Tag Archives: south africa

Windhoek Township, Cape Town and a Botswana Wedding

18 Mar

I definitely posted my last Namibian post premature, because we had an amazing day after I posted it. As I previously mentioned, we had made friends with our hostel’s bartender, Greg, and he offered to take to a Windhoek township and show us around. The first place we went to was an open market. There were literally entire cows being butchered on the tables! Then there was a long row of people cooking the fresh beef. We bought some, and you just picked it up with your fingers right off the grill, dipped it into some spice and ate it… and let me tell you, it was some of the best beef I have ever tasted!

Then, we got a little walking tour around, and Greg promised us he was taking us somewhere cool – but told us to not ask questions, so we were just along for the ride! As we were walking, we came across a huge group of students in their uniforms who were taking over the streets. When we got closer, we could see that they were protesting. I asked some of the students what they were protesting and they told me that one of their female classmates had been raped and killed but that there was no justice and nothing was happening to the culprit. I asked what their goal of the protest was and I was fairly shocked by their answer – they wanted the death penalty reinstated in Namibia. I only had time to ask a few more questions, but from what I heard it was obvious that the particular students I was speaking with did not entirely understand what they were asking for. While I admired their political activism, it was evident to me that the  majority of the protesters were just following the lead of a few and were not thinking critically.

After the overwhelming noise and numbers of the protest, we veered off the main road and we went to a small lake. There, we found some absolutely amazing projects. One of them was for hearing-impaired people who were previously unemployed. They recycled old beer bottles and other glass and created beautiful beads and jewelry from them. There were also textile projects, among others, at this facility. There was an on-site shop where you could buy many of the projects, and as usual, Heather, Kelsey and I spent lots of money.

After this wonderful day, we then made it to the Intercape and began our 22-hour bus ride to Cape Town, which surprisingly wasn’t as painful as you might imagine. The Sleepliner is probably the nicest bus I will ever be on.

We met up with the Ramshaws downtown Cape Town and got settled in our respective accommodations. Kelsey and I were staying right around the corner from one of my family’s favourite restaurants from when we were there so I recommended it. We had an amazing dinner of Ethiopian food and all got caught up with each other.

The next day, Cape Town was a very busy place to be indeed! It was the Cape Argus Pick ‘n Pay Cycle Tour – a grueling more than 100 km bike race through the mountainous region with over 35,000 cyclists. We spent the day wandering the city and made our way to the finish line to cheer on and support the athletes. We then went to Camp’s Bay for dinner and to watch the sunset.

Monday we did a hop on, hop off tour of the city. We went to the gorgeous Kirstenbosch Gardens and had a lovely breakfast at the Tea Room there. Then, we went on a wine tour and tasting and had some wonderful wine. We took the bus back through the city and got a great view of some of the main sites of Cape Town.

Tuesday morning, the Ramshaws and Kelsey went to Robben Island. I had already been and spent my morning sleeping in, getting a hair cut, and doing some shopping. We had a relaxing afternoon together, and went up Table Mountain in the early evening. We enjoyed some walking and a drink at the top and watched the sun set over the ocean. It was truly beautiful.

Wednesday morning, we were up bright and early to go SHARK CAGE DIVING!! We went to Gansbaai and got out on a boat. The sharks were fairly quiet though and we had some trouble getting them close – a very seasick Heather and mildly sick Liam and I all took naps while Kelsey made some new friends. When it was our turn in the cage, we gingerly got in, cringing at the freezing water (about 16 degrees!) But, the seasickness and cold were totally worth it. I don’t know if you know this, but SHARKS ARE SO COOL!!! We got amazing views of great whites that were within a few meters of us – truly phenomenal. We then went to Boulders’s Beach in Simonstown (beautiful town) to visit the African penguins! It was my second time there, but no less fun.

We made our way back to Botswana on Thursday, and I spent Friday just relaxing in Gabs. Saturday was a very special day – a wedding! Heather and Kelsey’s friends from Shakawe were getting married and I got to crash it. It was really interesting to see a traditional Botswana wedding (even though the bride was American, it was very traditionally Batswana). It was particularly funny listening to how all the speeches got translated into English for us – some things were definitely lost in translation! We had a wonderful time meeting people, eating, laughing and of course, dancing.

I had an amazing two weeks, and now I am back in the office and I can’t believe that in just 6 short weeks I will be back at St. Paul’s!

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Holidays and Beyond

23 Jan

Hello dear readers, I’m sorry I have gotten lazy with my blogging! Here is a quick update of my holiday season:

My lovely mother and brother came over to visit and we had a wonderful time in South Africa! We met in Johannesburg, where the first thing my mom said was “You’re so tan!” We were only there for one night and just spent our time catching up before we flew to Port Elizabeth then headed to a game reserve. We spent 4 days there and I managed to complete seeing the African Big 5! My mom and Colin also got to see 4 out of 5 and are just missing the leopard, which I was fortunate enough to see at Chobe National Park in Botswana. Here are some of our pictures from our game drives.

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Next we spent Christmas Day in Port Elizabeth and got to open all of our gifts with Conor and dad over the phone – not quite the same! We definitely missed not all being together. Boxing Day we flew to Cape Town and had an amazing time there before saying goodbye on the 1st. Some highlights of Cape Town were going to Robben Island, a great wine tour, the wonderful restaurants and ringing in the New Year on Long St.!

I am happy to be back in Botswana, and I realized that it is starting to feel a little more like home here. Even when my flight was delayed in Cape Town, I just felt more comfortable chatting with Batswana on my flight over drinks than I did with locals in South Africa. I’m not going to lie though – going back to bucket bathing with cold water really sucked after all the luxury!!

Now I’m back to work and back to the same routine 🙂 I’m missing my friends scattered around the world and my family back home (especially my cousins who recently welcomed a new addition to the family!) and it’s a bittersweet thought that I only have about 3 months left here.

BONUS: Check out this Christmas Staycation video – I promise it’s worth it!