I have now been in Cape Town for a few days. The overland truck tour has finished and I waved goodbye to the last of the people today. My parents also left today after spending the last four days with me.
However, on the plus side my brother Sam is now travelling with me and we are planning where we will visit in South Africa. We are probably going to use a backpacker bus called the Baz Bus to get around as it takes you to all the good places and will drop off at the hostels.
I really like Cape Town and think it is a really beautiful city. Table Mountain looks stunning as a backdrop to the old buildings on the waterfront, whether it is a clear day or with the clouds acting as a table cloth. The weather is great and everwhere looks fresh and clean. My hostel is supposedly in the most dodgy part of town called Sea Point - and even here feels safe.
There's loads to do here. We went up Table Mountain on the cable car which spins around in circles to give you all a good view. It has a great view of the whole of Cape Town and out to the sea.
I've been around the shops and restaraunts, altought it's been hard getting used to loads of choices after travelling in areas where there was hardly anything. Another culture shock was going to nice restaraunts with my family as I now look like an overlander and felt a bit out of place. However, the food was beautiful and I had to make the most of it as I won't be eating so well for a while now.
We caught the ferry out to Robben Island to see the prison where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated and also went on a tour of the Townships. Both of these were very powerful but really interesting as it gave you all the history of the country. The prison tour was led by a man who was also a political prisoner there in the 70's and 80's. When we went to the township we visited the world's smallest B+B with just two rooms and saw some of the houses and hostels people were living in. We felt quite safe there as the tours are led by locals who also run community projects in the township.
Last but not least Sam and I went cage diving with the Great White Sharks. As some of you may know, I am absolutely petrified of sharks and it is one of my biggest fears. However, the cages felt really secure and the company seemed very professional so I felt safe. We only sailed for about fifteen minutes before mooring up where they started throwing 'chump' out to attract the sharks.
Within ten minutes there was a Great White next to us and biting onto the tuna heads attached to the end of a rope. We all got into full wetsuits and Sam and I were in the first five in the cage.
The cage was held next to the boat and the five of you stand in a line waiting with your heads above the cold water until the Captain shouts 'down, down, down' and you have to duck under the water and watch the shark as it glides through the water towards you. As they bite the bait, the Captain will pull it quickly back. Sometimes the shark will bite on it and refuse to let go and so when the rope is pulled it will thrash from side to side to try and bite the fish heads off. Sometimes the shark will thrash around so much it hits the side of the cage with either its tail or body. This happened once when I was in it and the force of it knocks you backwards.
They are surprisingly beautiful to watch and you are completely mesmarised by them. All in all we had seven Great Whites come up and try to eat our bait. Some of the sharks wrestled with the bait and managed to take it, others would just swim up and look at it and some would suddenly shoot up from the depths and take it from underneath in one bite in a Jaws style move.
It really was amazing and I would thoroughly recommend it to everyone to try.
Luckily for us, this time of year is when the whales pass close to the shore either to migrate or to rear their calves. We were able to stand on the shoreline and see about ten females with their three month old calves about fifteen feet from the shore. One had an albino calf and she was supporting him with her fin and moving the tip of her fin to stroke him - it was so sweet to watch.
Anyway, I will be in touch soon and am also going to try and update all my missing photos and journal entries from other places I have been to already.