Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

Adventure in South Africa Starts NOW!

37

Cape Town

Greetings from South Africa!

I’m very pleased to be back in Cape Town, in South Africa, a country that impresses me to no end!

My trip to South Africa last fall was one of the best trips I have ever taken — because South Africa is the kind of country that WOWS you again and again.  The truth?  Not a lot of countries have that quality. Iceland, Jordan, and Montenegro have it, but South Africa has it the most, I think.

Time to Meet South Africa

I’m honored to be taking part in the #MeetSouthAfrica campaign, the biggest travel blogging campaign ever to take place in Africa. 15 international bloggers will be taking part in four tours crossing the country. Two tours start in Johannesburg and explore westward and southward; two start in Cape Town and go northward and eastward.

Adventure Along the Western and Eastern Cape

Years ago, I dreamily planned out a trip to South Africa that I would take someday.  I’d fly into Cape Town or Johannesburg, buy a ticket on the Baz Bus, stay in cool hostels all over the country, hitting up several towns on the Garden Route, and I would do as many adventure activities as possible.

This trip is almost exactly the trip that I dreamed up all those years ago.

Over the course of six days, we’ll be traveling along much of the Garden Route and then further eastward, staying in top-end hostels with private rooms, and doing as many adventure activities as we can cram in.  Essentially, it’s an awesomel and affordable adventure tour.

Here’s what’s on the schedule:

An angry Great White Shark

Gansbaai

Gansbaai, close to the southwest corner of South Africa, is famed for one activity in particular: SHARK CAGE DIVING.  EEEEEE!!  I’m going diving with sharks!!

Near Swellendam, South Africa

Swellendam

I rolled through Swellendam on the bus last fall and thought it looked like lovely place.  In Swellendam I have the options of horseback riding, hiking to a waterfall, or exploring the town.

Volstruise 1

Oudtshoorn

Oudtshoorn is an inland town famous for ostrich ranches and meerkats.  Now, as someone who has an enormous fear of birds, the thought of going to a farm filled with giant birds that can poke your eyes out with their beaks scares me.  Maybe I should ride one.

In Oudtshoorn, I have the options of exploring the Cango caves, visiting an ostrich farm, or going croc diving.  Not joking on that last one.  Croc diving is an option.

It was a dark and stormy evening

Myoli Beach, Sedgefield

I don’t know much about Sedgefield, but that beach looks glorious, doesn’t it?

In Sedgefield, we’ll be staying in a beach lodge and taking a cruise through the lagoon.

Some day my prints will come

Plettenberg Bay

Plett has been the Garden Route town I’ve wanted to visit the most.  It’s one of the most beautiful beach towns in South Africa.  We’ll also be driving through Knysna, where I spent time living in a tree this past fall.

In Plettenberg Bay, I have the options of stand-up paddleboarding (I really want to try that!), paragliding, wakeboarding, canoeing, kiteboarding, or just hanging out on the beach.

Storms River Mouth

Storms River

Storms River is a more wooded location down the coast and it’s home to a terrifyingly rickety-looking bridge as well as the the Tsitsikamma Forest.

In Storms River, I have the options of doing a ziplining canopy tour (I’m leaning toward that), bungee jumping (NOT GONNA HAPPEN.), doing a forest tour by Segway (has GOB moved to South Africa?) or going to a place called Monkey Land.

Jeffrey's Bay

Jeffreys Bay

Jeffreys Bay is a big surf community.  Part of me wants to try sandboarding; part of me wants to go surfing on my third continent after Asia (Bali) and North America (Mexico)!  If I’m wiped out by this time, I might just hang out on the beach or visit a township (though I’m convinced nothing can top my township experience in Alexandra last fall).

Addo Elephant National Park

Addo

Addo is home to Addo Elephant Park — a national park filled with lots of elephants.  I’m excited to see elephants on safari (and with a much better set of camera gear, too!).

Hogsback

Finally, we finish our tour in Hogsback, up in the mountains.  We’ll be learning about Lord of the Rings (apparently this landscape inspired Tolkein!) and exploring the mountains.  We’re also staying at a place called Away with the Fairies — I love that name!

That concludes the tour, and all four tours move on to the next location:

Durban panorama

Durban

Durban, in the Kwazulu-Natal region, is South Africa’s fourth largest city (third if you count Johannesburg and Soweto as one) and the site of the INDABA travel conference.  It’s been called the Miami of South Africa because it’s a beachy city with excellent weather year-round.

I plan to spend my time in Durban either networking like mad at the conference or relaxing in the sunshine after the nonstop week we’ve had!

Stay in Touch

To follow us on the trip, be sure to check out the #MeetSouthAfrica tag on Twitter.  Also, you’ll get cool photos through Love South Africa on Facebook.

Is there anything in particular that you want me to cover on this trip?  There’s no way you’re getting me on a bungee, but anything else, I’d love to hear your opinion!

Many thanks to South Africa Tourism and iambassador for hosting me in South Africa.  All opinions, as always, are my own.

Comments

37 Responses to “Adventure in South Africa Starts NOW!”
  1. Looks amazing Kate! Can’t wait till I make my way down there. I’d definitely be interested in reading how you deal with the whole fear of big birds while staring them in the face thing (I scuba dived despite my fear of deep water and it was quite a victory…but then there wasn’t a fear of my eyes being poked out…). Have an awesome time!

  2. Tamsin says:

    I love the photo of the ostrich, and you should totally ride one. Nothing beats living outside of your comfort zone!

  3. Kelly says:

    So jealous of this trip! I know you’re not a fan of this phrase but cage diving with sharks in #1 on my bucket list. This trip looks amazing, have so much fun!

  4. South Africa is at the top, top, TOP of my travel wish list. This sounds like an AMAZING tour! How will you choose which activity you want to do at each stop?? Oudtshoorn looks like it will be the toughest choice.

  5. Caryn says:

    I used to live in Gansbaai, and the shark cage diving industry is the WORST thing about the area. It used to be a huge surf destination but now that they are pumping blood into the ocean via pipes 24/7 to attract the sharks it has killed the surf industry, and the locals hate it. You can still swim on the beaches but you have to be careful/wary. Unfortunately tourists who come to dive aren’t respected very much around town. There are a bunch of fun shops around though, so check them out!

    If you do get the chance, head to Baardskeerdosbos to check out the art route! Two of ZA’s most renowned artists live there. And the Farm 215 lodge has an amazing organic chef.

  6. pri says:

    write about everything! from the people to the scenery to the safety to everything! have a blast!

  7. Amanda says:

    This itinerary sounds amazing! So jealous of the shark cage diving. And the ostrich riding. And the croc diving. And, well, everything, really!

    Can’t wait to read about it all.

  8. Brittany says:

    I’m excited to read about the safari… the whole trip looks amazing. Have a great time!

  9. Roxanne says:

    This looks like a fabulous itinerary. South Africa is indeed awesome – a world in one country – and I’m sure you’ve already discovered how friendly and helpful our people are too. I hope you leave our shores even more in love than you are already!

  10. Jennifer says:

    Wow cage diving with sharks sounds scary – I look forward to reading how you get on!

  11. Katherine says:

    I really liked your blog when you were traveling on your own and being adventurous. Now, the bottom of all your posts thank someone for hosting you. Seems like you only go places where you go for free and get paid to do it.

    Not so adventurous and unhelpful for those of us who actually have to pay our own way since you don’t offer us any advice. It’s all like “look at the cool stuff I’m doing.”

    • Hi, Katherine —

      Most people understand why I take sponsored travel — because if I did everything on my own dime, this would be one very empty blog!

      I receive lots of press trip invites and I turn down more than 80% of them because I only want to cover the kinds of destinations and trips that I personally enjoy, that fit my niche, and that would be entertaining for readers to read about.

      Take a look at my last 20, 50, 100 posts and see how many of them are actually about sponsored trips. The answer may surprise you. You’ll also find that I provide far (FAR!) more advice and pricing information than I did in my early days of this blog.

      I appreciate you coming here, and thanks for letting me know your concerns.

  12. Caty says:

    YAY!you are back in my favorite country! When you are in Plett go to the Lookout Deck restaurant. Drink a Savanna and either have the fish and chips or try kingklip (typical SA fish). it might not be the best dinner you can get but it is tasty BUT the view from up there is amazing. I was there in september, when it was whale watching season and we saw whales jumping in the ocean while we had lunch there!enjoy your trip!!!

  13. Kerryn says:

    Welcome back – I kind of feel like the garden route is like my home ground because I grew up there. You don’t even have to get out of your car to be awes by the beautiful drive. Maybe try some hiking if you’re arou d Tsitsikama but if I were there I’d also just languish on some of the best beaches around! Enjoy!

  14. Emily says:

    Wow! Awesome! I have to get to South America…. actually, I feel like I think that about every country you write about. Love reading your posts, Kate!

  15. Sofie says:

    Sounds like an AMAZING trip!
    I’d love to do the hike to the waterfall!

  16. How exciting! South Africa is such an amazing destination. I would totally try sandboarding and do some ziplining! But I’m pretty sure just about any of the activities you listed would be really fun.
    I can’t wait to read about your adventures. Take lots of photos of the elephants. 🙂

  17. You wouldn’t do bungee jumping but happily cage dive with sharks? 🙂

  18. Karisa says:

    WOW!!!!!!!!! What an amazing travel itinerary! I’ve never been to South Africa but obviously it’s near the top of my bucket list. I can’t wait to hear about all of your adventures (especially shark cage diving!!!)

  19. Katie says:

    OH MY GOD! would it be so terrible of me if I just copied this exact itinerary for a trip I was planning through Africa in 2 years? I mean I know half the fun of traveling is figuring out where you want to go and what you want to do, but everything you described just sounded like heaven to me! I want to do it all!!! and I CAN’T WAIT to hear about your adventures. I’ll be waiting with bated breath (so please, post, post, post!)

    • Katie, I’ll be publishing the full itinerary next week. It ended up being a little bit different than planned, and I’m excited to show you exactly how to do it!

  20. One word: JAWS 🙂

  21. Roisin says:

    They all look amazing places, especially Addo – love the idea of seeing Elephants so close.

    Looking forward to reading about your adventures 🙂

  22. Fliss says:

    One of my favourite countries (so far) incredibly stunning and chilled out.
    I braved the bungee jump and although for a few seconds of my life I felt like I was facing death it’s so worth the ‘cheating death’ feeling that you get when you arrive safely at the top!
    I’d also recommend it as a form of physio, it definitely cured my dodgy back…

    Hope you enjoyed your time as much as I did!

  23. Blair H says:

    Seeing these images I feel so lucky to live in South Africa 😀
    I hope you enjoyed Cape Town

  24. Western Cape, South Africa is I.N.C.R.E.D.I.B.L.E. It was our first stop on our RTW trip back in September of 2012 and it STILL remains on our our absolute Favs!

    Shark Cage diving was the icing in the cake!!!

  25. Phumi says:

    Hi kate

    It’s raining hard in durban today but hopefully, the weather will clear up again after the conference so you can get some of that beach time…hoping to swing by the conference to meet you. If you have time, why don’t you take a drive up to the midlands area – its just an hour outside durban (after pietermaritzburg) – google midlands meander –
    enjoy your stay in the Kingdom of the Zulu (ps – you must see live zulu dancing) – make sure you do a video of yourself doing it too LOL

  26. Laura says:

    Hi Kate

    First of all I want to say I love your blog and have been reading it for a while.
    I too love to travel and so far have been to 23 countries and taken a cargo ship from Cape Town via St Helena to the UK.

    I was born, bred and spent 19yrs of my life in Cape Town so I am so happy you love my home country of South Africa, and it is always great to read such positive reviews about this amazing place. I just wanted to point out though that many South African’s don’t support Shark cage diving. I started surfing when I was 10 years old and ever since tourist started cage diving the incidents of attacks on surfers increased a lot (you can sometimes even see the boats while you are in the water surfing) it has also caused sharks to come into shallow waters more frequently, is changing their natural feeding habits and they are associating people with food (which isn’t good), I don’t want in anyway to dampen your fun I just wanted to make you aware of what a lot of local people feel about it as it’s changing our marine eco system.

    Anyway I really hope you have lots of fun in the Capital City and Swellendam, Jefferys Bay and Plett are some of my favourite places 🙂

    Laura x

  27. stephanie says:

    South Africa is a place that really intrigues me. It looks so beautiful yet I do wonder if it is truly safe to travel there as a female alone. I would love to go on a safari someday, there’s something magical about seeing animals in the wild, where they should be!

  28. I love Cape Town! One of my favorite cities. From there I took a scooter ride to see the penguins. I also took thhe hop on hop off bus (Baz Bus?) to Durban. good times!

  29. Kate It sounds like you have quite an amazing itinerary! The facebook pictures of your adventures already look unreal! Can’t wait to read your posts about this trip, especially being in the water with the crocodiles that look like small dinosaurs!

  30. Wow what an amazing experience this will be! South Africa has always been on my ‘must do’ list. I cant wait to hear all about it and be inspired to book a ticket!

  31. Alex Cardo says:

    Thank for this great report. I think that South Africa could be in every traveler’s list “Top 10 Must to visit”. I had almost the same impressions when I’ve been visited Thailand for a first time.

    Europe and Middle East didn’t give me these impressions from visiting. So, now, I also plan to visit South Africa for a first time after my big Asia tour this year!

    I hope, I’ll have the same impressions of visiting this country!

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