Africa has never been on the top of my todo list but when I got the opportunity to visit Jonatan I’m not the one who say no. Bought some tickets and a trip to Southern Africa starts to get planned. Our idea is to stay relatively close to Cape town in South Africa before we head to Victoria Falls in Zambia and then Chobe national park in Botswana but with an open schedule you never know where we end up.
When I looked for tickets to Cape town almost all flights had a stop in Dubai or Doha, always around 6 hours which is a worthless time since its to long to just sit and wait but its to short to leave the airport. I dig deeper and after a while I got tickets which gives me 10 hour stop in Dubai on my way down and only 2 hours on my way back home. That is perfect since it will give me at least some time to explore Dubai city on my way down and since I’m landing in the middle of the night the temperature should be OK. It was a good plan, it didn’t work out well but it was a good plan.
We arrived according to schedule and even that they scared me that I wouldn’t be allowed into the country because of my Israeli stamps in my passport both passport control and custom went without any problem. I don’t think he actually looked at my picture during passport control and he seemed most bothered with the issue to find a blank paper to stamp. There was no problem finding the metro, understand how it works or finding which station I should get off at either but as soon as I left the metro station I was struck with an enormous heat and a humidity who could kill.
I realize directly that this will bad but I give it an try but just after an block or two I must confess I’m defeated and I’m melting away, I sit down at an coffee house and while the other people were drinking tea and smoking hookahs I ordered a barrel of water. They looked kind a suspicious at me but come on, I am a swede, I’m not made for conditions like this. Drinking my water I started to think over my options and finally I decided to take the tram around Palm Jumeirah (you know the island the made looking like a palm). Using the tram I will see but without melting, win! I looked at google maps where the closest tram station is and walked over there and then I finally finds it, I just missed the last train and the tram is closed for the night.
With a pretty bitter taste in my mouth I decide to stop the first taxi I see and head back to the airport, my driver who came from Pakistan shone like the sun then I told him I’ve been to Kashmir and as a bonus for me he drove so I could see the impressive Burj Al Arab (hotel that looks like a sail) and Burj Khalifa (worlds tallest house) together with some classic big city skyline. Taxi here is cheap, really cheap and even if I tipped him plenty I didn’t pay more than what it cost to order a taxi in Sweden. And yes, it feels like a failure to not seen more of the city but I spent a couple of hours in the city at least and now I will spend the rest in an air conditioned lounge…and maybe take a shower.
Was easier than I thought to spend a lot of hours on Dubai airport and just as quick as a thought it was time to board the plane to Cape town. I confess I was not in my best condition and before the plane took off I was sleeping like baby. I woke however up to the smell of food and I still think that the Emirates food is one of the better when we are talking about airplane food. With some food and a glas of wine in my stomach I fell asleep again. Both the flight to Dubai and to Cape town was with an 777-300 which means you sit in groups of 3-4-3, on both my flight I was lucky though so I had my 3 by myself and I could use the extra two seats as a bed, really nice!
Once in Cape town Jonatan met me at the airport with our rental car and we drove off to Hermanus. Here we stay at a small hostel filled with Australians and Germans. I didn’t get much view of Cape town but more of that later but the view over cape town from the mountains we drove past was really beautiful. According to the signs the are driving along the “Whale route” so if I’m lucky I might even see a whale on this trip, so far its been most beer and beef jerky those few hours Ive been to Africa.
We went up early today and left our hostel to get to the coast and go out on the sea and do some shark diving. The weather couldn’t be any better with blue sky, shining sun and almost no wind at all. The waves were kind a big but come in a slow set and none of us got seasick. Normally this kind of tour takes up to 25 persons but since it low season right now we were lucky and it was only 14, that means more time in the water for us.But to the honest I’m not really impressed. The sharks were tiny, the biggest were somewhere around 3m and they couldn’t care less about us. The swam around our cage and a couple were really close (you could poke it) but my heart rate didn’t raise for that. The dream would be to be inside the cage while an huge great white attacks the cage and trying to get a bite of the swede but I guess I have to continue to dream about that. The Atlantic water was not really warm but our wetsuits help some and at least I can say that I took a bath in the Atlantic this year too.After our little shark adventure we continued west and got to the soothest point of Africa. A rocky beach and a tiny landmark showed us were we where and its also here where the Atlantic ocean meets the Indian ocean, I should get into the water just to be able to say that I took a bath in both oceans. We decided to stay here over the night at a really nice and cozy hostel, unfortunately we are the only guests.
Today we been driving, a lot! We did however started the day at the local brewery in Struisbaai. It’s a tiny microbrewery and can discuss if its really a brewery or just home brew right now but they are moving to a bigger location, expanding and the beer, its really good! Their pale ale was pretty popular yesterday and since the brew master was on site we got invited to the brewery and sure, why not.
After a short tour and some tasting we got into the car and drove east. We have some loose plans but nothing really decided so we just drove as long as we wanted and after a lunch in Mossel bay we continued to Krysna where we are now. The the scenery reminds me of southern Sweden but with more hills and its really beautiful to drive with the ocean on one side and mountains in the distance on the other side. There between is a tiny road and large green and yellow files! We haven’t seen much of the wild life yet though, but at least I saw some antelopes, a baboon, a lot of ostrich and a lot of different fun and creepy birds I cant name. Today we also saw our first elephants so I got the first of the five big now, all completely random from the highway
No driving for me though, instead I’m the designated backseat driver drinking beer and eating biltong (like beef jerky). The reason for this is that they collected the car before I arrived so I couldn’t sign any paper but it’s OK for me, I’m having it really good here in the backseat.
I guess we all do different things to wake up during the morning and today I added a bungy jump to the classic cup of coffee. It is actually one of the biggest bungy jumps in the world and the base is the 216m hight bloukrans bridge. My first bungy jump ever and it was really fun and a nice wake up method. Bungy jumping do have a taste of the 90’s but I recommend it anyway.
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After our jump we decided to drive into the Tsitsikamma national park. Really awesome nature and after a short but steep hike to a viewpoint we got awarded with an absolute stunning view over the area. Once back down we took lunch at a whale and two dolphins came by. I’m not good at speaking whale in the ecstasy of seeing whales i took some really bad photos but the baboon we met on our way to the hostel, he did waited until i got my camera and posed so nice. No more picture than this thou because I misplaced my usb cable and the internet is so freaking slow ere.
The weather forecast promised bad weather and just as promised we woke up to rain. That’s totally ok thought because our plan was to spend the day in the car and drive back to Cape town, well actually a little bit further to Simon’s Town which is located close to Cape of good hope. The driving went fine and as we approach Simon’s Town we were greeted by a couple of whales playing just a couple of hundred meters from the shore. Really cool and fun to see but damn they are hard to shoot with the camera.
At the evening I went all in on the African kitchen, Kudu, Crocodile and Impala and surprisingly enough the crocodile was the best one.
The day has been mostly been spent on the cape of good hope but first we drove by the penguins who more or less lives in Simon’s Town. The penguins were really cool and it’s no coincidence that we ended up in Simon’s Town but such a tourist trap it was. I would never, ever set my foot here during peak season and there were a lot of people there today, but manageable as long as you don’t pay the entrance fee to go down to the penguins which we didn’t.
One ice cream later and a little bit high on the sugar rush we drove to Cape of Good Hope. As time is an limiting factor we decided to first walk up to the lighthouse and check the view and after that walk out as far as you can go on the actual point. Wonderful view and even if it was a bit windy I really liked it. On our way to the point we found a lovely beach, just to bad that the more or less vertical stair pretty much kill you when you want to leave the beach.
It’s time to say goodbye to Ryan and me and Jonatan aimed for the airport and a pretty long trip later, even longer time waiting on immigration we finally arrived in Zambia or more exact Livingstone. The whole day has been traveling and we started at getting up at 04:30 to get to the airport and return our rental car. After that we got on the plane to Johannesburg and just a little bit later we were finally on the plane to Livingstone. We were flying with British Airways but judging by the airplanes condition or the service level it could be any low price airlines from the 1970’s (we got our food like 10 minutes before landing).
Once arrived in Livingstone we settled at the Livingstone backpackers, a really nice hostel and our plans are an easy day since we are kind a tired of all traveling but tomorrow we will explore the Victoria falls.
We have spent the day at Victoria falls, really beautiful and supposed to be one of the natural wonders of the world. As I said really beautiful and since its low water now we was able to climb around at the fall. Really awesome and I let the picture speak for themselfes.
We are still in Livingstone and even if I get the feeling like I know this little village now and how beautiful the Victoria falls are there are limits in stuff to do. Neverless we still havent seen the falls from above so today, well we rented a micro aircraft. Its very touristic, its expensive and worth every penny. What a lovely view and even if we just got a short amount of time in the air its totally worth it. We saw the falls, some crocodiles, elephants, hippos and as a bonus I was allowed to steer for a while, well until I almost crashed the plane. Once the plane started to doing some nasty maneuvers while I tried to figure out how to steer the captain took over.
Really cool to get airborne with more or less a lawn mower on your back.
Cant really say much about Zambia since I only been here in Livingstone but the people are really friendly, its really really cheap and it doesn’t feel as unsafe as for in example South Africa. I dont think its an good idea to leave the hostel alone at night but the odds are much better here for you getting back alive, without getting robbed. Well tomorrow we leave for Botswana and hunting down the big five, I’ll guess that means I will be offline for a couple of days but stay tuned, I will be back.
Back from a two day safari tour in Botswana and I now have successfully shoot four of the big five. Unfortunately they have no rhinos in the Chobe nationalpark so I got that one left. They safari was really awesome and it’s kind a hard to describe the feeling of sleeping in a tent while you hear the lions roar outside. I will not write more than that, instead I let you enjoy some of my pictures.
Back in Livingstone, Zambia perfectly timed with the opening of Devils pool todays schedule was decided, lets go swimming. Devils pools is just as you can hear of the name a natural pool, just at the edge of the main waterfall and if you want and have some courage you can more or less sit at the edge and look out over the scenery. This is of course very season-dependent and its only available during low water. We were very unsure if it would open up during our time here but yea, they opened up today and we were among the first into the water.
Really nice and warm water and no sight of any crocodiles and it was for sure a nice feeling to swimming at the edge of a waterfall, especially the swimming there was kind a interesting because of the very strong currents but we all survived. I thought it would give a nice adrenalin kick to sit there, at the edge but no, guess I’m getting used to do stupid shit.
Malastad is the pill from hell. Normally I don’t notice any side effects from the different pills I eat but this pill gives me the whole complete list, from a stomach like a nuclear war to bad sleep and weird dreams. As an example I dream that a huge mosquito tried to convince me to tear down the mosquito net to let the mosquito’s into my big bed since its really not fair that they are not allowed there. Lucky for me I didn’t buy it and to be honest, the bed ain’t that great. Two days after I voluntary ended my medication and Iḿ slowly turning normal again and its most common that you get sick of malaria after a couple of days and at that time I’m hopefully back home in Sweden so fuck this!
Today its president election in Zambia and there are big posters all over the hostel telling us that guests are not recommended to leave the hostel, stash up food for a couple of days since its usually gets messy during the election. Never less we decided to go outside to take a look and something to eat and its so calm here, more people on the streets but no fighting, riots or stone throwing as a regular night in Sweden. I guess it will be riots first after the result is published if there will be any riots and at that time we are on our way to Zimbabwe.
The Waterfall/river is the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe so why not take my backpack and cross the border to see what it looks like from the other side. It is actually and fully good excuse to get another visa in your passport or to visit the famous country of Zimbabwe. The foreign ministry warns for low cash flow, unstable electricity, no banks or ATM and more or less a big lack of everything but that didn’t stop us and after exchanged some US dollars we crossed this beautiful bridge and walked into Zimbabwe.
We only stopped in Victoria Falls which is a very touristic place and we didn’t see any of the problems everybody warn us about, I guess its worse if you continue further more into the country but here we could find banks, ATM’s, restaurants and cafés for every kind of wallets and many places accepts credit cards. We stayed at the shoestring backpackers which is supposed to be the party place number one but the closest party we found was some loud music.Of course we had to check out the waterfall from this side too and now then I can compare then I guess you could say that the Zimbabwe side gives you a lot better overview and nicer scenery while Zambia side is cooler since you can walk out and actually swim in the waterfall. Zimbabwe side is way more touristic and you can see that both in the number of people who are here but also on the prices of everything, its more expensive here. After their hyper inflation where the prices doubled every 15 hour they no more have any own currency and instead relay on the us dollar. You can discuss if thats good or bad but for sure it makes it easy to remember how much things really costs.
We now can this waterfall inside out so when we saw signs about white water rafting it was done, into the office and book a ride and after we signed all kind of papers it was game on. They informed us about this is a class 5 rafting but since neither me or Jonathan has any idea what that is we just said yea, no problem in a true african spirit. Class 5 is obvious the real deal and according to Wikipedia the scale is from 1 to 6 but we did survive. At one place our guide stopped us and asked if we really wanted to do this rapid, everybody on the raft was quite so I said “no problem so far so lets go” and yea, gnarly it was.
Once we were getting closer to the rapid our guide told us that we will absolutely not going on the right side, if we do we will die. The middle is gnarly as fuck so we want to aim for the left side, of course we ended up at the right side even if we paddled like crazy towards the left. Lucky for us we got stranded on a huge rock and could steer/push ourselves out towards the middle and after a huge drop we tried to climb an even bigger wave. If there is one spot you don’t wanna fall off this is the place and yea, I’m not sure exactly what happened but suddenly I was under water, tumbling around between rocks and really strong currents and just before i reached the surface I was sucked down again for another spin. Lucky for me I’m a lousy surfer and have some experience from this kind of shit so I just stayed calm and waited for me to get out of the current and pretty much at the same time it felt like my lungs would explode I got my head over the water and could grab a deep breath before going down again. After this experience the rest of the rafting felt kind a boring and today I’m covered in bruises besides the soreness in muscles I didn’t even knew existed.
I never got so many question about buying coke as here, in Cape Town. Wherever I go and where I stand people show up and ask me if I want to buy some coke, weed or anything other that makes you high. It might be because we live on one of the major bar streets but I mean come on, this is worse than Amsterdam.
More or less the whole dale yesterday was about traveling. From Livingstone to Johannesburg and then onto Cape Town. It feels kind a bizarre but I paid more for my tickets Livingstone-Cape Town than for my tickets Stockholm-Cape Town but now, after I did the trip I know it was worth every penny. Today I spent the day walking around in the center /Waterfront area and I realize that it doesn’t feel like Africa, more like any big city in Europe and besides its a lot colder here. Well its not cold, around 25 degrees during the day which makes it perfect to walk around in the city and besides, its a good way to get used to the cold weather back home. During the nights though it gets colder and the temperature drops to around 10-15 degrees.
The flight here was a new experience by the way. Its the first time ever for me that I been told not to use my seatbelt or do anything that may cause a disturbance since they were refueling the plane. Once we arrived they once more got on the speaker and this time they told the people back in the plane to hurry to get into the front since the plane was about to tip over. Really? Is this really British airways?
Some pictures form the day, spent most of the time in Waterfront which is a really nice area, however a bit touristic.
As it was the last evening in South Africa we decided its time to go meat frenzy, South Africa is almost as famous for their barbecue as Argentina and its so cheap here so lets enjoy our last supper. After a way to big plate of mixed barbecued beef, pork, chicken and ribs it was time for desert, a 200g steak. You only live once or what do you use to say and even if we had meat overload it was so good and the meat sweating, they never came.
The last day in Cape Town where spent on Table mountain. We did however cheated some, we did the hike up to the cable car but then we took the cable car to the top and to be honest, I’m not impressed. Both according to commercial and tourist information the Table mountain is one of the natural wonders of the world but I think it was just a big tourist trap, on the top of a mountain so you cant escape it. It do however really gives you a amazing view over Cape Town and the surroundings and I do believe that if you hike all the way up to the top you will have another opinion of the mountain. Whats really cool though is how the mountain is perfect located from the Ocean so it “creates” wind that clears the smog and pollution from Cape Town and creates rain which makes the whole region really fertile. This is however not something you really can see so I guess you have to satisfy with the views and the kind a cool form of the mountain.