This guest post was written by Zephyr alumna, Marissa Liesenfelt. Marissa is a passionate traveler, talented photographer, Sips & Sojourn blogger, and Chicago-based digital marketing professional. She recently joined us on our South Africa: Hiking, Wine, & Safari Adventure this past spring. We feel lucky to share Marissa’s beautiful photo journal from this trip.
In April 2019, I took a South African adventure with Zephyr that I will forever consider as a significant milestone in my life. We explored three distinct areas including Cape Town, Stellenbosch and the icing on the cake, the Thornybush Game Reserve near Kruger National Park.
There’s little I can describe in words that a photo won’t portray better, so I’d like to share the photo highlights with you here! If you even have a slight desire to see South Africa or experience a safari for yourself, I encourage you to do it! Out of the 25 or so countries I’ve traveled to so far, it is by far one of the best experiences I’ve had.
A tourist area but still worth checking out. Views of the water, lots of dining and drinking establishments, and plenty of shopping! Loved the Watershed market in particular for the locally made crafts, clothing, and gifts.
Hiking along the coast
With dramatic views of the cape and sea, hiking was easy going (though windy) and was visually one of the most stunning hikes I’ve done!
We visited the Old Light House at the end of Cape Point. It was a bit crowded with tourists but perhaps the most entertaining part was the baboons running around trying to steal unsuspecting sightseers’ lunches!
Not to miss! A colony of penguins occupies this very picturesque stretch of beach. It was awesome to see them only a few feet away. Such cute little creatures!
Woodstock Street Art
Woodstock is a gentrifying area in the city (and best explored with a local guide for safety). We heard stories of artists and travelers, and the struggles of native South Africans, all told in the form of visual street art.
Views for days
A picture-perfect, lovely as can be wine town with views of lakes, mountains and rolling hills.
There is no shortage of amazing sips from bubbles to chardonnay to pinot noir. South Africa produces exceptional wine and nothing makes for a better day than winery hopping under the sun with snacks.
A great way to get your steps in when in Stellenbosch is to walk through the vineyards. The grapes had been harvested for the year, but it was still a great backdrop for an exhilarating walk!
A private, picnic lunch with wine? Yes, please!
The sunsets over Stellenbosch were on fire! The elevation and rolling hills was one of the most stunning locations I’ve watched the day transform into dusk.
THORNYBUSH GAME RESERVE
Glamping at it’s finest. A pool, gourmet food, luxury tents and falling asleep to the sounds of lions roaring in the distance. What an incredible place Champungu Tented Camp was!
The most exhilarating part of the trip was the safari game drives. We did a morning and late afternoon drive where we sped around looking for the gorgeous creatures of the savannah. Topped off with a cold gin and tonic made specially by our beloved local guides, Kilmon and Oscar.
Quite literally the Lion King soundtrack would play in my head while I watched the sun break over the African savannah next to zebras and giraffes which was one of the more surreal experiences of my life.
Last, but certainly not least, I will never forget the amazing array of animals in the wild we saw. Not all are pictured, but we did see the “Big Five” plus African wild dogs, eagles, vultures, and so much more.
I’ll remember this safari experience fondly as an all-time highpoint in my travels.