Tag Archives: acacia africa

Cape Town!

When you’re on a 25 day overland tour that ends with “to Cape Town” the already exciting city becomes oh that much more amazing. Not that I didn’t love my time on my Tour of Southern Africa, but I love memory foam matresses, duvet covers, and water pressure more than I love Tents and drizzling glacier fresh H2O.

Our last stops out of Namibia were at dune 45….can’t remember if I wrote on that one or not. It was fun BUT I totally wish we had the chance to go to Deadvlei…if you research Nafaulk NP where we were that is all the sweet photos of the petrified trees and dried mud with dunes as a back drop….either way dunes are ssweet, same same to what I saw in Peru, Oregon, and Vietnam though.

Then we went to Fish River Canyon…second largest in the world. Defo sweet, got good selfies and the profile photo was due for an update so no complaints from me! ….Following that we stopped at Orange river right over the border in to South Africa. GREAT setting…they offered us a canoe trip but nobody did it because we were busy relaxing in teh first GREEN we’d seen in weeks/swimming in the river. Might I add the running view was spectacular, and the showers had a view of the mountains and stars AND good pressure/heat! I think it was grocery lodge? spelled differently though, but the general gist.

After, for our FINAL night on tour we went to highlanders in teh cederberg region and did a wine tasting…the rest was history…oh, except the fact that the crossing tour had 19 people (18 girls) and all I could think was what a nightmare that was…specifically when they asked how well blow driers work on the trip :S

Finally we got to Cape Town. Not without some mechanical issues along the way, but we got here just after lunch. Most of us are staying in Green Point which is right by the beaches and waterfront. HIGHLY reccommend the area or Long street. Everyone says its bars and parties but its really not that obnoxious.

We ate dinner at a restaurant called Arnold’s which was at the top of long street on kloof, it was GREAT. I had the game platter so I had Gemsbok, Croc ribs, Warthog ribs and ostrich…to add tothe croc, ostrich, oryx, kudu, and zebra I had at Joe’s beerhouse in Windhoek I think I made a respectable dent in the game tasting.

Ranked best to worst: Zebra, Gemsbok, Warthog, Croc, Ostrich, Oryx, Kudu….Although others placed Kudu higher, I had a pretty gamey piece. GOt all cooked mid rare. Joe’s was on a skewer so the cooking was a bit off because they were all at different temperatures becasue they’re different meats, but you got to compare meat not dishes. Arnolds presented 4 different dishes with sauces which is great because they are all cooked and paired to perfection BUT its hard to know if you like the meat or the sauce.

Also went to the craft markets on long street…all of them. Definitely shop around first as sometimes things seem cool and original, then you buy them, then you see them 10 more times and regret the decision. There are TONS of craft markets in Cape Town though and they are the cheapest yet (bargain Hard)…defnitely a great place to END a tour because you are back to civilization and can appreciate the African as well as the Western side of all of it.

I don’t have tim for table mountain or Robben Island but my run alon the esplanade and self-navigated city walking tours are having me leaving happy. I will not though that it is better than Joburg but I’ve still felt particularly unsafe and fights break out often inthe streets!!

Finishing off my tour today I went to TabelThirteen in Green point for lunch. They have chicken/tuna salads for under 50 Rand, amazing baked goods, well priced and better made coffee as well as a delectable by weight lunch buffet to stay or take away. Just off of Main Rd when it turns to Somerset in the direction of waterfront. MUST TRY.

Also A SUnflower Stop–my hostel has been ever so helpful, donates stuff to charities, has great security and a clean pool. Right on main road but super quiet. And super cheap when booked with hostelbookers-defo recommend after a tour or just landing in cape town…or any time in between!

As for feelings and such…I fly to Seattle to join my family on vacation on the Oregon coast in 3 hours. Expect a lovely dozen or so posts of recap, memories, reflection, and planning the next adventure very soon!

PS WHY DID NOBODY TELL ME YOU GET OPEN BAR ON LONG HAUL FLIGHTS?!

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TYA

The saying is TIA-This is Africa. Most commonly used when justifying a departure time 3 hours behind schedule, a terrible toilet, or a 800g skewer of game meat. Which is great, but with the exception of the third example the A could represent Asia just as fine.

I have been on the road for over 300 days. I have woken up with cockroaches in my bed in Australia, been prescribed anti—histamines for a concussion in Cambodia, and been applauded by local women for weathering a toilet in India…the conditions and facilities of travelling no longer faze me. I’ve become numb to culture shock and ever annoyed with what used to be the charm of the varying ‘isms’ from one nation to the next. Until now.

Africa. Un-fairly we Westerners seem to see the continent as one nation…one big scary place with genocides, beastly animals gone wild, Malaria, and extreme terrains. Nobody would care to know that just as Canadians don’t identify with being American, the same pride lies in the individual countries of Africa. Moreover, the history that these nations have endured is unique and astonishing to hear for the first time as a foreigner coming from a country that prides itself on its global awareness.

Put down the National Geographic, turn off the World Vision advert, and get your ass to Africa. You will not find women as beautiful, tribes as proud, or skies with as many stories as you will here. The black night gives ‘reach for the stars’ a realm of possibility all while the fading blues of the afternoon skies hypnotize as they meet the clear waters of falls, deltas, and seas.

For the non-judgement of my colour
For the smiles never hidden
For the landscape un-developed
For allowing nature’s giants to roam free
For sharing your history
For aspiring to inspiring futures
For the biltong
For the stars that illuminate the night sky
For the roar of falls and crickets near lakes
For finding contentment in simplicity
For the pride your people carry
For bringing your visitors together in awe
Not for the dirt roads…
For preserving ancient treasures
For every shade of dusk and dawn
For the unpolluted air
And great coffee beans

Thank you, Africa.

spoiled with eles

Written sometime in early August

Sometimes it takes being on a safari in Chobe National Park in Botswana, relaxed and unaffected by seeing a group of elephants walk past the road ahead as everyone decides whether to capture the gentle giants or the giraffes in the sunset to realize how cool your life has become.

I’ve been in Africa a mere 9 days and after the stop at the Elephant Sands in Botswana my tour mates and I are ‘over’ elephants…Snobby? Perhaps…but as I watched my fellow safariers (spelling? …word?) fumbling lenses in crisis mode as to what to capture I came to enjoy the fact that I could actually just sit and observe the African wild. The tour we’re on changed groups in Victoria Falls (Livingstone) which is somewhat of a hub for Acacia…so those of us doing the 25 day SWS have returned to 2 of our stops. Not a problem though as our stop at Chobe was a cruise of the river the first time and we were given a game drive option the second…not to mention elephant sands is amazing.

Last time we were here we waited til dark to make a fire by the watering hole that is maybe 5 meters away from the seating area…when we shun our torches the elephants were nearly right in front of us, dozens of them playing and caring for the young. This isn’t decked out Indian or Asian elephant tourist crap…this is legit African wild, and it is incredible.

The Chobe river cruise hosted perhaps the most stunning sunset I’ve seen in my life, and gave us some great viewing of crocs and hippos among the water buffalo and elephants we’d already seen in Kruger…and impala of course….so. many. impala.

Victoria Falls…It’s dry season at the moment, so apparently they aren’t as good…but I was still in awe…the falls were one of my draws to Africa as a continent, specifically the south. The drier weather was actually nicer to see the rocks and not get completely covered in overflow. I watched a proposal and stared at the double rainbow created for quite some time. Nature’s beauty is a whole new level in Africa. Even the most touristy of places are untouched by western standards. Destruction if any is done by animals not vehicles, and the travellers to Africa, those willing to take the adventure, are respectful and honour the wildlife.

I want to tell everyone to go to Africa…but I kind of want to keep it to myself…just a little longer.

Acacia Africa…the first leg (Joburg to Vic Falls, aka African insight) was unbelievable. Our guide and driver (Sam and Tony) were incredible [They usually do legs including gorillas to cape town…if you are doing a tour along that route in either direction ask for a tour they are doing! Africa is stand alone breath taking, but having the best staff present it to you makes it that much more incredible]. They cooked us tons of local food, told us a lot about where we were, and where they were from (in Kenya). Example meal: avocado salad, lamb stew, grilled stuffed green pepper for vegetarians, pap (local maize meal dish). Everything was easy, worry free, and any requests were always met. We also lucked out with 8 people who were completely functional. Everybody pitched in to the participation aspects of meals and loading the truck, we all enjoyed a good beer after dinner, and many beers on the all inclusive zambezi sunset cruise in Livingstone. The campsites so far have far exceeded expectation, and I’ve become quite good at sleeping in truck as we go over the uneven roads.

Elephants have become old news. But I’m grateful. Because I’m on a tour, I can actually just sit and enjoy. It’s not that I don’t think its absolutely rad, its just that I don’t feel the need to take 20 photos of each one. To see the beautiful creatures of nature actually in their environments is fascinating… and being over elephants has made me realize how much being a tourist makes you miss in the midst of trying to capture it all. Bit like life, some might say…