It has always been a big dream of mine to finally visit South Africa, the country my parents lived in for a while just before I was born. For my entire life I had to listen my mom and dad share stories about people they met and everyday life in a small suburb outside of Johannesburg with trips to national parks and work of course. When, earlier this year, an opportunity came up to have a trip later the year, I started planning. In late October it was finally time to jump on a A380 and to fly to Cape Town. Together with Leo, who shared his experience doing research in the Western Cape on his blog, we had a great time exploring a small part of the country and shared many memorable moments.
Finally arriving to the city and seeing various spots, which I remembered from Instagram and YouTube, made me understand why people can fall in love with South Africa. Waking up and looking outside the window to see Table Mountain being covered in clouds is a very romantic way to start the day. Prior to the trip, whenever people would hear that I’d visit the city, they gave me the wildest recommendations – from Sushi to bars, from hiking to surfing. These recommendations continued once being in town and meeting other explorers in airbnb’s or backpackers.
Arriving in a quite western type of airport, taking an uber to the accommodation and going to a restaurant didn’t make me realize that I’ve travelled to an entirely different continent. Only once I started walking the streets and go shopping you can really feel that it’s different.
I’ve always been fascinated by the light and the warm colors on snapshots from hikes up Lion’s Head. Being young and naive we decided one late afternoon to go up the mountain. People in the bar we had lunch in said that the day wouldn’t be the best to go up, but nevertheless we parked our car, took a bottle of water and our coats and started going up. Only minutes later a dense fog surrounded us and we were not able to see neither the city nor the ocean. Leo and I were not sure if we should continue walking, but thought that we should give it a shot. Getting close to the top we found ourselves above the clouds and it’s been one of the greatest moments ever to see the sun go down.
Being in South Africa was a good opportunity for myself to continue some research which I started a while back about on of the key-politicians in the early 20th century in the field of international politics. While exploring Cape Town and Stellenbosch we spent many hours sitting in University libraries and the South African National Library, where I had to learn that even the copying machine can have an extensive lunch break.
Whether walking on top of Table Mountain, walking down to an almost hidden beach at the Cape of Good Hope or driving along the coast – there is always a high chance to see some animal. Leo made an entire video about dassies, penguins and other animals which we’ve seen:
We started in Cape Town and explored the city for a few days before hitting the road going east. This gave us a chance to taste some good wine, meet new people and visit landmarks such as a southernmost point of Africa. Of course we were not the only ones who have been traveling. To be honest we could identify two main groups – german backpackers and efficient tourists from Asia. Where as german backpackers would take a few months off so that they could travel across South Africa, asian tourists follow a completely different type of tourism. If there is a group who can teach us how to visit many sightseeing spots in as little time as possible – it’s them. Unfortunately time-efficient tourism sometimes misses the special moments which others can have just to explore a town or enjoy the pace of nature.
South Africa wouldn’t be South Africa if it would not be for the kind people and friends: