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Blog: Blog2

SA Winelands to Wildlife: Part 2

Addo to Kruger National Park

And so, the journey North continues… from the enchanting Addo Elephant National Park in the Eastern Cape to the magical Mount Sheba in Mpumalanga (where we celebrated our wedding anniversary!), ending in the grand Kruger National Park.

Our path took us to Mount Sheba via the Karoo, hitting a few hotspots along the way. Starting in Aliwal North, we popped in at Riverside Lodge for a night-time nibble at their Pub & Grill and some well-deserved rest before heading to our next stop - the J.A.K Strydom Private Nature Reserve.

J.A.K Strydom Nature Reserve sits snug along the banks of the Orange River with an array of species including rare wildlife like bontebok, tsessebe, njalas, etc. & an abundance of bird life and fish. After soaking in the sights of the local Karoo flora and fauna, we headed to our first stop in Mpumalanga – Mount Sheba.

Situated in an indigenous rainforest east of Pilgrim’s Rest, this fairy tale forest is a special memory spot for us – it’s where we got married (being blessed by the local Samango monkeys)!

Stunning Samango monkeys @Mt Sheba

What a wonderful time it was celebrating our anniversary week there hiking the tranquil trails of the Rain Forest with our (now not so little) tots!

Moving on from Mt Sheba, we headed to Hoedspruit, stopping at the awe-inspiring Blyde River Canyon World Heritage Site on the way. Definitely not for those afraid of heights (or at least on the edge) … this canyon is the 3rd largest in the world with the deepest precipitous cliffs of any canyon on the planet.

The awe-inspiring Blyde River Canyon and the Three Rondawels

Near the foot of the Blyde River Canyon down in the Lowveld lies the Hoedspruit Wildlife Estate, our next rest stop, part of the Greater Kruger National Park.

We stayed at Ukuthula Bush Lodge, a small, gorgeous, secluded lodge inside the Hoedspruit Wildlife Estate with a lovely sense of serenity and African authenticity.

We paired delicious home-cooked dinners with Alvi's Drift Reserve Fusion Blend and, during breakfast, admired all the numerous visiting bushveld birds.

Observe wild animals roaming freely within the reserve or see them up close and personal with cycling paths, walking routes & game drives.

Self-drive and a moment at the bird hide @Hoedspruit Wildlife Estate

Finally, we made our way to the Kruger National Park, stopping at the Kruger Gate Protea Hotel on the banks of the iconic Sabie River. Their lodge-style hotels, ranging from deluxe to family rooms, and from luxury to presidential suites, are set in a tranquil riverine woodland rich in birdlife, with uninterrupted views into the world-famous Kruger National Park.

Their stylish Pool Bar is a must-visit. Set in their extensive game-viewing deck along the Sabie riverbank, guests can enjoy a cocktail (or a glass of fine South African wine!) with spectacular views of the wandering game and striking scarlet African sunset.

Look out for the gorgeous thick-tailed bush babies .. who want to share your dessert with you!

On the Southern border of the Kruger National Park (KNP) lies the Malelane Gate. Here we rested at The River House Lodge, a warm, welcoming lodge with traditional African hospitality. Traditional African breakfasts and dinners are served at the lodge with wines to complement.

Our favourite was their outstanding wooden observation deck on the Crocodile River perfect for soaking up the natural surroundings… Grab a glass of wine or beer, chill in the hammock, and enjoy the sightings of elephants, hippos, rhinos, crocs, lions, monkeys and more! Being only 12 minutes from the Kruger, The River House Lodge is an ideal stepping stone to the KNP.

In Part 3, we explore the Greater Kruger National Park further and start making our way back home to the Winelands of SA; don’t miss it!

Contact Me – Hilary - at for more details on your favourite spots to visit & to book a personalised tour of your own – behind the scenic routes of the Cape Winelands & beyond!

Please register on to stay up to date with new discoveries and ideas for Wineland adventures.

Click here to check out our previous blog “SA Winelands to Wildlife: Part 1”!


Important info:

Riverside Lodge: ; 082 597 4710

J.A.K Strydom Private Nature Reserve: ; ; 072 892 1118

The River House Lodge:

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