When we were planning our trip to South Africa, one activity that came up as something we should consider was cage diving with great white sharks. Jaws was released when I was a little kid and has probably contributed to my growing up with a healthy fear of sharks. That I would get up at some ungodly hour in the morning and pay good money to be thrown in a small cage with strangers while some other strangers gleefully chum the water… Well, let’s just say it wasn’t an idea about which I didn’t have any second thoughts. But, what the hell, what could possibly go wrong. Continue reading “Swimming with the sharks… literally.”
Without our personal guides in Cape Town to show us all the ins and outs from a local perspective, we decided to hit up the town in true tourist style. If you’ve read posts like this one, or this one, or even this one from previous trips, you know that this sometimes means a City Sightseeing hop-on hop-off bus.
We’ve been in South Africa for over a week now, so it was about time that we visited one of the renowned wineries. As usual, Kevin and Vanessa had a better idea, we’d visit two.
When you tell someone in North America that you’re going to go to Africa and that you’re looking forward to seeing some wildlife, penguins aren’t what come to mind. I understand, you think more Lion King than March of the Penguins. Of course sometimes you speak with someone from Texas who warns you not to get Ebola. Helpful advice. Then again, Africa is a pretty large continent and Cape Town is much farther from the current outbreak in West Africa than say all of Texas is from the case in Houston… Sorry, that’s a rant for another time.
Back to the penguins. Sure enough, one of the many, many things there are to do in this part of South Africa is to visit some wild penguins. A prospect that got Ella more than a little excited.
“Hmm, if we could stop, it might be time to think about turning around.” Those were my thoughts as our taxi fishtailed down a dirt road about 15 minutes after we had entered the Shamwari Game Reserve and passed the signs that said, “Wild Animals. No fences. Drive carefully.” I’ve pushed a car or two out of a ditch in the snow in my time, but I’d never had to do it with the the possibility that I was being stalked by a lion or cheetah before.
Having monopolized their time for several days, we decided to give Kevin and Vanessa the morning off. Actually, they had agreed to come with us to Robben Island but the tickets were all sold out. Despite that disappointment, I’m sure the time to get back to their own lives, at least for a morning, was welcome.
We, on the other hand, decided to do the opposite of going back to our normal lives and took a bit of a flyer. We decided to take a helicopter ride around Cape Town.
Our second full day in Cape Town started with a trip to the Neighbourgoods Market in the Woodstock area of the city. If you’re from Toronto like us, you’ll know what I mean when I say it’s similar to the Distillery District. It’s an old factory, in this case the Old Biscuit Mill that has be revitalized as a market full of local artists and specialty goods sellers.
Sure, we don’t have any luggage but we’re in South Africa, we had a decent night’s sleep, and the weather is beautiful. In sum, we have nothing to complain about. With a little jet-lag (though less than expected) and my having caught a cold on the flights over, our first morning was a fairly relaxed one. Our only goal for the morning was to swing by the shops to pick up some essentials. Good thing too, as that afternoon Kevin and Vanessa had much more exciting things planned, especially for Ella.
We’re approaching the end of an important period in our travel lives. As of next month, Ella will no longer be able to fly for free (or nearly free in some cases). Anyone who has flown with a toddler will know that we come to this milestone with mixed emotions. We’re really looking forward to Ella having her own seat, but it’s going to suck to have to pay for it.
We decided that to celebrate/mourn this transition, we’d best travel to some far flung location and squeeze as much value as possible out of Ella’s final free flights. As luck would have it, we have some friends, Kevin and Vanessa, currently living in South Africa. (If you’ve been following along for a while, you may remember them from Vietnam.)