In South Africa: My Experience Overall

In South Africa: My Experience Overall

This is going to be my masterpost on this stunning country, you will find links to all my posts scattered throughout.

Where do you start with trying to sum up South Africa? Firstly, the amount of wildlife and beautiful landscapes have meant that I have completely fallen in love with this country but there is so much more to South Africa. The people, the oceans, the wildlife, the landscapes, the things to do, it all adds up to make such a fantastic experience.

Johannesburg:

I have to be honest there is nothing about Johannesburg that stands out to me during my two day visit, we stayed in the Intercontinental, Sandton. I have to say after a 11 hour flight and almost 24 hours of travelling, the Intercontinental is fantastic. The staff are nothing but kind and chatty, they give you advice and are so respectful. The rooms are lovely, so comfortable and clean. The Sandton Mall is attached to the hotel and is a great place to shop, lots of different brands and retailers, supermarkets and a big food court.

I then went out of the city to go to the Cradle of Humankind which was great, loved the vistas and the open plains.

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Kruger, Mpumalanga:

This area of South Africa is just amazing from the mountains to the must see Kruger National Park. I loved every second of it, driving for hours and hours seeing the most amazing landscapes and creatures. I cannot recommend this area enough! I stayed in the Protea Hotel, Paul Kruger Gate. It is a great place to stay and a perfect location, really really worth it.

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Cape Town (Central):

Like all cities, it is a little dirty but other than that it is very multicultural with great places to eat and really nice things to do. You can see Table Mountain from all over the city, it is wonderful to get such a panoramic view of one mountain. We stayed in the Holiday Inn at St. Georges Mall, really nice hotel, good area, really good restaurants and shops very close by.

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Cape Town (Surrounding Areas):

There are some amazing things to do on the outskirts of city centre Cape Town, the look out point Signal Hill, the wonderful Waterfront area. There are a number of different spots in the Table Mountain National Park, the park runs the length of the mountains of the western cape. Some sights to see include Cape Point, Cape of Good Hope and Boulders Beach. There are many more spots but these were a few of the areas I visited.

Hermanus:

Hermanus is the most stunning seaside town. There are mountains and beach that make this area beautiful and with the addition of the most beautiful mammals in the ocean, this location is just perfect. With whale watching and cage diving opportunities available there is so much to do and see while still being a peaceful, relaxing place.

Stellenbosch:

We rented an absolutely fantastic house in Haskell vineyards. This area of the world is stunningly beautiful, you would wake up to so many different species of birds flying around the trees, all different colours and sizes, you would see little deer or mongooses running around outside. This location is in front of the mountains. It is green and peaceful and always so beautiful. The area has lots of different vineyards and that means different restaurants, I didn’t eat in them but I can get a recommendation of 96 Winery Road restaurant that is 10 minutes away. The house is nicely decorated and really comfortable. It is great to buy and cook your own food, fresh fruit and vegetables are great! There are lots of things to do in the area I would recommend Spier Winery, great food and a wonderful experience.

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Eating:

I have only made a small list of places to eat and things to eat but really, the food is normal and always very tasty. There is nothing out of the ordinary or “strange” South Africans like their meat so even the most normal of palate is satisfied.

Before I sign off there is one more thing. There are things in this country that need to change but it will not take a day or a year, it is generations of work, hopefully one day the gap between sections of society will lessen. I am no where near educated enough on the matter but something about how there is almost two groups living on different paths in the same country makes me feel very odd. I do not know how to end this section but I want to make it known that it doesn’t matter what you look like it matters how good of a person you are and everyone I met in this country (Bar two very ignorant women) were nothing more than friendly, helpful and welcoming.

The only thing that went wrong on this holiday was my skydive. It was too windy and the pilot canceled it but out of two and a half week only one thing went array. That is pretty good going!

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So that’s it. They are all my posts on this amazing country. If you ever get the opportunity to go or want to save up the money, I urge you to do it. It is too beautiful and thankfully, in a country so big, there will always be more to explore.

Happy Travels!

In South Africa: Some of My Favourite Eats

In South Africa: Some of My Favourite Eats

In Johannesberg:

The Butcher Shop

Nestled in Nelson Mandela’s Square there is a restaurant and butchers, The Butcher Shop. Now you might think by the name that they wouldn’t even dream of catering to vegetarians but think again, they may not have as many options as there are cuts of meat but there is a tasty veggie burger and lots of sides of vegetables. The food is high quality but be warned if you are not used to South African portions ask for half. I got two fillet steaks on the bone, two! I left half of it. It is cooked to perfection and utterly delicious. If you are a fan of steak I recommend it entirely!IMG_9390

In Cape Town (city centre):

Dear Me

I had the most delicious breakfast in Dear me, it is just past a market square on Long Market Street. There is a great menu and I can whole heartedly recommend the eggs benedict, the muesli, their coffees, the freshly squeezed orange juice and their pastries look delicious. Note: They are, for some reason, closed at the weekends which I found out to my horror. There is also a dinner restaurant upstairs. (Note: The head chief will have moved away by the end of February.  I can’t vouch from then on)PhoebeGill141017487IMG_9383

Doppio Zero

Really tasty food, so many options on the menu. Big portions, remember this when ordering. I really recommend the homemade lemonade, it is so delicious! What I will say about this restaurant however is that it is connected to the hotels in that are in the area, when you check in you are encouraged to eat here and big groups do come in. Think of this when you go to eat, you could be behind an order of 25 steaks which means waiting quite a while for your food. Also items on the menu sell out so maybe go for lunch or early dinner to get all the options available. What I must say though is the staff are absolutely lovely! A wonderful woman by the name of Mollie took care of our table, she is funny and knows whats going on. A true asset to the restaurant!

Snacks I now love:

Nik Naks are these cheesy maize snacks are absolutely delicious and unhealthy. I love them!

South African Jelly Tots are really yummy and not like ours, they are softer and don’t get stuck in your teeth like our ones. Try the sour ones they are eye wateringly good!

In all honestly South Africa loves it’s sugar. Lots of delicious sweets and snacks. Really, you could probably choose anything and it will be good.

Iced Tea:

I love iced tea, BOS tea is so tasty, refreshing and is my absolute favourite. There are so many versions of rooibos tea you can find all over the place.IMG_9385

Tips: 

  1. Vegetarian? You would be surprised in this country with a love for meat and braai’s, you can find vegetarian options everywhere! They love avocado and halloumi and there is always one or two things on the menu for you.
  2. Portions will be huge. Think wisely if you want to get a few dishes or starters to share because they will look like mains. Your meat main will be huge also.
  3. Try the supermarket, the fresh fruit and vegetables are delicious! The supermarkets are always so well stocked and so cheap! A whole bag of 28 oranges cost about €1.75!

Basically, eat everything, it’s all delicious, just huge!

Happy Travels!

In Stellenbosch: Eagle Experience at Spier Winery

In Stellenbosch: Eagle Experience at Spier Winery

Stellenbosch is wine country, it is stunning lands of grape vines for miles around. Wineries are scattered around providing tastings, restaurants, horse riding, animal experiences and shops. I visited Spier winery, not to taste wine, I am not interested in it at all but in order to go to the Eagle Encounters.

To Eat:

There is Eight and Eight to go, they are a restaurant and a deli shop respectively. In the shop they have delicious food and drink, you can arrange a picnic on the grounds of Spier, Eight provide all you need for this lovely outing. The setting is lovely, sitting outside in the shade of the trees. Even the way they design their grounds is really nice. It’s a great place to visit.IMG_9405PhoebeGill141024747

To Do:

The Eagle Encounters is all about rescue, rehabilitation, education and conservation. They take in animals that have been treated badly, abandoned, hurt or given to them. They have an amazing collection of animals they use to teach people about these magnificent creatures. You can opt to hold one of two birds a black eagle R50 or a Wahlberg eagle R25 . I got to hold the beautiful Wahlberg eagle. Birds of pray are stunning animals, they are often killed in my own country because they are a nuisance, this sanctuary wants to protect these magical birds.IMG_9176PhoebeGill141024765

There are many events during the day so the animals can get exercise and stretch their wings. It’s such a shame that these birds are tied up but the fact is people need education about how to look after animals properly.IMG_9175

There is also a wonderful creature named Sonic let out at 11:30am and 15:15pm for people to interact with. So go and see what he is.

I really recommend this winery. It is a beautiful area with really amazing things to experience.

Happy Travels!IMG_9173

In Hermanus: Whale Watching

In Hermanus: Whale Watching

Whale watching has been something I have wanted to experience for years and after this trip I want to do again and again. What is so magical about this location is parking up and looking out at the bay. The second I got out of the car I loved Hermanus, there was a female Southern Right Whale with her calf swimming in the water. The calf breaching and playing beside its mother, it was absolutely amazing and this was two hours before the trip was scheduled  to start.PhoebeGill141021049

We decided we’d have lunch an hour or so before the trip, make sure you take in to consideration that South Africa is very relaxed and your lunch may not go as fast as it does in Europe but that is what makes it nice.  You don’t want to get on a catamaran with a full stomach, could end up a very unpleasant journey. It can get quite choppy so do look at the weather before you book.PhoebeGill141021174

Southern Right Charters is located in New Harbour, Hermanus. There are three tours a day 9am, 12pm and 3pm. There is a member of staff that can speak english, dutch and german. All the staff are very knowledgeable and friendly. A lovely employee told me where to stand and we had great informative chats. You also get a snack and a drink which I saved for later.PhoebeGill141021613

The captain parked away from the whales and thankfully they swam over to us. A female and calf ended up right next to the boat. They are amazing creatures, we also saw seals, penguins and dolphins.  Whale watching was as captivating as I thought it would be. The members of staff give you so much information so I encourage you to take a trip and learn for yourself how wonderful these creatures are.

Tips: 

  1. It can get choppy at sea, don’t eat directly before and don’t go crazy on the snacks provided. Look at the horizon and try to think about something else. Some people also say to stay on top of the boat, don’t sit inside, that can help too.
  2. The people who take this tour don’t care if you see a whale or not, don’t be rude but certainly don’t wait for another person to move out of the way for you. Get your pictures and video, the whales move so everyone should get a turn to view them.
  3. Ask questions, don’t be afraid, they really are lovely people!
  4. Bring a windbreaker and suncream, the sea air can be a little cold but the sun is strong as well, be prepared.
  5. Definitely get a memento from the shack shop, they have really cute magnets and t-shirts.

It is an amazing trip and I really recommend it!

Happy Travels!

In The Western Cape: Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope

In The Western Cape: Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope

The Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point are the two points that are a must see. These points are included in the Table Mountain National Park. It has some beautiful landscapes and seascapes. There are also lots of flora and fauna to spot along the way.IMG_9079

The Cape of Good Hope:

The area is impressive with the waves that crash along the rocky coast and the group of seals just off the shore. It is perceived, that it is where the indian ocean and the atlantic ocean meet. It is customary to get a picture with the sign. The sign does get a lot of traffic. If you are going to get a picture with the sign, make sure you clear the way, no point in ruining someone else’s photo and queue to make it fair for everyone, become British.IMG_9382

Cape Point:

This attraction is really nice, you can get the tram that brings you up to the top and from there you can get spectacular views and visit the lighthouse. There are lots of nesting birds and other species that fly around. It can get quite cloudy as you are up very high, so be patient and let the clouds pass.PhoebeGill141023009

The sea in this area is just beautiful, so many gradients from the aquamarine to deep blue. It’s amazing standing at these two points and thinking the next land mass is Antarctica. A place I hope I visit one day but for now being close will do especially when close is a place as beautiful as this.

Happy Travels!

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