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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)

a hot day in the desert


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What a night! It was so darn hot that the both of us just didn't sleep one bit, but luckily we could sleep in so in the end we did manage to sleep a couple of hours. As our alarm clock went off at 7 AM, we snoozed for a little while till we kept on hearing the native birds and wondered how the morning would look like. We quickly got up and got dressed and went for a short walk to the river.

Normally we would have done a morning canoe trip, but because of the drought lately, we sadly enough couldn't. The water was just too low. Thanks president Trump for still anouncing to the whole world that there is no global warming! Yep, you are so right telling us mortal souls that there is no climate change. I can see it right in front of me and the people in Cape Town kept on telling us tourists that because of the lack of water and rain we had to be careful with showering and so on. Yep, they are only saying that to fool us. Secretely they are stocking up so much water, you couldn't believe your eyes once you see it???  Global warming, you are so right, it is all in our imagination! OMG how stupid can a person be, only thinking of that guy makes my stomach turn so, I rather focused my mind on the beautiful water birds that were in front of us.

Since it was still early, we noticed a Goliath Heron fishing for his breakfast and at the banks of the river we even saw a Hoopoe. There were some weaver birds flying around and although we wanted to follow them and capture their presence on film, it just wasn't possible.

Carsten, one of our German group members, also found his way to the river and while we chatted for a while, it suddenly was time to go to the rest of the group and have breakfast, which was very basic, but so yummy with fresh fruits and all.

Sharply at 9 AM we left the resort behind us and went straight to our resort for tonight at Ai-Ais, where we arrived almost 3 hours later. This must be the hottest place on earth, I swear you this! As we drove on what you can call a road, we saw nothing else but sand, dust and rocks. 

Half an hour into the drive we made a quick stop just to take this all in and it is really mindblowing that's for sure. We come from a place where everything is green unless people have filled it up with concrete, but when you are traveling here in Namibia, the only thing that comes to mind is heat and dust. This is quite incredible really!

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As soon as we were all lodged for the night, we had a quick lunch prepared by our own personal chef and about half an hour later, we had a bit of free time on our hands. Ai-Ais is known for its hot springs and if the weather outside wasn't hot enough, there was even a hot spring of 65 degrees. Some of us were brave enough to go for it, but me and Tania as well as a few other of our group chose to go for the ones inside the hotel which weren't that hot, it must have been only about 45 degrees, so a bit "cooler".

By the time it was 3 PM, we all met up again with Chris and of course our 3 other crew members and were ready for a little excursion to the Fish river canyon.

On the way towards the canyon, we had a quick stop to look at the native trees and plants and thanks to the brilliant explanation of Norman, we now know where to go bushie bushie and what to avoid like the plague. I never knew that in a desert environment there were so many plants that were poisonous.

It must have been a little later than 5 PM when we arrived at the rim of the canyon and although they said it is more beautiful than the grand canyon, the only thing that comes in mind is that this one is quite dark, but I guess the rocks had something to do with that.

Fish river canyon is the second largest canyon in the world, and that alone makes it quite impressive, but have seen that other big canyon in America, I must say that I liked those colors more. Here the black rocks dominated the view, but than again, as we were walking alongside the rim of the canyon, I saw the sun shining on different angles of the canyon and love and behold, it became more and more beautiful with each step. Of course you can't compare it with that other infamous one, but seeing it from a different angle, made it indeed look more impressive.

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Our goal of the evening was to have dinner near the rim and watch the sunset and as it almost turned 7 PM, we got just that. It was amazing to look at and eating our pork stew in the dark was even more fun. We had a lot of laughs, maybe the alcohol had something to do with that, but still, it was quite an amazing time.

We arrived back at our resort at 10 PM and while some of our group went to the bar for one last nightcap, me and Tania went to our room, got our swimmers and decided to try out the hot spring of 65 degrees. Must I say that swimming in such hot water in the dark with nothing but stars, shooting stars even, a milky way and what else was out there hanging or floating above our head, it was the best experience I had ever had. Africa really knows how to deliver! 

Needless to say, when my head touched my pillow about an hour later, I was immediately of to dreamland. It really was an interesting day, that's for sure.

Posted by Ils1976 05:07 Archived in Namibia Tagged sunsets_and_sunrises desert road_trip nature canyon river rocks walk friends sand africa road hot group relaxing hot_spring rim dust heat wellness viewpoint 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)

meeting some lovely people


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We woke up as the sun was rising and as soon as we got all our stuff together and walked towards the camping site, Rhyno awaited us with a big smile and got a more than delicious breakfast prepared for us, are we spoiled are what?

It must have been a little after 7 AM when we got everything into the belly of our most trusted friend and as we passed along a supermarket to stock up on some water for the next upcoming days, it was full speed ahead towards another interested sight, the Petrified Forest which is situated in the middle of Damara land.

I guess we were driving for about an hour when our guide of the hour came to greet us and took us along for a walk throughout the place.

When you hear the word petrified forest, I immediately saw trees or a forest in this case, which through time changed into stone and in a way this was true, but in my head they were standing and I thought it was a real stone forest, but that is of course the trick of it all I suppose, because it was not! Somehow a few million years ago, tree trunks from a certain place travelled, if you may call it that, through a river, an Ice Age or even a flood till they arrived in Namibia.

Till this day several tree trunks are revealed, but still scientist think that only a small part of those tree trunks are uncovered. They believe that still 80 % of all the trees are under a layer of stone and sand. The hardest part of course is digging it all out and seeing what the difference is between real stone and a stone tree trunk.

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Looking at the few trees which were revealed, I must admit that Mother Nature is always at her best when it comes to weird things. I really like trees and it happens that I really love stones as well ... yep I am a strange person and I think my little niece has inherited this strange thing as well, coz just like me she carries a rock with her when she sees a nice one. I on the other hand, got rid of doing this, she just turned 4, so she has every right to do this! At her age it doesn't sound mad at all! :D

Thanks to the great explanation of our local guide, we learned so much about trees and nature and of course a little bit about the native plants as well. All in all it was a real interesting detour and don't you worry about me taking some stones. Doing this meant jail time, so I just left them be and only took a few pictures!

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After our walk, we drove further up north only to stop again at a local hotel near the tribe we were going to visit in the afternoon.

Rhyno prepared us another great lunch and with a full stomach, Norman gave us a little talk about what to expect coz this afternoon we had a quick visit with the Himba tribe. The tribe we were going to meet were used to have Western tourists walking around them and by selling some bracelets and other small stuff they ensure the future of the entire tribe. 

In a way I can relate to that but on the other hand I was a bit disappointed because it sounded a bit like some kind of freak show. Somehow I understand why they are doing is, but I kept on thinking that it wasn't the real deal till we actually got to meet them.

A guide went with us and told us as much as he could about their way of living, habits, culture and as we were allowed to take pictures, there was of course also the opportunity to buy some stuff. After spending little less than an hour with them, it learned us that they are friendly, witty when it comes to selling and some of them are even into a little bit of fooling around. I guess no different than any other society.

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Back on the road again, needless to say, this tribe became the talk of the evening and although I had my question marks when we were there, I was glad that I actually went and saw a little bit of their life!

Once again we arrived at Outjo when the sun was almost setting and while our crew was preparing dinner, we got settled into our rooms and there was even some time to have a look around the lodge.

Dinner was at 8 PM and Rhyno, Norman and Alington prepared us a more than delicious braai mixed with a bit of traditional African food and we loved everything. The food was just so delicious that I was surely going to miss it when I am going back home again, that's for sure.

Together with a few other people of our group, me and Tania went to the bar to have one last night cap and of course when it was time to close our eyes, I went to sleep instantly ... what a day!

Posted by Ils1976 05:07 Archived in Namibia Tagged people children desert road_trip native market rocks walk sand africa road bush sightseeing sights colors indigenous_people overland_truck Comments (0)

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