In (and around) Johannesburg: The Cradle of Humankind

In (and around) Johannesburg: The Cradle of Humankind

The Cradle of Humankind is a world heritage site 50km outside Johannesburg. About an hour from Sandton, Johannesburg.  The area is renowned as the epicentre of discovery of the human origins.PhoebeGill141011004

I visited the two sites in the area the Sterkfontain caves and Maropeng visitors centre. I went to the caves first, you can get a combination ticket that allows you into both sites. An adult combination ticket costs R215 (€15.50)

Sterkfontain:

There is a beautiful vista around the information centre/ticket office. There is so much information in the centre, it it clear, interesting and easy to understand.

The caves themselves are a wonderful experience. It’s a perfect 18 degrees, the tour guide was really knowledgeable and friendly. He pointed out the discoveries, different features you can find in caves and interesting facts.PhoebeGill141011007-2

Note: There are a few narrow passage ways that mean you have to crouch or crawl but there are only a handful and you do not have to crouch for very long (If you have been inside a pyramid, it’s a piece of cake)

I really recommend the caves, it’s really interesting and it’s always so much fun to delve into a space that represents thousands of years of discovery.PhoebeGill141011014-2

Maropeng:

The visitors centre is a really interactive and fun. There is lots of buttons and moving exhibits to engage small kids and there is lots of really interesting information along the walls and in video form.PhoebeGill141011021

There is also a little boat ride that go through the elements of the earth. It is a lot of fun, I still think that there is going to be someone who jumps out at me but don’t worry no one will!PhoebeGill141011024-2

There is also one of my favourite illusions, the vortex tunnel! It is so much fun and it messes with your mind!

I think this is a great day out, the scenery is beautiful, the information is fascinating and it’s such a cool experience. Definitely recommend it.

Happy Travels!

PhoebeGill141011023(I found this amazing bug on the ground outside of the centre, it’s so cool)

In Sligo: Surfing in Strandhill

In Sligo: Surfing in Strandhill

I have a lot of goals for my bucket list in 2014 but my sisters was to go surfing in Ireland. Now if someone wants a road trip across the country with a new adventure attached then I am in. She had heard about Strandhill being a good spot to surf but also as she is a vegetarian she heard about good eats also. From Dublin to Sligo it takes about 3 and a half hours so very doable.

Accommodation:

We stayed at the Surf n Stay lodge. On arrival I was greeted with a not so friendly member of staff, he didn’t make himself known to us also so it was a little confusing at first but then we were introduced to Carmel who was lovely, she put on a great breakfast of coffee, juice, toast, cereal, fruit and yogurt. Everything you could want. She was always around at breakfast too, to answer any questions or just have a chat. A deluxe twin room was €25 per person a night and we stayed for two nights. There is also a hostel next door so you can get a range of rooms and prices.

Surfing:

We had never surfed before, I had paddled on a board but never attempted to get up on one. I did not know this before I went but when September hits Summer is over, it’s time for good surf (for people who actually have surfed before) These waves were big, strong and the current was changing very quickly! I was nervous because the sea is a lot more powerful than I am.IMG_8452

Our instructor that I booked through the lodge (Michael organised this, he was very friendly and helpful) was Rory, a very nice guy who was very patient and was very helpful. A lesson is €30 per person.

It was a lot of fun, the sea bet us up quite a bit as we were exhausted afterwards but it was definitely something I would try again. And hopefully be better at!

Things to do and eat: 

Walking is big in Strandhill. There is a great long beach walk you can do. When you are standing on the promenade you can choose either left or right and you can go on a long walk. You can also visit lots of archeological sites around Strandhill which again is a lovely walk.IMG_8481

Shells Cafe is a great place for food! Really lovely spot with big portions of yummy food and great coffee. There is also a shop attached which I wanted one of everything!IMG_8476

There is your usual eats which is chinese, italian but there is a nice ice cream shop that does crepes also. I didn’t eat there but everything looks really tasty and delicious! Also Sligo town is also 20 minutes away so if you are stuck you can always go exploring there.

Strandhill is a lovely get away. It is small and friendly with good places to eat and fun activities to do. It’s great going for walks along the beach, collecting shells or watching surfers ride the waves with a coffee. It’s a peaceful place and well worth a visit.

Happy Travels!

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In Laois: Electric Picnic 2014

In Laois: Electric Picnic 2014

Something I have had on my bucket list for a while is to attend a camping festival. Electric Picnic is an annual music and arts festival in Stradbally, Co. Laois. The festival ran from the 29th to the 31st of August 2014. There was a great line up with acts gracing the stage who haven’t been to Ireland in a long time! I was excited to see what the event was like, I am not a massive fan of crowds or drunk people so this was going to be a challenge. For first time festival goers the amount I payed was around 200 euro with booking fees and so on but if you are a returning festival goer the prices vary.IMG_8289

Getting There:

I drove to Kilkenny first to meet the friend I was going to the festival with and from there it was a 45 minute journey to Stradbally. There is a car park but I am not sure if it’s easy to get in and out of. And there are also buses that drop you into the town of Stradbally but again not sure how often they run or prices.

Also you will be queueing a fair amount so be prepared. Tip: the earlier you go the less you have to wait.

The Music:

There were some great acts, I stayed around the main stage a lot but there are lots of different tents and stages. I saw Hozier, OutKast, Blondie, Paolo Nutini, Foals, Lily Allen, Wyvern Lingo, The Wailers, James Vincent McMorrow, The Stranglers, Orla Gartland, Cathy Davey and best of all, Beck.IMG_8305

The best thing I found was that there were artists that I wouldn’t have got to see normally, as they don’t do their own tours or I just wouldn’t have thought to go see them. Festivals really opened music and genres up for me again. Live music is just wonderful and it is worth it.IMG_8297

Some things to bring/remember:

  1. Hand sanitiser, bring your own, the one they provide is sticky.
  2. Sun cream, I know it’s Ireland but stranger things have happened and sunburn is no fun!
  3. A good, comfy pair of shoes, irregardless of the weather.
  4. A blanket
  5. Blister plasters.

Some general guidelines:

  1. Don’t be an inconsiderate idiot.
  2. Have a great time and have fun but don’t make things uncomfortable or upsetting for others. Don’t play football at 5 in the morning and scream into peoples tents. Don’t start randomly touching people, they don’t like it. Don’t get angry at someone if they aren’t enjoying the music like you want them to. Don’t do anything that makes others want to physically want to punch you. Oh and also don’t just urinate where ever you feel like it, it is gross. Come on now.
  3. Remember to bring the essentials, food, water and the like but don’t carry too much. It will probably be muddy and raining.IMG_8295

I found the experience a generally positive one, the music is great, the drinks are tasty and for the most part the people are fine. This festival is only going to get more and more popular, so before it turns into the new Oxygen, buy a ticket.

Happy Travels!

In Cork: Bere Island

In Cork: Bere Island

Bere Island is small, quiet and very pretty. To get there you take a ferry boat, from Pontoon which is located in between Glengarriff and Castletownbere. All the times and prices are available here. I had never gone on a ferry boat and it was unknown to me that you have to reverse your car onto the boat. Which at low tide is quite a scary thing to do! I stayed in the Lawrence Cove Lodge, a clean friendly environment, which is right beside where the ferry terminates in Rerrin Village.

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There are lots of animals on the island, dogs, cats, horses, cows. They are usually wandering all around and are very friendly. I think animals make a place so this was a really great addition for me.IMG_8203 IMG_8211

The island is a used as a military base so if the soldiers are visiting a bit of the beach is off limits but I got the chance to go to this little cove of beauty. It is calm with clear water and is a fantastic spot for a picnic or a swim.

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What I found difficult is the eating options, there are very few places I found. Mostly a nice toasted sandwich and chips are on the menu. There is a small shop with all the necessaries but nothing too exotic.

There are lots of walks you can do, it’s quiet enough you can walk on the road and generally end up somewhere picturesque.

I think it is a great location to get away and to relax. Lots of walking can be done so you don’t need a car but if you aren’t into too much walking than a car will be fine on tiny island roads.

It’s a charming place with very nice people and stunning surroundings. Perfect for a break away.

Happy Travels!

In Ireland: Our Only Reptile

In Ireland: Our Only Reptile

Ireland has one reptile species roaming the land and they are the beautiful common lizard.DSCN0919

It’s very odd for a cold blooded creature to live in Ireland, a cold, rainy little island but they hibernate and bask during the summer months. They are found all across the county in various habitats.

I think it’s amazing we have these beautiful creatures, mind where you step and remember they are protected against capture so don’t take one home!

This is the beautiful female we found, for more information you can visit here.

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In Cork: Garnish Island

In Cork: Garnish Island

Firstly this trip starts off on a boat, I love boats, I love being on water. There are seals that are perched on rocks on your way to the island. Looking adorably cute I may add. The ferry across costs about €10 and they come every half hour. The town of Glengarriff is beautiful, really pretty town in Cork.DSCN0790

The views all around the Island are incredible! The island itself is gorgeous and on a summer day it is bliss, it’s almost like it has it’s own climate, so if you go don’t forget suncream and even a hat just in case. Admission onto the island is €4 so really affordable.DSCN0725DSCN0734

The gardens are lovely, such a variety of flowers and trees. There are great walks and paths all around the island. There are different sections such as the Italian Garden and the Walled Garden. The island has a martello tower which you can climb and look out onto the bay. Really great attraction to visit. It is a really relaxing place that is perfect for a picnic.

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Happy Travels!DSCN0775