Adventure Travel/holiday

South Africa Part 1: Swellendam + Plett + Twee Riviere

On 8 February Alex and I embarked on a 24 hour journey to South Africa for a family holiday with the Hyphers! We arrived in Cape Town the following day, and in no time at all found ourselves in stunning Franschhoek, enjoying a delicious lunch at Ruben’s with parents, my sister and Alex C – the first time the six of us had been together since October.

After lunch Nicola and Alex C went west to Cape Town for a night, while the rest of us headed east to Swellendam. We stayed at the beautiful Schoone Oordt Country House hotel and were looked after magnificently by the very friendly and helpful Fidney. The whole experience was nothing short of wonderful – from the luxurious room and impeccable service to the sumptuous breakfast and picturesque gardens. It was a shame to only stay one night but we had an itinerary to stick to, and the next stop was Plettenberg Bay!

Adorable baby giraffe
Adorable baby giraffe

Our accommodation in Plett was a villa on a secure estate that can only be described as ‘show-home-esque’ (if such a word existed). We stayed for a week and loved every minute of it. It was the first time in years I’ve managed to sit down and read a novel in under a week! And the indoor braai proved very handy for grilling the fish that Alex, Alex and I managed to catch on a 6am fishing trip!

Handily we were just down the road from the small but perfectly formed Plettenberg Bay Game Reserve. We trundled along on a drizzly Friday morning, and our expert guide made sure we saw hippos, giraffes, zebras, ostriches, buffalo, impala, lions, rare wild dogs and a cheetah! The only exciting animal we didn’t manage to spot was a rhino, but we were so pleased to have seen all the other wildlife. Surely no visit to Africa is complete without lions. And look at this adorable baby giraffe!

After Plett Nicola and Alex had to head back to Ethiopia, but the four of us travelled further east – to a small town called Twee Riviere. We were there to see some family friends who had recently moved down from Jo’burg. Jaco had incredibly built most of their new house with his own bare hands and Alet was now teaching at the local school. We stayed in a tiny cottage at The Belfry – the town’s only accommodation and eatery, as well as the post office!

Alet and Jaco's house
Alet and Jaco’s house

Driving uphill from the 250 year old town took us into the mountains, with wild tortoises and proteas at every turn, as well as houses so remote the local children couldn’t go to school and instead played in the dirt roads. This seemed a million miles away from the touristy glamour of Franschhoek and Plett. 

For Alex and me it was then time to head back west to George – for a short flight to Cape Town before our final three nights in South Africa.