Location: Cape Town - PE, South Africa
Nooo! Today we had to leave to go back to Alicedale & work. Emily, Rosie, Rach & myself got up at 8am because we wanted to go to the waterfront before we had to leave for the airport. We got back to Aardvark at 10.45am & packed the rest of our things. At 11am we checked out & got in a taxi for the airport. The flight didnt take long in my point of view maybe because I was asleep the whole way (,). Arriving in PE we thought we had a taxi waiting for us to take us to Alicedale, however, no one was there. After some time we called the guy, who normally drives us, when we need to go somewhere. Though, he was already in Alicedale so we waited at the airport for app. 2 hours before we were actually on hour way.
It had been such a great trip, but it was quite nice to return to our known surroundings
Location: Cape Town, South Africa
We were all tired from our experiences yesterday so we allowed ourselves to sleep until 8.30am. We all wanted to go to Table Mountain, however, in the morning it seemed a bit cloudy so we all thought we might wait until later in the day. So, instead we went to the Waterfront to catch up on some Christmas shopping. (We have secret Santas, so we had to get presents for that as well). After lunch at The Green Dolphin, we thought wed go home quickly to drop off our bags. Afterwards, we were on our way to Table Mountain. When wed paid we took the elevator to go to the platform to wait for the cable car that was to take us to the top. The ride up there was really scary, because I hate heights. However, when we came to the top the most amazing view caught our eyes! You could see everything in miles distance a place worth going if ever in Cape Town. Afterwards, we took a taxi to the Waterfront, where we were to meet up with Lexie & Emma (two of the students). We were going to the cinema to watch Harry Potter & the goblet of fire. And I must say that its the best Harry Potter film yet. Ross & myself laughed so hard throughout the film. It was so funny worth getting on DVD when its released!!! When the film was over some of us went for dinner. We wanted to try Kingklip and so we went to a restaurant called, Ocean Basket. After dinner we were really tired and so we went back to Aardvark to get some sleep. This was to the last night in Cape Town I have had the best trip!
Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Today it was time to face the scary great white sharks. Rachael, Ross & myself were picked up at Aardvark at 5.15am, which was way to early!! However, what wont you do to face your fear which was what I was about to do. We had a 21/2 hours drive ahead of us all the way to Gansbaai. When we arrived in Gansbaai we had a short briefing & some breakfast. Afterwards, we had a 10 minutes drive to the harbour, where Tom Cat the boat was waiting to set sea
The boat ride took about 20 minutes. When we stopped our guide said it could take all from 5 minutes to 2 hours until wed see the first shark, so all we could do now was to be patient. They put out the bait (fish heads) & we waited. Not even 5 minutes passed when we heard the skipper call out: Shark!. We all looked in the direction of the bait and there it was. A big, dark shadow was slowly approaching the boat & all of a sudden it grabbed a hold of the bait showing its teeth & eyes very clearly. I cant ever explain the feeling of fear I felt at that point. I couldnt believe I was so close to a great white shark!!! Quickly they started putting the cage in the water, securing that it was fastened to the boat. Then they called us asking for the first 5 people, who wanted do go in the cage. At that point I was hiding in the corner afraid they might ask me
Ross & Rach went in with the first group. We were told that each group would have 15 minutes in the water until the next group would go in we had to give everyone a fair chance to see the sharks in case they wouldnt be hanging around
However, they did all day!! When everyone had had a go in the cage I started feeling I had to do it otherwise I new Id regret it forever. Like the bungee-man said: Fear lasts a second, regret lasts a lifetime. So, I put on my wetsuit with great difficulty because it was still wet! - & my diving shoes which were about 5 sizes too big and walked slowly towards the cage. I sat on the top of the cage, while I put on my mask. When I stepped on a pole on the cage I accidentally slipped onto a mans head, forcing him to go under water. Before I even got in the cage the man yelled that a shark was approaching & that we should dive. However, I was still sat on the cage it all went very quickly and so, when the shark grabbed the bait it looked at me, dived & splashed water on me that was one close encounter!!! When I was finally in the cage the man once again told us to dive. I didnt see a thing & by that point I was trying to control my breathing. Third time lucky, I dived & actually saw the shark its was terrifying! So, I told the man I was done. A whole of 3 minutes I was in that cage Im sooo glad I did it, but I know Ill never do it again! At about 11.30 we started riding back to the harbour. The ride back was horrible as nearly everyone on board felt sea sick (I know for sure my dad wouldnt have liked that boat ride (,) ).
When we were finally back on land we relaxed for a bit & catched our breath. After about 10 minutes we took off to shark alley, where we had lunch & saw the video of our trip
The ride back to Cape Town was really nice. We all needed sleep on top of todays excitement & apart from the man, who drove the car of course got some.
I dont think Ill ever forget that day the day I faced the monster of the deep
(PS. Ross braids only lasted until today
Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Today we went on the Peninsula Tour! We met the guide, Louise, in the lobby at 8.45am ready to go. When we had picked up some people from other hotels we started the drive down the coast
We followed the Atlantic Seaboard, past Clifton & Camps Bay & stopped in Hout Bay from where we had the opportunity to go to Duiker Island (for an extra R35) & see Cape Fur Seals. The seals were amazing & believe it or not a young whale was spotted! Though I didnt see it because of some very pushy Japanese : ( Afterwards, we drove along Chapmans Peak Drive to Simonss Town from where we were going to see a colony of Jackass Penguins at Boulders Beach. Well, we didnt just drive all day we brought mountain bikes! However, before the ride from the lighthouse at Cape Point down to the Cape of Good Hope we had lunch at a beach inside the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve.
After the hike to the lighthouse at Cape Point we started the ride down to Cape of Good Hope, which was about 6 km. It was a beautiful ride down, though I couldnt get past the fact that the bike had no foot brakes, so it took some time but then I could enjoy the view (,). When wed taken loads of pics the time came for us to start the drive back to Cape Town. On the way back we took a route that led us through Scarborough and Kommetjie. We arrived back at the hotel at about 6.30pm. Yesterday when we went to get our hair braided there wasnt enough time for Ross to get his done as well, so, once again we went to Africare so he could get his hair done. It turned out really nice, though it wouldnt take long before it came undone
Location: PE - Cape Town, South Africa
Today was a very exiting day as we were going to Cape Town
! At 7 oclock we were picked up at the house by the taxi & off we went to the airport in PE. When we arrived & had checked in we went for some breakfast my parents paid & it was very much appreciated by everyone!
After breakfast we walked around for a bit looking at the shops before we took off at 11.15. The flight was about 1 hour and 10 minutes.
When we landed in Cape Town we couldnt find the guy that was to pick us up & take us to Aardvark backpackers, where we had rented a flat. However, after maybe 20 minutes or so, Emily found the guy, who had been looking for us.
When we arrived to the hotel a lady greeted us & took us around to show us where the bar, restaurant etc. was. Afterwards, we were given the key to our flat. When we opened the door we were all surprised of how nice it was! Rachael & myself shared a room, Rosie & Georgina shared and Ross & Emily slept in the common room. We had two bathrooms, a big kitchen & two terraces (Ill put on some pics!).
The first thing we did was to get some brochures & read about the various trips & places to go. We sat down & tried to decide what to do & after some time we had a plan for the next days:
Wednesday: (everyone) Peninsula Tour
Thursday: Rachael, Ross & myself; shark cage diving
Rosie, Emily & Georgina; visit to the local township & Robben Island
Friday: (everyone) shopping, Table Mountain & the cinema
Saturday: going back to Alicedale
When we had booked the trips we went to a hair salon called Africare. During the day Rachael & myself had talked about getting our hair braided and so we did as did Georgina. Poor Ross sat there waiting for 3 hours until my hair was finished. Hes a true champ! (,) Rachael & Georgina still werent finished, so, me & Ross went back to the hotel where Rosie & Em were waiting and then the four of us went downstairs to the restaurant & had dinner.
It had been a long day especially for Ross so we all went to bed early looking very much forward to the next day!
Location: Shamwari, South Africa
Today we took a look at some tracks by one of the lakes trying to identify them. Afterwards we drove around just enjoying the wild life. We returned for lunch & afterwards we drove off. We were meeting Vuyo & Sydney (from Born Free) & going to a day care center in one of the small owns near Paterson to build the children a swing. When we arrived they were all looking at us curiously all wondering what we were doing. When we had finished all of them lined up eager to try it. The joy in their eyes & the smile on their faces was simply amazing
We should all be so happy with what weve got so much is taken for granted!
Location: Shamwari, South Africa
I woke up still tired from the wilderness. However, the show must go on & so it did. Today we were yet again doing some animal distribution. At about 10 oclock we had a call on the radio from Steve. He was with the caracal. I was so exited. Though, it was 30 minutes drive away & when we arrived it had just run off to the bush. I couldnt believe this was the 2nd time Id missed it. I really want to see it before I go home!!!
After the disappointment of missing it we went back to Alicedale for lunch. We didnt go out in the afternoon because wed planned a night drive, so Emma, Lexie & me went to lie by the pool. After dinner we all started getting ready & we left at 7.30pm. It was a really nice drive. We saw: lions (apparently were doing a 2-week monitoring of them where we take shifts watching them closely cant wait, we might see a kill), wild dogs eating an impala, white rhino & an aardvark some really great sightings! When we got back we were all very tired & went to bed
Location: Wilderness - Alicedale, South Africa
We woke up at 7am. I had the worst night last night. My back hurt so much I couldnt get comfortable. But luckily we didnt have spiders or snakes! After our usual cup of coffee/tea we cleared the camp - & again you could not see that wed been there. Amazing! We wanted to head on back to base camp early so we could return to Alicedale for a late breakfast. The hike back wasnt too bad except for one very steep hill (that almost killed me). When we could see the base camp we were all very exited that wed made it! When finally there we emptied our bags & drove back
The wilderness really was an amazing experience & one Ill never forget!
Location: Wilderness, South Africa
The next morning we were supposed to get up at 7am to make breakfast & get ready to leave camp, but it was raining s we slept until 8am. When we finished our breakfast, cleared camp & packed our bags you really couldnt see that wed been there. And so, we started walking to the next camp site. I wouldnt say it was a hard walk but it was up hill & down hill, so, it was challenging. On the way we stopped at a lake, where we went swimming. Keep in mind we werent allowed to bring soap or deodorant to the wilderness so it was really nice - & cooling! Afterwards we had another 40 minutes to camp. We walked along an old elephant track so of course we collected some dung for the fire at night. When we arrived I was shocked at how open it was. Last nights camp was nothing compared to this. We were to sleep under a tree which was perfect for lions. You could actually see scratch marks! Opposite that tree was the perfect tree for a leopard. Even though I love both the lion & the leopard Id preferre them staying away just for the night especially on my watch! The first thing we did was yet again to collect water this time Samara went in & came out with a lot of lichens on her feet! Afterwards we had lunch (tuna sandwiches) & then we all rested for a bit. When we woke up it was quite late so we started boiling water for tea/coffee before cooking dinner. Again we had goulash & again we toasted marshmallows on the fire. Today Emma & me got shift 1 & 2, which we were very happy about! Only today everyone went to bed at 9pm so the shifts were longer than yesterday. We had to keep watch from 21.00-23.50. Even though it went quick it was very painful on the back you have to sit upright so the fire illumines your face. That way the animals watching can see that someone is still awake
Again we survived & it was so nice being able to go to bed!
Location: Wilderness, South Africa
We didnt go out this morning because some of us were going on the wilderness trail
! The ones who were going were Steve (the ranger), Samara, Rach, Emma, Rosie & myself. We were all very exited
At 2 oclock (after lunch) we were off. First we drove to base camp where we got our backpacks, bottles, sleeping bags etc. When we had packed our bags Steve took some time explaining the most important rule: we werent allowed to talk! & of course he had to shows us the hand signals he would use once we would start walking & then we were off. We had 45 minutes to camp but we had to climb (what Id like to call) a small mountain to get there, so it was hard. A wall made of rocks surrounded the camp but I still felt it was quite open (however, that was before Id seen our next camp site!). The first thing we did was to collect water. We walked for about 5 minutes until we came to a pond. Wed brought bags and such to fill with water. Though, one of us had to go into the water to collect it. Rumors said that there were lichens in the water so I didnt exactly volunteer. The only one that did was Rach & Emma and myself couldnt help laughing at it (she didnt know)
Though, she only found two lichens on her feet. When we came back to camp we immediately started a fire & boiled some water for tea/coffee. Then we started arranging the place we were to sleep wed brought a sort of tent that we put up (though, it wasnt closed so everything could get in, which it did!). At around 6pm we started cooking dinner Steves famous goulash. Even though it was good I couldnt help comparing it to my mums recipe and when comparing it suddenly wasnt so tasty after all
After dinner we toasted some marshmallows on the fire & after that we had the serious talk. We were told that we had shifts during the night where we had to keep the fire alive and look for animals surrounding camp. I was already freaked out during the day. How was I going to sit here all alone?? I couldnt and neither could Emma, so, we decided to do our shifts together. We got shift 3 & 4, which meant from 00.50-03.10. We decided to go to bed at 10pm so we could be ready for the shift. Maybe that was a bad idea
When wed just settled in I saw something crawling on the tent roof. I didnt say anything because I wasnt sure if I was imagining things. But I definitely was not!!! When I lit my torch my worst nightmare appeared. A giant spider (later identified as a rain spider) was there just looking at us waiting for us to go to sleep so it could strike! Emma started screaming & we were both calling for Steve to come & take it away. We couldnt get out of there fast enough! We were both still in our sleeping bags so we had to crawl like worms. Emma kept pulling my leg because she was afraid Id leave her drama, drama, drama
When wed settled down Rosie had already finished her shift (the 1st shift of the night) & we realized we had to get some sleep if we were to stay awake. So, we went back to bed after having checked everything (several times) for creepy crawlers. No later than 10 minutes after wed gone to bed Rosie started screaming: SNAKE!!! STEVE. TAKE IT AWAY!!!. I simply could not believe this was happening. Apparently it was a baby snake a blind snake. And NOT welcome in our camp, so it was released outside
I fell asleep somehow, because the next thing I remember is being woken up & being told, youre up. Oh my god, it was time to do the shift
We sat in front of the fire just looking at each other not knowing what to do. We couldnt stop laughing & it only got worse when Steve told us to be quiet - & when he then said: What part of be quiet dont they understand? We knew we werent allowed to talk; we were just so scared we couldnt help it. Though, we soon stopped & before we knew it the shift was over. We had survived & I must say I was very proud of myself! (,)