It's occured to me that I haven't written anything about my now favourite country of my trip South Africa. I've basically had an awesome time here and haven't wanted to spend my final few days in an internet cafe and I'm sure no one can blame me! So my last but one blog before this whole thing goes to the printers and gets published!
I arrived in Cape Town still with the hope that Marcus was pulling my leg about his appendix and he would actually be at the airport waiting, sadly no. My first stop was green point in Cape Town and the Sunflower Stop hostel. It was pouring down with rain but thankfully very humid as I've now become quite accustomed with the warmth!! When the rain stopped I went for a stroll to the waterfront which was full of english tourists so I left quick sharp and strolled back! I then met a girl called Sarah whom I had seen at the airport in Buenos Aires, it turned out she was also on one of the Budget trucks in South America had stayed at the same hotel as me in Rio and had been in B.A at the same time kiling time as I was. She was now also staying at the Sunflower stop so we hung out together for a couple of days and had a ball with the other hostel folk.
I had heard so many horror stories abouth South Africa before I arrived so was a little apprehensive being so close to coming home but my first impressions were sound it was strange to finally be in Africa and thankfully so different from South America. I was craving a diferent culture and certainly got one! Cape Town is a place of extremes with the wealth of Camps Bay and the poverty in the townships with an immense amount of crime caught up in the middle it's diverse to say the least.
My first night was spent out in Long Street in Cape Town with my room mates Cian and Niall from Ireland (top boys!) you can imagine what sort of a night we had on the tiles it was cool.. I also met some locals who made me feel very welcome!! (you know what I'm saying TP!)
So day one over and I instantly felt at home at the hostel. The next morning the sun came out and Sarah and I went down to the stunning beaches of Clifton and Camps Bay we spent the entire day crisping in the hot African sun and ended it at Table Mountain for sunset, all in all a perfect day and South Africa was already racing up the list to be in the top three! I had planned to stay a couple of nights in Cape Town and then head off up the coast but I ended up staying five as I had a ball with everyone and Sarah and I got on really well even though she kept telling me some god awful jokes (the orange one made up for it though mate I used it yesreday and got no laughs but it still tickles me!!) So Cape Town came and went (far too quickly for my liking) I took a trip down to Cape Point to see some superb coastal scenery, penguins and the most south westerly point on the African continent, Sarah flew back to Austalia (big shame) and I sorted my life out and came up with a plan of attack for the rest of my time here and in Swaziland..
I opted to tavel on the Baz Bus which is a hop on hop off service for backpackers very safe a bit sterile but good fun as you meet loads of people along the way...My first stop was Buffalo Bay because everyone said go to Knysna!! (I decided to no longer go where everyone else goes!!) My choice was very wise as I stayed in a fanatstic hostel infact now I'm at the end I can safely say it was the best hostel I stayed in on my entire trip. If and when I ever get married I will be doing it there! It was very rustic very basic but they had everything right and to top it off it was quite literally on the beach Lonely planet rated it as the best hostel in the country and I'd second that..(www.buffalobaybackpackers.co.za)
Unfortunately I only had time for one night in Buffalo before I was on the good old Baz Bus again for the next leg to Port Elizabeth for a compulsory stopover (the drivers only drive a certain distance each day and then rest so there were certain places along the way that you had to stop at) The only good thing about staying at P.E was meeting some new folk especially Camilla from Italy. I had met her a few days before on my first baz bus journey but I was so hungover from my final night in Cape town I didn't speak to a soul! Anyway Camilla and I had a laugh on the bus we then stayed the night at a hostel in P.E which was very surreal we had booked in at another well I had but when we arrived there was no room for Camilla and two others from the bus Louise and Daniella so they were moved to another hostel. I jumped ship and joined then quitting my dorm bed in favour of a quieter hostel as I needed sleep...the four of us ended up staying at 99 miles a hostel which was more like someones house infact I'm convinced the owners were on holiday, we stayed up for a bit listening to a girl from Germany tell us about her life in a crazy manner to put it mildly and were then entrtained by a camp South African stand up comic who was also staying there...the four of us then went to bed Camilla and I were thankfully on the same wavelength and both agreeed we were sharing a house with some complete oddballs...sorry you had to be there! The next morning Louise and I left early for our next bus ride to Cintsa and sadly Camiila stayed an extra night in oddball land!
Cintsa was very chilled a hostel set in the hillside overlooking the coast and an estuary I made friends with another english girl Emma and we hung out for the day made use of the free canoes and went off in search of crocodiles her idea not mine I wanted to return home in one piece and I'm no Steve Irwin (R.I.P) The next morning I went for a run and a swim it was so good to be back in the ocean as nice as Cape Town was the sea was ridiculously cold and I couldn't swim in it and no I wasn't being pathetic for those of you that have been there you know what I mean! Anyway the further east I went the warmer the water became and the indian ocean became my playground! As the baz bus pulled into the hostel Camiila got off shame I was leaving and she was arriving but that's how it goes on the baz bus! It's strange we had only shared a few hours together but she was someone I instantly thought I'd like to get to know better and hang out with, I must say that was the good thing about South Africa and the travellers there who were not all from the UK, Australia or the U.S.A (you know I love you Aussies!) there was alot of diversity in people which instantly appealed. So after Cintsa next stop was Durban another compulsory stop I was going to spend a couple of days there but I'd heard too many horror stories abouth the crime rates so I decided to stop at St.Lucia for a couple of days instead, another good move. My night in Durban was brief we arrived in the dark and left at dawn so I only skirted around the edges of the city when we left the weather weas dull there were far too many high rises along the beachfront for my liking so it definately isn't on the list of places to return to!
Four hours later and I was in the wetlands of St.Lucia. The weather was glorious and I met another great person from the Baz Bus called Adiam. We shared a dorm for a couple of nights ( I say a dorm but it was a room with 3 beds in it and we had it to ourselves, perfect!) Adiam is originally from Eritrea in Africa I had to admit to her I had never heard of the country so she kindly explained I wasn't the first and put me in the picture! It lies on the west coast of the red sea and bordrs Ethiopia to the south once part of Ethiopia it gained independance in 1993 (Adiam I hope I have my facts right!) She now lives and studies in Vienna, Austria with her family and speaks fluent German naturally I tried out my pidgeon German and no she wasn't impresed!! We hung out together for a couple of days and I really enjoyed her company we went to the beach took some wetland walks saw hippos, crocs and met some South African guys who purhcased weapons for a living random times I will sorely miss.
The hostel at St.Lucia is a bit of an all inclusive one with free night drives, wetland walks, Zulu dancing and millions of other activities I didn't have time to partake in but I am so glad I stayed there for those two days not only because I met Adiam (and I'm still interested in that roadtrip in Africa next year!) but it was good to just be and not race from place to place as I've bene doing for so so long now!
My next stop was Swaziland my 32nd country of the trip and final one not bad though at the tender age of 32 I made it through 32 countries without a hitch well no major ones anyway! Adiam joined me at Swaziland backpackers for our final night together before she left for Jo'Burg the next day and I stayed in Nelspruit back in South Africa to begin a 3 day safari. The bus to Swaziland was cool I knew most people on it from various stops and we all stayed at the same hostel another good one. Hi to Aaron and your girlfriend I'm sorry but I can't pretend I can remember your name let me know and I will amend this! Have a good onward trip it was great to travel with you briefly!) I was sad to leave Adiam which was always the case with people I met in South Africa but I'm glad I did what I did met who I did and stayed where I stayed I would do it all over again in a flash. I stayed the night in Nelspruit at the bar with two old friends from Cape Town Ray and Kay (hi guys!) they had been at Sunflower stop so it was cool to catch up with them properly with great staff (Helen!)
My final three days were spent on safari in the Kruger National Park a park the size of Israel and home to a vast array of beasts! Our first night was spent at a tribal village the next one and final night was camping!! I did say I'd never camp again after so much of it but camping on safari just had to be done! It was a great experience and a pefect end to a perfect country my favourite to date.
So that's that my last but one blog ever...gutted to say the very very least! I'm about to end it all (no not in that way things aren't that bad yet!) but before I do I'll be doing a final thankyou and farewell blog entry to sum up my year away... If I forget anything and anyone let me know and I'll amend it before this goes to the printers...
Ciao for now