South Africa – A Little Work, A Lotta Play

So let’s just start by saying it’s amazing to be in Africa! South Africa is a beautiful country full of kind people. Yes… there are shady people everywhere and you have to stay smart and diligent, but I’m looking on the bright side and enjoying the people I’m meeting. 

In Port Elizabeth (PE), as regular readers will know, I volunteered for 3 weeks at Kwantu Private Game Reserve. The rest of my time in PE was spent at a little guest house named 28 Towpath. It’s run by Mark and Tine and they’re both so kind and accommodating. The house sits right on a little river outside the city with a nice big vegetable garden and beautiful views. It’s so nice and peaceful. I definitely recommend it to anyone headed to PE. 


(Beautiful gardens at Towpath)


(And the river front in the evening…)

After PE I made my way to Cape Town. Some folks would go by way of the Garden Route, but I was more interested in what Cape Town had to offer so I flew there to save time. 

Cape Town is so beautiful. The people are friendly, the city is lovely and vibrant, and there is so much to do! 


(Rainbow houses in Cape Town)


(Table Mountain from the city)

On my first day, I did a shark cage dive. I wanted to see some marine life and I figured from a cage, in their environment, was the best way. The sharks that showed up were all juvenile Great White Sharks. What’s interesting is the juveniles prey mostly on fish so they make their way into the area we were, while the adult sharks go for bigger prey like seal pups. This was reassuring that the sharks weren’t staying in one place because people were coming to see them or feed them or whatever. We just went to where they were in that time of their life. 



(Hello Gorgeous!!)

On the next day, I hiked Lion’s Head. This is a fun hike with ladders, chains, and staples to get you through the scramble. It takes about an hour. I think I took my time and did it all in an hour and a half. I had no where to be but where I was, enjoying myself!


(Lion’s Head from the city)


(The city from part of the way up Lion’s Head)


(Table Mountain with clouds)

Then I ventured up Table Mountain for some of the best views around! Table Mountain is really cool, but gets very crowded on clear days. You can hike to the top or take the cable car, which costs about $18 round trip. At the top you can trek around enjoying the views and lovely greenery. 


(View from Table Mountain)

One of the best things to do is go down to the Cape of Good Hope. I can’t even express how beautiful it is. I ended up taking the Cape Point Tour with Lucky & Lost tours. It is a great small owner operated company that offers a nice day down to the Cape. 

We stopped at Boulders Beach to see the protected African Penguins, then went on to have a nice traditional African lunch. After lunch, we made our way down to Cape Point to see the light house and walk along the Cape of Good Hope. 


(Penguins!)



(Cape of Good Hope)

We ended our day at Cape Point Winery for a little local wine tasting. Something interesting I learned about South African wine is that the expense is due to their barrels. All of the oak wine barrels must be imported because oak doesn’t grow dense enough in this region of the world. When they tried, all the wine would evaporate from the barrels. So now all wine barrels must be imported at an average cost of $600 a barrel! Learn something new every day.

I tried to book some scuba diving and paragliding but unfortunately the weather wasn’t good for either – probably answering my mother’s prayers.

Now I’m waiting for Steve to arrive tomorrow for the fun to begin. After a busy few days in Cape Town, we’ll head up to Zambia and Tanzania. South Africa has a lot of European influence so I’m looking forward to a more traditional African cultural experience and I’m so glad Steve is able to come with!