Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Capetown & Garden Route | Travel

Earlier this year I was sitting in my friends kitchen when we decided to go to South Africa for summer break, visiting our friend who was going to join an internship in Cape town and driving along the famous garden route. I always dreamed of going to South Africa so the decision making process was really simple to me.

On September the second, I took a plane from my homecity and after 20 hours I arrived in Cape town.

We stayed at a really cool Hostel in Cape Town and had five days to explore the beautiful city until my other friend finished her three month internship.
We just fell in love with the Waterfront of Cape Town, had lunch almost every day at the V&A Waterfront Food Market, struggling choosing between a delicious selection of wraps, steaks, burgers, springrolls and african specialities as Crocodile and Ostrich.
One of the most fun and most challenging things for me was hiking the Table Mountain, the view on top the Mountain let me forgot about the struggles I had for 2 1/2 hours hiking!

Because we were tempted to see as much as we could in a short amount of time, we decided to join a bus tour, which included so many major touristic stops in Cape Town and area, as the Kirstenbosch garden, where we saw the famous Nelson Mandela Flowers "Nelsons Gold"; the Monkeys and Bird World where cute little monkeys tried to eat my hair; and Mariner's Wharf in which we enjoyed fish and chips. And of course, we visited the Cape of Good Hope, the most south-western point of South Africa!

The most challenging moment for all of us, after discussing a long time if we were going to do it, was definitely visiting the Imizamo Yethu Townhsip. The bus Tour offered a guided tour through the township, and we decided to go. For me, it didn't felt right to take photos there. The guide told us about the newest projects they started in the Township, about the school system and working and living environment for the locals, as well as about the criminal statues and troubles the people living there had to fight every single day. When the tour have almost been finished, we spoke with a man who was working in the Souvenir shop in the township about his honest feeling about people coming to his home area every day, taking photos, taking the township as a touristic sensation and not helping directly e.g spending money to build a new school. It isn't the greatest feeling, he honestly answered, but they were dependent on the visitors.

Another Highlight of our Travels was visiting Robben Island, where President Nelson Mandela was kept imprisoned for 27 years. The tour took us four hours, including learning about the Island and how it is used today and having an opportunity to speak to Christo Brand, an former prison guard who wrote a book about his time as an guard while Mandela was imprisoned, called Mandela, my Prisoner, my friend. But the most touching and interesting part of the tour was when ex political prisoner Ntando Mbatha who was imprisoned four years, took us to the cells, community halls and talked us through a every day life of a prisoner.

After staying in Cape Town for a week, we rent a car and began our journey on the garden route, which included a lot of stops on the south african coast. We went to Hermanus to go wale watching, visited South africans most southern point, had a lovely stop in Wilderness and enjoyed delicious oysters in Knysna. We watched crazy brave people doing the worlds highest bungee jump in Plettenberg Bay and went kayaking in Storms River, which was so much fun!

The final three days we stayed in a beautiful Farm near Addo Elephant Park, enjoying the beautiful nature around us, relaxing, reading and going on safari! It was such an great experience to see all this beautiful animals in nature and learning so much about them and their behavior.
We spend our last night in Port Elizabeth, having a last dinner together by the sea and preparing for traveling back home on the next day.

I had the best time in South Africa. The people were super friendly and open, the nature was just breathtaking and the country is just so full of interesting different facets that I was constantly looking forward to learn something new. 
Flying home, I had the most outstanding view from my window, somewhere over Africa, spotting this magical pink sea.