South Africa

    I landed in Cape Town the afternoon of October 15.  I had arranged to stay at the hostel that the tour company would start the tour from called Ashanti Lodge.  I came in early and the tour didn’t leave until October 19th.  So for my first day I decided I wanted to go to a beach and watch the sunset.  It turned out to be one of the coldest damn sunsets I’d ever witnessed.  I got a cab towards Camp’s Bay and Clifton Beach.  

Clifton Beach

When the driver dropped me off I told him to pick me up at 7:30.  I had worn a sweatshirt and shorts and had packed a towel in my back pack.  I spent the whole afternoon bundled up in that towel walking around the beaches.  I didn’t take into account that Antarctica is directly south and the freezing Benguela current that brings frigid water (and trade winds that come along with it) to the Cape when choosing my beach attire.  

sunset at Clifton Beach

 After I got back in for the night I noticed a leaflet for a tourist bus that runs around the city, like the giant red double decker ones.  I had seen one when I had went to the beach.  So that was my plan for the next morning.  By the time I was leaving for the day I had figured out that you buy one ticket and there’s three different routes.  One was the purple route… Which is the one that goes through some wineries.  Yes please with a side of yes! But first I decided it would be a much better idea (and much more productive) to hit that purple route last given my love for wine, all wines and any wines.  Cheap, expensive, sweet, dry, sparkling. I don’t discriminate.  So I decided that I’d go see the botanical gardens first after having read that it was well worth seeing.  So I took myself to a nice lunch at cafe there and wandered around.  It’s definitely worth a look. 

 

Bird of paradise at Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden

 I spent a couple of hours wandering around Kirstenbosch before it started pouring rain and decided to call it a day and go hit the wineries. 

  

Succulents.
Ethiopian Coral Tree.

   

After getting rained outta the park I was back in the bus to get dropped off for some wine tastings.  First stop was Groot Constantia, where they pair wines with chocolate.  Groot Constantia ended up being my favorite, it was fun, the estate was huge and my wine guide Kyle was awesome.  Their Shriaz was amazing. 

somewhere along the wine tour

So as I stumbled out of the winery and onto the bus to my next stop I noticed the sign that said ‘NO PICNICKING BEWARE OF BABOONS’ that was the Monet I felt right at home.  Next stop was Eagle’s Nest.  That’s where things start to get blurry, I’m sure the wine was good.  My last stop I’m assuming was Beau Constantia as it is the last one listed on the route.  I spent the rest of the afternoon having a nap in the bus as it lapped around Cape Town I’m guessing a couple of times.  Turns out drinking is exhausting and called it a night early on my last day of being 27.

this happened

Penguins are one of my favorite animals, I’ve always wanted to see some outside of a zoo.  So what better way to spend my 28th birthday than with some penguins.  Jackass penguins to be exact.  I got up early, put on my favorite band t-shirt (I recently read an article written about things women should no longer wear after age 25, graphic and band tees made her list.  All I’ve gotta say is that it must have been written by a crusty boring old bitch that’s alone because she’s souless , forgot how to have fun, and has such a stringent personal dress code.  So fuck you crusty bitch, I wore that Rancid tee, and I wore it well) and I was out the door.  This day I had packed a nap sack with anything from my swimsuit to winter clothes (winter clothes is a hoodie and pants in Alaska unless you plan on spending a great deal of time outside that day) I’d learned my lesson from my cold first day in Cape Town.  I walked down to the Cape Town railway station from my hostel, which took all of about 30 minutes, bought a ticket Simon’s Town and hopped on the train.  It was actually a nice ride.  It took about an hour and the ticket was cheap.  The further south you go the Atlantic Ocean actually comes right up to the rail tracks.

Atlantic ocean crashing up to the side of the train

I arrived in Simon’s Town around 9 o’clock in the morning, and all I had to do was get to Boulder’s Beach.  I ended up getting herded onto a van (pretty much the exact sake regina as the Marshrutkas I rode Arouna in in Moldova) i think it cost me 6 rand.  I paid the enterance fee and was in, I finally was about to see some penguins.  They were everywhere! And I figured out why they’re called jackass penguins.

me and some penguins

I spent most the morning checking out and watching all these little penguins, they’re funny to watch walk around and swim in the ocean.

Boulder’s Beach

After spending the morning with the penguins I took myslef to a nice birthday lunch, and since it ended up being such a warm day I went to the beach and attempted to swim in the icy cold ocean.  Before I caught the train back I decided to go walk through the Boulder’s Beach park to see the penguins one last time.  I was so glad I had went in the morning.  That place was damn zoo.  Not the animals, the people!  In the morning there was just me, a family, and a couple walking around there.  That afternoon it looked like a line at a ride at Disneyland, now it made sense of all the reviews on Trip advisor saying this place was ridiculous.  

After I got back to the hostel for the night, I met a girl named Sigrid, she was visiting from Germany and was going to spend a couple of days in Cape Town before going over to Jo’berg and then out to volunteer in a wildlife park.  She was traveling alone as well, so we decided we’d go try to hike up Table Mountain the next day.

We got up grabbed some snacks and and a cab and headed up the trail.  It was well worth the hike to get to see that view over Cape Town

Sigrid and I at the top of Table Mountain

It’s definitely a half day event, although you could make a whole day out of it.  It was a nice clear day up there

view over Cape Town
view over Camps Bay

We decided to ride the cable car down from the top and from there we decided to spend the afternoon at the beach before I had to be back at the hostel for the departure meeting for my tour.  I was relieved to see it was a mix of ages at my tour meeting.  I was a little nervous that it was going to be a bunch of spoiled college kids or gap yearers on mommy and daddy’s dime.  That night after the meeting Sigrid and I went out for drinks and a nice dinner.
The next morning came and we were off, first to a township tour and then headed north to the Cederberg Mountains to stay at a wine vinyard and to go for yet another wine tasting.

Highlander’s Vinyard

After an early breakfast we set of towards the Orange or Gariep River, which is what forms the border between South Africa and Namibia.

View across the Orange River into Namibia

This was the last bit of South Africa I got to visit. I can’t wait to go back one day!

Looking for accommodation for you South Africa holiday?

Make sure to to go check out AccommoDirect.com to make sure you find the best place to stay on your trip to South Africa!

4 thoughts on “South Africa

  • Cathy RoarLoud August 27, 2015 at 6:10 am Reply

    I love the penguins!! Looks like you could get really close! No penguins in Tanzania where I’m going in September!

    • Nicole August 27, 2015 at 6:18 am Reply

      Have fun! No penguins in Tanzania… But you have the Serengeti and Ngoro Ngoro, and you’ll have so many opportunities to see animals!! I got to go to Mikumi national park, Iringa and Dar. I unfortunately had to head back home before the Serengeti and Ngoro Ngoro but obviously kept in contact with everyone from my tour and they saw so much, I was jealous!

  • Sarah Miduski February 14, 2016 at 6:22 pm Reply

    Good advice about getting to Boulder’s Beach early in the morning. Will definitely remember that for my trip.

    • Nicole February 15, 2016 at 2:59 am Reply

      Boulders is amazing when you have to yourself!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *