A Day Trip to Kalk Bay

Kalk bay is a suburban fishing village along the coast of the False bay in the Western Cape. It’s a trip we often make when we feel like a change of scenery and tasty lunch of the freshest fish on the coast. Despite its eclectic vibe, there are so many different things to do in Kalk Bay that everyone can find an activity to enjoy. A trip here probably warrants a whole weekend if you have one to spare.

Kalk Bay Harbour over looking a colourful town

Continue reading

Mountain biking for Newbies

When I think of bicycles, I think of neat paths and sun flowers or small towns, rolling hills and a packed picnic in the basket on the front. So, when my boyfriend took up mountain biking, I just watched and listened mostly in confusion. Not long after that, one of my besties decided to take it up as a hobby. Luckily for her, I’m able to impart some of my acquired knowledge, experience and tips on her.

(What? Watching in confusion is an experience).

Continue reading

The little joys of travelling in your own country

The perfect ending to a perfect day.

The perfect ending to a perfect day.

I love travelling to different places, experiencing cultures different from my own and introducing my palate to intriguing flavours (some to be repeated and others forgotten). It’s easy to take for granted that you actually live in a beautiful, diverse country with incredible scenery, tasty food and good people. All the ingredients for a fabulous holiday. Travelling in your own country is fun and relaxing. Here’s why:

Continue reading

Rocking the Road Trip

Cederberg (2)

One of my favorite parts of hiking or driving in the countryside is are rock formations. I find them strangely fascinating. It reminds me of lying on the playground grass in primary school and making finding shapes or objects in the clouds. So, when I tell people I like looking at rocks and finding what they are shaped like, they look at me rather oddly. I’ve been told by many a travel companion that this is weird and boring. Continue reading

Jumps, Jobs and Confusion

Going up the towers as a viewer and not a jumper is certainly not as nerve-wracking. Last time, I left my camera safely away from my shaking hands. This time around, it’s much easier to take in the view and chat to my guide; a friendly, safety conscious guy.
I’ve always imagined that people who work in these sorts of places are adrenalin junkies, seeking and following adventure wherever it calls. So, I’m quite intrigued to find out why he chose this job. Particularly because the way he’s holding onto the cage walls, makes me wonder if I shouldn’t also reach for the cage.

Eagle 10

The last time I was on a long distance bus, I was in China headed to Shanghai from Beijing. It was a “sleeper” bus which meant it had no seats per se but rather bunk beds bolted to the sides and centre of the bus. The bunks had seat belts attached to the side of the bus. They didn’t go across the bed; instead, they acted as handles that you grabbed onto in an effort to avoid falling off the top bunk when the bus turned or stopped or reversed….or pretty much moved at any time. So, when my mother asked me to accompany her on a bus to Polokwane, I was wary. But ever the dutiful daughter; I obliged.
According to the ticket we leave from platform 11 at 3 o’clock on the “Eagle Liner” (it’s alright if you have not heard of it. Neither had the multitudes of people we asked at the station). We find platform 11 at the end of the station, it’s not marked but there seems to be a lot of people milling about there, with what seems to be ALL their belongings.  A man sitting on a makeshift chair and table waves us over and takes our tickets. It turns out this bucket chair and desk is the boarding gate. Okay.
A plain white bus pulls into the platform, with the licence plate “EAGLE 10”. The conductor hops off the bus, mum hands him our tickets and says “two to Polokwane”. The conductor promptly hands her back the tickets and says: “no”.
Whoops… so I guess this is not our bus.
This is odd because the bucket man is waving and telling us to get on.
Very confused, we try again. “Mama,” the conductor says, “this bus is going to Zimbabwe”. He spots the waving bucket man, sighs, turns to the bus driver and asks him if the bus stops in Polokwane.
The driver, looking very confused, responds: “I’m not sure, let me find out.”
You’d think that if anybody on the bus would know where the bus was stopping- it would be the bus driver.

Finally satisfied that this is the correct bus the conductor allowed us onto the bus. The bus is hot and stuffy. A lyrical song backed by marimbas is blaring through the speakers. Without warning a bootleg disk is thrust into my face: R10, R10 sisi. What do you want? Movie? DVD? Music? Anything you like…sisi R10.” I’m really taken aback; this is the last thing I expected on the bus. I respectfully decline. He nods, turns and places his merchandise into his bag.
As we sit down he swings around and whips out numerous packets of sweets. Again, he shouts: “R10, R10 (cos everything is R10)! What do you want? Anything? All sorts, sisi; all sorts.” Incredulously, I shake my head and burst into fits of laughter. I’ve been on many long-distance bus trips and these are the things I really didn’t anticipate: bootleg discs being sold, very loud music, people singing along to music, no air-conditioning, fried chicken, more fried chicken and fried chicken.
Almost one hour later we head out the station because as you can imagine, it’s really difficult when everyone brings all their belongings on board. There’s a lot of noise, laughter and singing on the bus. All the windows are opened so the noisy wind rushes in too. I’m reminded of school trips and suddenly feel out of place sipping my strawberry bonaqua and reading Jane Eyre on my kindle.  I wonder when I will at eat my padkos of “fruit salad and yoghurt”.
The conductor gets up and welcomes us to the bus, introduces himself and outlines some basic rules of the coach in Shona. From the tone of his voice I sense that he has asked a question. Suddenly, everybody responds “yes!” He asks another question and suddenly the people around us look straight at us and shout “yes!”
I’m not sure what he has said but I’m hoping it was:
“Is this bus legit?”…

“Yes”:
“Is this bus stopping in to Polokwane?”
“Yes!”

Hiking in the Wilderness

Go hiking in the wilderness…
Check
Drink fresh water straight out the mountain streams…
Check
Take own nature photographs for future computer screensaver use…
 Check

 

Swim in large rock pool…

 

Check
Keep your cool as unidentified smooth thing brushes against your leg while swimming in said rock pool…
Check

I don’t usually start off the year with a three day hike in the wilderness. In fact, I don’t usually go on three day hikes. Nevertheless, 2012 started off rather unusually and there I was… on a hike.
Our goal: “Die Hel”, one of the largest rock pools in the Western Cape. Unfortunately it is only accessible by natural modes of transport. That’s right, legs and feet. So, armed with a backpack, more tuna than the tuna run and a plethora of positive affirmations. Two noobs and I joined 3 serious amigos and set off on a wilderness trail.
Die Hel in Groot Winterhoek Wilderness Area, Western Cape, South Africa
There are many things you need when you go on a hike. A whistle, to call for help when you are hundreds of kilometres away from civilisation, is not one of them. A large walking stick is useful as a third-leg or bashing the reeds or just cos it looks like something out of the Lion King…hey what can I say?
I’m a city slicker…
Die Hel in Groot Winterhoek Wilderness Area, Western Cape, South Africa
Being a noob means one generally defers to those who know more than you. You manage to curb your desire to make pertinent statements that you would ordinarily make such as: “Wow, this rock looks awfully familiar”, “Are you sure you know where we are going?” and “Did anyone else hear that?”, “No, seriously. What was that sound?”
Unfortunately, it also leaves you open to abuses such as “the hut is right around the corner”, “it’s just over the hill”, “these are edible” and “there is only one steep”.
*raised eyebrow*
Dusk in The Wilderness; Cape Town, romantic, South Africa, sunset, Travel
Since it’s a protected area, there are no fires allowed. So, braaiing over that large camp fire singing songs, telling freaky stories and eating roasted marshmallows is out. However, sitting in the quite wilderness and enjoying the stillness or listening to the sound of the river and waterfall is in. That is, until someone starts screaming about phantom flying spiders. For future references “the creepies are more afraid of you than you are of them”. Keep telling yourself this until you believe it. Repetition, a good learning habit.
Rock formation in Groot Winterhoek Wilderness Area,  South Africa

 

This area is known for its remarkable rock formations and the breathtaking rock pool.  I won’t lie; the walk to the actual rock pool is challenging but well worth the effort…
one step at a time.