This is the second part of my Maiden Voyage to South Africa series, where I share about my experience visiting the southern tip of the African continent for the very first time. Earlier on, I wrote about how I spent two chill days in lovely Cape Town cruising by car with my favourite person. In this segment, I recount the magical event that soon followed after.
I’ve long been a private person. And I still am. Very much so.
But I figured life is short and since I decided to start a travel and lifestyle blog, this virtual space that I’ve paid for ought to possess some essence of me. Or it would defeat the purpose of naming it ‘Bunny de coco’ in the first place, right?
The primary highlight and main purpose of visiting South Africa was naturally to go on a safari. And synonymous with the word ‘safari’ is of course the Kruger National Park, which was where we were headed after two days of exploring the beautiful Mother City.
Somehow though, the highlight of the trip took a twist.
My companion and I left for Cape Town airport in the early morning, before the sun was out. We were both booked and bound for Johannesburg via a short Mango flight (budget-friendly and comfortable).
The plan for once we’d touch down was to drive out to Mpumalanga and arrive at our lodging, which was just outside the Paul Kruger gate — one of the main entrances to the Kruger National Park — around sunset. Our safari guides would then collect us from our hotel early next morning and we’d start our five-day Kruger safari adventure.
Driving from Johannesburg to the part of Mpumalanga where we were heading takes roughly five hours. We quickly stocked up on snacks and drinks at the airport’s Woolies, collected our rental car, and hit the road.
Worthy of noting is how self-driving around Johannesburg is rather different from Cape Town. Especially since we were driving to the outskirts beyond the main city, the roads were much less travelled and the areas quite rural.
If you’re up for a self-drive to the Kruger, you’ll find yourselves busy dodging potholes in the roads (be sure to watch out for those), and the chances of running into shady characters along the way won’t be all that slim. (I’ll be writing another separate post about the precautions and tips for travelling about South Africa.)
My better half commented that if anything were to happen, such as the car breaking down, we would be better off locking ourselves in the car then going out to get help. I believed him after one point, when we drove by a guy standing by the side of the road with a knife in hand. Beats me what he was up to, but I’m pretty sure he wasn’t foraging for berries.
A couple of hours of driving away from Joburg, my better half decided to make a slight detour and stop by a scenic viewpoint — the Blyde River Canyon. He had visited the spot a couple of times along the way to the Kruger, and said it was much more impressive than the famed God’s Window, which was also along the route.
The sun was probably about to set in two hours, while the entrance to the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve was about to close in an hour; we were just in time.
Much more spectacular than I had imagined or expected, the lookout had a panoramic view which included the Three Rondavels on its right. The third largest canyon on earth, the Blyde River Canyon is Mpumalanga’s prized treasure.
My better half had set up the tripod and equipment for photo-taking, while I was preoccupied with taking pictures such as these:
The Blyde River Canyon is one of those serene spots which make you feel like you could quit everything in life and become a mountain-top monk/nun.
If you sit quietly by the edge long enough, you might even attain nirvana (er, no). But you get the gist, it’s magical like that.
The sun was starting to fade as the weather got chilly. Besides us, there were just a few German tourists, who soon left after my better half helped take a group photo.
It was then, just the two of us. Perfect peace.
With no one around for miles — probably except the lady who worked at the entrance, we were comfortable enough to take more loving pictures.
Then, while we were in an embrace, this happened:
What I found out to be a mere five seconds felt like forever. Flooded by confusion and bashfulness, I was covering my face trying to get a grasp on what was going on.
But of course I said yes.
It still feels surreal, even now. How far along we’ve come from being classmates at German class five years ago, to soulmates today.
I never thought I’d be one to say it — not in a million years — but I’m getting married. And as preposterous as the notion used to appear to me before we dated, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
N.B. We later spent another two hours driving through the thickest fog I’ve personally ever seen, in pitch darkness to get to our accommodation near the Kruger gate. I couldn’t capture any photos because of how incredibly dark it was and how we were both trying to concentrate on the road (i.e potholes), but I sure wouldn’t recommend driving at night.
Next up on Bunny de coco:
After an epic proposal, Bunny de coco and her new-found fiancé go on a five-day safari. The Bunny spends her birthday in the bush, and her curious wish of witnessing lions mating in action actually comes true.