// MY NAME IS DANIELAnd after years of dreaming I've sold everything I own and set off on the open road. I've made this site as a sort of photo journal of my travels. The map shows where I've been (red), where I've stayed a month or more (yellow), and where I plan to go (white). And so, armed with little more than a backpack, a camera, and a dream, I now take the road less traveled by. So it goes.
KRUGER NATIONAL PARK Mpumalanga Province My sister and I entered South Africa via bus from Mozambique. Once we arrived, we rented a car for a month, with the plan to drive through five countries before returning it. That was either going to be utterly brilliant or a complete nightmare. Fortunately it was the former. Our very first stop was Kruger National Park, where we stayed three nights at three different campsites, exploring the park over four days. And even with that much time we saw only a small fraction of the park, which is the size of Israel and home to hundreds of thousands of animals. It's far and away the most developed of Africa's National Parks, easy to self drive, with little cafe posts and view point pull offs, not so unlike a large US National Park. Except there are lions and elephants wandering around... so getting out of the car is strictly forbidden unless you're on a nature walk with armed rangers.
HARRISMITH THE FREE STATE So from Kruger we drove several days through the tiny mountain kingdom of Lesotho, which sits inside of South Africa like an island. You can see those adventures on the Lesotho page. But from Lesotho we re-entered South Africa and stayed at a farm in Harrismith. The farm was incredible, located in a sweeping land of flat-topped mountains, and populated with Roan, Buffalo, and Sables (and quite a few cheeky meerkats). You can see the farm house we stayed in the second photo with the view of the table mountain in the background. Breathtaking. You can also see the townhall of Harrismith below, the beautiful South African currency, and surprisingly, on an overhang wall of a small hill on the farm was some ancient Bushmen San Art, of higher quality than any we'd seen so far.
CLARENS THE FREE STATE From Harrismith we entered Swaziland, another little mountain kingdom surrounded on all sides by South Africa. You can see those photos on the Swaziland page. After a few days in Swaziland we re-entered South Africa again, and stayed in the tiny town of Clarens. We stayed in the appropriately named 'gnome house', which you can see in the first photo. The history of South Africa is far too complex to even summarize here, involving Bantu expansions from central Africa crowding out the indigenous peoples of South Africa a few centuries before the arrival of the Europeans--- where then a long struggle between the Dutch, then their breakaway Dutch colonists called Afrikaners, and the British lasted centuries. There was apartheid as well, of course. And so much more. But what I can summarize is that Clarens is one of the cutest little arts and antique towns in Africa.
KIMBERLEY NORTHERN CAPE PROVINCE Africa is massive, so we had to start covering six to eight hours a day, making a series of one night stops until we reached our next major destination (which would be Namibia). Kimberley was one of our stops. Kimberley was a major diamond mining town in its early days. In fact, Cecil Rhodes founded De Beers here with investors including JP Morgan and the Rothschild family. With such prosperity, Kimberley was the second city in the world to have electric street lights (the first was Philadelphia) and the first Stock Exchange in Africa was opened here in 1881. A frontier-era district around the "Big Hole" mine contains Kimberley's oldest house, which was prefabricated in England in the 1800s and shipped by sea. You can see it in the final two photos.
UPINGTON NORTHERN CAPE PROVINCE Upington was another of our one night stops on our way to Namibia. We stayed at a small farmhouse which you can see below. Upington is famous for wine production, though we didn't have time to see much here. This was our final stop in South Africa before crossing into Namibia. Onward and away.