Saturday, 16 May 2015

South Africa

Once out of Lesotho we headed on a long drive to South Africa's capital. With just a street name to go by and no map or gps, finding our hostel in a city with a population of 2 million took a good few hours. We spent the next day chilling and doing the monthly wash of rancid towels and clothes.

The next morning we were up at 5am excited despite the early start, long drive and expensive airport parking fees, as we were going to pick up the well organised, efficient and trustworthy David Reid from the airport. After a few hours in the arrivals lounge at the airport we started to worry, only to find out that young David had told us the wrong date, he was still in Hong Kong and would be arriving the next day. We left the airport and were stopped by the police who tried to charge us for not completely stopping at a stop sign. We talked our way out of it. We then made the unplanned trip to Soweto, a township rich with apartheid history, museums and former houses of Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu. We couldn't see any of these as there was a huge storm all day. The entire day was ruined by Dave. 

The next morning we were up at 5am with a strange feeling of déjà vu. Luckily Dave arrived this time and we headed on a long trip to Durban, celebrating the belated arrival with a curry night. The next day was spent on an overcast beach in the city, with Sammie trying to sunbath whilst me and Dave kicked a ball around. 

Another long drive later and we were in Coffee bay, where a day on the beach taught us all how hard surfing is. This was followed by an eventful night, where a few too many drinks caused us to leave the car keys on a table. These were subsequently taken and bags removed from the car, fortunately the thieves must have panicked as the bags were left in the car park with no valuables missing. The next day was spent in a police station, where we were told that we didn't have a case and if anything, we had committed the crime of negligence and were liable. It wasn't a fun day. 

A new car was eventually towed out to us, as the people who took the keys weren't kind enough to return them. After this we finally exited Coffee bay in our new vehicle and headed to the surf capital of Jeffrey's bay. Excited for the Mayweather Pacquiao fight, we started playing beer pong in the hostel with Sammie and Dave teaming up against me and a French guy. After a few early wins for my team, my partner appeared to consume copious amounts of drugs, leading to a dramatic loss of form and handing victory to an undeserving Sammie and Dave. The night got a bit out of hand and saw us fall asleep about an hour before the fight started. 

As a hangover cure we jumped off the 216m high bridge bungee, a ridiculously fun few seconds. We then drove to Mossel Bay and settled in for a relaxed evening before cage diving with great white sharks. This was one of the highlights of the trip, with the Sharks swimming so close that they knocked into the cage and occasionally gnawed on the metal to feel what it was. A pretty scary feeling when your inches away looking down its throat.

We topped off the few days of adventure with a tandem skydive. A 30 minute plane journey, sat next to where the plane door should have been, unsettled the nerves slightly. Our professionals then flung us out of the plane for a 30 second free fall before a 5 minute parachute ride back down to the floor, definitely one of the best feelings we've experienced. Unfortunately the weather turned before Dave's plane could take off and he was unable to do the skydive. We felt sorry for him before remembering that we arranged his 2 week holiday for him and he couldn't even give us his correct arrival date. 

Cape Town was the next destination, with the first couple of days here spent seeing jackass penguins, walking around the harbour and getting the ferry to Robben Island to see Mandela's old cell. We then hiked the infamous table mountain to see the beautiful views of Cape Town and the city's coast line. A final meal and farewell for Dave was supposed to signal a night out in the city, but we showed our age by staying in and watching The Office in the dorm.

After a well organised airport drop off, it was back to just the two of us. We headed through the Cape's famous wine lands on route 62, staying in a riverside camp in Robertson. A day was spent here sampling various wine tastings, explaining that we were searching for the perfect wedding wine, when in reality we were seeing if we could get drunk for free. A brandy tour and tasting session made us realise that even expensive brandy brewed for 25 years tastes like urine. 

Our final activity in South Africa was seeing the caves at Oudtshoorn, where a two hour tour took us through some beautiful open caverns and through some tight tunnels where we had to slither on our stomachs. We slept in an exciting dorm, where we walked in on one girl naked and her friend woke us up in the night with a piercing scream whilst sleepwalking.

We then headed back to Johannesburg and dropped the car off before getting on a bus to the Mozambique border, ending an eventful stay in a beautiful and diverse country.

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