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Mossel Bay

Finally left Cape Town

sunny 18 °C

I had to do it. I could have stayed in Cape Town for my whole trip and still have been satisfied, but I had to leave. What a fantastic place. So much to do. I took a tour to the most South Westerly point in Africa (another way to say "we're almost the most Southerly point) two days ago on the second of August. It was such a good time. We were on a bus with 19 people and spent the day cruising along the coast to Cape Point. We took what is called the "Baz Bus", a popular backpacking tour company in South Africa. It was one of the best tours I've ever been on. The guide knew practically everything about the wildlife, vegetation, geology and history of the area. It was amazing. The people were a fun bunch too. Yesterday I went on a tour of Robben Island to visit the maximum security prison where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for most of his sentence. I met some Dutch tourists there and ended up spending the day with them. We went on a sunset cruise in what was definitely the biggest catamaran sailboat I have ever seen. They served champagne and toured Table Bay while we sat on the front deck and watched the sun slowly set. That was incredible! After that, we ended the night at "Mama Africa"; a very popular (for good reason) restaurant. They had the most incredible food and entertainment. We arrived at 7:30 and didn't leave until almost 12:00 because they were so good. They were a traditional African drumming and Xylophone group. One of the drummers could sing Italian Opera so well and so authentically that we all thought the voice we heard was coming from another source. They were just stunning. It was a great way to end off my time in Cape Town.
This morning, I left Cape Town and made my way East along the Coast about 400 kms to Mossel Bay, a quaint medium-sized town on the start of what is called "The Garden Route", an approximate 200 km long stretch of coastline. I haven't had a chance to properly explore the town yet, but its claim to fame was in the 16th century, the Portuguese used to use this place as a fresh water stop as well as a mail drop spot for returning ships to grab. I am staying on a converted passenger train in my own berth right next to the ocean. It's just awesome. Having a great deal of fun.

Posted by mtn_biker 06:51 Archived in South Africa Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Day 4- Still in Cape Town

semi-overcast 16 °C

Hey everyone. I'm still in Cape Town and having a fabulous time. I have been keeping busy with the wealth of activities they have here. From shopping to abseiling; they have it all here. I tried to go abseiling (rappeling) from the top of Table Mountain today, but there weren't enough people to make a large enough group for them to take us. As the gondola is closed for repair this week, they must drive us to the lower gondola station and hike up. At over a 1000 meters, it's a good sized mountain. Next time I guess. Today I went sand boarding at the dunes west of the city. It was very different from snowboarding. It's almost like snowboarding on really wet sticky snow. I almost got the nack of it. It was pretty good all the same. If I'm still here on Friday, they are going to run us up to a pretty hairy mountain bike course. They are trying to find another guy to go with me as they need to have at least two people to run the tour. Not too many tourists can or want to take this tour as it's too difficult. I hope i'll be okay. Tomorrow, I think that I'm going to take a trip to the Cape of Good Hope. It's supposed to be very beautiful. I picked up another brochure for the bungy jumping excursion 200 kms from Cape Town. 216 meters (708 feet!). I still haven't talked myself into that yet. I am yet to see if I have the courage to try it. There's just too much to do here! I'm going crazy trying to decide what to do.

Posted by mtn_biker 08:26 Archived in South Africa Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

Cape Town, South Africa

Shark cage diving

sunny 14 °C

Well, I made it here in one piece. Not at all the easiest way to get somewhere, but three days after I left my apartment I made it here. Cape Town is a beautiful city. It's very hard to describe. It's modern and clean with a clear and distinct contrast between the haves and the have nots. I am staying on Long Street in the down town party district. It's a pretty wild and crazy place with losts of action every night.
Yesterday, I went shark cage diving 140 km from Cape Town. It was absolutely incredible! I had so much fun! I thought it would be terrifying, but without the dramatic music they were far from scary. We went out Gansbaai early in the morning and only had to go out 20 minutes from shore until we reached the famous "shark alley". The tour company's name is "White Shark Ecoventures" and it's website is www.white-shark-diving.com . The reason that there are so many sharks in this particular area is that there is a seal colony nearby and the sharks catch the seals when they go out to hunt for fish. We actually saw a shark get one far off in the distance. The interesting thing about the way they attract the sharks is that they tie a mangled tuna to a rope with a buoy on it and when the shark approaches, they pull the carcus away the the shark usually becomes more aggressive. They also have a heavy rubber seal cutout tied to a rope. They throw it out and pull it in quickly. We saw at least two sharks jump half out of the water to attack it. It was incredible! We even went in the shark cage to watch the sharks as they attacked the tuna. Funny enough, it was not at all scary. It was utterly amazing. It was a really good day yesterday. I'm not too sure what I'll do today, but there is so much to do here that I'm sure it won't take long to find something.

Posted by mtn_biker 00:36 Archived in South Africa Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Changi AP Singapore

Waiting

sunny 32 °C

Well, I made it so far. I left yesterday morning from Heda to spend the day in Tokyo before I left for S Africa. It was a good day, sunny and warm. The biggest problem was at the end of the day when I needed to find a business hotel to stay at. Even at the biggest train station in TOkyo (Tokyo Station) I couldn't find one vacant room. I decided to head up to the airport on the last train as I figured that there would be plenty of cheap vacant rooms there. Wrong again! TO make a long story short, I ended up sleeping with the other homeless people on a park bench near the station. I am now at Changi AP in Singapore, waiting for my connecting flight to Cape Town. I actually don't mind the 9 hour wait. There are so many interesting shops and restaurants. One of the best APs I've been to. It's midnight now and my flight leaves at 2:15. Almost there. I think this will be the last of the hot weather. It was 32 degrees when we got off the plane. I checked the weather in Cape Town and it was 12 degrees this morning. I am going to go watch a movie at the AP theatre now to kill the last hour and a bit.

Posted by mtn_biker 08:46 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

South Africa July 27, 2005

Pre-trip entry

overcast 15 °C

So far, I'm still in the planning stages of my trip. I have looked at all the information on vaccinations against malaria and have decided that it is unnecessary to innoculate myself. South Africa is one of the few African countries that you do not need to take precautions for. Also, in the winter there is even a more reduced risk of catching malaria from mosquitoes so I feel reassured of my safety. I have looked into transportation across the country, from Cape Town along the coast through Port Elizabeth and Durban all the way up to Johannesburg and Kruger Park. I just realized actually how big South Africa is. The trip from Cape Town to Johannesburg alone is more than 1400 km, and there will be many side trips as well. I have decided to take what is called the "Baz Bus" to get from one place to another. It follows a predetermined route between two major points but also will stop anywhere along the line to drop off or pick up other Baz Bus passengers. You can get on and off as many times as you like between the two spots and they will even come to your hostel to pick you up. Sounds like a good deal. Also it will be a good way to meet fellow travellers who are like minded. How can that be bad? Some of the things that have caught my attention or made me sweat are the shark diving/viewing trips and the highest bungi in the world (215 meters). Neither one have I commited in my mind to doing (yet). Some things that I do plan on doing are Abseiling (repelling) down the famous Table mountain and taking a 3 hour mountain bike trip through a game reserve. Sounds fun eh? I may even take surfing lessons as they have world class surf beaches. The only problem being the weather. Today there are gail force winds occuring in Cape Town and the vicinity and as you can see from the temperature, it's winter time in Africa so some things may not be open to me. We will see exactly what happens though. That's all part of the adventure. I will write more once my trip is under way.

Posted by mtn_biker 08:21 Archived in South Africa Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

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