Fish River Canyon, Orange River, Stellenbosch, Cape Town
11.08.2011 - 22.08.2011
Well I am having a very nice time in Cape Town, with some lazy days and not so lazy nights.
The last of my friends from the tour left this morning (heading for Australia) so the hostel is very lonely now after being around people 24/7 for the past 10 weeks. But we have all made plans to meet up again in the future and of course there is facebook.
On our last day in Namibia we visited Fish River Canyon, the 2nd largest canyon in the world. It was a nice surprise as none of us knew to expect anything so spectacular. We spent a couple of hours walking around the canyon, a couple of us with short attention spans spent about half that time building ‘Oasis’ out of rocks and sticks. We then continued on to our campsite at the South African border on the Orange River……a campsite with NO MUSIC allowed….even at the bar. I felt like I was in footloose or something! We had to do the big truck clean which usually goes hand in hand with drinks and music and someone raced to hit the off button. The hippie we spoke to about it said something about new beginnings….new beginnings? It was our ending! We got to the border early the next morning and our coach picked us up to take us all the way down to Stellenbosch. On the way we stopped at a town called Springbok, and felt like we were in central America or something; it’s an odd little town.
Stellenbosch is a University Town, but has really nice colonial architecture and was our base to see the winelands. Unfortunately our first night out was a somewhat big one so 2 from my ‘group’ were out of action for the wine tour. Well, one made it but spent the 1st winery in the toilet and then got a taxi home. The rest of us really just topped ourselves up from the night before, were told off for being too noisy and drinking in the van before we even got to the first winery and by the 3rd were sleeping in the van. It is a very beautiful area though and there were some delicious wines (a nice change from all the box wine) and cheap to buy too. Unfortunately the next day, our last in Stellenbosch, I stupidly washed ALL pants, shorts and even dresses and so had to stay at the hostel in my pj’s all day. What a shame with the free WiFi.
I arrived in Cape Town last Tuesday and went down to look around the Waterfront which is really nice and reminds me of Sydney Harbour. The main street, Long Street, reminds me a bit of Newtown. We were really lucky with the weather as had heard it would be freezing and miserable but it was actually hot and sunny. The hostel we were staying at was really nice and good central location. Met some interesting characters on the streets though, including one ex prisoner (as we found out when he showed us his ‘26’ tattoo, which we were later told is the gang system in prison here and they earn that by killing people….), he told us of his ‘plans’ for his mothers’ new boyfriend. Complete weirdo and happy we were in a large group.
That night was our final group meal and the next day the final official day of the trip. A group of us went to Robben Island, again lucky with the weather. It was very interesting seeing sites mentioned in Nelson Mandela’s book such as the limestone quarry, Mandela’s cell and the courtyard he hid parts of his book as he wrote it. Our guide was an ex political prisoner and was open to any personal questions. He was in for about 12 years for alleged ‘high treason’ and he, along with many other prisoners, suffers very bad arthritis due to the freezing conditions of the jail. The trip also included a bus tour of other parts of the island, including Leper Graveyard from the old Leper colonies. There was a sweet (& sad) story about a couple in the 70’s who were separated as the men and women were, and were there for about 12 years. They died within 1 ½ hours of each other, with neither knowing of the others death. Maybe that will be the storyline of the next ‘Notebook’ movie.
Most people I have seen from the trip have been coming down with the flu so we have all taken it pretty easy. Just farewell dinners and drinks each night with one less person each time. Saturday was really nice though – A few of us girls drove around the coast which is beautiful. The coastal towns remind me a bit of the south coast, and others of the northern beaches. Really really nice. Also went to Boulders Beach, the one with all the penguins. They are stinky little things but very cute.
Ok, going to pack up and get away from these crazy people at the hostel. There are some weeeeirdo’s here, harmless, but there is this crazy drunk lady who talks to the cat, the French guy who always talks and we have no idea what he is saying (he doesn’t shut up), a man who has been here for 6 months, can’t close a door and told me he wants to start a new world-somewhere without much oxygen, and a few others. But it is pretty nice, free wifi, can see Table Mountain from here and is a 2 minute walk from the main street, while still being quiet enough to sleep. And has pin number locks on 2 doors just to enter the place. Until then, I will mingle with the crazies and hopefully not become one.
Oh and I paid a visit to the Labia theatre tonight. Yeh, the Labia!