Thursday April 9, 2015 (Africa, South Africa)
We made it to South Africa! We actually arrived on the 6th of April after a moderately punishing day of travel. Think waking up at 3:30am for a 6:30am flight, layover in Santa Cruz for an hour or so, into Sao Paolo and layover for the flight out at 6pm which arrives into Johannesburg at about 8am the next morning. Lost a whole day to travel there!
I was actually quite concerned at one point in the trip as it became obvious we were delayed from Santa Cruz to Sao Paolo. Visions of dashing through the airport, not being able to clear Brazilian customs and so on flashed through my head. Because we’d purchased these tickets separately, I think we’d be in big trouble if we missed the connection back to one of our Aeroplan Reward flights. They could conceivably cancel our entire itinerary for the rest of the round-the-world trip. Bad news. But everything went very smoothly and we had no troubles, so I’ll keep praying to the same travel gods for now.
Our two days in Joburg were full of rest and relaxation. We met up with Ivy and Dave (Sandra’s mom and step-dad), who had arrived a day or so before us. They’ll be hangin’ out with us for the next couple of weeks, so don’t be surprised by their potentially frequent presence in pictures! Ivy had a friend Beth who’s been living in Joburg for years, and she graciously offered to host us and let us get our legs here in South Africa. After tooting around Joburg a bit, we decided to get out of their hair and head down to Cape Town.
We arrived here yesterday and started planning out an itinerary. Today we decided to visit Table Mountain — a Cape Town wonder!
Table Mountain dominates the skyline surrounding the city of Cape Town. There are a couple of options for the ascent, but Sandra, Dave and I decided we wanted to walk our way up. It takes an estimated 4 hours or so, and it was a reasonably punishing uphill throughout as you have to make your way up from around sea level to just over 1000m at Maclear’s Beacon. Quite the sweaty walk out in the thirty degree weather, but we made it!
The walk itself departs from the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, so we left Ivy there to check out the surroundings and meet us at the top.
When we reached the peak, we were afforded some great views of Robben Island (where Nelson Mandela spent most of his time in prison), and of Cape Town itself. We also managed to spot a “dassie” — a rodent-looking creature whose closest living relative is (drumroll please) the African Elephant! What? Apparently this is true.
Cable car back down to the bottom (you didn’t think we were walking back, did you?!), and we were home free. I grabbed a shot of a “hadeda ibis”. He was rocking worms out of the soil like you would not believe. Within about 2 minutes this guy grabbed about 6 juicy worms right before my eyes! He knew what was up. We’ve been pronouncing their name like “LAH DEE DAH!”, but starting with an “H”. It’s a lot of fun.
Tomorrow we’re off to visit Robben Island — the one you saw pictured out in the bay. Wish us luck!