Hakuna Matata

Trip Start Mar 19, 2012
Trip End Jul 27, 2012

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Flag of South Africa  , Western Cape,
Friday, May 18, 2012

Rio to Sao Paulo to Johannesburg to Cape Town was a long journey but luckily had Katniss for company but got to say thought the ending of the Hunger Games was a bit rushed and a bit of a lazy. Was staying at the Mandela Rhodes Place Hotel which was more like a complex having apartments, property companies, HSBC and travel shops in it. The room had a washing machine, dryer and cooker. Got a good deal for the price I paid!!! After the long journey I was asleep before my head went on the pillow. I tried to get up a few times but the bed was like quick sand and kept sucking me into a slumber. When I got up I saw highlights of the last games of the premier league. Headed out for some dinner and the main street was very quiet and very poorly lit for the first 100m but there were more bars/restaurants after. Found me my first nandos, got me some chicken before heading back to hotel.

Early start next day as had a tour of cape point and good hope. Was half day tour but the guide would go on to talk non-stop for the next five hours and sitting next to him I got the full brunt. My poor ears. We drove along the mountains on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other, stopping to take some pics. Got to the cape of good hope first the most southern westernly point of Africa before heading to cape point. I climbed to the top where the lighthouse was situated and I was shattered as it was steep incline, I also had to watch out for wilds baboons on my way up. Having watched plant of the apes on the plane I was extra cautious. Got some pics of the point and saw some baboons when I was at the bottom again, one carrying her baby. Ahhhhh. After this we made our way to see some African penguins in the wild. They looked happy waddling away but was weird seeing them on the beach and not surrounded by fake snow. When I got back to the hotel I had a nap before heading out to the surroundings areas. There was a walkway similar to the one in St Ann's Harrow with loads of shops and stalls. I worked around for a few hours looking around before cooking some dinner and heading for bed as next day was a very early start as I was gonna meet..........JAWS!!!

5:00 am I was up and very tired, there were a couple of Israeli girls in the van and they were far to chirpy for that time in the morning. Took about 2 hours to get to the place I was gonna do some shark diving. First we had a marine biologist tell us about sharks and that we would be entering shark alley the highest concentration of sharks in the world. Headed out in a speed boat at a fair rate going over some high waves. Got to our spot, lowered the anchor, put bait out waiting for the sharks and donned the wetsuit which was very fetching. Nothing for about 20 mins then Du Du, Du Du, Du Du Du Du Du our first sighting; wow what an amazing creature and it wasn't long before more started circling around us. There were about 30 people on the boat and we went in groups of seven into a cage which is fixed next to the boat. Its about 2m in height and you hold onto a yellow bar and push yourself down into the water when the guides tell you too. I was in the fourth group and got my eye protection and weights on before getting in the water, which was colddddddddddd. The guides chuck bait out on a line and the sharks go for the food ignoring the cage and you can see the shark fully when your under water. It was only then you see how massive they are, ranging from 2 to 4 meters. Watching there eyes as they went by was eerie and watching them launch for the food was majestic. As I said there were a lot of sharks so was diving down a lot, salty seawater going into my mouth was disgusting. Then with about 5 mins left one of the sharks ignored the food and I saw its eyes fixated on me and the guy next to me, and as it swam closer I saw its mouth start opening towards me getting wider and wider that I could see its large pink mouth and triangular teeth. I had to push back as far as I could so to ensure it didn't take a piece of me. It touched the cage before going back thankfully. When we went up back for air we both shouted and couldn't believe what we just saw. Crazy. Was in the water about 20 mins but think that was enough. Took some pics of the sharks jumping out the water as well. We then went to the place for the reason there were so many sharks, an island with 60,000 sea lions; a large food source. Made our way back to shore before a de-brief where we saw a video of the day and got told we saw 16 different sharks. Was an amazing, crazy experience and really glad I did it. After all that excitement and the early start I needed some sleep when I got back before heading out for some food.

At 6:00 am there was a fire in one of the rooms and we all had to evacuate the building. Was a cold morning and had to wait for about 45 mins before we could go in. During that time a woman was walking by and looked around at the 3 fire engines and asked me if there was a fire. I nodded whilst I slowly backed away while ensuring eye contact wasn't broken. Got into my comfy bed and got up around 11. Then went on a hop on hop off bus to see the whole city. Got off at a Jewish Museum where they apparently had something on Mandela, that wasn't the case; false advertising. Got to the cable way for table mountain but was too cloudy and thought its pointless going up with the poor visibility. Got a decent photo of the city from the base anyway. Got to the waterfront which was designed to match San Fran and Sydney; there was a small Ferris wheel and a lot of shops. Had a wonder around checking out the African shops more before taking the full bus loop again with my feet up. Had dinner at the waterfront but again started to get quiet quickly, so headed back to the hotel.

Cape Town had a very European feel to it in terms of housing and the roads were a sensible size compared to the massive ones in North America. In terms of the races I had to admit that there didn't seem to be much mixing from what I saw. One of the guides said there was still an underlying tension and mistrust.

Enjoyed my South African visit though.
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