I have to say that I hadn’t intended to write a blog about my recent trip but I have had such a brilliant time I think I must share it with you.
Late July when the schools broke up in UK Tanya, Chloe and myself hopped on board a BA flight into JHB and start our first real family holiday. We spent the first week just touring around the Kruger area as well as staying at a couple of the Game Parks where I help out. For me it was great as I could show them around all the places I have been visiting for years and introduce them to many of the people who have become great friends. Both the wildlife and the scenery were great hits with both the girls.
We then caught a local flight down to Cape Town were we stayed with good friends of mine and we explored bits of Cape Town. I am pretty sure that one of the highlights for Chloe was a surprise visit to “Charleys Bakery” where she was greeted by one of the owners who was also in the TV series of the same name. A little bonus was some of their amazing cupcakes!! Another one of her favourite places now it seems is the V and A Waterfront….. Shopping!!! Not a motorcycle shop in sight, I ask you. I think maybe a man creche is needed there!!
During both legs of the trip we had hired a car (sad I know but 3 up on the bike was never going to work..) and we set off along the Garden Route to do some more exploring. Hermanus with its Southern Right whales in the harbour was a big hit and Agulhas National Park was also a great setting for our stop over. Being the typical worrying father that I am I was trying to make sure that Chloe understood that running around in the fynbos and by the beach is a bit more risky in Africa than it is in the UK. I explained that she may well come across snakes just laying on the paths to absorb the suns heat. Tanya went down to the sea to spend some time with Chloe and I stood on the decking of the cabin watching then from a distance. As they walked back I saw Chloe suddenly stop and push her Mum backwards…… they then started waving frantically at me and I legged it down to where they stood. Chloe had spotted a young Puff Adder sunbathing just as I had said. I guess it proves that kids do listen to the important things… 🙂
We carried on along the Garden Route and R62 Highways visiting all the places that we go to during Kaapstad Tours Springbok Tour. The welcome we received and the hospitality was amazing as always and the girls were really impressed with the reception they got. I know they were particularly impressed with their stays at Aloe Guest House in Hermanus and The Retreat just north of Calitzdorp. All too soon our holidays were at an end but it was only just the end of their first visit. I know they will be back many times now they have seen South Africa. Well it was almost over. First we had to go check out the new addition to the Kaapstad Motorcycle Tours Stable!! A big thank you goes out to our new Partner KTM Cape Town.
Once the girls had gone home I picked up the bike and hit the road once again. My first port of call being a hotel in Wilderness that I was checking out for future tours. from there it was a long slog along the N2 to get to Addo Elephant National Park. I had wanted to visit this park last year during my round SA tour project with SANParks but i had been mis informed about riding bikes in the park. Seems I can ride into the main camp …..so thats what I did. So glad I did too as its an amazing setting with viewing of the Elles very close indeed. Stayed here a couple of days but most definitely will be using this for future bespoke tours and maybe even a longer Springbok!!! Watch this space!!
Made my way up to JHB via the Lesotho border roads which was a long ride but well worth it to try out the new bike…..from here in known as “Livingstone” obviously!! My reason for being in JHB was to greet the clients who were booked on our very first Kudu Tour. This was a ten day trip with the first day being orientation in JHB then nine days riding firstly south to Golden Gate National Park then on to Rorkes Drift, Swaziland, Hoedspruit and back west via Dullstroom and finally returning to JHB. No sooner had I returned with the first group than the second group arrived and we did it all again. Now I know I am probably a little bias but I do believe that if I had written these tours as purely fiction then I could not have done a better job than actually happened. The clients were all simply amazing and got on like a house on fire. The routes worked very well and the both tours seemed to just be seamless. I think I can safely say that this tour will develop into our flagship tour if only for the unique experience of a motorcycle game drive.
Kudu tours finished I head back to Limpopo to help out at Forest Camp where I have been lending a hand as a Game Ranger for a number of years. This visit was particularly fun as filming was going on at the camp and Rehab Centre for the new Series of Paul O’Grady’s Animal Orphans. Paul and the crew were staying at Forest Camp and I have to say it wasn’t like work at all. It was great fun and as you can imagine with POG there full of laughs. I believe it goes to air this side of Xmas.
Job done I had the unenvious task of getting back to Cape Town from Hoedspruit in just 3 days to catch my flight home so I could attend the Sand and Motorcycles show in Leighton Buzzard. Two very hard 900km days made the final 300kms seem like a breeze but I made it. Have to say “Livingstone” is like a rocket ship.
So Im back in UK now…. working on some nice new tours to tempt you all with. One very special tour i am putting together is for a group of 8 riders to come with me on a scouting trip around Zimbabwe. This is set to leave JHB at the end of Sept 2015 so if it sounds appealing please get in touch . I am also about to start a UK wide tour giving presentations to various motorcycle groups so if you belong to one and would like to hear about some of the exploits you know where i am!! Alex.Jackson@Kaapstadmat.com