The story so far!
Oudtshoorn Travel Blog› entry 1 of 1 › view all entries
March 9th, 2006 – by: jamesandpam
Well you all heard about our trials and tribulations to leave the UK and hit Cape Town and we're extremely pleased to report that things have got considerably better since we left. After a very good 8 days of wine tasting, skinny dipping, getting blown off Table Mountain, more drinking and meeting some great people in the hostel we also did a few other things. We went to Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was a prisoner and held in solitary confinement for 18 years. You get taken around the island and prison by ex-inmates which was really fascinating. One of the guys we had was in prison for 20 years, in solitary confinement for 8 months and he looked like he kept wanting to cry when he was telling us the stories. It was really moving. But after all that culture, it was time to do some sport and drinking ... and what better way to do it than to watch the Proteas spank Australia all over the park and all with a cold beer in hand from the member's enclosure. If that wasn't enough the next day we watched the Super 14s rugby (Stormers v Highlanders). This time we were in the cheap seats with a bar that looked and smelt like it used to be a urinal room - nice! As you can imagine the beer was drunk very fast with the nose held at all times. Sunday we enjoyed our first beach day at Camps Bay, which is where anyone who is anyone goes - all the models and ferrari drivers, so we fitted right in :) The beach was in a fab location to sit in the bar at the end of the day sipping G&Ts whilst watching the sun go down and the ferraris drive by - very nice. However, given that we're travellers, we actually arrived by white van taxi which basically is very cheap and crams anyone who isn't anyone in like sheep. At one point the 8 seater had about 16 people in and no air con - betty! Brilliant experience and for the bargain price of 80p as opposed to GBP 6 in a private cab. After such an exhilarating travel experience, one not to be repeated, we promptly hired a car from Avis the very next day, and left Cape Town to hit the Garden Route. With our little Toyota Corolla we headed for the southern most point of Africa, otherwise known as the Cape of Good Hope. Great views and a whole lot of water! We hit the road again to our overnight destination of Swellendam, en route passing lots of Shanty Towns. We have dicovered that shanty towns basically seem to come in three levels: 1) small huts made out of random pieces of wood about the size of your average bathroom; 2) slightly larger hut, but this time made out of corrugated metal sheets - it doesn't look as if they have air con so will be very hot in summer; and 3) an actual concrete building about the size of a garage, most with water and electricity. In complete contrast on the opposite site of the road will be gated luxury housing complexes which look gorgeous, or more commonly, a pristine golf course. The contrast is so apparent, and it just makes you realise how lucky we are back in the UK. From what we can gather everyone who lives in the shanties has to walk for miles and miles to and from work, or hitch a ride - so poor. We then arrived in Swellendam, which we expected to be a sleepy town, en route to the Garden Route, which turned out to be a mountainous marvel to the eye! Having fully expected to be leaving first thing the next morning we actually found ourselves HIKING through the indigenous forest to a waterfall, in 35 degree heat (crazy English). It was a serious hike - we had to climb and everything and it took about 2 hours to get there. But my word was the waterfall worth it. It was completely deserted so we took the opportunity to go skinny dipping once again. We are fast discovering that being at one with nature agrees with us :-) After this epic expedition we found the nearest bar and had a much deserved beer! Not to rest on our laurels we hit the road again and arrived in Wilderness. We stayed in a 200 year old farmhouse, which much to James' disappointment had 200 years worth of spiders aswell. But the room had a mirror - I was in heaven! Bitten by the hiking bug we hired a canoe, paddled up stream for one hour, and then trekked for a further hour to another waterfall, and another swim! This time, you'll be pleased to know we didn't get naked, much to the relief of the other walkers we're sure! Today we left Wilderness and we're now in Oudtshoorn. When we arrived we hit the Cango Caves which are full of amazing, emormous stalegtites and stalicmites. Ever the adrenalin junkies we did the Adventure tour which meant we had to crawl through lots of narrow tunnels - very cool and a bit scary. That's where the story ends so far. Hope you've enjoyed this and rest assured there's more to come (hopefully we will have worked out pictures by then). By the way, we also went Diamond ring shopping today - SA is the place to buy a rock!
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