South Africa is already over! These two first months of my round-a-world trip went so fast… but I will probably often have this impression during my trip 😉
I kept on repeating it, but this country is full of contrasts, be it in the landscapes, the culture or the society, and I will keep a very special memory of it, which is hard to sum up in a few lines.
The diversity of its wild and protected earth and oceans gives it all its splendour. I kept on being amazed in each new place I visited, though I only saw a very small part of the country.
A very good surprise for the vegetarian that I am (expecting a “meat-lovers” country) was the quality of the food – from the choices at the supermarket to the restaurants : fresh and local, organic, vegan, gluten-free etc., delicious breads and cheeses, numerous local craft beers…. Once again, this is contrasted as the extreme opposite – junk food, sodas, sugar and fat in huge proportions – is also largely present.
As for the culture and the society, I will only have had a small glimpse of them given the South African history’s complexity. Inequality is still very strong in this country: a lot of people were very kind and generous with me but criminality (with my phone’s theft in Jo’burg, as if we needed a proof), misery and brutality are still a reality.
Many people remain optimists for the country’s future though, and I like their views on the situation. Apartheid was not that long ago so mentalities and the society in its whole cannot be transformed in two shakes of a lamb’s tail. Let’s hope they are right!
South Africa being a huuuuge country, I had to make choices as for the visited destinations, and even more given that I stayed six weeks volunteering at Homtini.
I explored well the Garden Route around Knysna during my days off but had to sacrifice a lot of destinations: the surroundings of Cape Town (Cape of Good Hope, the vineyards, etc.), the East coast (Coffee Bay…), the north of the country and to my greatest regret, the numerous animal parks… I will definitely have to come back!
Tops and flops
Homtini Guest Farm
Of course after six weeks there, I had to mention this little piece of heaven! Pure happiness from morning to evening, with the view on the mountains, the indigenous forest, the birds songs, the huge quantities of blueberries…
Robberg Nature Reserve
My first “coup de Coeur” of the trip. The colours, the strength of the waves, the fauna and flora… as I told in this post, it is worth it to take time during the 9-km hike that goes all around it, so to enjoy it fully!
From sunrise on Lion’s Head to sunset on Table Mountain, these were magic moments that were definitely worth the ascension. Let’s not forget Bo Kaap, the Muslim district with its multi-coloured facades, and of course the unavoidable visit of Robben Island, former prison of Nelson Mandela.
3-day pony tour Lesotho
An incredible immersion in this small mountain country, preserved from – almost – all kind of westernisation. An authentic stay with the locals, deep into nature, without electricity or running water… I will never forget this experience!
A not to be missed region for every mountains and hiking lovers. Landscapes are wonderful and the possibilities to go hiking are numerous….
Only two days in Jo’burg and I am traumatized! Avoid at all cost Park Station and its surroundings, which is really the worst place of the city, and not only by night (phone stolen just before my departure). The Apartheid Museum is still worth a visit.
Knysna on Sunday
Avoid visiting Knysna on Sunday, there’s really nothing going on there! The city is relatively small and one day is enough to explore it, from the city center to the cliffs of The Heads
A wide area around Knysna was hit by violent fires during the last winter, due to a severe draught. These devastated landscapes tore hearts apart when you know how beautiful these forests are.
The transports nightmare
Visiting South Africa without a car is real challenge as the common transports are really undeveloped and/or are expensive. In Jo’burg and Cape Town, you can now count on Uber to be transported at cheaper coast but for the rest… best is, especially if you are more than two, to rent a car.
I wrote down each of my expenses during the trip in the app Handtrip, with which I should have been able to show a detailed report of my expenses during the two months, their repartition… but my phone was stolen on the very last day!
I know though that I spent 1 130€ in two months, but that I had of course less costs during the six weeks spent at the farm (280€ only!).
From what I can remember, the three most important costs were transports, accommodation and meals (each around 25%). I really enjoyed the food as the quality-price ratio was excellent. I’m not sure it will always be the case for the rest of my trip 😉