Every visit to South Africa and the province of KZN is special for me. 2009 has been no exception, catching up with family & friends and visiting both new and familiar places.
Over the course of three weeks I covered nearly 4000kms over highways, tar roads and dirt roads. Many roads are undergoing repair and maintenance work, I’m told, in an effort to ensure all is ready for the 2010 soccer world cup. I also noticed a significant increase in traffic around Johannesburg creating hold ups and major queues around the city. Highways elsewhere were not as busy however there are always pedestrians and livestock to look out for. The province has also introduced a high number of speed cameras, both fixed and mobile, so our advice as always is keep within the limit.
A particular highlight on this trip was having an overnight stay at Springbok Lodge located within the Nambiti Conservancy. Situated close to Ladysmith the malaria free 11,000 hectare, private game reserve offers an escape to a luxurious bush location. To learn more see the Nambiti travel article.
The more familiar surroundings of Hluhluwe and Imfolizi game reserves again did not disappoint. I never tire of seeing plains game such as impala and giraffe, the biggest of the big game is always close by in the form of rhino and elephant, and to see any big cat is a very special experience. Within the safari articles you can see more of the world famous Zululand reserves.
On the sports front, February and March also proved to be the best time to view Sharks, Lions, Proteas and seasonal visitors from as far away as Australia. A Saturday afternoon temperature of 37C and 80% humidity lead to an evening of watching 15 Sharks circle and eventually consume 15 Lions, 25 points to 10. The ABSA Stadium in Durban is home to the Sharks and in Super 14 season it makes prime viewing. The stadium has a unique atmosphere where crowds flock in from all over the Province to support their side. It’s a great social night out where there is no shortage of cold beer and the air is filled with the smoke and smell of steaks and boerewors cooking on braai’s.
The Proteas at the Sahara Stadium Kingsmead were not in full bloom on my visit as they went down to the visiting Australian’s. There are very few International cricket grounds in the world where grass banks still exist. This makes the stadium an intimate and very relaxed ground to watch cricket.
The next eighteen months will bring a sporting extravaganza to South Africa and KZN. Firstly the British & Irish Lions rugby union side will be touring, then, it’s the turn of the England cricket team followed in 2010 by the soccer world cup. From our links page you can visit both the ABSA Stadium and the Sahara Stadium.
Mountains, beaches, truly stunning scenery, elephants and whales, sporting greats: Maybe now is the time to be planning a safari to Kwa-Zulu Natal?