Be prepared for a long post with a lot of pictures. I took 1000 while I was there. It took me a while to go through them all and put together this post, but finally... here it is. Be excited.
So Stacie and I lived together for a month. She was moving into my old place while I was moving out. She is a sweet sweet girl. I enjoy hanging out with her, not that we ever hung out that much. We went dancing once together and then got together for lunch once. While we were at lunch we were talking about our bucket lists and how similar they were. One of the things we both had on our bucket list was going on an African Safari. She told me she wanted to go to Africa. I asked her if she was serious. She said yes, so I told her I would go with her and a few weeks later our trip through SmarTours was booked. I am serious about my traveling and if I think there is someone that will go with me somewhere... I jump on that opportunity. Six months later we were on a 4 1/2 hour flight to New York and then another 16 hour flight to South Africa. Once we got to South Africa we landed in Johannesburg and had another 2 hour flight to Cape Town. It was a long way there... but it was worth it. We got to our hotel and just relaxed at pool and enjoyed the beautiful view and beautiful weather.
Our first full day in Cape Town we were picked up and drove two hours away to do the Shark Cage Dive with the Great White Sharks. It was quite the day! I still can't believe that I did it. It was an amazing experience. You can read about it here.
The next day we signed up the the Peninsula tour. It was a full day. It was beautiful. There are benefits to visiting South Africa in September. It is their Spring, so the weather is perfect. It reminded me of home actually. Because it is spring, all the flowers are in bloom, it is whale season so you can sometimes see whales from the beach (we did) and there are lots of baby animals. I loved it. So glad we went when we did. A lot of the tour was stopping at different beautiful coastal view points... where we would stop take in the beauty, take a picture and leave.
We stopped at the Harbor where some people went to see Seal Island.... but since Stacie and I got to see a Seal Island on our Shark cage dive, we stayed behind and shopped a little and looked around. This is also where I fed the seal.
On our drive to the Cape of Good Hope, we ran into some Baboons, so we pulled over to take some pictures.
Next we went to the Cape of Good Hope. Absolutely beautiful. Stacie and I hiked to the top of the hill where the lighthouse was. It was built in 1902... which is close or the same time as when the lighthouse on Alcatraz was built.
After seeing the Cape of Good Hope, we went to see the Penguins at Boulder Beach, which I was SUPER excited for. They are So cute. I wrote about them here.
The last part of that tour, we went to the beautiful Botanical Gardens. They were beautiful. Stacie and I walked around mostly with our tour guide, Jason (he took care of our group the whole time we were in Cape Town and then people could sign up for different tours with him. We only did this one with him, but we wished we could have done more because we adored Jason, such a sweet guy with an adorable accent... have I mentioned how much I love the South African accent? Well I do... a lot) who is in the picture with us.
When we got back, Jason helped me convince Stacie to leave the hotel and walk down to the beach to watch the sunset. I am SOOO glad we did. It was one of the most beautiful sunsets that I had ever seen.
Our last day in Cape Town was the day that we were going to go to Table Mountain. Sadly that was the one day is rained the cable car to Table Mountain was closed. That is one of my only regrets of the trip was that we didn't try harder to go on another day. Oh well. Maybe one day I will be back to Cape Town. Who knows. Although it rained that day, we still got a nice tour of Cape Town, which is a very beautiful city. We stopped in on church and heard beautiful gospel music.
We stopped by a school where they taught each other skills to help them be self reliant. We even got to jam out with them to some African music. It was great.
We also went to the poor part of town and visited the shacks. It was sad, but the country is working on getting them all homes and the people there seem to be happy. It was very interesting to learn of the culture in South Africa. I didn't realize that segregation was still a problem up until 1994!! That was not that long ago. Kind of crazy.
After visiting the Shacks we went to the beautiful waterfront. It is beautiful even when it is rainy outside. We decided we would get all of our shopping for souvenirs done here.
We met these South African guys because they asked us if they could take their picture with us (not even knowing we were Americans, they just thought we were cute) so we did... then they left and we thought a couple of them were cute too, so we wanted our picture with them too! So we found them again and got our picture with them. Then as we started to walk away, they asked us if we wanted to go to the Aquarium with them. So we did. It wasn't a great one, but it was still fun to hang out with them.
After that the rest of the team left except two that stayed by our side (the two that we thought were the cutest) and they came with us shopping. The blonde was was super cute and surprised us with a little gift. A keychain with our names on it out of beads. They were sweet, and true gentlemen. Johan is the taller one with darker hair and Dean is the blonde that bought us the keychains. I told them I loved their accent and could just listen to them talk all day and they said they thought the same thing about us. ha ha. win win.
We had so much fun hanging out that we decided to get together later that night and go to dinner. So Stacie and I finally tried an authentic South African meal with these boys. We talked about music and they told me how much they loved the musical Grease as we all sang the songs at the dinner table. They were awesome guys. We hung out at our hotel room until midnight or so and then they needed to go get some sleep for their big game the next day, which they had invited us to come watch them, but we told them we couldn't because we were leaving the next morning. We wished we could have though. Sweet guys. Very sweet. It was nice to become friends with some locals.
The next day we were off to the airport again to fly back to Johannesburg and then a LONG bus ride to Kruger Park. The next day was dedicated to the Safari... the event that we had been waiting for! It was epic. We saw lots of animals and had a great time. You can read about it here.
What an AMAZING trip. Stacie and I had such a great time together in this beautiful country full of friendly people. I would definitely recommend South Africa to anyone. I didn't get any shots before I went... I probably would have even been fine not taking malaria pills. I drank from the tap, I felt totally safe there. I just loved every minute of being there. I would love to go back one day (or marry a South African... but whatever). I'm so glad that I went. Thank you Stacie for going with me! I heart South Africa. The End.
* This is Stacie and I in our matching South Africa Springbuck Rugby jerseys*