South Africa: Hazy View, Kruger and surroundings (7th to 10th of August 2009)

We decided to take a break and go site seeing around the Hazyview area (next to the Kruger National Park) over a long weekend. Four days were way to short since there was so much to see. This area is really worthwhile visiting. Here are some of the places and things we did get around to seeing.

Day 1 (7th of August)

First stop was at Milly's restaurant (just before Machadodorp) for some refreshments. They have a big trout dam next to the restaurant and more importantly some very nice deserts.

We can also recommend the food shop which has some very yummy homemade goodies.

Milly's restaurant, Machadodorp

From Milly's we headed north to Lydenburg where we stopped at the Lydenburg museum. We think it is worth a stop over. It is small, but gives and overview of the area's history. It is also the home of the Lydenburg Heads. These clay masks have both human and animal features, a characteristic that may explain that they had symbolic use during initiation- and other religious ceremonies. Carbon dating proved that the heads date to approximately 490 AD and were made by Early Iron Age people. (Photo by Jenny)

Lydenburg museum

From Lydenburg we headed off to Sabie for lunch and visited some of the waterfalls in the area. This is the Horseshoe falls so named for the shape of the falls.

Horseshoe falls

The next stop was the Lone Creek Falls.

Lone Creek Falls

There are some interesting rock formations at the Lone Creek Falls which clearly shows how the earths curst has moved over the millennia.

Lone Creek Falls

Finally we arrived at our home base for the next couple of days. The Cuckoo Ridge B&B is well situated and provides all the necessary amenities and a fantastic view over the valley.

The owner and her husband spent some time in the middle east, so we had lots to talk about.

Cuckoo Ridge B&B

The beautiful flower of the Transvaal Kafferboom or Common Coral Tree (Erythrina Lysistemon).

Erythrina lysistemon is a very decorative tree but it is also an important component of the ecosystem, providing food and shelter for a variety of birds, animals and insects.

They have been regarded as royal trees, and were planted on the graves of Zulu chiefs. The flowering of the trees has been, and still is, a good signal to the people that it is time to plant their crops.

It is thought to have both medicinal and magical properties by many people. Crushed leaves placed on a maggot-infested wound are said to clear the maggots. The bark applied as a poultice is used to treat sores, wounds, abscesses and arthritis. Infusions of the leaves are used as ear drops to relieve earache, and decoctions of the roots are applied to sprains. It does contain a large number of alkaloids that are known to be highly toxic, but its use in traditional medicine suggests that they have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects.

The seeds are used as lucky charms. They also contain toxic alkaloids as well as anti-blood-clotting substances that may be of value in the treatment of thrombosis.

Transvaal Kafferboom or Common Coral Tree
Day 2 (8th of August)

After breakfast, it was time for a tour up to the Blyde River canyon. First stop was at Harrie's Pancakes, in Graskop, for a morning coffee and pancakes. Can't start a long trip without sweets.

Harrie's Pancakes, in Graskop

From Graskop we headed out to the magnificent God's Window. The view was absolutely breathtaking. It is rumored that on a clear day you can see all the way to the Kruger National Park.

God's Window

After the amazing vista, we went on to visit some of the waterfalls in the area. The first stop was at the Lisbon Falls. At 92m, it is the highest falls in the area.

Jenny was not impressed when I climbed down the cliff face to get a better shot of the falls. (Photo by Jenny)

Lisbon Falls
Lisbon Falls

The next stop was at the Berlin Falls.

Berlin Falls

Then we stopped over at Burke's Luck Potholes. It is just amazing to see how the swirling whirlpools has carved out the cylindrical potholes in the rock. This is also the start of the beginning of the Blyde River Canyon.

Obviously some people believe that the potholes are a wishing well if you look at the numerous coins in one of the potholes in the bottom photo.

Burke's Luck Potholes
Burke's Luck Potholes

Hey, I take photographs. I never said that I can read. (Photo by Jenny)

Burke's Luck Potholes

The two women in my life at the Three Rondawels. They have been so named because they resemble the local bantu homes, which are called rondawels.

Three Rondawels

A view down the Blyde River Canyon. What a view!! (Photo by Jenny)

Blyde River Canyon

Me and my gorgeous wife at the Blyderiver Canyon.

Blyde River Canyon

Next stop was at the Old Lady of the Shoe for lunch. This is also the site of the Alfa Omega Caves.

Old Lady of the Shoe

From the Old Lady of the Shoe we headed through Ohrigstad and stopped to take in this beautiful sunset after visiting Pilgrim's Rest.

Pilgrim's Rest
Day 3 (9th of August)

On the third day we decided to spend the day in the Kruger National Park. After a long time of driving and seeing almost nothing we came across this herd of elephants crossing the road. (Photo by Jenny)

We did not see a lot of animals during our visit, but I have included photos of the few we did come across.

Right before we left the park we did encounter a Leopard which made the visit worthwhile (See Wildlife under Photography).

Kruger National Park: Elephants

The Common Duiker also known as the Gray or Bush Duiker.

Kruger National Park: Common Duiker

A Redcrested Korhaan (Boskorhaan).

Kruger National Park: Redcrested Korhaan (Boskorhaan)

The beautiful Lilacbreasted Roller (Gewone Troupant).

Kruger National Park: Lilacbreasted Roller (Gewone Troupant)

A Nile Crocodile basking in the sun.

Kruger National Park: Nile Crocodile

A Nile Monitor (Water Likkewaan).

Kruger National Park: Nile Monitor (Water Likkewaan)

A Whitebacked vulture (Witrugaasvoël/Witkopaasvoël).

Kruger National Park: Whitebacked vulture (Witrugaasvoël/Witkopaasvoël)
Day 4 (10th of August)

Day 4 and unfortunately time to head back home after a wonderfully relaxing couple of days.

Our first attempt at a lunch stop was the Tickled Trout in Waterval-Onder. They did not have any trout on the menu. This is truly a one-horse town, where the horse has died a long time ago.

Tickled Trout in Waterval-Onder

On our way to Waterval-Boven (where we eventually found lunch) we stopped to take a walk through the Z.A.S.M. (Nederlandsche Zuid-Afrikaansche Spoorweg-Maatschappij) train tunnel which was built in 1893.

President Paul Kruger’s official residence, where he resided in 1900 before going into exile in Europe, is located in Waterval-Boven.

Waterval-Boven: Train tunnel

On getting to the other side of the tunnel, you have a lovely view of the Elands River Falls.

Elands River Falls