What happened in South Africa stays in South Africa but this is worth sharing. From the cold breeze of Cape Town to the vast savannah of Kruger Park is wonderful country– South Africa.
The place was surreal. It felt like travelling through timeline or seasons. Cape Town breeze reminds me of winter in Doha, a Philippine tropical vibe or spring in Garden Route, fall for the newly harvested hay along the way to Port Elizabeth and summer on a dry savannah of Kruger Park.
Here are the few places I remembered.
Penguins at Boulder Beach
When I was asked if I had a particular place or activity in mind I said “Happy Feet”. Boulder Beach in Simon’s Town is home to South African penguins. Located south of Cape Town, it is 40-50 minutes drive from the city or airport via Ou Kaapse Weg (Old Cape Road), a mountain pass. An alternative route is by Muizenberg and Fish Hoek, a coastal road. South African Penguin is also called “Jackass Penguins” due to their funny sound. They look cute and cuddly but please don’t touch, they peck and if that doesn’t hurt, 500 rand fine will.
Hiking at Lions Head
Before heading to Table Mountain, We hiked Lion’s Head, where we had 360 degree view of the area and an excellent vantage point of Table Mountain. It resembles the head of a couching lion, whereas Signal Hill its neighboring mound look like lion’s tail. The hike was challenging especially when we climbed through chains and ladders but it’s worth it.
View from the top of Lion’s Head
One of the 7Wonders of Nature, if the title is not compelling enough the sight is. It’s my first 7Wonders of Nature that’s when I decided I’ll visit them all, I’m down to three now with Seongsan Ilchulbong (South Korea) and Halong Bay (Vietnam). A cable car carries visitors from lower cable station at 302 m above sea level to the plateau at the top of the mountain at 1067 over five minutes. The cable car rotates 360 degree during ascent and descent providing a panoramic view of the city. Tickets at starts at R135 one way and R255 return. Shops and cafes are available.
Cage Diving with Great White Shark in Gansbaai
Gansbaai dubbed as great white shark capital of the world, home to Cape Fur seals, Cape Gannets, breeding ground for endangered South African penguins and of course the great white sharks. At first when I heard shark cage diving I though the shark in on the cage but it’s the other way around, we were on the cage. I didn’t complain though, when I saw the sharks I’m glad I’m on the cage. The cage is lowered at the side of the boat securely; submerge ¾ with enough room for air.
The Great White Shark
Camping at Uilenkraalsmond
Just next to shark cage dive site, it is a camping resort. We didn’t camp but it is a happy place with white sands so we passed by.
Driving along Protea Bush
Protea aka Sugarbushes is the national flower of South Africa. It represents change, hope, diversity and courage. Named after the Greek god Proteus who can change into different form at will, Protea flower also has many species, all with different form and beauty but all Protea. On our way to L’Agulhas we passed a long road of wild Protea flower.
This is Protea Compacta, it thrives on poor sandy, generally highly acidic soils. Pretty and strong.
Where two Oceans meet, Cape L’Agulhas
Cape L’Agulhas, the southernmost tip of Africa is where warm Indian Ocean and cold Atlantic Ocean meets. It’s unbelievable to see two oceans at once. The closest I have been to Antarctica.
Kloofing in Platenberg Bay
We were supposed to do this but I had an accident, would have been amazing. I wasn’t familiar with the term but it’s same as canyoneering. (no picture, just crying)
Bungee Jumping at Bloukrans Bridge
Before jumping at the World’s Highest Bridge Bungy, we had a shot or two. Bloukrans Bridge is hovering at 216 meters high above Bloukrans River Valley. Face Adrinaline is commercially operating it since 1997 without fatality. The bungee is 160 meters with 7 second free fall. When you’re on the edge, DONT THINK, JUST JUMP.
Baited Shark Dive in Protea Bank
Swimming with the shark? Yes. Protea Bank is 8 km off coast Shelly Beach, KwaZulu-Natal and 150km south of Durban. Together with our Aqua Planet Dive Center dive master we swam with Bull (Zambezi) Shark, Oceanic Blacktip and Tiger Sharks. We’re lucky to come across with school of sharks, they were so close and so many they were bumping our GoPro. The dive was fucking crazy but freaking awesome, my scariest so far.
Sunbathing in Ballito
Ballito is about 40 km north of Durban, a fishing and surfing destination. Sunbathing because I can’t swim in its wave, I settled in sunbathing and tidal pool instead. I wish I knew how to surf and play with those gigantic waves. Well it’s not really that bad, I just didn’t knew how to get off the waves, every time I tried I’m washed to the shore like a crumpled paper unlike that 10 year old kid who’s slaying it like pro.
Kruger National Park Safari
Kruger National Park is the second largest game reserve in Africa and the largest in South Africa. A great 19,485 square kilometers in Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces is a sanctuary to diverse flora and fauna. Animals roamed the park as they should be, free from bars and chains. We on the other hand was confined in a closed car, you really don’t want an open car when seven lions are crossing the road.
Crazy enough to ran in the wild just to have jump shot with century old Baobab Tree and ran back to the car.
So many things to see, so many places to go, so little time, I may never get to see the place again but if I do, I’ll go back for culture, cuisine and community. For all the good things South Africa has it’s a shame not to write a story of a place as beautiful as this.
Photo credits to the owners