we hadn’t quite decided yet) nights. Guillaume had gallantly sacrificed his surf to help set up the camp in the last bit of light.

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Winter wandering along the West Coast: Lunch in the Elands Bay cave

After a warm and cosy night at Die Opstal in Paternoster, we packed the bakkie once more and set off bright and early towards Lamberts Bay.

With only 150km to cover, we decided to take it super slow and stop ever so often along the way. Instead of tracing our way back along the R399 via Vredenburg, Guillaume took us on a scenic back road adventure through St. Helena Bay, where the prevalence of Lucky Star branding suggested that this must be the tuna and sardine canning capital of the West Coast.

The chilly morning skies were clear and blue, forming a striking contrast with the rolling green farmlands unfurling to the left and right.

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