Monday, September 26, 2011

South Africa - Table Montain

Yesterday we went all the way up to Table Mountain, an iconic part of Cape towns skyline...
There is a cable car to the top but this is fairly pricey at 180 rand per person (£18 each) to put it in perspective we pay 100 rand a day for accomodation and 40 rand each for food per day. Instead we choose to walk/hike up. There are over 300 trails through the Table mountain national park and it is easy to get lost, so we decide to take the easiest and most popular trail Platteklip Kloof route which takes around 2,5 hours to the top.
Its a sunny day and little do we know it is about to turn out to be one of the hottest days of the year in South Africa, we also do not know out route is in full sun light all the way with little shade.
We set of on our 1200meter vertical assent. It takes us just under 3 hours to the top, and we both finish a liter of water each on the way up. We take frequent brakes because: 1 we are less fit than we imagines, 2 its really hot, 3 the higher we got the thinner the air is.
There are allot of other walkers/ hiker who we talk to during our brakes, they are very friendly many offer us bisquets, sweets and water. This is something we have found all over Africa so far is that people are very friendly, talk-ative and helpfull.
Despite it being an effort to get to top it is well worth it the view really is spectacular, and all the sweeter knowing we climbed all the way up ourselves. Its a real sense of achievement as we pause looking out over the city of Cape Town, the bay, Lions Head and Robben Island. We find a map of the area with arrows to all the major coties in the world and realise we are almost 10,000Km from home!

We are lucky we took our own home made sandwiches up the mountain as everything at the cafe at the top is really expensive, but we are out of water. So we fill up from the taps in the toilets but it doesn't take very good and is a bit brown/ yellow colour. Luckily on  the walk down we stop by a small stream/ water fall. The water is running fast and cool so we drink the water, its deliciously cold and fresh with a slight sweet taste. We also take of our shoe's and bate our sore feet in the cool water for a bit before continueing back down. It only takes us just under 2 hours to walk down, we walk for a little while longer until we spot two people about to hop in a cab and suggest sharing it back into the centre of town to save money.
Back in town we realise its Sunday and all the shops are closed, we cant buy food. So we head abck to the hostel and decide to treat ourselves to take away Pizza, its way over our daily budget but we feel we have earned a big meal and spend 100 rand on two Pizza's. Then at 9:30pm we are so tierd we go to bed early.

We are leaving on tuesday for Johannesburg where our Safari is starting, we don't know if we will have some wifi during our safari but we will try to post as much as possible



Saturday, September 24, 2011

South Africa - Cap Point

We spent the whole day today driving back from Cape Agulhas along the coast view Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope to Cape Town. Our round trip was around 550 -600km (so Sofi is now excelent at driving on both the Right and the Left side of a car). The scenery changes quite a bit between the Capes, one is low sandy dunes then around Cape Point it all becomes more rocky and mountain like features.

We also spot loads of wild life, more whales (adult ones this time), baboons Sofi almost runs over a big one sitting in the middle of the road just around a sharp corner. I think he was as shocked to see us as we were to see him there! We also see little furry African penquins, ostriches on a cold and windyrock just 50 meters from the wild Cape of Good Hope. The views of the sea are epic its so turquise and blue, at the same time so wild showing its asewom power we felt almost mesmerised sitting on the rocks watching. The pictures just don't capture the sheer scale of the size of the coast line and the infinity of waves crashing against it. You really have to see it to believe it.


South Africa - Cape Agulhas

As we said in our last post we rented a car and went to Cap Agulhas, the Southern most tip of Africa! The scenery and ambience changed dramatically as we left Cape Town. The further South we head along the coast the less walls and fences we see the less bars on the windows. Now all we notice is the spectacular and stunning scenery. The wild life and aw inspiring views around us are stunning, its sounds like a cliche but there really is no other way of explaining these fantastic views. We see baby whales jumping in the bay of struisbaai, a bay next to Agulhas were we are staying. Its a really nice surfer inspired hostel were evey thing is laid back bright colours clad the walls and windsurfing sails decorate the ceiling. No locked doors just a lazy old dog.




Thursday, September 22, 2011

South Africa- Cape Town

We arrived in Cape Town,
After spending a night in Johannesburg we flew to Cape Town. A short 2 hours later we landed in the Mother City. It feels strange because there are a few colonial European buildings around but mainly modern buildings. It feels a bit like home after the simplicity of life in Senegal it all feels a bit European. Just much more dangerous, When we check into the Hostel they tell us never to walk outside at night unless we are on a busy main street. Always take a taxi back to the hostel do not walk even though its only 5 min.
We are also shocked by the amount of no gun signs on the doors of buildings and public transport. For example on the bus from the airport there were stickers showing: No Smoking, No Food, No Dogs, No Hand Guns, No Ball Games. We knew it was more dangerous than Europe but were not prepared for the idea that many people carry weapons. One night when we went out some one even offered me to lend me his knife so I could protect myself. (I have no idea what to do with it any way so refused)

We have been to the Harbour filled with restaurants and western style shopping malls. We also saw the African penguins in there sanctuary. That night there is a big party with all the other backpackers and we go out into town and have allot of drinks (damp Chilli Vodka) We wake up after 4 hours sleep still drunk its 8am and were going on a wine tour visiting 4 different farms tasting over 40 wines, sparkiling wines (including red sparkling wine), Brandy and port as well as a delicious selection of cheeses all made locally. First we both sleep some more in the van to the first wine farm (I feel like I am going to be sick) but after one glass of wine I feel rather good again!
We eat an amazing steak lunch (inluded in the tour, free meal!) and then visit more wine farms, cellars and learn about the process of making wine. We have a great time and the other people on the tour are really nice, so we have another drink with them when we get back to Cape Town. Its dark after we leave so the obligatory 1 -2min taxi ride is required for saftey.

The next day we meet up again with another couple from the Wine tour to go to the District Six Museaum about how many blacks were forcibly moved from area's deemed white only houses buldozed and entire communities relocated.  District Six was just one such place were over 60.000 were forcebly moved, but the practice was wide spread across South Africa during Apratheid. People here still are quite seperate whites tend to be with other whites and blackes with other blacks. We notice in restaurants, bars etc the groups tend not if ever to be mixed the only exception are school children we see playing in the park. Perhaps the next generation in South Africa will be different! Walking home we are agressed by a hobo because  we didn't give him any money. He said we could fuck off, Sofi could suck his dick, if I was alone he would stab me and this in the middle of a sunny crowed street. We had just started to enjoy it and look past the hatred and agression and as soon as we did it came straight back to remind us.

Over all we are a little dissapointed with South Africa, its modern buildings and clean streets like Europe but just much more dangerous. There are loads of activeties to do, skydiving, bungeejumping, rafting, helicopter rides, plane tours, kite surfing, Robbin Island, Soweito Township Wind Suring, Sailing, wine tasting, go up table mountain, shark cage diving, whale watching, and Safari's. But notice how allot of those you can do any were in the world and all of these activeties cost atleast 50-100£ per person meanig it quickly eats a whole in your budget as you also need food each day and accomodation. So for a backpacker on a budget ( we also already have a safari booked going up the east coast of Africa) can't afford most of those things so select only one or two really special to South Africa like Robbin Island, Soweito and some of the museaums plus the wine tour because Sofi and I really enjoy wine. Even only these things will cost us £300,- each included one nice meal on the wine tour.
So we decided to rent a car get out of the city and along to coast to spot whales, seals etc for free from the coast line. We also wanted to see a bit more of the nature here, outside the city food is also a bit cheaper. Here we have been eating lots of rice and vegetables.

Hopefully after having been out of the city and seen some more of the nature we can be as positive as we imagined we would be about South Africa.