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I've been busy living my dream.

rain 18 °C
View African Adventure on AnnaBrad's travel map.

It's amazing how little Internet or other technologies matter when you're busy with the world. It had been six days before I realised I hadn't been on Facebook or the abc news app. For all I knew Perth had been taken over by the 'A' word ... But hopefully not.

Now it's been over 2 weeks since I last posted on my blog - no surprise there. But laziness isn't all to blame, lack of energy and spare time is too (but mainly laziness).

The point to this rant is that to update you all with my adventure is near impossible now (unless you're willing to read 15 pages worth). So instead I'll give you the highlights, the higher lights and the beyond lights ... If that makes any sense.

You better be ready. I recommend a glass of wine or a strong coffee.

But before I start bragging, I'd like to begin by saying you all have to add Africa onto your travel bucket list. Or, if that's too much, at least Kruger National Park. You just have to go. No questions asked. Not only for the animals, but for the natural beauty. Driving through the park, you get distracted by the trees and the rugged terrain. It was just so endless. Kind of like the bush in Australia, but with more greenery. Although, it made animal spotting a tad harder. Little did I know we were about to get lucky, like really lucky
It was such a surreal experience, one I won't forget. Having a chance to see them both during the day and at night was amazing - freezing your ass off for a glimpse of a lion and lioness is totally worth it.

What I learnt from the experience:
- 300 photos of one wild animal is never enough,
- Keep hands inside the vehicle at all times,
- Zebras constantly cross the road (no pun intended),
- Giraffes are rather odd looking, in the nicest way possible,
- Elephants have the saddest eyes
and
- Impala are bloody everywhere.

The photos I've taken don't give the place any justice. The scenery and the animals are just so beautiful. I'm not going to even try to describe Kruger, you're going to have to see it for yourself!

Second of all I should mention the days spent in Swaziland. It's such a contrast to Kruger, with the lush scenery and huge mountains. Driving through the town was just an experience in itself, burning break smells makes for an interesting travel journey.

By this stage in the 17 day adventure there was only 7 of us, including the two leaders. It actually was pretty wonderful having such a small number, made for a more cosy and family like experience. It also meant we could have our own private tents, no sharing meant no fighting for space. This is important.

Our full day involved a cultural experience at a local tribe in the morning and a big hike in the arvo. The cultural experience was great, we learnt how to say certain words in the tribes language, dance a traditional dance and how to cook using the tools they have made. The people in the tribe are such beautiful, happy people, especially the kids. It felt as if they hadn't been affected by the outside world, they were still very traditional in everything they do.
It was a great way to experience what being part of a tribe is like. So completely different from anything I've experienced.

Late afternoon the five of us walked the hippo hike, perfect weather for wildlife spotting and watching out for ...
Such a beautiful hike, one of the best I've done. We experienced walking along side impalas and zebras, uneven and sometimes unstable zigzagging tracks and even through thick mud. We literally were one with nature. But this isn't the best bit. The best bit would have to be the smell of death and decay we came across towards the end. It was a dead buffalo floating on the edge of a bank, with a 2 large crocs swimming past. Thankfully we were up a meter or so from the waters edge, not that it would stop a croc from jumping up ...
Although it was an unpleasant smell and site to see, it's what nature is. Getting to see what happens in the wild is pretty amazing, felt unreal.
Even our leaders were impressed by what they saw.

The last thing I'll mention, for today, would be the two days spent camping by the sea. Port St. John's is a beautiful coastal town, with lush hilly landscapes and friendly people.
The first night there we had a delicious dinner at the camp restaurant, then naturally we all ended up at the bar for a long and drunken night.
It was no surprise the next day we all felt pretty awful. I think I felt the worse as I lost one of my thongs (... flip flops), after owning them for 10 years, it was hard to except. The day before I had signed up for surf lessons, which I started to doubt whether I was up for it. I sculled my coffee and headed off on my ridiculous adventure.
Getting into the wetsuit was hard enough. It felt like a terrible dance move involving a lot of wiggling. After a brief meeting with the (cute) instructor, we headed to the lagoon for a brief paddling session, both in and out the water, before heading to the big waves.
I hadn't even left the surf shack before a problem was discovered. I couldn't carry the surfboard, my arms were too short. Thankfully the instructor helped me out with that, winning.
On land we went through the motions of paddling and jumping into the correct surf pose. The first 4 goes were a tad embarrassing, but after that it was till embarrassing but I was better. Next it was lagoon time.
I was hoping as soon as I grabbed the board and got into the water my Australian surfing instincts would kick in. Unfortunately they did not.
Jumping onto the board in the chilly water was a step further than I thought I'd get, so that was a good sign. We paddled around for ten minutes before we were declared "pros" by the instructor.
Ocean time.
From the lagoon we couldn't see the ocean so we weren't aware of what were to expect ...
Dum dum duuuuum
Big. Huge. Giant. Waves. Then again, most things are big compared to me. I may be exaggerating a tad, but for a girl with no surf experience it was a tad overwhelming.
The instructor, two young guys and I headed out to what will be an intense 2 hours. I didn't make it too far without getting dumped and attacked by waves (and by waves, I mean the whitewash part). We started off by getting onto our boards and getting pushed in front of a wave, riding it into the shore. I clung on for dear life. But it was a lot of fun, it's a shame that's not considered surfing ...
Next wave, my first attempt at standing up, I did it. I stood up. I actually stood up. I'm officially Australian. It felt bloody amazing. Scary, but amazing. I probably should point out that I only lasted around 5 seconds. 5 thrilling seconds. It took 5 attempts (all of which involved me being tossed under water) to do it again.
For the rest of the hour and a half I basically drank 2L of salt water, got tossed and turned under water, got laughed at by the instructor and collapsed with exhaustion with 30mins to go. But who cares? I stood up!
I slept amazingly well that night.

Other crazy, fun and exciting stuff has happened before and after these three adventures. 'll try to write more short paragraphs about other exciting adventures had here, but they are endless so it'll take a while to get through.

Once again, thank you for being patient. I promise to be better! Well, promise is a big word, I'll "try" to be better haha

Peace
A x

Posted by AnnaBrad 09:40 Archived in South Africa Tagged gansbaai

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