After our mind-blowing trip in Madagascar, we flew to Ethiopia and spent a full day of sightseeing in Addis Ababa. Ethiopia will have a separate blog post once I visited more of the country. The next day we arrived at Cape Town, where live music welcomes people at the airport. Wifi everywhere, Uber, paying by card…we were back in civilisation.

It was much easier than Madagascar, and the variety of activities that Cape Town has to offer was endless…

We stayed in an Airbnb at Sea Point, really good location, Camps Bay (my favourite part of town) was a 10 min Uber ride, and we could walk on the promenade without any problems, even at night.

It was the penultimate day of the decade..we were looking forward so much to celebrating NYE in Cape Town that we wanted to look fabulous! So the first couple of days we spent near the V&A shopping centre by the Waterfront. Obviously not only shopping but discovering the area.

And here we were on the 31st December..makeup done, outfit chosen, aaaand…I broke my nearly 6 months non drinking but I felt good about it. It was time to have a glass or two. (ended up having a 4 consecutive day of drinking, which made me sick again so back to no alcohol, this time it’s much easier and i won’t be counting the days. I accepted that my body can’t handle alcohol anymore and that’s it.)

We celebrated the last day of 2019 in Cafe Caprice in Camps bay.

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The music was fantastic, but the crowd was a bit pretentious, so we waiting until midnight, then walked (without shoes – English style) to the next place where we encountered the real NYE! Dizzy’s bar is just off the main road, lively, awesome staff and crowd, great pizza. Got home around 4.30am 🙂

On the first day of 2020 we needed a bit of a rest, so we went to the closest beach and spent the day there sunbathing, eating lolly, chatting and being appreciative of how great of a trip we were having!

We also got used to eating almost every day poke bowls…sooo healthy and delicious!

And those amazing sunsets….that everyone admires..

The next day we walked from Sea Point to Bo Kaap. The BoKaap (“above the Cape” in Afrikaans) is an area of Cape Town- probably the most photographed one, formerly known as the Malay Quarter. … Bo-Kaap is known for its brightly coloured homes and cobble stoned streets. The area is traditionally a multicultural neighbourhood, and most of its population is Muslim. In the 1700s, political exiles, slaves and convicts were sent to the Cape by the Dutch from India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and the Indonesian Archipelago. Although not technically correct, these individuals and their descendants became known as Cape Malays. Many of them eventually settled in the Bo Kaap. In the mid-twentieth century, the Apartheid government, under the Group Areas Act of 1950, declared the Bo Kaap a Muslims-only area and forced people of other religions and ethnicity to leave the area. This case was unique because, during this time, most working class (and non-white) people in South Africa were being moved away from the cities.

We also visited one of the must see museums, the Slave Lodge. There are aspects of history which we would prefer to forget, but that would be doing everyone a disservice. This museum portrays an aspect of South African history which deserves to be highlighted so that such things never happen again; it shows the effects it has had on individuals at the time (some of the stories are truly horrifying), but it also shows how there is so much resilience.

Cape Town is a dream for shoppers who like flamboyant home decorations including paintings, animal print carpets, ceramic dishes etc…Negotiation is a MUST.

Richard arrived on the 2nd January, whilst we did Bo Kaap, Slave Lodge and the markets, he had a nap and then joined us for a rooftop cocktail and dinner at Mojo Market, which I would highly recommend to everyone. It’s a bit like the TimeOut Market in Lisbon. Lots of food stalls, an indoor market with live music, seats and great vibe.

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3rd January…Table Mountain! I have always wanted to hike this Mountain instead of taking the cable car. If you really want to appreciate the views and have a great workout (can take between 3-6 hours) I would highly recommend to book a tour and do it on foot. I had all the routes written down in Lonely Planet, and when I booked the tour I didn’t know which route we were going to do..They asked for our fitness levels when booking and I confidently said that we were closer to the 10 on the 1-10 scale where 10 was described as WonderWoman 🙂 No harm in having a bit of a confidence…

Based on this, I received the route name from the company, which was India Venster, the only one described in Lonely Planet as ‘DIFFICULT’ and was recommended to experienced climbers…oops.

We were the four of us with 2 girls from Saudi Arabia. Our guide Kyle was fabulous..very encouraging…at times telling us a few white lies to keep that mindset focused but I kinda knew all these tricks from my job..

The views were breathtaking all along the way.. I also learnt the word ‘scramble’.

After the hike Judit went home and I went to Camps bay beach to make the most of the day. It was windy, buzzing, some sellers came along like this lady. I wanted to support them so I bought this top which I love ever since!

In the evening we managed to get a table in the super popular Mama Africa on Long street where we tried crocodile steak, springbok and other typical South African specialities. There was live music and fabulous atmosphere.

The next day we started with a neighbourhood walk recommended by Lonely Planet called the Foreshore Public Art Walk. It was about an hour, then we headed to District Six Museum, which was unfortunately still closed because of the Christmas holidays. So we found a nice arty cafe, and we headed to the Observatory Market, which is held every Saturday..If you want to buy original arty clothes, jewellery, home decor, eat amazing food, it’s the place to be. It can be pretty expensive though and negotiation is not widely accepted here.

And our lunch was something….that I have never seen before. It was called Bunga Bunga..and it was worth just watching the show on how the man prepared it!! Although it’s a salad…it was minimum 1500 calories!:)

We had a trip booked that afternoon to Robben island, at 5pm, but for some reason it was delayed so it turned into an evening trip, it was a bit rushed, but we got the history through ex convicts telling us their routine whilst they were imprisoned.

Robben Island is known for being the place Nelson Mandela was jailed for 18 of his 27 years, but the Island was the home of prisoners from outside South Africa, notably Namibia. The island is the unique symbol of “the triumph of the human spirit over adversity, suffering and injustice” with a rich 500 year old multi-layered history.

After the tour of the prison you get on a bus and do a tour of the island. We didn’t have a guide because of some organisation issues, therefore the bus driver told us the history.

Upon arrival back to Cape Town Richard was waiting for us for a lovely seafood meal on the WaterFront.

For the 5th January we booked a personalised private day tour with Kabura Travel to Cape of Good Hope visiting Hout Bay- Chapmans Peak Drive- Noordhoek beach- Cape Point- Boulders Beach- Simons Town- Muizenberg and back to Cape Town.

Sadly we picked the wrong day for this, it was hammering down rain, greyness, and just generally not the right day to do this trip. Our driver was good but we would have expected him to tell us based on the weather in Cape Town that this trip wasn’t going to be good in the most exposed part of the country. We started with a trip to the Seal Island, which was fantastic. But the smell…wow. I also didn’t agree with the behaviour of some of the aggressive south africans trying to make money from the tourists by feeding (and hitting) seals.. If you are waiting on the boat in Haut bay to go to the seal island don’t fall for their trap when they try to put on a show to attract tourists. Once you are in, and take photos, you will have to pay.

We also went to an Ostrich farm, where we could feed the ostrich and buy extremely overpriced Ostrich eggs. I have to say they were beautiful. We also learnt that ostriches are not the smartest animals. Their eyes weigh 60g and their brain only 30g. Therefore when they are in the wild, and they see a lion approaching they put their head in the bush and go by the view of ‘If i can’t see you, you can’t see me either’ whilst their rather large backside is hanging out of the bush.

Upon arrival to the Cape of Good Hope National Park, we were meant to do a 40 minute hike which didn’t happen in the end do to the really bad weather. It was windy and raining. Our mood was pretty low because this was meant to be so beautiful. You also tend to pay 4 times the price as a tourist than South Africans…

In the National park we saw ostriches with babies, baboons, bonteboks..

We then headed to see the penguins at Boulders Beach..

We also saw lots of Rock Dassies (or Rock hyrax as they called officially)…super cute little animals! They can also be found in the Middle East not only Africa and they live on rocks to escape their predators.

A little story about a statue of a famous dog- Just Nuisance- in Simon’s Town..

Just Nuisance, a Great Dane, is the only dog ever to have been officially enlisted in the Royal Navy. During World War Two between 1939 and 1944 he served with HMS Afrikander, a Royal Navy naval base in Simon’s Town, a pretty seaside town in South Africa.

In 1939, he was brought as a pup to Simon’s Town by his owner, Benjamin Chaney, who ran the United Service Institute which was a favourite hangout for sailors from the Royal Navy.

A very friendly dog, he soon became a familiar figure around the town, taken for walkies and treated to pies, biscuits and even beer by the sailors, to whom he became a kind of mascot. Naturally, the dog in turn became very fond of sailors – all sailors – and followed them everywhere, to the naval base, the dockyards and even on to the ships. Not a small dog – he was large even for a Great Dane – when he took to lounging about at the top of the gangplank, he blocked the way and that is how he got his name, ‘Nuisance’.

Next stop: Muizenberg

Surf rules in Muizenberg, or “Muizies” as it’s affectionately known to locals. For many locals though, it’s more than just a Summer destination where shallow waters offer great family fun and learning to surf has become the number one activity on the jam-packed beachfront. If you move away from the beach you will discover some quirky characters in this distinctly bohemian seaside village.

So this tour, partially because of the weather and also because of the lack of enthusiasm of our driver was pretty average. The story about the dog for example came known to us after the trip having read about it and not from our private guide which i thought was pretty poor.

It was quite expensive so we felt we didn’t really get the value, so I emailed the company and told them about our experience, and asked if they could offer for the next day some sort of tour as a gesture of compensation. I had to push a little but in the end we got a free wine tour..where we only had to pay for our tasting in each estate and our purchases but not the transport. I thought this was nice of them to understand the importance of compensating a tourist because now I would highly recommend the company. (https://www.facebook.com/KaburaTravelAndTours/ )

In the evening after the tour we were meant to be having dinner with Richard at Bungalow, but as he got sick and decided to rest at home and also the wifi wasn’t working well we decided to find something else. It was a lovely place though and would go back and try. Perfect to watch the sunset with a glass of bubbly!

So we walked to my favourite area, Camps Bay- wasn’t too far, and had a whole plate of ribs…ended up being a great night with Judit!

And here we go, one of the best days of the SA trip.. Wine tasting in Stellenbosh and Franschhoek. 8am, the minibus arrived in front of our Airbnb, and the party began..A couple from Brazil, Barbara and Guilherme, they got engaged recently and were FUN! Then, my all time favourite English cricket fans Chris and Rick. We had a group of german people too but I think Brazil-England-Hungary was the real connection here!

We started in Stellenbosch, a quick 30 minute stroll in town then headed to  a fabulous wine estate, my personal favourite, De Morgenzon. What’s so special about this estate? Beyond being absolutely stunning in terms of garden, surroundings, elegant, sophisticated, classy…they play classical music to their grapes to grow better and sweeter! As if our tour guide knew that I am sooo fond of classical music and play the violin!! Here is a link to it and some photos..

The Music

After the lovely DeMorgenzon estate we went to Marianne Wine Estate for a Wine and Biltong pairing experience.

http://www.mariannewines.com/our-winery/tasting-room

It was very nice too, a bit less personal but we could enjoy some aesthetic views and authentic dried meat made from Springbok, Kudu and Beef. We also tried the wine that was served on Nelson Mandela’s 90th Birthday.

Last but not least we visited Richard Branson’s Wine Estate called Mont Rochelle, but before we had lunch in Franschhoek, did some active wear shopping whilst waiting for the pizza and tasted some of the best chocolates in the world!

In the evening we met Barbara and Guil for dinner, but we were way too drunk and tired to stay out for a long night so we had a big sleep and the next (and last) day in Cape Town we went to the beach with Judit, then visited District Six Museum and the last wonderful experience was Lesley’s amazing Christmas present to us, a luxurious afternoon tea in the extraordinary five-star hotel in Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront, Silo Hotel.

After this wonderful experience we went to shop some ceramics that I fell in love with:

And we had our last dinner at Mojo Market. This was the last glass of alcohol I had before stop completely again..

Next day we said goodbye with Judit..which felt weird. We lived this experience together, laughed so so much together, learnt from each other and we will definitely travel together again! She is one of a kind!

This is when my holiday with Richard started, the cricket finished, England won, we hired a car and hit the Garden Route! It took a day for him to adjust to my ‘don’t worry about booking accommodation in advance’ philosophy but we got there!

First day we headed to Hermanus. On the way baboons were crossing the road, we stopped for photos as every 100m there was a breathtaking view to the ocean! We stopped for lunch at a great seafood restaurant in Kleinmond.

Hermanus is a fantastic whale watching town from June-December when in season. The town stretches over a long main road but the centre is easily navigable on foot. There is a superb cliff walk patch around the town, which we did in the afternoon and next morning (in the sun) to the other direction.

The road itself was stunning as well. We stopped at a Biltong factory on the way.

 

Next stop: Mossel bay. We arrived here at lunch time and went to the highly recommended and rated restaurant called Kaai 4. This low key restaurant has picnic tables on the sand overlooking the ocean. Most of the dishes -including stews, burgers, boerewors (farmer’s sausage) and some seafood- are cooked on massive fire pits.

After lunch we headed to Botlierskop Private Game Reserve for a 2 hour horse back safari which I enjoyed a lot!

We then headed to Wilderness and spent the night in a lovely B&B. Wilderness Beach was probably the nicest on the Garden Route..insane clouds and skies, like a painting..

The beach was only a short walk from our B&B, and in the morning light it looked even more wonderful than the night before!

Beaches like the ones in South Arica are my favourite because it’s just so ideal for running. One day I will live on the beach and run a fitness/dive hotel..this has been my dream for a long time, and i will continue working towards this..!

We then went to Wilderness National Park to do a hike (Kingfisher trail). Great place for outdoors lovers, offers canoeing, windsurfing, sailing and paddle boarding. We only did the hike with pontoon crossing which we loved.

After our adventure in the woods we drove to Plettenberg bay where we spent the next two nights. We got there around lunch time and we enjoyed a fantastic pizza at Enrico’s offering wonderful views over the ocean, great atmosphere…a bit like a mini Italy in Africa!

We booked a real splurge (on the day) at Periwinkle Lodge Guest House just beside Robber Beach. Stunning room and views. The best breakfast and infinity pool!

The next day I did a dive, which beat the 8 dives together I did in Madagascar.

In the afternoon we went to Tenikwa Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre that provides recuperation facilities to injured or abandoned wildlife so that they are given a second chance to be returned to the wild where they belong.

We did a fantastic tour with Okhule, we saw African Wild Cats, Serval, Caracal, Cheetah, Leopard and Lions including the rare White Lion ❤ The tour included a picnic in the same place where we walked a cheetah.

Connecting with nature and animals gives you this incredible happiness. I love cats and all I wanted is just to hug them! I would recommend to visit these wild animal sanctuaries and game reserves in the afternoon, close to feeding time around 4pm to be able to see the animals in action! Otherwise you will have lots of lazy cat pictures (mostly showing you their back whilst lazing around).

In the evening we went to Nguni, award winning steak restaurant. By far one of the best meals in SA!

https://nguni-restaurant.co.za

And this was our last evening…the end of my 6 week trip..which could not have been better!

Next morning…at 5am I woke up, looked out of the window and it almost blew my mind what I saw! Dolphins, schools of dolphins swimming, playing, jumping..and I knew…

This was my last gift from Africa! I woke Richard up, and we watched the show together from our balcony ❤ I then went for a run on the beach to see them closer, we had breakfast and drove to Port Elizabeth. On the way we stopped at Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary to see some more cats, stopped for lunch at Jeffrey’s Bay, stopped also where Richard did Bungee Jumping 10 years ago! Wow..I would never in a million year I would jump off that bridge..but I think he wouldn’t do it again either!:)

Upon arrival to PE we took a picture of the cricket ground, handed back the car at the airport and departed….

This trip was a closure of the previous decade and the opening of the new one. I never come back as the same person from a trip like this.

‘Travel changes you. As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small, and in return life- and travel- leaves marks on you. Most of the time, those marks -on your body or on your heart-are beautiful. Often, though, they hurt.’ Anthony Bordain

 

Comments
  1. Gary says:

    What a incredible experience. A true trip of a lifetime Xxx

  2. Charlie says:

    Love, love, love! Thanks for taking us on the journey with you! X

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