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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

South Africa the beginning of an African Adventure!

After a long flight from Argentina to Johannesburg and then a quick hop to Cape Town I had made it to continent #2 of my trip and a new leg and chapter of the epic adventure that my life at the moment has turned into. It started as soon as I got off the plane in Cape Town.... Within the last 5 days of Argentina and including the flight to Cape Town I had been on buses and planes for a total of 56 hours!! I did not want to think for a few days when I got to Cape Town so I arranged for a pick up from the airport and when I saw the driver with my name on a placard and greeted him and told him that I was Jason he gave me a puzzled look and asked me if I spoke english? I was a little confused due to some jetlag and told him yes and asked him what I just said and quickly figured out that I had spoken to him in Spanish. Being in a country that spoke English was a new experience, after 4 months of learning and speaking Spanish, this was going to take some getting used to.

I was driven to the hostel on Long Street and met up with Sherry who I had met in Peru on a day trip through the sacred valley. She was also an American who was travelling around the world and I was looking forward to travelling with her in South Africa. I told her of my plans to do a road trip through South Africa and had planned on staying for 2 weeks and then head up to Zambia to white water raft the Mighty Zambizi and then onto Morocco. Well those plans altered greatly when we went into Detour Travel and spoke to Rob about our pending road trip. He gave us a great plan and helped us get set up with a rental car and also asked us how long we would be travelling in Africa..... We let him know how we were both travelling around the world and that we had a time frame on how we wanted to get to our next locations. He then let us know about some options for an overland trip from Cape Town, South Africa to Nairobi, Kenya. We were hesitant on doing an organized tour for so long but the price was close to being in the budget and the places would have been really hard to get to without some help. So we slept on the idea and went back the next day and booked the trip!! It gave us time for a 2 week road trip through South Africa we just had to be back in Cape Town in time to take off on the trip of a life time while on the adventure of a life time!

Prior to leaving Cape Town we wanted to see the sites and number 1 on the list was Table Mountain! We took a gondola ride up to the top and hiked around up top for 4 hours it was beautiful and had an amazing view of Cape Town from above. And the sunset was pretty magical. Another spot in Cape Town to walk about and check out is the V&A Waterfront. It is tourist central for sure but worth it to check out. So things were getting put into place and the road trip was about to start.

Cape Town Pictures

Road Trip:

We picked up the car and it was my day to drive. We were equipped with our Car "Unbekkant" which was not named that as of yet but would get its name in a few short days. Now let me tell you not driving for a few months already had me worried but the thing that put me on edge was driving on the left side of the road on the right side of the car or as I like to say the wrong side of the road on the wrong side of the car. We took off from Cape Town and drove down the coast and were lucky enough to get some amazing weather to drive along Chapman Peak's road for an amazing view on our way down to the Cape of Good Hope.

Upon arriving at the Cape which is the Southwestern most point of Africa and was cool to see from the land side. We parked the car to explore and take some pictures. Then we realized we were being stalked by an entourage of Ostriches who as soon as Sherry started walking away from the car they started moving towards the car. For those of you who have never seen an Ostrich up close it can be a pretty intimidating beast! I immediately called to Sherry and told her to get back in the car. Just as we were closing the doors the Chief Ostrich was at the hood staring at us through the window. It was my first experience with an Ostrich Death Stare and hopefully the last. We started the car and took off out of there to check out the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point. It was a great view and something I had wanted to see for a long time. Once we took some pictures we were back on the open road.

We stuck to the southern coastal road which is known for seeing Whales at that time of year, unfortunately we did not have such luck to see whales in Africa yet... You know you are on a road trip in Africa when there are signs warning you about Baboons, Warthog's (Pumba's), Elephants and Rhino Crossings. The Baboons park themselves on the road and just set up shop and start getting cleaned right then and there, like a boss!! We kept to the Southern Coast and stopped a few more times that day before stopping for the night in Grabouw and seeing a gorgeous sunset to Kick off our road trip.

The next morning we took off and it was Sherry's turn to drive and I was scared.... She is a crazy driver but don't tell her I told you that.

Over the next 2 weeks we stopped in many amazing places. We did Shark Cage diving with great white's in Mossell Bay which was intense. I almost couldn't return my wetsuit due to the fact that a great white got stuck on the cage in front of me while I was in it!!! Another Bucket list item checked off on this trip and it was only the beginning.

Our next stop on the trip was Storms River Villiage in TsitsiKamma where you can stay at Dijembe with Brad and Helana and then do the tallest bridge Bungee Jump in the world. Face Adrenaline's 216 Meter Bloukrans Bridge. Now Bungee Jumping had never been on my list of things I wanted to do, skydiving for sure but never bungee I couldn't figure out why people did it. When Sherry told me that she was doing it and I said that I wasn't sure she gave me a look. That was pretty much all it took. If you're going to do only one bungee jump in your life it might as well be the biggest. Go Big or Go Home!

We decided we would go the next morning and got signed up. The next morning I was pretty scared but as Face Adrenaline's Motto was to Face Fear, I knew someone had to do this today and it might as well be us. Getting strapped into our harnesses they told us the bungee was no big deal but the walk to the middle of the bridge was the hardest part. That was easy these guys didn't know who they were messing with. Now the one thing you want for sure before you bungee jump is to keep your adrenaline up. The guys at Bloukrans were Fantastic and were playing some awesome music and dancing around and playing drums to keep you pumped up.

Unfortunately for me, Sherry was going first and I had to watch her jump. If you can avoid doing this if you are going with friends I highly recommend it. When I saw her fall over the edge and then swing under the bridge I felt my heart stop. It was my turn and I was ready or at least that is what I kept attempting to tell myself. I got strapped in and they brought me to the edge. I was doing good until I looked over the edge. I watched the video after and I put my hands over my face and just started shaking my head. Before they let me get too far in my head they started yelling out the countdown. As they yelled bungee I jumped and I was not scared until I reached the point where I knew that I could not lean back and stand back up on the platform. That is when the beast like roar came out and shook the valley. What a rush racing down to the valley floor with it rushing up to meet you until at the last minute you get yanked back up for another drop. It was epic!!!! I have never felt adrenaline like that it was amazing. Sherry and I were so pumped up from that experience. We drove out of there, pumping the jams that were playing while we jumped, back to Storms River and we were ready for anything!

 We got back to Dijembe where we put our Certificates up on the ceiling. We traded some music with Helena since they had some awesome music playing at the bar and we had just got the music from the Bungee it was an awesome trade. What an awesome day!! We had big plans for the next day and took off early. We put on the music that Helena had given us but couldn't figure out why every song was labeled Unbekkant??? It took us a short time but figured out that Unbekkant was the German word for Unknown and shortly after became the name for our car...

We made it as far as Jeffrey's Bay and we were beat. We stayed the night at Island Vibe and had a good time throwing back a few beers with some fellow backpackers. We caught the sunrise in JBay before taking off and we knew it was going to be another good day.

We were headed to Cintsa West to the famous Buccaneer's. Upon arrival they informed us of a free booze cruise. It was Friday and we were ready but first needed some food. I had the best Toastie of my life there and will never forget the Momma's that worked there. Now the booze cruise can only be described as a red neck booze cruise and that I almost feel bad about calling it because it would insult red necks. We embarked with free boxed white wine, which could also probably be used as substitute fuel if you ran out while on the lake. It was still a great time.

The next day took off to Coffee Bay where we had heard nothing but amazing things about the Coffee Shack and were looking forward to a couple of awesome days. As amazing as the Coffee Shack was we were continuously warned about the road to get there. It was Sherry's turn to drive so I was the navigator and look out. Now we took the main highway to the turn off and knew we had 80 km to go and we were crusiing down the road and were questioning each other about why people had warned us about the road and about a minute later we found out. We hit 4 knee high speed bumps that were completely unmarked and we hopped back and forth from our front set of tires to the back set until we got over the last one and stopped to check for damage. Now we knew why we had been warned.

After we realized we were okay to keep going we slowed down and were much more watchful of our surroundings. Watching for people and livestock crossing as well as cars passing and the potholes the size of semi trucks. We finally made it to the Coffee Shack and we were very happy to be out of the car.

They had a policy of a free drink upon arrival and it was much appreciated. That night was a true South African Braai which was followed by a crazy party which was an amazing time. The world famous Babalaza (Hangover) Bar with its Buffalo Rules were ruthless. What great people and a great time. Beware the Black Label Beer it packs a strong punch. The next morning took my second ever surfing lesson and it was awesome we even had some local dolphins surfing the waves with us.

As this was coming up on the end of our road trip we had to be getting back to Cape Town in order to go on our Overland trip. The next day we had a long drive to Port Elizabeth where we sacked out for the night.

The next morning took off to Stellenbosch where Sherry and I decided we should do some wine tasting to celebrate a successful road trip. We had a great night at Brampton and don't know if I have the right to call it a tasting when the samples were practically a pint a piece. After doing a full tasting we felt pretty invincible and finished our road trip off with a nice dinner and a good night's sleep before heading back to Cape Town in the morning.

I was happy that Sherry had turned into such an amazing travel partner and friend and was looking forward to continuing onto our next adventure of a 6 week camping trip. I will talk more about that in the next entry!!

South Africa Road Trip Pictures
I apologize that I am way behind on my entries and am trying to catch up to where I am currently at within the next couple of weeks. My travels are going amazing and can't wait to hear how everyone is doing back home and abroad. Please comment and let me know what you think and also keep in touch. Safe Travels Everyone!!

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