penguinSo we cross the border from Namibia to South Africa and get bagged by the immigration official about the rugby. Initially I thought he was talking about the ashes and given we were touring with far too many poms, I was trying desperately to ignore the issue. But getting beaten by SA in rugby, that’s something I can handle :)

The border crossing was actually quite interesting. First thing is that the border is actually the high water mark on the Namibian side. This is because when Namibia got independence in the early 1990’s, they owed SA so much money that SA stipulated the boundary conditions. And given there are loads of diamonds in Orange river, they figured it was worth a bit of moolah (and I hear they were right). But not only this, when we all walked into immigration, a curious guinea foul raced after Will. We thought he was actually going to go inside, but he must have thought better of it. There were also a bunch of kittens sitting behind a customs building. At least they’re animal friendly :)

lizardOur first stop was Springbok where KFC was just too tempting to avoid, but we settled with some peri peri chips… having waited nearly 2 years for chips that come WITH salt was amazing. It’s the small things in life :)

After that quick stop, we were on the truck again and heading to a wild flower park. We checked out a heap of succulents, a tortoise crossing the road, a horse that tried to bite (yes, bite) Lloyd and a lizard who posed for some photos. We had a very refined lunch of cheeses, crackers, dips and real fruit juice. We had reached civilisation! Whoo!

We had a long day of driving where we landed at a backpackers further south where we had a kick arse dinner (it was our last off the truck), played pool and had a few drinks which involved religious debate and hearing quite sad stories about loved ones. We were at a citrus farm and it was beautiful to say the very least and it was run by a pretty cool South African dood.

horseThe next day we arrived in good time to Stollenbosch where we were all keen to upgrade to a bed for the night. Partly because the weather was shitty and partly so we could have light/space to pack up all our gear. So the crew phoned around and found us a backpackers to stay at in town. Kim and I ‘scored’ a double room – only because noone else wanted it. We ended up in the same apartment as a guy we named ‘Mr Stinky’ who was clearly a bachelor and had been living there for some time as there was a computer setup on the kitchen bench (right near the sink) and there was stuff everywhere. The apartment smelt like boy. Like single, time deprived / lazy, boy.

The group went to a winery (which ended up being where they made wine, not grew it) while Kim, Lloyd and I checked out the town… ok, the internet. That night we went out for our last dinner as a group where we remembered all the funny things to happen and realised it had been 8 weeks since we started. Ian said some beautiful words to the group and we ended it with a toast and some dancing on the street to a jazz band who were pretty damn good!

Next morning, Kim and I crossed the large grassed area to put our gear in the truck when we saw Wills tent parked neatly on the grass. Looking closer, I could see two pairs of boots very neatly placed outside the door. I took a peek inside only to find Lloyd spooning Will fast asleep. After we put our stuff on the truck, I had to jump inside on top of them to wake them up! We soon found out that a police car had pulled up and waited for about 20 minutes seemingly debating whether they should do something about this random tent in the middle of a park!

The drive to Cape Town from Stellenbosch was only 35km, but it took ages due to the traffic, which was atrocious. Along the way, I was copying all the group photos for everyone, so they all had copies. Luckily I finished just in time for our arrival at Waterfront.

I was choking back some tears as I said goodbye to the people I had just spent the last 8 weeks with. We had travelled just over 10,400km in 55 days in a truck named Benji. An unforgettable experience.

We walked to Big Blue (the best backpackers we’ve ever stayed at – except for the owner himself who seems a very grumpy man), picked up a car and then met up with Stella and Jonathan for a Vietnamese dinner – yummo! Pity they nearly killed me with peanuts, but I’ll forgive the waitress… one day.

PenguinNext day, we were hitting the shops in a BIG way. I got my hair cut (thank god), restocked on some clothes and odd bits and then found some shoes (which Angelina said she’d take home for me :). After that, we went to visit the Jackass (African) penguins at Boulders beach. They were HUGE! A lot bigger than our fairy penguins in Oz! And they were SOOO close! I fell in love with them! Stella said that penguins rocked far more than the seals of Cape Cross :P

That night, we caught up with Stella and Jonathan again for a kick arse meal at Cod Fathers in Camps Bay. This place is FANTASTIC! You choose from a sushi train for starters then choose your own fish fillets and seafood from a show case. It was looovely! As was the company :) We were there until after 11pm then went searching for a bar, but ended up back where we started and had a few drinks. We then said goodbye to Stella and Jonathan before heading back to the hostel.

We spent the next day packing, calling home and wandering around waterfront before heading to the airport to fly back to London. We had a 10 hour stopover in Dubai but after a bit of research we realised that nothing opened until 10am which meant we would have 2 hours at the waterpark we intended to go to. Spewing. So instead, we found a lounge, curled up into a ball and had some sleep. Well I did, Kim didn’t :) We then bought a new point and shoot camera (mine packed up with all the dust it had breathed in) and of course ended up rushing to catch our flight! Never a dull moment!

One Response to “It all ends with South Africa”
  1. I love backpacking in south africa, has to be one of the best