Elephants in Bottelierskop private game reserve

The big five & wine tasting in South Africa

Cruise tours from Cape Town, Mossel Bay and Gqeberha (ex. Port Elizabeth)

Lions, elephants, rhinos, dolphins & more in South Africa

I have often thought about a cruise to South Africa. Last Christmas and New Year’s Eve, the time was right. We sailed on Norwegian Jade to several ports in South Africa and Namibia. It was a wonderful cruise, we have never seen so many different animals. Really worth the trip. The information about the cruise itself and my stories about Namibia will follow soon…

This blog is about the animals (lots of animals!) and a wine tasting tour:

Wine tasting tour in Stellenbosch

A “must” for wine lovers

A wine tasting tour is a must if you love wine and are in Cape Town. So we booked one on the first day of our cruise (the ship was still in Cape Town). The Neethlingshof estate we visited is about a 50 minute drive from Cape Town’s cruise port.

The Neethlingshof Estate is situated in the beautiful countryside near Stellenbosch. The tour started with an introduction to the estate and the details of growing wine in this climate. The heat, the wind, the soil, and the grapes. They grow a variety of grapes, one of which is the Pinotage.

Pinotage was first created in South Africa in 1925 by Abraham Izak Perold, a professor of viticulture at Stellenbosch University. He crossed the French grape Pinot Noir with the South African grape Cinsault, then known as Hermitage. The aim was to create a grape that could adapt better to the South African climate than Pinot Noir and produce a high quality wine.

After the introduction we had the opportunity to visit the cellar where the wines are stored and matured. A good opportunity to take pictures…

Finally, the wine tasting took place. We went to a room with many tables (it was a bit noisy) and were given three white and three red wines to taste. The one I remember the most is the red Neethlingshof Estate Pinotage. It smells of ripe red plum and black cherry – I could really smell the fruit in it. I am not a big fan of Pinot Noir – or Pinotage for that matter – but I thought it tasted really good.

After the visit we drove into the town of Stellenbosch where we had the opportunity to walk around and enjoy some free time. We took the opportunity to visit the Stellenbosch Village Museum. They have four historical houses that you can walk into and find out more about how people lived in the old days. A really nice little museum and well worth a visit.

Would I do this tour again? Probably not by booking through the cruise line, as I do not like not knowing in advance which winery is on the programme! A definite “no go” for wine lovers. However, it was a great tour and I liked Neehtlingshof anyway.


View from Neethlingshof wine estate south africa
Cellar in Neethlingshof wine estate
Wine tanks in Neethlingshof wine estate

read more about my journeys here:

Bottelierskop Game drive

Lions, rhinos, zebras & all wild beasts we ever wanted to see!

Bottelierskop, where you can see all the animals you have ever dreamed of seeing: elephants, rhinos, giraffes, lions and many more.

The private game reserve Bottelierskop is situated next to Mossel Bay on South Africa’s famous scenic Garden Route. The safari we went on was just amazing. We sat in medium sized safari cars, about 15 people in each. The drive itself was exciting, Botelierskop has some steep hills where the driver just drives up and down. The animals we saw were incredible. We’ve seen every animal we’ve ever wanted to see! Lions frighteningly close to the car, herds of buffalo crossing the road, giraffes eating leaves from trees, zebras next to hippos lying in a small lake, wild horses and much more. I will just let the photos I took speak for themselves!

We were really happy after this cruise tour. We’d never dreamed of seeing so many animals in such a peaceful wilderness setting. I can only recommend this tour!

PS: If you book your tour directly at Bottelierskop, you can even do a horseback safari if you are brave enough!


Elephants in Bottelierskop private game reserve
View in Bottelierskop private game reserve
Rhinos in Bottelierskop private game reserve

animals, animals, animals…

Lion in Bottelierskop private game reserve
Wildlife in Bottelierskop private game reserve
Safari in Bottelierskop private game reserve
Safari in Bottelierskop private game reserve
Zebras in Bottelierskop private game reserve
Antilopes in Bottelierskop private game reserve
Wildebeest in Bottelierskop private game reserve

Penguin & whale watching tour from Gqeberha

In Gqeberha (formerly Port Elisabeth) we had booked a penguin watching tour. I booked this tour because Norwegian Cruise Line described it as going to an island where we could walk around and see penguins. I just wondered why it was so expensive compared to other tours.

When we arrived at Raggy Charters on the tour bus it became clear what it was all about. Raggy Charters does whale (and penguin) watching tours, but the ecological way. Which I immediately liked. The owner, Lloyd Edwards, started the tour by telling us about how Raggy Charters Marine Eco Tour Company is helping to protect marine wildlife. They educate children and teenagers of South Africa about the importance of marine life and the effects of plastic pollution. They plant trees for every whale watching trip they do and are involved in many other projects (see link to their website below). Norwegian’s cruise tour description was really poor this time, but we were pleasantly surprised, and I did not mind paying a bit more because it is used to preserve marine wildlife.

The tour itself was amazing. Lloyd and his team know all about the species they showed us. We took a speedboat past an island where African penguins were nesting. They told us a lot about them, which I cannot really remember, because the view was just great. Afterwards there was a school of dolphins swimming next to the boat – there were more than hundred species according to Lloyd. They were just amazing, swimming alongside the boat for as long as they could (we had to leave after 15 minutes so as not to disturb them.) The whales did not want to make a big show on this tour, we saw just one when we were almost back in port; it showed its fin a bit but that was it.

This tour was truly amazing, we’ve seen dolphins before, but this was a real once-in-a-lifetime experience, which I can recommend.


Dolphins in South Africa

Dolphins are playing around…

Splash of a dolphin
Raggy Charters in South Africa
Dolphins in South Africa
Penguins in South Africa
A whale befor Gqerberha South Africa

The dolphin video

Read more

Or find out more about me: about Yve

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