Friday, 12 February 2016

Down by the V&A Waterfront

The last place that we stopped in South Africa was the harbour. I guess I hadn't thought about it too much, but South Africa is really into all sorts of art. Modern art, traditional art, all sorts. And the harbour had this giant warehouse full of different artists selling stuff
at stalls. It was such a cool place. And the harbour itself is full of awesome little shops and restaurants. We did a little bit of shopping, and then wandered to a cafe overlooking the harbor. It was nice to watch the boats come in and out, although it is quite an industrial place.
After, we walked through the big mall they have there. Its full of a really random assortment of shops, some really low end, and then some really fancy stores. After we went through the mall, we walked around and looked at some of the statues they had of South Africans who have won Nobel Prizes, and all the pretty buildings. They have some really old fashioned classic buildings which are odds with the rest of the harbour!
We sadly did have to leave eventually, so we went back to Cape Town airport, and then took a domestic flight to Johannesburg. It was super weird when we were in Johannesburg airport - we arrives and it was super, super quiet, and a lot and lot of the lights were off. It turns out they had a power outage, and so o bags could come out. It was a bit chaotic, and we got to check in for our next flight in pitch darkness. We couldn't even get into the lounge for a bit because the power was out. It was such a crazy experience, but eventually we did get home in one piece!

Faith Juice in Jars

We had tried to stop at this little farm village shopping area the day's hard to explain but it obviously is a bunch of old farm houses turned into shops, and resturants, and it is super popular. So popular that we couldn't find a place to park the day before. And so after visiting the Botanical Gardens, we drove back out there to try this cafe, that every
South African raved about. And, to my joy, the cutest little juice place was open. This place was seriously the cutest little shack selling juices in jars. It was seriously a hispters dream. And each jar was a little different. Daddy, Josh and I all tried different juices - it was so much fun getting there to find out that it was open today!

A walkway above the Canopy

I had seen the coolest Instagram post about this walkway which is like a path in the canopy of the trees - with a great view of Table Mountain. So, after a little bit of research, I discovered it was at the National Botanical Gardens. We didn't really go there to see anything else, but holy moley, it had such great views of Table Mountain. Everywhere we looked there were such great views. We looked at the nice flowers, and the different type of cactuses and bonsai trees, but we mainly headed towards the walkway.
We climbed a little hill, and then we found the walkway, which had only been built recently. It went over the canopy of the trees, and snaked around the area. I couldn't believe how big the mountain was. In actuality, there is an entire
National Park called Table mountain, so there are all sorts of big mountains all around the gardens. The botanical gardens are really, really big, and it was really quite nice to be under the canopy, rather than on top of it. We had a nice walk around, and watched them actually move some statues for a while. It was gettig to be lunchtime, and we actually couldn't find a shortcut to get out.
In the end, we found our way to the gift shop, where I was able to pick up some cute traditional dolls. Like I said before, it's really not like me to want art from different places, but I really like the stuff that we did pick up on our trip to Africa.

Visiting Table Mountain

We didn't go to Table Mountain the first day because it was covered in clouds, so after coffee at Truth, we headed over to the cable car to the top of Table Mountain. It turned out to be closed due to high winds (or maybe everyone works on their cable cars in the month of February),
so we weren't able to go up it. I was quite sad, so I made Josh take my photo with the signs to prove I at least had been there. Because we weren't able to go up to the top, it was a great chance to visit the Botantical gardens instead.

A Truthful Coffee Shop

As far as I know, Josh only has one South African Student, and the kid really reccomended this place called Truth. It wasn't in the nicest part of town, so in the morning, we got up and drove there. It was such a cool place - a steampunk themed, coffee bar. It was easily the busiest place in town - and definitely a place where hipsters would hang out. I felt obliged to try their coffee, even though I really don't like unflavoured cofee - but I really did enjoy it in the end. All of the people who worked there had the coolest outfits, with corsets and goggles and all sorts. I ordered the french toast crossaint, and it was incredible! In the end, we went another place the next day for lunch, and we totally should have gone back to Truth. It was just such a cool and interesting place.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

A Beach called Scarborough

There are actually quite a lot of towns with British names in South Africa - everything seems to have either a British name or a Dutch name which was difficult for me to know how to pronounce! Either way, we wanted to end up somewhere
really nice to watch the sunset, although we were a bit early, and we really wanted another beach. We were killing time until we got to go back into the city. So we stopped at a little town called Scarborough - it didn't look like too much, but it did have a beach. And it seems that in February, almost all the beaches we visited were deserted...only a few people on them. I wasn't going to get out of the car origionally,
but we did end up getting out and going for a little walk along the beach. I was really interested in these lovely rocks which the water smashed up against. The sun wasn't going down as quickly as we thought, so we took our walk along the beach, and then headed back towards the car.
and head over to another town and see what we might find for dinner. We ended up stopping along a couple places until we came to a place in our guide book which had Portugese steak and chips - aparently Portugese food still has a big following in South Africa.
It was super yummy, but I think we were all pretty tired from the day, and I fell asleep before we even left the restaurant car park!

A stop at Chapman's Peak

After my quick stop at the Ostrich farm, we drove around the peninsula, and back towards the other side. There wasn't really much to see, but we did go around a lot of thin, windy roads, roads that were kind of built into the rock.
We stopped at Champan's Peak, which is a lookout place. There were quite a few people there, with picnics and drinks - but we did stop and hope the sun was going to set there. We were a little too early, and it was quite windy, so we headed on to another place to see the sunset.

I almost got to visit an Ostrich Farm

Since I've heard that they exist, I've been wanting to visit an Ostrich farm. We had some time to fill after visiting Cape Point, and it just so happens that we drove RIGHT PAST an ostrich farm! It did turn out to be closed (only just) but Daddy pulled up on the side of the road so I could see the ostriches. A few came up to the fence, but not super close. I was still super excited to get as close to the ostrich as I was. And the backdrop of Table Mountain was just beautiful!
I have never been more tempted to break into a farm as I was then! I was just so excited to see them! It really was a short stop, I wish we could have seen them and actually feed them on the farm!

Where the Oceans Meet

After Boulder's beach (and Josh's skinned knee), we went into the near town and found a great cafe. While we were waiting to get back to the car, we strolled through these shops the locals had set up selling crafts. At Chitwa Chitwa, I had seen these cool animal
heads made out of beads. I found some here too, and now they are in our extra bedroom on the wall! And they were massively cheaper than anything we had seen at Chitwa Chitwa. In fact we ended up with quite a bit of art we brought home! We finally made it to Cape Point, right at 4 in the aternoon. It's a shame that the cable car wasn't running, but thank goodness we were just in time for the last bus up of the day. We were really glad we had decided to come all that way because the view was so
stunning - and it was so nice to stand there and look at where the two oceans meet. We ended up taking the bus down too, but stopped to take a photo with the sign. I was so glad we had driven all that way to visit - I think it was really worth it.

Boulders Beach

Our next stop on the coastal road was to Boulder's Beach. It's obviously got tons of boulders, but it also is home to all sorts of penguins! I was super excited to see the penguins, and I guess, to be honest, I was a little dissapointed that you couldn't get closer to them.
They should be protected though, because I'm sure lots of people would want to touch them and take pictures of them. They have set up like a walkway for the tourists, which is quite nice. We walked along to both of them, so we made it to the beach in two places - and you could see all the penguins nesting and looking after their eggs. We walked all the way down to the other edge of the beach - that beach is more actually a place that the locals go to - and most people there were sunbathing
or going in the water, right near the penguins. There weren't nearly as many penguins as I had expected. I had thought the beach was quite small down at that area, but in fact, I saw some kids crawling between some huge boulders to get to another beach on the other side. Daddy found a way to go over it, but I decided to go through - in my shoes and dress, with my camera strapped to my back - but it was so worth it, even though the water was up to my knees. It was so pretty through there - and quite a lot more penguins too! They were just so adorable, and sadly not interested in taking a selfie with me at all! It was so nice to see them up close and take some photos at the boulders.

Beach huts

On the beach were the most amazing beach huts - super bright and colorful. They were a bit run down, and noone was actually using them, but they were still pretty cool to look at. We were so lucky, the weather was great so we spent some time wandering along the beach!

Fish Hoek Beach, Cape Town

We left Chitwa Chitwa, and drove allllllll the way back to Johannesburg. We got lunch at Nandos, and then took an internal flight to Cape Town. We got there really late at night, and checked into our hotel. It really didn't give us much idea of what Cape Town was like though! President Zuma
was in town to give a speech, so the hotel advised us to head out to Cape Point, and stay out of town all day to avoid the traffic. So off we went, down the road. We had read in the guide book about these cute little towns along the way, and they came up on us much quicker than we expected! The first place we started had such an amazing beach, we just had to stop and take some pictures!

A Tommy Hillfiger Photo Shoot

We took all sorts of photos while we were on Safari, a lot of selfies in the car, and lots while we were out of the van. In the morning, I think noone looks particularily good - but I was desperate to have Josh take a photo of me with our safari vehicle
(maybe because I wimped out having one with the safari car at Phelwana). We managed to take this family photo, and it was so incredibly perfect - it looked like Tommy Hillfiger's safari shoot they did a couple years ago! It was perfect - so perfect that it's only February and we probably will use it as our Christmas card!

Safari Style

We went on one final game drive on the morning that we left, and in the mornings, we stop and have coffee or tea and hotchocolate. I think the hot chocolate was seriously the best hot chocoalte I ever had. I had tons and tons of marshmallows in it too. The first day we stopped on this nice rock, near to iguanas, and then on the last day, we stopped right near the giraffes (we watched us for a long time!). It was so great to stop in the mornings, take a bathroom break and enjoy being out of the car and stretch our legs. I knew I needed to take some photos because we all were coordinating. Mummy and I worked really hard to find clothes we liked for safari - it ended up that I wore a bunch of Primark shirts, my boat shoes, and these awesome linen shorts that Josh's Mum helped me find while I was home in the summer!

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Wisasni Day Care

One of the most fun things we did in Africa was entirely unrelated to animals. We made an arrangement before we got to Africa to go and see the local school, and we made sure to bring shoes, and clothes and books and all sorts of useful things that the kids might use. We first met the kids, and they sang a bunch of different songs for us, showed us that they could do their numbers and alphabet and such. It was really sweet. We got a tour of the school - it was really basic
and simple, but you could see that their teachers had really put in a lot of effort to make it nice for them, and they worked so hard with them, with such little resources. The head of the school told us that they finally recieved some money from the government, but 50 per cent of that money goes towards feeding the children, morning, afternoon meals and snacks. In some cases, a lot of the school fees (I think they equated to 5 Euros per month) goes towards the upkeep and such of the school. The game lodge
helped them to build a second classroom for some of the older kids, but over the holiday, they ended up with bats in the roof! It really was a shame. I was glad to know that the supplies we got them can be used by the school. I think the tour was a little too much like poverty tourism, it was more like "visit us" rather than "help us", but I suppose there wasn't much I could do in one afternoon visiting them. But either way, we played with the kids for
a long time, they just were so excited to see us. We played on the swings with them, on the lions, and the kids loved having Josh swing them up in the air. It is just so lovely to see Josh interacting with little children. I was really happy there,
and I think I could have stayed for quite a lot longer. It really put into perspective how much our students have here in Frankfurt. I was sad to leave, but we had to get back for the game drive!

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Leaving Chitwa Chitwa

During the other times when we weren't on game drives, we just kind of hung around our house, at the pool - even if it was a little cool, and hung out at the game lodge. It was just so cool to hang out at our pool and see the animals wandering near
the wateringhole. We took one afternoon to go and visit the local day care in town. We had brought all sorts of supplies, and so it was quite nice that we got to go out in the safari vehicle all alone with our driver - and before I left, I was quick to snap a photo of the outside of it! It really was just so pretty - and in the most amazing setting!

Animals in Chitwa Chitwa

We drove from Phelwana again, along these terrible dirt roads to the next game reserve, Sabi Sands. We seriously had a long way to go on dirt roads. The roads went all through these tiny, poor, poor villages. It was so interesting
to see the comparisson before the cities and the villages, but it also makes you feel a little bad about spending so much money to come and see these animals instead, when the people nearby have so little money. We arrived at Sabi Sands reserve, and eventually made our way to Chitwa Chitwa.
It was so snazzy, and so fancy, and just so nice. We checked in, and then hung out in the room a little, making sure to get lunch. It was so amazing, the view from the room looked over the wateringhole, and we could see all sorts of animals coming and going - we even saw a little family of warthogs who were adorable!
At four o'clock, they have high tea, and then you go out on the game drive. I wasn't really sure what to expect, but the game vehicles are really nice. We drive around and around, with your tracker and guide, looking for different animals. We didn't see tons of animals in the first day,
and so I am glad that by the end of our three days there, we had managed to see every single animal we came to see! They drive around for a few hours, before they stop and have sundowners - basically a Gin and Tonic, and some snacks so you can watch the sunset. It really
is the coolest thing! We got back to the lodge really late, but the dinner that was waiting for us was really good! We did go to bed really early too, because we were so exhausted! In the mornings, you still have to get up really early, but they do these nice snacks and tea for you. They drive around as the sun comes up, on another morning game drive.
I think the morning game drive was my favourite, even though I did fall asleep on it once or twice! You cuddle up under these blankets and it was fab! Our driver has walkie talkies with all the other drivers from the area, and they go and tell each other where these animals are, so that everyone can see them. We saw the big five, as well as the magnificent 7, which includes the leopard and the wild dogs. I loved seeing the hyena, and one time, we were right in the middle of a herd of elephants!
We looked and looked and looked for a rhino - as it was the last thing on my list to see. Finally, on the very last morning that we were there, we spotted a mother rhino and her baby, and we tracked them and followed them along for a really long time. It was such a perfect way to see all these animals we had travelled all the way to see - it was amazing!