Nelspruit

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Selections from Kruger National Park. Part xxi.

This man was the reason why I was in Nelspruit - to rent his car. I could not resist taking his photograph, largely due to his $ cap, and snakeskin shoes. He was a real character and was a natural in front of my camera. We had a good laugh together before I took his car to drive up to Gorongosa National Park, half way up Moçambique. 

Take a panoramic drive through Blyde River Canyon

Most visitors to South Africa visit Kruger Park before heading home but the Blyde River Canyon is a worthy – and nearby – rival. The picturesque canyon is the third largest in the world and, with lush vegetation and red sandstone cliffs as far as the eye can see, the immense valley is an unforgettable sight. The Blyde River snakes its way around steep cliffs and is teeming with hippos and crocodiles. Peer out from the top of legendary viewpoint ‘God’s Window’ and you can see as far as Kruger Park and Mozambique.

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Signs as South African Cities/Provinces

ARIES - Namaqualand; borders the wild Atlantic ocean and the harsh Namib desert. This is the home of the Nama people, where the most bizarre phenomena occurs annually in spring, where the whole narrow region envelops into an orange carpet of flowers

TAURUS - North West; desolate and sparse, this province is known for being a hub of entertainment in Southern Africa, centered in Rustenburg. The native Khoi San and the palaces of excess (i.e. casinos) sit side-by-side in the emptiness on the edge of the mighty Kalahari desert

GEMINI - Eastern Transvaal; renamed Mpumalanga, the ‘land of the rising sun’ remains one the most dramatic landscapes in a country filled with beauty. The variety in cultures and animal wildlife is astounding, with the capital of the province, Nelspruit, being nicknamed the ‘Florence of the South’ 

CANCER - The Cape; relaxed, maritime, the most amazing ocean views coupled with a distinct Dutch culture, the Cape personifies the Cancerian nature more than any other part of South Africa, especially apparent in Cape Town, the Mother City

LEO - Drakensburg Mountain Range; named in Zulu ‘the barrier of spears’ and ‘the dragon mountains’ in Afrikaans, translations which surely conjure up magnificent scenes, and nothing could be more true for the expansive Drakensburg. Tall and proud, the mountains shield the open veld where lions roam from the imposing Atlantic weather systems

VIRGO - kwaZulu-Natal; the tropical vibes and the turquoise Indian ocean make KZN a Virgoan province in my eyes. Due to the lush and dense jungle, trailing down from the Drakensburg, the region is bathed in every shade of green and is home to the notorious Zulus

LIBRA -  Bloemfontein; central and cultural, Bloem is a manicured city endowed with prestige to many elites in South Africa. Sitting on the crossroads of the magnificent Drakensburg mountains, the equally expansive Groot Karoo semi-desert and the diamond and gold routes between Kimberely and Johannesburg, this understated Libran city is one of the most beautiful in Africa

SCORPIO - Pretoria; the politically-centred and understated capital. All too often eclipsed by the far larger and more renowned Johannesburg, Pretoria is the power hub of the country and renowned with some of the best institutions in South Africa

SAGITTARIUS - Durban; well known for the relaxed beach/resort vibes, Durban is a friendly and a genuine melting pot of culture - whether it be Indian, Zulu or English. Any and all visitors fall head over heels in love with the free spirited nature of this opulent beach city

CAPRICORN - Cape Town; nothing could be more Capricornian than the attitudes of the Capetonions. Imposing Table Mountain restricts expansion of the city, and so maintains the colloquial nature of CT, whilst the Atlantic brings colder weather

AQUARIUS - Johannesburg; grey, urban and sprawled, Joburg is above and beyond the business and communication capital of the country. Constantly evolving and developing, Joburg has undergone many transitions, mirroring the history of South Africa in an unparalleled way. The rich however aren’t like those of many other cities; by contrast, the people of Johannesburg are politically motivated in combating poverty and social injustice

PISCES - Groot Karoo; dry and flat, the Karoo is all too often over-looked. Personally the flat horizons between land and sky seem out of this world in terms of how impressive they are. Small towns, unchanged for generations and seemingly Victorian, line the single track of road through the desolation