BootsnAll Travel Network

Back to the City

Man, I can’t believe that it’s been four whole weeks since my last post. Where did the time go? Well, I’ll tell you where it went. It went game driving, safari walking, cheetah feeding, quad biking, beer drinking, table dancing, dune hiking, wine tasting, and t-shirt shopping. 🙂

I’m now in Cape Town, South Africa, after finishing up the overland trip here 12 days ago. When I last posted we were heading into Namibia for three days of game driving in the Etosha National Park. Etosha is quite different than the other parks I’ve visited. It’s very dry and has a very large salt flat, and most of the watering holes are pipe fed. We didn’t see nearly as much wildlife in Etosha than we did up north, but we did see some new animals, such as the Oryx, and also got to see some of the animals at night. Etosha NP has several developed campgrounds inside the park, and many of these campgrounds have watering holes at the edge of the camp where you can view the wildlife in the late evening and early morning. However, when I went to one of these watering holes, it felt a bit like a circus, with the crowds of people seated around the hole, flashbulbs constantly going off, and spotlights illuminating the watering hole so that the tourists could get a better look. I much preferred seeing the wildlife in a more “natural” setting, such as the safari we took in Ngorogoro and the wildlife that walked into our camp at South Luangwa NP.

After three days of game driving, we headed west toward the Namibian Coast and the town of Swakopmund. It took us a couple of days to get to Swakopmund and on the way we spent one night at a Cheetah sanctuary. The man who ran the camp, Mario, took us up to see a couple of the cheetahs that live in the camp grounds, and that evening he took us all out in a truck to feed the wild cheetahs. It was quite cool watching all of the cheetahs suddenly appear out of nowhere to follow the truck to the feeding site. Once the feeding started it was every cheetah for him or herself. The next morning, Mario asked us if some of us would be willing to help him move some rocks for a house he was building, so five of us guys volunteered to go out on the tractor with him to load some rocks on his trailer and haul them back to the site where he was building his house. We loaded up 20 or so large chunks of slate, some of which took all six of us to lift. It was hard work, but only took about an hour and it was fun to get in a bit of exercise. Not to mention there were free beers waiting for us back at the camp.

After another days driving and another night camping, we finally arrived in the town of Swakopmund. Swakopmund is a seaside resort town that has been called “more German than Germany.” It was our first night in a large town since we left Victoria Falls, and after several nights of camping and cold mornings it was a welcome change to sleep in a proper bed and shower in a proper bathroom. The backpackers we stayed at also had a great restaurant next door and a good pub upstairs. It was at this pub that the aforementioned beer drinking and dancing on the tables took place. 🙂

Much like Vic Falls, Swakopmund also has a wide range of adventure activities to partake in. The Namibian sand dunes are world famous, so one of the obvious choices was to go quad biking in the dunes. Others on the truck also went sandboarding, while I chose to go ocean fishing. The quad biking was great fun, but unfortunately the ocean fishing got cancelled due to rough seas.

After playing in Swakopmund for a few days, it was time to head off again and see more of the Namib Desert and the dunes in Sossusvlei. After arriving at the campground at getting settled for the evening, we headed off into the dunes to hike up and see the sunset. That was followed the next morning by a guided walk into Sossusvlei where we got to learn more about the creation of the dunes and about the Bushmen that once lived there. From Sossusvlei, we headed out of the dunes and down the coast to the Fish River Canyon, the second largest canyon in the world after the Grand Canyon. We stopped to go for a short hike on the canyon rim, followed by our usual lunch off the back of the truck.

A couple of days later, we finally crossed the border into South Africa and camping at Orange River on the Namibia-South Africa border. I took time to do a short canoe trip on the Orange River, followed by a couple of jumps off the rocks into the river. The campground bar was also jumping that night with a birthday party for one of the locals, and those of us that joined the party paid dearly the next day. It was all good fun though, and we had a nice night in a backpackers the following night instead of camping. The following day we arrived in Stellenbosch, the heart of South Africa’s wine country, and about an hour out of Cape Town. We spent the day wine tasting at some of the local vineyards. It also happened to be the birthday of one of the girls on the truck, so we celebrated our last night on the truck in style. We rolled out of Stellnbosch the next morning around 10:00 AM, and by 11:30 we had reached our final destination, The Aardvark Backpackers in Cape Town.

Our friends Peter and Patricia, who had left the truck in Botswana after the Okavango Delta, were still in Cape Town, so we met up with them that evening and spent our first night in Cape Town doing the logical thing: drinking beers in the bar, ordering delivery pizza, finishing off some left over bottles of wine, and then heading down to Long St. to check out the local bars and clubs. We stumbled (literally) into a small dance club with a dj playing some great house music, stuff I haven’t heard but once since I left the U.S. I managed to keep going until the club closed at 4:00 AM, and got just enough sleep before meeting some others for a hike up Table Mountain at 10:00 that morning.

Table Mountain is a really good hike, with spectacular views of the city on a clear day. But when the weather is not cooperating, it’s cold, cloudy, and windy. We got a little bit of both on our hike, and saw some great views when it was clear. I’m planning on doing it again another morning when the weather is better. Cape Town also has tons of other attractions, and has some fantastic scenic drives down the coast. Michelle and Lee, who hiked Table Mountain also, had hired a car for the day and invited me along with them to drive down to Cape Point. It was an awesome drive, although we never actually made it as far as Cape Point. But we did stop at Boulders to see the colony of African Penguins, and also found a good seafood restaurant on the beach, so all was not lost.

A couple of days after arriving in Cape Town, most everyone else on the overland trip had left, either going back home our off on the next leg of their own trips. I spent a day getting acquainted with the city, and settled into a new backpackers in Green Point. The Big Blue Backpackers is a super place, with dorm beds for about $10 a night, free internet and wifi, a big kitchen, nice dining room, a tv lounge with movies every night, and a small bar on site. Just what I need after 7 weeks of living in a truck.

One of the things I’ve missed while on this trip is playing Ultimate, so now that I’ve settled here for a few weeks, I thought I’d see if I could find any games in Cape Town. I googled for ultimate frisbee in Cape Town, and found a local league that was just starting play and also had pickup games as well. And as luck would have it, one of the guys is near Green Point and has been willing to give me rides back and forth to the games. I’ve gotten a couple of games in already, and it’s been loads of fun, but it’s horribly apparent how out of shape I am. So I’ve been jogging a couple of times a week too. I have to say, there’s not many better ways to exercise than by jogging along the beach in the sunshine.

So here I am in Cape Town, just chilling out and enjoying life. I met a local girl out on Long St. the night I arrived, and she’s been acting as a part time tour guide for me. The ultimate gang is showing me around some too. I’m going to go check out some of the museums and tourist attractions next week, and the following weekend I’m going to head east out the Garden Route to Plettenberg Bay and track down what Guinness says is the highest bungy jump in the world.

I’ll be hanging here in Cape Town until Oct 31, at which point I’ll leave Africa to go visit my friend Murtuz in Bahrain. My trip will then start to wind down, and from Bahrain I’ll fly to London and then eventually back to the States. I guess that means I should spend some time working on my resume while I’m here too. Darn.

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One Response to “Back to the City”

  1. Laura Says:

    wow! the desert pix are awesome! love the contrasting colors!

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