South Africa Christmas 2014
There are a few things I love in life, apart from the obvious, which are travelling and nice food. I think the travelling came from working every summer from the age of 14, and good food probably because I can barely boil an egg. So this Christmas, as Daisy is under 2 and free to fly, I convinced my husband to go to South Africa. He pretends to put up a good fight, but he loves holidaying just as much as I do.
Chris has family in Joannesburg so we headed there first of all, did a spa day and a tour, taking in the Apartheid museums and Soweto. Someone described Joburg as a third world and first world country rolled into one, as you drive by a huge American style shopping mall and then a mile down the road there’s a huge squatter camp were thousands of people live. It also took me a little while to get used to the multitude of people, that’s probably just because I live in little old Northern Ireland.
We visited a huge African Market in Cameleon Village. This is a funny place, as it’s tens of stalls all selling the same thing and saying the same thing (free to look, what’s your name, sell you at a good price). Then when you ask the price of a pen they’ll say – £100, which is actually 1790 rand (I still can’t get used to the currency). And it’s only for a pen, so you have to barter them down to something realistic! We bought a few pressies – everyone loves a stone hippo and elephant, right? And a picture for our new house, no idea where it’s going.. But it’s going somewhere. We then headed to Pilanesburg for our safari, which was just amazing, the accommodation, the food and of course the animals. We saw lions eating a zebra then walking in front of our jeep, rhinos, hippos, cheetahs, elephants, a jane of giraffes (my new question at a pub quiz.. What do you call a group of giraffes… A jane!) It was unbelievable! We also went to Sun City, which is just like a big amusement park, with water parks, a maze etc. Here, we went to the crocodile park, which Chris had visited 14 years ago. I found it really interesting, they can live over a hundred years, males look after about 30 females, the temperature of the eggs when they’re born determine the sex. However, the best/worst part is, that at the end they asked if we’d like to hold a baby crocodile. There were girls kissing them (their mouths were taped shut), Chris held one and I’m usually not scared of anything like that but for some reason this time I was petrified. So held one quickly, Chris took a quick snap (get it!) and I handed him back but the tour guide obviously saw I was scared so decided to entice the crocodile and poked it. This is when the crocodile started whipping it’s tail, and snapping, so I did what every scared person would do… Threw the crocodile at him. I promise this was just a knee jerk reaction .. Everyone around looked at me in disbelief and all I could do was laugh with embarrassment and get out of there as quickly as possible!
We then flew to Port Elizabeth, stayed at Storms River, and did the largest zip line through the forest and went to Tsitsikamma National Park, which is just amazing!! So beautiful, we went expecting to do a quick 20 min walk and ended up staying for hours.
Next on the list was Kynsna, although if I was to stay again, I’d stay in Plettenburg Bay, which had a great vibe and right by the beach. We did a day trip to Oudshorn to Cango Caves and Cango Wildlife Centre. Here I tried Ostrich, yummy.
Up and off again to Hermanus, this was a quaint little place, with not a lot to do apart from beaches and the worlds best pizza (according to Chris) Debonairs. Most people go to Hermanus for whale watching, and shark cave diving.. we missed the whale watching season and I wasn’t brave enough to do the shark cage diving as only one of us could do it .. And what if they forgot you were down there?!
Penultimately we arrived at Stellenbosch, we had a fab hotel here, Spier Hotel and Stellenbosch itself is lovely – it’s a lovely university town. A few days by the pool and visiting the wine farms.
Finally, Cape Town, my o my, it was busy. As well as all the tourists, all of South Africa apparently come on holiday to Cape Town at Christmas. I can’t really portray how busy it was, 2-3 hour queues to do anything. So we decided not to fight it, just go with the flow, eat good food, shop and soak up the atmosphere! They had an amazing craft and retail market, the Water Shed and a Food Market. It was all so modern and really great! We did the hop on, hop off bus, Table Mountain. If I was to go back, I’d also do Cape of Good Hope and Simons Town.
Daisy was great, although most referred to her as a boy, despite her pink clothes, pink blanket and pink pram. So much so that when we went to the beach one day, Daisy in her pink wetsuit, sitting in her pink pram, one man helped us down the steps and asked his name. When we said Daisy, he said “Aw Dessy, I’m called Desmond and sometimes also get Dessy”. In the restaurants I’ve lost count the number of waitresses who asked to hold little Dessy and even picked her up and walked away with her!! Thankfully she’s still safely in our care!
That’s our hol in a nutshell, if anyone is thinking of holidaying there and would like anymore info just drop me an email! I still haven’t downloaded any pics from my camera, at the moment I definitely need more hours in the day, so here are just a few of us from my phone 🙂
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