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!

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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 Cape Town: Table Mountain

In Cape Town: Table Mountain

PhoebeGill141017007This has to be the most spectacular tourist attraction in a city I have ever been to. You can see it from all over the city. The peak is 1086 meters above sea level, has more species of flora on its hills than the entirety of the UK. The cableway takes no time at all and is quite fun really. The top of the mountain has a path to follow and gives you amazing views on each side.PhoebeGill141018023

There are lots of outdoor activities you can do on the mountain. I saw hikers and rock climbers on my trip. Bring water and a snack if you want to hike, again, it’s Africa, it gets hot!PhoebeGill141018021

The Dassie are the little creatures that live on the mountain and they are the cutest angriest looking animals are lovely. Don’t feed them or do anything weird as they do perch quite close to the wall.PhoebeGill141018008

Tips:

  1. There is a cloud that descends on the mountain, the table cloth that covers the peak. Which means there is no point on going up the mountain. There is also a really strong breeze that means the cableway will close. All of this said, when it is a clear fine day everyone wants to go up, whatever the time or day. It will be packed!
  2. Book online. Get your tickets so you can go into a separate line, that brings you straight to the cableway.
  3. Go early. Going up first and in the first cable car means you don’t have to wait. It’s much nicer. You also have the rest of the day to do what you please.

I very much recommend this if you can! It’s absolutely stunning.

Happy Travels!PhoebeGill141017020

In Cape Town: V&A Waterfront

In Cape Town: V&A Waterfront

I love this area of Cape Town so much. It has such a nice vibe. There are so many things to do, see and eat. It is just perfect on a hot summers day, eating outside and listening to a group sing and play their music.IMG_9395

What to Do:

  1. Walking around the harbour is a definite, there are so many restaurants and shops around you will never get bored.
  2. Go to the V&A shopping mall. There are so many shops, expensive to cheap, there really is a shop for every budget.
  3. Go to Market on the Wharf. This is the place if you love food, all types of well made, tasty and fresh food. Also great coffee in the Origin stand. So many amazing things are in this market. 100% recommend going for lunch there.
  4. Go to the Watershed shopping area. Next to Two Oceans Aquarium.  It’s got lots of different brands, clothes, trinkets, handmade, interesting objects. It is a really great place to go shopping!
  5. Two Oceans Aquarium. There is lots of different species, great exhibits and really lovely staff that are incredibly knowledgeable.
  6. There is also a Springbok museum, just incase you feel sporty.IMG_9396IMG_9386

The Waterfront is the stepping stone to go to Robbin Island, the prison that held Nelson Mandela. If you intend to do this trip allow a full day. On a good day this tour takes three to three and a half hours. If it is inclement than expect the trip to take five to five and a half. Tours sell out very quickly also so maybe book online when you think the weather will be nice.IMG_9394

This area really is lovely. It’s exactly what a harbour should be.

Happy Travels!

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In Cape Town: Signal Hill

In Cape Town: Signal Hill

PhoebeGill141016003If you want a panoramic view of this beautiful city I urge you to go to Signal Hill. It has free parking but it is limited so if it is a hot nice day or table mountain has queues lasting hours, there will be no spaces at all. From here you can get a view of Robben Island, the whole city and the beautiful mountains. It’s perfect.

Happy Travels!
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