Less than a week to go!!

Trip Start Jul 05, 2009
Trip End Dec 23, 2009

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Flag of South Africa  ,
Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Hello, hello! Well we're counting down the days now, and really can't believe that we only have a few days left in Africa. And it's weird to think that we'll be leaving in blazing heat and landing in snow?! How odd it will be.

So, updates! Last time we wrote was from Wilderness on the 7th, here's what's happened since then....

8th - Luckily the sky had rained all its rain on the 7th, so we were able to hire a canoe and paddle up the river in Wilderness Nature Reserve, which was great (we definitely didn't pretend it was the Congo...) We parked our canoe (do you park a canoe?) and walked into the reserve to a very healthy looking waterfall. This made a change from some of the trickles we've seen, the drought here is quite serious! After getting back to our vessel and meandering back to the hire place, we drove to 'The Big Tree' - which was perhaps the third 'Big Tree' we'd seen during our SA travels...It's actually marked on the maps like that, quite funny.  It wasn't as big as some of the others though; what a let down! The rest of the day was spent playing frisbee and trying to avoid jelly fish on the beach, and also trying to sort out a skydive for the next day, but word was that the runway was having repairs so they weren't flying. An even bigger let down than the Big Tree!

9th - We woke up to a text saying that the dive was back on! This worked out quite well as it meant we'd had a good worry-free night's sleep thinking we wouldn't be throwing ourselves out of a plane the next day. The dive was great fun! We went up individually as the plane was one of those small microlights. It's a really weird feeling leaning out of a plane and seeing the ground a long way beneath you knowing that pretty soon you'll be hurtling towards it. We both really enjoyed the experience though - as the DVD will I'm sure show... After the dive we drove up to Oudsthorn; The Ostrich Capital of the World!

10th - Ostriches!!! I've never seen so many in my life! In the morning we visited some massive limestone caves in the mountains. They were stunning, but we declined from doing the extra 'adventure' course further into the mountain (basically, the path gets harder and you have to crawl through tiny holes at some stages to continue in) after hearing that one woman had got stuck in a hole for 10 hours!! After the caves we, of course, went to an ostrich farm, where Ant rode one! We spent the rest of the day trying to escape the sun and high temperatures of the Karoo (the name of the area) and thought there no better plae to do this than in a winery!

11th - After a breakfast of ostrich eggy bread, we headed out to drive along Route 62 - an amazing road which winds through the mountain regions of the Karoo and into the winelands. We stopped in Montagu on the way - a pretty little town nestled at the fot of the mountains where we visited a micro-brewery and had our first real beer for many months!  After taking in the sights we went on to Robertson to pitch up at a nice owner run backpackers and whiled the evening away playing a South African version of Trivial Pursuits with three French people and one Israeli.

12th - A day trip to Swellendam taking in Farmer's markets, some local vineyards, berry farms (where we picked our own for breakfast) and more outstanding scenery to picnic in.  Then it was back to the Montagu brewery for another beer and to check out the local natural hot springs. It promised much but on arrival it was over run with the local teenagers trying to impress each other so we decided to give it a miss and return home to try and put a dent in our ever-increasing wine collection (we are still trying to learn the art of tasting and not buying!)

13th - Drove to Hermanus - the Whale Watching capital of the world but the season has just finished and all we saw was a strange rodent/beavery creature called a "Dassie".  We made our way to Betty's Bay - a beautiful (but windy) place where we saw loads of penguins hanging out, and played a quick round of mini-golf to the sound of the sea and wind.

14th - A day trip round Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope - the most South-Westerly point in Africa.  It was more stunning scenery and the area is very nice - but Summer Holidays have started for the local population now and so it was busy busy busy.  We had a picnic out there and ambled back to the hostel

15th - An early start and long drive to undertake our 3rd kind of diving for the trip - Shark Cage Diving!  It was initially terrifying but the company was very eco-conscious and informative and it was amazing to see these guys so close.  They even 'breached' the water a few times - quite a sight!
After the diving we made our way to Stellenbosch, proper winelands territory and booked ourselves in for a tour of the area the next day.

16th - The tour was really good.  We visited 4 different vineyards and because someone else was driving meant we got to taste about 20-25 wines (Some good and some not-so-good) and learn a little about how it all works.  We have another day or so here and then it's off for a whistlestop tour of Cape Town before flying home.  It's so close!!

Hope you're well and enjoying the snow.

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Becks on

Woo less than a week!! What a stunning trip, can't wait to hear about it in person. Just have to make up some equally as interesting stories about what we have been doing while you've been gone... Enjoy your last few days, watch out for that reverse culture shock when you land at Heathrow. Can't wait to see you both, love B&C xxxx

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