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Cape Town in 24 hours!

Sleeping in sounded so nice after such a long flight, but with only 1 day here in Cape Town, the both of us wanted to make the most of it and see as much as we could. For me it was the first time in this city so I was a bit curious what there is to see and that said, when our alarm clock went of at 7 AM, I jumped right out of bed and was the first one to finish, ready for breakfast.

The breakfast area wasn't all that big, just a few tables near the reception area and strangely enough, when we arrived, it even seemed like the food was already gone. We were a bit confused, but when the owner of the joint arrived with some bread and more stuff for a hearty breakfast, we were ready to dig in.

With a full stomach and all our stuff we needed to survive a day in the city, we asked for a map of the neigborhood and went into the unknown. 

Our hotel was closely situated near Long Street, so it wasn't too hard to walk around and see interesting things. The first thing we came across seemed to be an interesting park called The Company's Garden. Although this park wasn't all that big, it still seemed to be a heritage site, but I guess it had something to do with the fact that in the old days, this park was made by European settlers who found this an excellent place to harvest some veggies since it was near the water.

Nowadays you can stroll through this small park with loads of native trees and plants, but I guess the main attraction of the park are the squirrels. You can find them everywhere and since they get fed by us humans, they aren't scared at all. This was just so cool and together with the Egyptian geese we found at a local fountain, made already my morning, but I guess seeing the table mountain from a far all covered in its blanket of clouds did the trick as well.

As we left the park behind us, we slowly walked towards St. Johns Street where you can find a few museums like the SA National Gallery and the SA Jewish museum, but since we only had one day, we just skipped both of them and walked further towards Roeland Street and as we passed along the District Six museum, we came closer to the castle of Good Hope.

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I guess it wasn't really high season for tourists coz there wasn't much "ambiance" at the castle. A quick sneak peek of the courtyard made us doubt wether or not to visit the fortress and its contents, but as we still wanted to see so much more, we just took a picture of the outside and further we went in the direction of Darling Street which houses a beautiful building more known as city hall. It was really mesmerizing and this you could say from the African street market as well.

We had a quick stroll through the market and from there we ended up at Longmarket street, where we had a cup of Rooibos tea as well as a relaxing view on the small tourist market across the street.

It must have been a little more than half an hour later when we decided to go to Bo Kaap first and have a bite to eat later on.

As we crossed several streets, we first thought that we were lost but all of a sudden the more than colorfull houses reached our sight and what a view it was. This is really a bright area of the city and I must admit that I loved it instantly. Unlike the Castle of Good Hope, this was more a tourist attraction than any other coz we already saw a few other tourists walking around and taking pictures. There was even een photo shoot going. I guess happy colors makes people feel happy and it seemed I was not the only one with a smile on my face.

With all this going on, we still needed to see so much, but as it was already 12 AM, we decided to use something more faster and jumped on the hop on / hop off bus. There are a few tours going in and out the center, but since we only had a few hours left, we went for the blue Mini Peninsula Tour which is also said to be the fabulous scenic drive and this certainly was true as we hit the road driving passed the Kirstenbosch Gardens, the vineyards, Constantia and even a detour to the Imizamo Yethu Township.

Sadly enough we didn't have time for a more closer look at all those interesting sights, instead we got off at V&A Waterfront and went on a search for some food, which we found in a Belgian restaurant called "Den Anker". From here we had an amazing view on the table mountain which by now had lost his tablecloth and although it must have been fun to go up there, sadly enough there was just no time anymore.

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Instead we just enjoyed the sun rays and went for a walk on the Sea Point Boulevard. Our goal was Saunders rocks, but the lack of time made us strand at the Sea Point Pavillion, not that it was too bad, the views of the ocean were more than great. 

We took the last bus back to the city center and got off at Long Street, a few minutes later we were back at the hotel and ready for a nice hot shower, a change of clothes and into the night we went for some more food searching, which we found in a local burger joint which had really great burgers.

By the time we were back at our hotel it was already 11 PM and by the time I closed my eyes, it was way after midnight. I really needed to sleep coz tomorrow another early day awaited us. I must admit that we had seen a lot in one day, but Cape Town is just so big and interesting, that it is near to impossible to see it all in a day!

Posted by Ils1976 05:07 Archived in South Africa Tagged landscapes mountains churches buildings people animals flowers park monument market walk south_africa musea indigenous_people Comments (4)

road tripping!


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A little bit before 6 AM our alarm clocks went of simultaneously and although still feeling like a zombie, I got up as quickly as I could and after some water in my face, a bit of food in my system, I was more than ready to face the day.

Since we weren't able to have breakfast at the hotel, we were smart enough to bring something from home just to have something into our stomachs. Double checking that we didn't forget a thing, we slowly walked to the reception, checked out and about 10 minutes later we were outside and ready to meet our fellow travellers on this road trip through Namibia.

The walk from the hotel towards the Nomads office wasn't that long, we only needed to cross the Longmarket square and after walking down a few streets, we finally saw the office at the corner. Although we needed to be there at 7.15 AM, we were just a few minutes earlier and still some of our group members beat us. Not that we minded one bit, it was nice to see that the office was open and that there was an open bar of hot delicious beverages such as tea and coffee.

As we went through the formalities, we also got to know our other group members of which the majority seemed to be Swiss. Besides us 2 Belgians, we found out we also could speak German to a couple of Austrians, 4 Germans and last but not least, the odd ones of the group, our newlyweds from Brazil. 

Looking at our group members, we seemed to be a good mix of everything, going from young to old and from into new experiences to the seasoned travellers. Once we learned that the whole group was going to be lodged and no one was going to use the tents, we suddenly became a bit closer to each other. Sounds strange, but that was just the simple fact. I guess most of us were a bit afraid of getting divided as the journey progressed.

It must have been almost 8 AM when we were all outside and the final count of our group turned out to be 17. With our luggage safely stored inside the safari truck called Chris, we also got to know our other 3 crew members being Alington, our trusty driver, Rhyno the clown and chef of the crew and last but not least, Norman our guide, but commonly known as the boss!

Today we had a whole day of driving ahead of us, so as soon as we got out of the city center of Cape Town, Alington took us to a point near the beach where we could see the infamous table mountain for the very last time. When I saw this majestic piece of rock in front of me, it finally hit me that I was in SA.

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Although I had only one day to see a bit of this interesting city, I knew it was not going to be my last time. That is the promis I made to myself on that beach. 

Once back into the belly of Chris, we drove for about 2 hours seeing the landscape change from time to time when all of a sudden we saw the vineyards popping up. We finally reached the Cederberg region and were ready for our first stop of the day.

It was nice to stretch our legs for a bit and of course I was looking forward to the wine tasting, although I was thinking that 10 AM was a bit early, but on the other hand, who says no to fruitjuice with a twist. No one does!

The funny part of this vineyard was that it was the exact one that Tania visited several years ago. There are dozens of vineyards in the vicinity and they happen to pick this one again! This could only mean that the juice is freeking good and about half an hour later, I had to agree with my thoughts.

Our stop at the Fairview vineyard was sadly enough a short one and with a smile on our face, the majority of the group was glad to be back inside Chris again for a relaxing snooze.

Another 2,5 hours on the road later, we made another stop. This time we had our lunch break and since we were in the middle of nowhere, this meant that Chris' restaurant was opened for business. Rhyno impressed us with a very basic sandwich lunch which was more than yummy and with our tummies filled, we yet again needed to face another long stretch of driving.

This time I struggled myself and as soon as we were on the road, I fell asleep only to open my eyes again when we were close to our final destination of the day, Citrusdal.

Norman already warned us that the first couple of days were mainly going to be driving days and I was a bit surprised that it went by so very quick. It was almost 5 PM when we arrived at our lodge and as soon as we all got settled into our room, we had a bit of free time before diner at 7 PM.

Me and Tania had to share a bungalow with the two Swiss girls and this was not too bad coz ours happened to have a jacuzzi and the both of us immediately knew how we were going to end our day here at the Cederberg region.

Dinner was a "braai" which is so common here in SA and although we know it as a BBQ at home, a braai is more than that, it is basically a feast of food which is shared with friends and loved ones and for some reason it made us all bond a little bit more.

Time flies when you are having fun they always say and as the clock turned almost 10 PM, we went back to our room and quickly changed into our swimmers for a relaxing half an hour underneath the stars. The hot tub was just awesome and the ideal ending of such a long day. By the time we went to sleep it was almost midnight and thanks to the hot water, I fell asleep almost instantly.

Posted by Ils1976 05:07 Archived in South Africa Tagged landscapes mountains beaches sea road_trip adventure city vineyard fun africa road wine sights group hottub braai tipsy overland_truck Comments (2)

further north we go


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Another early day, another day on the road. Somehow I am getting used to it, it is like going to work everyday but in a way better environment!

Just a few days ago we had to say goodbye to a lovely couple and today we had to say hello to a few other ones. Sam and Rinsy we already got to know yesterday and it seemed that a third new group member was going to join us as well, a German dude who lived in Switzerland and spoke a bit secretly about what he was doing in his daily life. Not that we cared to much, unless he was a serial killer of course. 

Once again we left the hotel at 7.30 sharp and once we were on the road, everyone was so curious about the new arrivals and about half an hour we got to know them even a little bit better, that is, Samantha and Rinsy. Our German dude remained a little bit of a mystery. He was the only one that didn't talk that much, but we weren't worried too much about that little fact.

As we were driving near the coastline, we stopped at one point to have a look at the beach and more in particular the boat that was stranded there. It seemed we were arrived at the infamous skeleton coast. It is said that the beach is filled with skeletons from humans and animals alike, but nowadays you can't see much of it anymore or at least the part that tourists are allowed to walk on that is. It is some sort of a national park and because nowadays there are too many tourists bothering the remains as well as getting on the shipwrecks and so on, there is a limit to where you can go. True or false, I don't know, but that is the explanation we got.

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Way back in time it must have been a horrifying era knowing that once you stranded on that beach you were sure to die because of the simple fact that there was nothing there. I am just so glad that I live in a time where you can be reached almost everywhere!

As we walked on the beach we had a nice view on the shipwreck and it made for great pictures. Even the locals tried to do there best to deliver some skeletons for us, but luckily it turned out to be from a seal and not a of a human.

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It was but a short stop and we quickly left the coastline behind us and went a bit more inland. Today we were going to travel more up north and it must have been around 11 AM when we finally saw a few real large mountains again. We were close to the Spitzkoppe, the largest mountain of Namibia. Although so I thought coz technically it is not a mountain but a group of granite peaks. No matter what it is, peak or mountain, it was actually quite impressive.

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As we stopped at the entrance of the park, we soon learned that we were going for a short walk in the vicinity of the peaks and with the heat that we were feeling again, we were all smart enough to bring some water with us. How I missed that warm feeling!

Our guide of today who's name I sadly enough forgot was really good and told us a lot about the landscape, the people and the animals in it and we also got to see some old Bushman cave paintings. Nowadays they are protected because till a few years back they noticed some vandalism. Why you do such a thing is still not clear in my head because something cool like that should be left alone so that all who wants can come and see it, but no, some people have to act stupid I suppose. Luckily they put an end to it and at the same time created a few jobs for the people living nearby.

The walk on itself wasn't that hard, I think it must have been a little less than 5K, but still, the heat made it unbearable for some and to be honest, I was just glad to see Chris and Rhyno again because I was starting to get hungry, not that I loved our guide telling all sorts of amazing things, but once we got food in front of us, we were all in silence.

It must have been a little after half an hour when we drove back to the entrance of the national park and dropped of our guide. A small toilet stop later, we were back on the road again and this time we were in for it for more than a couple of hours. I guess we were driving for more than 3 hours when we suddenly stopped at a small local market which was runned by some Herero women. I just loved their colorful dresses as well as the head shaped in the form of some bull horns. You can actually see that these women are proud of their heritage as they should be.

While our crew members were enjoying themselves with the kids and a soccer ball, us girls went for a look to see what was on sale. Most of it was indeed very touristy with puppets, handbags and so on, but there were also a few women making the bags which was quite interesting and fun to see that even the brand Singer was known here. This was the sewing machine my mother and grandmother had when I was little and seeing it here in the middle of the desert was quite amazing. They travel quite a distance those sewing machines!

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After saying goodbye to the women and their colorful market, it was back on the road again for a couple more hours and when it was almost dark, we arrived at our destination of the day, Khorixas.

Once again we were given the keys for our room and once we all got settled, a few of us settled near the small swimming pool. Tania tried to dip her feet into the water, but it was just so freezing cold that I decided to give it a miss. Although it was still quite hot considering the hour of the day, freezing water was the last thing on my mind and instead I went for a refreshing drink.

Dinner was served at the camping site of the lodge at 8 PM. Chris' restaurant was once again a major hit and didn't let anyone down. The curry with rice was delicious and as we all started talking about our interesting day tomorrow some of us went to bed early, some of us went for another drink and I must say that I began to like that Savanna cider more and more.

By the time it was midnight I closed my eyes and went of to sleep quite fast. I didn't even hear Tania telling me that she was going to check a few things on the internet. All was lost for me ... I can't remember the last time I slept that well!

Posted by Ils1976 05:07 Archived in Namibia Tagged mountains people animals food desert road_trip native market rocks walk cave africa road bush hike hot group peak viewpoint indigenous_people overland_truck Comments (2)

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