South Africa

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Day 24. End of tour in Cape Town. Time for a mugging. Temp 28'C

After 3000 miles and 21 days we've ended in Cape Town. Within 6 hours of being here, one of our friends got held up by some street urchin with a knife. Nice place. It is actually really nice, you just don't wanna wander around at night.

Table Mountain with its 'table-cloth' of cloud

There's a big mountain here that looks like a giant table. Dunno if anyone else has noticed the similarity. View from Table Mountain

We went out for a final meal with everyone from the truck to a place which serves up all sorts of wierd game meat. Being a big experimenter with my food (I eat lots of flavours of Pot Noodle) I thought I'd get a selection. I went for 'warthog, crocodile and chicken'. When it arrived I tucked in, trying to identify the chicken, but gave in when obviously none were. It turned out they had brought me the wrong dish and I'd eaten ostrich, kudu, and buffalo. I then recieved my original selection so ended up eating 5 bizarre meats in one meal!

I spent a long time that night on the loo. Whether it was that or something else dodgy I'll never know. And by the way, crocodile doesn't taste like chicken. It tastes like fatty fish and snot.

Warthog, Crocodile, Kudu, Buffalo and Ostrich taste sensation.

Mandela's cell for 18 of his 27 years

Day 25. Visit Robben Island (jail where Mandela was held)

Quite disturbing, yet very interesting. It's disgraceful the way things used to be only 15 years ago.

The tour was conducted by ex-political prisoners. Our guide - 'Sparks' spent 6 years sleeping on the floor in a freezing room with 60 others for his trouble.

He got put in solitary confinement twice. Once for losing his toothbrush, once for breaking his washing line.


Day 26. Cape Town - Visit Cape of Good Hope

Tour of the pointy bit of land right at the bottom of Africa. There were seals, baboons, penguins and mermaids.*

I still had 'warthog surprise' disagreeing with me so I had to dig my first ever hole which was quite an experience. Anyway, I'm sure that's enough of that.

 

*I lied about the mermaids...

Bottomist bit of Africa

 

Day 27 - Travel on the Baz Bus for 10 hours to Plettenberg Bay

Our transport for the next 3 wks

Plenty of time on the road to play/work on the laptop while everyone else sleeps. 'Plett' is very nice. Wish I'd brought my kitesurf stuff. No doubt it's trashed now with all the abuse Adie has given it... Kitesurfing paradise

Day 28 - Plettenberg bay - Monkeyland. Temp 25'C

Today's adventure began well before Monkeyland. The cheapest way to go the 15 miles was a 'local taxi' that was going to a nearby 'township'. It cost £1 each so I wasn't expecting quality. The 'taxi' was a 200 yr old 14 seater van that set off only when it had 18 people on board and the driver had put the dashboard back together. The driver wore an Eminem cap and looked like the local murderer. We were therefore most surprised when his favourite music turned out to be Africa's answer to Celine Dion. We know it was his favourite cos he played it over and over, loud enough to make your nose bleed. It was made even more amusing (maybe you had to be there) by being squashed on our seat between two 15 stone women. We then had a free tour of the 'township' which showed us the basic conditions in which people manage to live.

Monkeyland was full of primates and mosquitos. When I get back I want a pet lemur. And I also want to set up a torture chamber for the people who abuse such animals around the world.

A lemur

Don't tell my mum... but we hitch-hiked back. We were picked up by a bloke in an Eminem hat who actually was the local murderer... Not really - a nice old couple picked us up in their posh Mercedes.


Day 29 - Plettenberg bay to Storms river

Just veged on the beach all day then travelled to our next stop.

Storms River was rubbish. Just a one horse town. And there wasn't even a horse. Went to the canopy tour which was a series of zip slides down into a valley through the tree tops of the forest. Even though it was 30m high, it was a bit tame and cost about £20,000 each. Go-Ape is miles better.

100m long zip slide, 30m high


Day 30 - Arrrgghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!


Bloukrans bridge bungy

Can someone please explain to me what the point of bungy jumping is?

I'm hoping if I keep doing them, I'll find the fun somewhere, but for now they're still a bit too scary.

This is the Bloukrans bridge. The worlds highest bungy at 216m.

Clean pants for me please...

Worlds highest bungy

Silly people

Amazingly we met up with our friends Paul and Mark who happened to be staying in the same hostel. A quiet night turned into a 3am job. And we had to be up for 6:15 am... Our old friends Paul and Mark

 

Days 31 - 35 - Cinsta for some chilling and surfing.
Four days in a hostel called Buccaneers in the middle of nowhere. The surfing was hideous! It's really hard. But then as the instructor said - "if it was easy, everyone would do it and there'd be no space for us." We ended up battered and bruised, but had lots of success - well we managed to stand on the board for a few seconds...

Future surf champions. - yeah right!
.

The camera makes the waves look small. That was a 12 foot monster... Michelle surf goddess

Our winning mermaid
We managed to win the sandsculpting comp. Free drinks for us. Also had some great games of beach volleyball with the staff which got me free drinks too. No wonder we want to stay here even longer.

It's important that your first ever go with poi (2 swingy balls on string) involves them being on fire... Apparently I screamed like a girl when I got them tangled up, but that sounds rather unlikely... Fire poi. Good for setting yourself on fire...

 

Day 36 - Durban. Temp 27'C.

Pretty dull. The most exciting thing is that all the insects here have spent too long inside a nuclear power station.

Wanted to surf, kite surf or SCUBA but conditions weren't right for any. Instead we walked to the shop for some food. A 3 hour walk. Oh how I miss my car...

 

A cricket, camouflaged for hiding in 'Hundreds and Thousands'

 

Day 37 & 38- Drakensberg mountainsUp above the clouds



Long hike up to the worlds second highest waterfall - The Oompahloompah falls*. It's a vertical drop of 850m, but not spectacular so no photo.

Beneath his feet is a vertical wall of 850m
*I made it up. I can't remember it's real name...


This anaconda* nearly took my life. As I wrestled with it to save the rest of the group, it wrapped around me, attempting a death-hug and was just about to sink its fangs in when I overpowered it and escaped. Again the photo makes it look smaller and less impressive than it was in reality... 14 foot long anaconda (whole snake not shown)(click for video)
Click the photo for quick video clip of when it 'put on the squeeze'

*It may have not been an anaconda...

Note chap on left going down forwards!
The guide was mental, he did a few things that would kill him if he had a minor slip, including walking forwards down the near-vertical ricketty wobbly chain ladders without holding on.

 

Day 39 - Go to Johannesburg. Temp 27'C
Nothing exciting, but you can see where the phrase "as rich as a Johannesburg barbed wire manufacturer" comes from. Managed not to get shot.

 

Days 40 - 44. Kruger National Park
They have what is called the 'big six' animals (the six most dangerous to hunt) and you get most points for spotting them. Still haven't seen all of them yet. We have seen elephants, buffalos, lions and rhino. We may have seen a leopard, but it may have been a cheetah. Or a rock... The polar bear.remained elusive but we are assured they were there somewhere.

A small elephant

Buffalo A rhino on the night drive Yeah right! As if I took the previous pic! (it was a postcard). The ones we saw were lounging around as usual

with photo enhancement

The elusive leopard. Very difficult to spot. You have to look at the picture very closely to see it. Originally we thought it may have been a leopard-shaped rock, but we used the computer to enhance the image, and it was clearly a leopard. Hover over the pic to see the enhanced version.

Chacma baboon

Ostrich Tree frog (!) Kudu I can't believe you hovered to see what this was...

Hyena. VERY scary up close (even if there was a fence in the way!)

All this animal watching was fairly tame. We never got to play with any of them. And it was hard work - we were up at 4:30 each morning. But it was all made worthwhile by the hyena that walked passed our tent window, literally within touching distance. It was massive. 100kg of vicious drooling beast. More new pants for me please, and Australia here we come... Our Kruger trip truck

 

Next country - Australia