Counting down – the last week of our trip

Posted on Sep 20, 2015

Counting down – the last week of our trip

What will we do in the last week of trip? That was the question we asked ourselves recently. Do we want to end the trip with a big bang and do something special, or should we take it easy and take the time to prepare our return back home? We explored many options: going back to the Big 5 private game reserve, fly to the Durban coast for a dose of sun or beach, take a trip to Mauritius for even more beach and sun, drive to Madikwe game reserve, fly back via Jordan, take a last minute trip to Namibia or maybe fly back home a few days earlier.

But when we stopped thinking and started to feel what we really wanted we came-up with a different plan. We did not want to go to a new country, no extra long trips, no new impressions. No, what we wanted was to stay put, relax, enjoy a bit of sunshine and take the time to reflect back at our trip, update our blogs and journals and start planning things for when we are back in the Netherlands.

So we looked at the local weather forecast, which looked okay enough for us, and searched for a nice place to stay for a week. We ended-up with the Tomjachu bush lodge in Nelspruit. Tomjachu is a small lodge in the Crocodile Valley Nature Conservancy, only 20 mins out of Nelspruit, but remote enough to really feel like you are away from everything. We had our own private cottage, with splash pool, hammocks and great views over the valley. A perfect place for what we had planned for our last week.

On our first day we celebrated Emily her third birthday. The lodge staff had baked cakes for her and she was really happy with it. It is amazing to realise how she has grown this year and how she has developed during the trip in a toddler who knows exactly what she wants. Most days we stayed just at the lodge, playing around the house or taking a leisurely stroll through the reserve. We took one day-trip to visit the surrounding area. First we drove to Kaapsehoop, an artsy village famous for it’s free-roaming wild horses. We did find the wild horses, but most of the galleries, shops and restaurants were closed, so we were not that impressed with the village itself. In the afternoon we visited Chimp Eden, this is South Africa’s first and only sanctuary for rescuing chimps. This centre is part of the Jane Goodall institute which does really good work to rescue chimps in Africa that are used as pets in houses, nightclubs or zoo’s. We really liked the tour and were impressed by the chimps.

At the end of the week we drove back to Johannesburg where we stay for the last few nights before we fly back home. Swimming in the pool, buying our last souvenirs and clearing-out and re-packing our luggage – that’s the plan for the weekend. We visited Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton City and the Sunday market in the Rosebank mall and managed to find some more great souvenirs to bring back home.