Over Christmas, a friend and I travelled to South Africa and Zimbabwe. We had an amazing trip! One full of adventures and new experiences.
Our trip began in Cape Town, South Africa. Throughout our stay, we stayed in a variety of different hotels and hostels. This was my first experience staying in hostels. I found it was a great opportunity to meet new people.
In our first few days in Cape Town we took advantage of the walking tours to help
introduce us to the city. This helped us learn the history of South Africa and the city of Cape Town. I was also very excited to see so much green. The trees and gardens were a welcome sight after Egypt.
One of the areas we learned about on our walking tour was a popular daytime destination, Bo-Kaap. It is known for its narrow cobbled streets lined with colourful houses. The brightly coloured houses on either side of the street were to celebrate the district’s Muslim identity. In earlier days, all the houses of Cape Town were painted white. The change happened when the Bo-Kaap community residents bought their houses from the city council and as owners then decorated their own homes with bright colours as an expression of long-subdued individualism and a celebration of their new-found freedom.The Bo Kaap is also home to the countries oldest mosque.
While in Cape Town we made the spontaneous decision to fly down to Zimbabwe to see Victoria Falls. Victoria Falls is the largest waterfall in the world and and one of the seven natural wonders in the world. While there, we did a variety of different activities. We did a sunset cruise down the river where we saw hippos, crocodiles, and other animals. We did white water rafting down the Victoria Falls River. This was quite the adventure, and my first time white water rafting. There were a variety of different rapids, each with its own unique name (each more terrifying than the last). I found it to be a littler nerve racking to think that there were crocodiles in the water that we were falling into. While in Zimbabwe my friend (who is much braver than I am) decided we needed to do the gorge swing over Victoria Falls. At first, of course, I absolutely said no. However, I eventually decided that I would attempt it. Imagine swinging in a child’s swing in the playground…now imagine a giant swing 95m long and 120m high above water…now imagine a 70m free fall before you begin swinging. The Gorge Swing is suspended across the gorge at a point where the width is 316m and 120m deep. A harness is attached to the jumper and then the jumping ropes, the other end of which is pivoted to the middle of the cable. The jumper leaps off the edge of the gorge, free falling about 70m before going into a 95m long pendulum type swing. My friend jumped immediately after being harnessed. I was not so quick. It took a long time of me standing and looking over the edge to be convinced. It wasn’t until a 7 year old boy watching got bored and yelled, “someone push her” that I decided it was probably time for me to jump… I am not able to upload the video of me jumping, but if you would like the video of me jumping please let me know!
After our exciting time in Zimbabwe, we flew back to Cape Town. We had a busy time checking items off our bucket list. Our next trip was a road trip. We hired a driver to take us to a few places around Cape Town. Our first stop was the beautiful Boulders Beach. It is one of Cape Town’s most visited beaches and the only place in the world where you get close to African Penguins.
After this stop, we continued to the Cape of Good Hope, which is a peninsula just outside the city of Cape Town in South Africa. The Cape of Good Hope is at the tip of the Cape peninsula and in the past marked the point where a ship traveling south from Europe turned east.
Next, we were off to cage diving with great white sharks. The water was freezing and we had to be in wet suits. The shark hit our cage and the fin touched my friends hand. After jumping off the cliff at Victoria Falls, this was the least terrifying part of our trip.
We spent Christmas Day having afternoon tea. It was relaxing to spend the day with tea, and delicious food. A Christmas tradition I would like to continue.
South Africa seemed to include a trend off jumping of cliffs. One of the last activities we did in Cape Town was paragliding off of Table Mountain. Table Mountain is a flat-topped mountain forming a prominent landmark overlooking the city of Cape Town in South Africa. Paragliding gave us a whole new view of the city.
Although the days were long and packed, the tours of these beautiful countries created memories that will last a lifetime. Being on the bottom of the globe puts Africa into a new perspective