Frosty windows, icicles, snow balls and snowmen. Mistletoe, hot chocolate, sledding and skating. These are things our Christmas was without. Instead… Our Christmas had sunshine, hikes, heat and plunge pools.
We’ve never had a Christmas in summer before, but this year we did. We spent the holiday in Mapungubwe National Park, in the far northern part of South Africa. The Mapungubwe National Park is a world heritage site because of its rich history of civilization. Some of the oldest and most important archaeological finds in South Africa are from this area. A few, like the golden rhino, have become national icons.
This area is also a confluence of rivers and countries. The Limpopo and Shashe Rivers come together in this area and serve as boarders for Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa. The tree top hide was a suspended walk, enabling you to leave your vehicle and walk to the river among the tree tops. The overlook provided vistas across the rivers and countries.
This area is very remote and empty compared to the tour we had of Kruger. We did see some elephants and giraffes, but from talking to people at the heritage site, we learned we were lucky to see even those. Unfortunately, we didn’t see any meerkats, which is why we chose this site. Now Mihaela has another reason to come back to South Africa!
For a holiday spot this was grand. We wanted to have a couple days to just relax, which the Leokwe rest camp provided to us. The lodgings were self catering with a nice kitchen, and comfortable accouterments. They had outdoor showers attached to each lodge which were luxurious in the heat and sun. We did watch ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ and rewound it a couple of times when George jumps in the frozen river, just to cool ourselves off. The camp also had a plunge pool that we readily took advantage of. Walking from our lodge to the plunge pool was interesting and a bit freaky because of the obvious tracks and dung piles of elephants. Elephants aren’t the kinda animal you’d want to meet in your flip flops and bathing suit.