Location - Cape Town, South Africa

You join us on part two of the holiday, making our way down from the Madikwe Game Reserve at Derdepoort to Johannesburg Airport in our shaken rattled and rolled (well, not actually rolled) hire car.

Jo'burg Airport was somewhat an interesting experience, with a few locals trying to con us at the check-in desk. Under the watchful eye of the airport security they let it happen only to tell us afterwards we should be more careful...An interesting take on things.

Catching a flight on South African Airways from Jo’burg down to Cape Town was swift and the aeroplane had something which I think every flight should...cameras on the tail of the aircraft!

Stepping off the air-conditioned jet in glorious 30°C+ heat felt good,  the second leg of our holiday had officially begun. It felt a bit surreal being driven from the airport into the city, passing settlements constructed purely of mud walls and tin roofs, only to be shadowed by luxurious houses a few hundred metres down the road. Extremely contrasting!

Arriving at our waterfront apartment, Cape Town is truly a breath-taking place.  Behind us we have the famous Table Mountain, somewhere that we had decided we would have to visit before even leaving England. Across the port there's a plethora of cocktail bars (which, Hannah and I both found ourselves in 5 minutes after arriving), markets, restaurants, live entertainment and shops.

We had four days to spend here, and honestly...we managed to fit an immense amount in! Day 1 was spent in and around Cape Town, visiting the Victoria and Albert waterfront to see what’s what. It was Hannah’s mum’s birthday during this holiday, so meals out and alcohol wasn't in short supply. Thanks to this we got to sample the fantastic South African cuisine.

If your visiting Cape Town, one place you have to visit is Robben Island. We found ourselves there on the second day, travelling across misty waters to dock in a bay inundated with cormorants. Incase it wasn't eery enough travelling through cold mist to visit a prison, arriving to the mass of birds circling the ferry certainly added that to the trip.

It seems a little odd writing that the prison is a must visit, one where Mandella and Robert Sobuku wrongly spent so much time there but the island is now turned into a living piece of history where former in-mates donate their time to personally take you around, sharing intimate stories of their experience there. Truly special to hear such stories, all of which are truly eye opening. The below picture is two of the actual prison itself and it doesn't take much to imagine how awful life must of been for the habitants of Robben Island.

Day 3 saw us hopping on the Red Route bus tour, sampling the delights of Table Mountain and Camps bay. We both highly recommend the bus tour, as it's a fantastic way to get around the area, seeing all the sights it has to offer.

The initial idea was to ascend Table Mountain in the evening, capturing Cape Town at dusk in golden light. Unfortunately, unbeknown to us the cable cars stop running during the evening, and we didn’t fancy missing the last and having to face the 20kilometre trek down! That in mind, we went up in the afternoon despite seeing the clouds rolling over the edge and risking what could be a somewhat hindered view. We are both SO glad that we made the choice to go up whilst it was still relatively cloudy, as being able to experience walking through clouds, still having a fantastic view over all of Cape Town and Camps Bay (other side of the Mountain) was truly unforgettable. We have some 5D2 HD movie footage which we are still to look through, but I can assure you that walking through the clouds is unreal. As you walk through the clouds you're damp and cold, yet when they pass you're warm and dry in the South African sun all at a dizzying 1 kilometre above sea level:

On our way back round from Table Mountain we hopped off at Camp’s Bay. Apparently it's a haven for Celebrities, and it’s easy to see why as it's the most gorgeous beach and backdrop I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing. Straight out of camera, this image clearly shows why:

Hours past here just lying on the rocks, eating ice cream and stopping for refreshments in the local bar. Someday we’ll have to return to this spectacular place! Credit goes to Hannah for this picture, as she heroically took the picture whilst balancing on top of the moving tour bus (oh her head and that lamp post was so close... ;-))

Day 4 and we’re off to hire another car and visit Simon’s Town/Boulders Beach, famous for it’s African penguins. Now your probably thinking what I was thinking…South Africa…Penguins?! These little flipper birds love the sun, and in between sunbathing on the sand they enjoy walking and surfing! I’m a lover of penguins, so could of happily spent hours here.

On the way back from Simon’s Town we ventured down to South Africa’s southern tip, the Cape Peninsula. At Cape Point, avoiding the mischievous Baboons we got to see the point where two oceans meet. I’m not sure any picture or video will be able to explain how extreme the winds were here. With Hannah’s sunglasses swept from her head, she also managed to break a sandal which made things interesting on the walk back. It was then onto the Cape of Good Hope:

It was time to head back up to our apartment, but not before we stopped off at what was arguably my favourite part of Cape Town….The Vineyards! Groots Constantia Vineyard is a fantastic place, and the best 300 Rand (£2.80) I have ever spent. For this, you get to sample 5 wines of your choice. The heat, and generous samples soon go to your head as Hannah’s parents will testify but once you are finished you get to keep the glass, bargain! Again, if we ever head back to South Africa this is one place I’m visiting again (to explore more of the vineyards of course!). The below photograph is an HDR image, 3 exposures merged together to capture a greater dynamic/tonal range:

Day 5 was one of packing, visting the local markets and picking up some gifts to take home. We arrived in South Africa with 4 suitcases between Hannah and myself, packed to the brim with camera gear and clothing. Not sure how, but with careful repacking we managed to bring back some great items which now stand proudly in our home.

Hope you’ve enjoyed the photographs posted so far, you can find plenty more by clicking this link.

For now, Totsiens (African for Goodbye).

Location - Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa

Eleven hours and six thousand miles later on one of Richard Branson's finest we find ourself in Johannesburg, South Africa for the holiday of a life time.

This is where our epic journey begins, and I can't begin to tell you how amazing it was. Lucky enough to travel with my better half, Hannah Couzens and her family we headed north from Jo'burg in a hire car to Madikwe Hills Game Reserve. Unphased by the jet lag, Hannah's father drove us 5 hours north combating hundreds of kilometres of un-tarmaced rubble road whilst the Volkswagen Caddy van shook us to pieces.

First things first let me just say that the Madikwe Hills Private Game Lodge is a breath-taking place with the most friendliest of staff, but our stay here was made truly unforgettable by our remarkable tracker Sam (Left) and our extremely devoted/knowledgable guide Barend (Right).

Each day our alarm clocked chimed at 5am, and we had the pleasure of spending 5 magical hours out in the bush as the sun rose. Returning for lunch and a quick nap, we would then venture out again in the afternoon at 4pm for another 5 hours. You'd think that over 4 days, the 10 hour drives would become a little tedious and repetitive, but each time you head out there is totally different magnificent sighting to behold.

Barend and Sam's approach to what they could find was brilliant, as not only did they want to find each and every animal themselves by tracking (as opposed to calls over the radio), they also took time to teach us fascinating facts about everything from termites in the soil to plants which give the African bush sustainable growth. On the whole, we got a real feel for the African bush rather than just rushing to see the "big 5".

The above photograph is of a Zebra and it's baby who wouldn't leave its side (hardly surprising seeing as other nearby Zebra had various battle scars from close encounters!). This baby was the most adorable fuzzy creature around and Zebra's quickly became one of my favourite things to watch. The night time drives were a whole different story, literally not being able to see your hand in front of your face due to no light pollution. This did however make for amazing views of the stars, with the Milky Way easily viewable with the naked eye.

This picture is especially thanks to Barend, who at midnight got special clearance for myself and Hannah to accompany him to the nearby Dam, where we could sit and gaze at the stars whilst taking a few photographs...breathtaking isn't the word!

Not sure i've mentioned that these open top jeeps come face to face with all sorts of animals?! A handful of times we were less than 2-3 feet from a wild lion or bull elephant (sometimes in complete darkness). I think we must of been running off adrenaline as we shot this video.

The above trio show an aged male lion resting on the plains, a pack of wild dogs hunting in the golden sun and finally a kingfisher hovering and picking its moment to dive.

On the last night of our stay at Madikwe, we were invited upto the "Boma" for a traditional African feast. Before we had even walked up to where the Boma was, we could tell we were in for a great night because of the music echoing through the trees. A buffet of food cooked on an open fire, drinks a plenty and traditional African music played on instruments made from the local trees meant the evening was the perfect way to end part 1 of our life changing trip.

If your interested in viewing some more photographs from our trip, please feel free to click this link. I hope you have enjoyed reading part one of our trip to South Africa, part two and our trip to Cape Town will follow shortly! Hannah also has her own blog located here, be sure to check out what she's posted!