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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Africa: Cape Town: Part 2

Out of the many travels I have done in my 11 years of living, I have never quite come across a city that was like Cape Town. It was my first time there, and naturally, I was very excited. We arrived very late at night, but nevertheless saw the never sleeping city. Fortunately, we were staying at the Radisson Blu which was 5 minute walk from the football stadium (Yes, the one where The 2010 World Cup was hosted), and we could see Table Mountain from our room.

On our first day we went to the world famous Nelson Mandela's prison on Robben Island. Educational? Very, and you could see the most spectacular views of Table Mountain. Anyway, the museum was quite like you would expect it to be; Grimy, dirty showering stalls, narrow and cooped up cells etc. The dock where you go to to catch the ferry is on the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront(more commonly called V & A waterfront, because of the long name) is where we went next. The sun was so hot and everybody was wearing shorts, but to my surprise people were walking BAREFOOT into malls and on the waterfront!!!! The day closed with a quick visit to the Two Oceans Aquarium.

We had hired a car so we could get around faster, and it certainly helped on the second day. On our way to the Cape of Good Hope (which, by the way is NOT the southern most point in Africa)  we stopped at several beaches, one of which was Boulders beach. As may of you might have heard, Boulders beach is where all the African Penguins are. And that statement is true, because we saw over 100, running around in their little squatty way, posing for the camera or just generally laying about. After, we went to the Cape of Good Hope, which was the most scenic place I had been. We went up the cable car and into the Lighthouse, where the wind blew so much that we got knots in our hair! Speaking of scenic routes, after Cape of Good Hope, we drove to Chapmans Peak, a beautiful drive to enjoy the dazzling African sunset.

Table mountain always has a cloud on top or covering it which is known as the tablecloth (ironic!). On this paticular day, when we went up Table Mountain, which almost felt like the heavens because there were so many clouds covering it. Did you know, that Table Mountain is higher than the tallest building in the world (The Burj)!!!! That's why many people are afraid to go up there, whilst some are climbing up the side with ropes!!! Table Mountain can be covered in 1 or 2 hours, so next we went to Stellanbosch, where the finest wines of South Africa grow. We actually had lunch in a vineyard, where the most delicious organic food I have ever tasted comes from. Not only great food, but they do (and I mean compulsory) paint you face with traditional dots. The good thing about vineyards is even if you don't like wine, the scenery around it is breathtaking. It is like in the Disney movies, where there are birds chirping and luscious mountains. After the scenery, we went back into Cape Town to go to a restaurant called The Gold of Africa. At the start, they have a compulsory drumming session, where everybody gets their own Djembe to bang. When the food comes, there is some thing for each different course that comes from a different part of Africa! And of course, why would it be called Gold of Africa without any gold! They sprinkle gold on you when you leave (apparently 20 carat!). 

Last and final day, we went to Botanical Gardens, which again looks like a painted landscape among the mountains. The flora and fauna were amazing, but they looked even better in rain!  

The end of the Cape Town trip was sad, as my whole family would remember it as one of the best cities in the world (it is actually voted top city of the year 2010 or 2011!) and miss it rightly so, but what better reason to come back!

Africa: Zimbabwe and Zambia: Part 1

Geography quiz: What waterfall is on the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia?? The answer: Victoria Falls, one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World. We saw this amazing waterfall in Africa, Easter 2012.

Not only being showered, but completely wet as we exited the Zimbabwe side to our hotel, which was a short 5 minute walk away. When we first arrived, we were giddy with excitement, as we were excited about seeing the falls. We couldn't hear the falls from our hotel, but once we got closer, we heard what sounded like thunder. Before we actually entered, the men at the entrance asked if we wanted a raincoat, but as newcomers we didn't feel the need. As we set along 2 mins along the dirt path, we saw our first glimpse. We had heard it was among the worlds biggest waterfalls; Iguassu falls and Niagara Falls. Apparently, Iguassu has the longest width, Niagara has the most volume, and Victoria has the longest length(down). It was like watching a tap gush out water, and like you were going to fall into the everlasting clouds below you. The water below you couldn't see, but on the bridge separating Zimbabwe and Zambia, the water below was churning in different directions.

On the news a while ago, a woman Bungee jumped from that bridge. Yes, remember that story? The bungee snapped and she fell in the water, apparently infested with crocodiles. But she came out alive, with a broken neck and collar bone (I think).

Anyway, there is also a Zambia side to the Falls which is way closer. This time, we had to wear coats, and if you slipped, you would definitely fall into the falls. Note to anyone who goes to the Zambia side: Never take pictures. I took pictures with my I Phone, though it got water in it and then stopped working. I could still connect it up to the computer, just couldn't use it anymore.

On the last day before going to Cape Town, the second leg of our trip, we went on a small game drive, where we saw one of the most endangered Rhinos, the White rhino.

Cape Town next!!!!