A Travellerspoint blog

Hermanus

Bring On The Great Whites

semi-overcast 18 °C

large_DSC_6989.jpg

It happened again!! We arrive at the airport nice and early, return our car and then next our GPS and all things go smoothly. Stacey then makes the comment 'I can't believe everything worked out so well. It seems lately every time we leave a country we're always soured by departure taxes or flight screw ups' lol... way to jinx it babe... sorry sweetie but it's funny now. So we get up to the South African Airways counter and we're bumped... the flight is overbooked!! Really?? At the counter they proceed to give us the usually bullshit about this and that (ya ya we've done this before), but I know we're not getting on that flight. So what are we gonna get and what are you gonna do for us?? Long story short they put us up in a 5 star hotel with all our meals included and this place is gorgeous!! Fully equipped gym, pool and definitely the fanciest food we've had on this trip. Not bad for a little bit of fighting. Oh and they also threw in a free round trip flight voucher with South African Airways. Pretty cool... looks like we'll be coming back sooner then we expected lol.

We left Cape Agulhas hungover and a little heart broken that we couldn't spend more time there but we were also extremely excited about Hermanus and the prospect of diving with Great White Sharks. Yep that's right... it's on our bucket-lists and there was NO WAY we were missing out on this adventure. Although shark cage diving is a pretty big draw in the area, it isn't by far the only thing to see or do in the area, as Hermanus is also famously known for its Right and Humpback Whale watching.... and for its natural beauty of course. We found ourselves a great backpackers in town, booked our cage diving and got some rest.

large_DSC_6760.jpglarge_DSC_6763.jpglarge_DSC_7012.jpglarge_DSC_7014.jpglarge_DSC_7016.jpglarge_DSC_7011.jpg

Pretty funky place full of great people. I'm telling you guys, hostels are the way to go when travelling... well good hostels anyways. You meet so many great people that you never do when staying in a hotel, plus you can cook you own meals (lol I guess thats not ideal if your on holiday but in our case it is) or just chill out in a common area. And the staff are always super helpful and offer up great info about the local area. We decided that we would spend two days in Hermanus so for our first day we just checked out the town and enjoyed the beautiful scenery.

large_DSC_6764.jpglarge_DSC_6769.jpglarge_DSC_6779.jpglarge_DSC_6784.jpglarge_DSC_6794.jpglarge_DSC_6797.jpg

Such terrific coastline scenery and lots of these little guys along the rock face.

large_DSC_6812.jpglarge_DSC_6814.jpg

That night before dinner we headed back out to the coast for a few beers and of course to bask in the beautiful coastal scenery once again.

large_DSC_6822.jpglarge_DSC_6825.jpglarge_DSC_6835.jpglarge_DSC_6845.jpglarge_DSC_6863.jpglarge_DSC_6870.jpg

Dinner back at the hostel...

large_DSC_6876.jpg

THE BIG DAY FINALLY HAS COME!!! We woke up bright and early the next morning excited, but I'm not gonna lie, a little nervous... and maybe even a little scared... but hey, this wasn't our first time diving with sharks don't forget... only our first time diving with sharks that are the same size as a car lol. The Great White Shark Cage Diving actually takes place just outside of Hermanus in a town called Gansbaai (pronounced Gans Bay - "bay" here is pronounced like Newfies say "boy" at home lol like "buy"), so we hit the road early and arrived at our company Eco Shark Adventures for breakfast and our briefing.

large_DSC_6881.jpg

All the cage diving boats out in the harbour...

large_DSC_6883.jpg

So we boarded our boat and headed out off away from the coast and close to Dyer Island and Geyser Rock (Dyer Island is home to thousands of African Penguins while Geyser Rock is a smaller island home to around 60,000 Cape Fur Seals... and you can smell 'em miles away lol) which is the perfect feeding ground for the Great Whites. What the shark boats do is called chumming which is where they mash up small fish in buckets and then dump the buckets overboard into the water to attract the sharks. They then hook large yellow tuna heads onto a line and throw them out into the water. They're not allowed to actually feed the sharks but rather they just use the tuna heads as a visual target for the sharks to attack. Pretty cool stuff. After around 30 minutes or so of chumming we got our first glimpse of a female great white...

large_DSC_6884.jpglarge_DSC_6888.jpg

Time to get geared up and drop the cage into the water...

large_DSC_6902.jpglarge_DSC_6901.jpglarge_DSC_6900.jpg

Our boat actually had quite a lot of people (almost too many for comfort) and only 5 people can go inside the cage at a time (which is also too many for comfort). We both opted out of going first and instead decided to sit back and watch the action from the top deck.

large_DSC_6905.jpglarge_DSC_6912.jpg

Man were are they ever BIG!! I still can't believe it looking at the pictures. Check out the shots I got from the top deck...

large_DSC_6936.jpglarge_DSC_6937.jpglarge_DSC_6938.jpg

Ya baby!! Can you believe they jump for the bait like that? Unreal. After a couple of impressive jumps and passes the sharks kind of went away for awhile (a few other boats were chumming in the area as well) and we started to wonder if we had missed our only chance to get in the cage and see these bad boys up close and personal. Another group of people got in after the first and they must have sat in that cold water for a good half hour without seeing anything. After a while one showed up again but there weren't any really close passes by the cage. Finally I said screw it and jumped in the cage and DAMN was that water COLD!! I ended up sitting there freezing for a good ten minutes and then finally a big female showed up. Great White Sharks can get up to 7m long... this one was just over half of that, but I'm telling you in the water they look like they're 10m long! God did I ever get lucky cause this shark was out to play!! She made passes right in front of the cage and even caught the bait and tore it off the line right in front of my face (I'm talking less then 1m away!!). I couldn't believe it.

Oh maybe I should touch on the 'diving' for a second: basically the cage is just submersed in the water with its own floats but it's also tied to the boat. It must be made of stainless steel and the inside has bars for you to hold on to and to place your feet (you are warned numerous times during the briefing to keep your hands in the cage... I wonder why lol). Your in a wet suit with booties and a hood in a attempt to stay warm but your NOT supplied with a regulator or oxygen supply because the bubbles apparently scare away the sharks. Instead, once the guys manning the bait spot a shark the call out 'left' or 'right' and you then grab a big breath of air, go under water and become amazed.

large_DSC_6976.jpglarge_DSC_6975.jpg

My time in the cage was electrifying to say the least and I could hardly contain myself. What a rush!! A lot of people had underwater cameras (unfortunately we didn't rent one) which would have captured some magnificent shots... it would have been great to have pics of those beasts under water. Shortly after I got in the cage Stacey followed. I don't know what it was but as soon as Stacey hit the water the sharks went nuts!! The biggest one we had seen all day showed up and put on an insane show for us. After it had stolen the bait several times and basically got right up in my face (so close that I could touch it) I decided to get out of the water and head back up to the top deck to get some more pictures.

At this point things got real intense...

large_DSC_6995.jpglarge_DSC_6996.jpglarge_DSC_6997.jpglarge_DSC_6998.jpglarge_DSC_6999.jpglarge_DSC_7000.jpglarge_DSC_7001.jpg

Absolutely amazing!! The most unreal part is yet to come... during one of her passes the shark came head-on towards the cage, missed the bait and actually got her nose lodged in between the cage's bars and got stuck!! Well at this point Stacey was still in the cage and the guy right beside her actually had to punch the Great White's nose to get her loose!! I got some pictures of it happening...

large_DSC_6947.jpglarge_DSC_6953.jpglarge_DSC_6956.jpglarge_DSC_6957.jpg

What an experience. I think I've completely run out of adjectives to describe it so I hope those pictures give you a good idea of what it was all about. Probably one of the coolest things I've ever done and YES.... we would do it again in a heartbeat! We were both blow away by the experience and it only cost around $100 each (which included 2 meals as well). Definitely worth all the hype so do yourselves a favour, if your ever in South Africa, make sure you put shark cage diving at the top of your list.

The following morning we said our good-byes to Hermanus and again hit the road in our little car (she sure was good to us... I can't stress enough how fantastic it was to travel the country in your own car).

large_DSC_7005.jpglarge_DSC_7008.jpglarge_DSC_7003.jpg

That's all for this one guys. What can I say, Hermanus was just a gorgeous little place perfectly situated on the coast. Although we didn't spot any whales there was definitely no shortage of marine action during our stay! Once again we found ourselves another place that we would gladly move to in a second. Look out sharks... we're coming back for you... maybe lol.

large_DSC_6969.jpg

Posted by ttbwarren 16:26 Archived in South Africa Comments (0)

Cape Agulhas

The Southern Most Tip Of Africa

rain 15 °C

large_DSC_6654.jpg

Lets give a big round of applause to Stacey on that last blog post... great job baby!! I know you get lots of anxiety writing and very little support from certain loved ones (yeah Kara... stop heckling my girls writing lol). J'Bay was great and I miss it dearly. However our next destination struck a true chord in my heart and I wouldn't hesitate to move there in an instant. Seriously guys... South Africa is the bomb!!... and here's another example why...

After spending some time at Super Tubes in the morning (it ended up getting rained out and finished prematurely... a Brazilian guy won) we packed up the car and drove about a hour west down the famous Garden Route towards Storms River. Storms River claims the title of the adventure capital of South Africa and its obvious to see why. Here you can white water tube, hike, sky-dive and of course bungee jump...

large_DSC_6543.jpg

Did that picture give it away? Well ya the worlds highest bungee jump is here... and it LOOKS awesome... screw that... we weren't jumping' lol

large_DSC_6535.jpg

Okay... I probably would have jumped BUT it was expensive of course and it was bad weather (raining and cold) so instead we decided to just grab a bite and a beer and watch other brave souls shit their pants as they plummeted off the bridge.

large_DSC_6531.jpglarge_DSC_6537.jpg

Can you spot the people on the bungee?

large_DSC_6527.jpglarge_DSC_6569.jpg

Quite the view... and the coolest part was that the whole thing gets video taped and you can watch it on TV's in the restaurant. Pretty cool to see peoples faces (some brave giving winks to loved ones while others are completely terrified as their pushed off the bridge... oh yes make no mistake they're pushed as there is a pretty steady stream of people waiting to jump... time is money lol... and underwear can be replaced lol).

large_DSC_6540.jpglarge_DSC_6547.jpglarge_DSC_6553.jpg

The reason we came to Storms River initially was for the white water tubing but due to the weather (it rained nearly 3 inches) the river was way too flooded and dangerous, so unfortunately tubing got cancelled :( Normally something like this would get us down but when we look back at the big picture WE HAVE BEEN BLESSED WITH GOOD WEATHER THIS ENTIRE TRIP.... and that's an understatement. It does suck that we missed out but oh well I guess it gives us something to look forward to for when we come back. AND WE WILL. So we found ourselves a great little hostel in town (which is really quite small... like Asquith small) and did what any good tourist does in SA when rained out... enjoyed the wine!

large_DSC_6575.jpglarge_DSC_6581.jpg

It managed to clear up enough for us to do a little tour of town and have dinner at a local dinner.

large_DSC_6585.jpglarge_DSC_6590.jpglarge_DSC_6592.jpg

Lol... we were the only people in this Elvis/Monroe themed place with Cadi's inside... weird... but cool.

And that was it for Storms River. We really didn't have a lot of options because of the rain. All the park trails where closed as well as the tubing and there wasn't much point of waiting the rain out so we decided to push on towards the southern most point of Africa. And once again our drive didn't disappoint.

large_DSC_6605.jpglarge_DSC_6619.jpglarge_DSC_6623.jpglarge_DSC_6626.jpglarge_DSC_6629.jpglarge_DSC_6630.jpglarge_DSC_6635.jpglarge_DSC_6640.jpg

Those canola pics are for our farmer readers lol. It's really hard for me to sum this next place up verbally. At first going to Cape Agulhas kinda seemed like a "check list" destination... you know biggest this, highest that etc etc, but the instant we arrived we knew it was special.

large_DSC_6647.jpglarge_DSC_6649.jpglarge_DSC_6653.jpg

Not only is it the southern most tip of a continent (the only one we will probably ever see) but it is also the most south we have ever travelled and it's also the spot where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet.

large_DSC_6656.jpglarge_DSC_6658.jpglarge_DSC_6662.jpg

I really can't describe it... the feeling of being there... the oceans were just so turbulent, rough and powerful (there must be thousands of shipwrecks throughout history along the SA Capes) ... it was just one of those places that made you really glad to be alive and breathing.

large_DSC_6665.jpglarge_DSC_6669.jpglarge_DSC_6671.jpg

Loads of kelp all over too... time to rock out...

large_DSC_6660.jpg

Look Mom... I'm peeing in two oceans at the same time!!

large_DSC_6675.jpg

We hung around for as long as we could... such a magical place

large_DSC_6686.jpglarge_DSC_6689.jpglarge_DSC_6690.jpg

After checking into our hostel (no pics :( sometimes we forget... such a sweet place) we decided to head out and get some dinner and wound up finding this sweet little local pub. We had an excellent steak and an even better time with the local Capers.

large_DSC_6692.jpglarge_DSC_6696.jpglarge_DSC_6697.jpg

We got into the wine and shesha pretty good (it was funny watching the old local fisherman smoke sheesh lol) and a lady even ended up knitting Stacey a pair of mittens.

large_DSC_6695.jpglarge_DSC_6699.jpg

What great people. We had such a blast (learnt the SA anthem amongst numerous other things lol).

large_DSC_6701.jpglarge_DSC_6718.jpglarge_DSC_6717.jpg

Needless to say the night got a bit out of control and we wound up going to this local "club" with some people from the bar and got pretty annihilated... what... believe it or not this was only the second time in 10 months that we even set foot in a night club... and this place was more of a small town dance hall then night club... but my kind of place. Lets just say that we had a late one and our big plans for the next day amounted to us both sleeping in the car for several hours over looking the ocean lol.

large_DSC_6719.jpg

But we managed to pull it together after a good long nap and go see a ship wreck (1984 - name??) sitting just off the coast.

large_DSC_6721.jpglarge_DSC_6722.jpglarge_DSC_6725.jpg

Luckily our next destination (Hermanus) was only a short hours drive away so we spent the last part of the afternoon in the same place we spent the first... in the car... but moving this time.

large_DSC_6747.jpglarge_DSC_6751.jpglarge_DSC_6754.jpg

And that's Cape Agulhas guys. I really feel that this post doesn't do the place justice. I'm sure it looks a lot like other coastal towns/villages (probably like a lot of east coast Canadian towns) but there was really something special here. I mean on the Atlantic side it was rocky and cold feeling, but only a kilometre or so east and your staring at beautiful white sand beaches (apparently some of the longest in the world). And everyone's telling you 'you gotta come back in summer' and I can see why. But winter here is gorgeous... and it's not that cold (from a Canadian's perspective of course) although I'm sure they get their share of wicked storms. The town itself was really beautiful and quiet and seemed like the perfect place to get away from it all or retire... and maybe that's just what we'll do one day. Hey if we can save enough money to retire for a year around the world who's to say we can't move here! Anything is possible if you want it bad enough. As long as we don't ever have to sleep in a car hung over anymore... cause that just sucks.

large_DSC_6759.jpg

Posted by ttbwarren 10:24 Archived in South Africa Comments (0)

J'Bay

Quick Stop @ Billabong Supertubes

semi-overcast 20 °C

large_DSC_6494.jpg

What??... you think I don't have any literary skills?? I can't write as well as my better half thats for sure, but we are a little behind on our blog entries... no it's not cause Blair has another dermatology problem or any other medical reason lol, it is simply because we have fallen deeply in love with South Africa! I think we both knew that we would find places that stole our hearts on this trip but usually by the end of each country we have been ready to move on. The thought of leaving here truly brought tears to my eyes as we left Kruger Park this morning! You see we leave tomorrow to Sao Paulo Brazil and we're both really excited BUT.... this past month has been nothing but pure joy and excitement on every level! I don't want to go into to much detail about it cause Blair has to rip out a few more blog posts so you guys can get all caught up on our Memorable Experiences of South Africa! (Its #1 on our Top 5 Places List)

After leaving Durban we headed out on the road again for another day of driving... this time a 10 hour journey to East London.

large_DSC_6406.jpg

When we were back home a 10 hour drive was horrible but here it's a very free feeling having our own car to go anywhere we want.

large_DSC_6387.jpglarge_DSC_6411.jpglarge_DSC_6447.jpglarge_DSC_6440.jpglarge_DSC_6442.jpglarge_DSC_6404.jpglarge_DSC_6398.jpglarge_DSC_6402.jpg

We had a quick stop in East London to spend the night (long day of driving because of construction) and to trade in our car for one thats doors locked from the inside. Kinda scary being at an intersection here when you hear so many bad stories about people opening doors and stealing anything they can. So we opted to trade our car in for something a bit better (still same $$).

large_DSC_6461.jpg

The following morning we drove into the city of Port Elizabeth (had to buy a computer charger cause we temporarily lost ours) and then onward to the nearby town of Jeffery's Bay (also known as J'Bay). J'Bay has been hosting the Billabong Super Tubes for many years and it's a world renowned surf competition that is attended by Pro surfers from all over the world. And yep we got to go see it, but first we had to find a hostel (known as backpackers in South Africa) and that of course wasn't going to be easy seeing as though so many people came to watch Super Tubes. We ended up finding a place but they only had camping available and we were pumped cause our last camping experience was a great one. Well needless to say this wasn't as good as the last one and we ended up sleeping in our car by around 5 am. We weren't being babies about the cold but rather annoyed by the crazy tripped out people that were running around our tent on who knows what kind of drugs till 9 am the next morning. However we survived and we woke up early enough to get ourselves a big cup of coffee and head to the beach to watch the action!

large_DSC_6467.jpglarge_DSC_6465.jpglarge_DSC_6464.jpglarge_DSC_6473.jpglarge_DSC_6468.jpglarge_DSC_6477.jpglarge_DSC_6484.jpglarge_DSC_6490.jpglarge_DSC_6495.jpglarge_DSC_6500.jpglarge_DSC_6479.jpglarge_DSC_6486.jpglarge_DSC_6492.jpglarge_DSC_6496.jpglarge_DSC_6498.jpglarge_DSC_6502.jpg

We spent most of the morning around the beach but we did go to a local restaurant to get some great South African grub. I think Blair and I have become food connoisseurs on this trip... it can really make or break a place and South African food has definitely made it for us!

large_DSC_6514.jpg

After lunch we headed back to the beach to take in a bit more action and stubbled upon this on one of the paths. After seeing all the Momba snakes in Durban I was a little scarred that's for sure!

large_DSC_6517.jpglarge_DSC_6520.jpg

Then we completely lucked out and saw South Africa's pride and joy... surfer Jordy Smith after he finished his ride. The people here love him and were cheering so loud for their home-town star (last years winner).

large_DSC_6524.jpg

After our day at the beach we returned to our hotel and thankfully they had a room open up in their flash-packers facility... this is the area for the wealthy backpackers lol. Believe me after the night we had I would have paid $50 bucks for a room, but not anymore cause we're still cheap backpackers.

large_DSC_6454.jpglarge_DSC_6455.jpglarge_DSC_6456.jpg

This will probably be my one and only blog post, not including my wonderful LA post that Blair still makes fun of me for. I wanted you all to know that for me, and I know for Blair as well, this journey we have been on has had its up and downs but I wouldn't change any of that for anything... even India lol

Oh Ya and..... Blair really is fantastically wonderful and absolutely Amazing at writing this blog so I think we'll just leave it in his hands and I'll keep snappin the pics!

Posted by ttbwarren 05:13 Archived in South Africa Comments (0)

Durban

Our South African Home - Warner Beach

sunny 23 °C

large_DSC_6217.jpg

This country just keeps getting better and better!! Absolutely, unequivocally, 100%, South Africa is our favourite country yet! You'll start to understand why reading this post... there's always so much to do and see and just not enough time to do and see it in.

The drive from Jo'Burg to Durban was around 6.5 hours but it was quite a nice drive and took us through 3 different provinces.

large_DSC_5999.jpglarge_DSC_6003.jpglarge_DSC_6007.jpglarge_DSC_6012.jpglarge_DSC_5997.jpg

Me enjoying the sights....

large_DSC_6013.jpglarge_DSC_6026.jpg

I'm not sure what these trees/flowers are called but you see them quite frequently driving around the country.

large_DSC_6028.jpg

We quickly passed through Durban and continued about another 30km or so south along the coast to the small community of Warner Beach. Here we checked in at The Ire Lodge and decided to camp for the next few days. Unlike Jo'Burg, the weather in Durban is still quite warm and at night it only ever dropped down to about 12-15 C... perfect weather for a tent!

large_DSC_6034.jpglarge_DSC_6030.jpg

Our little two man'er worked out fine and we both slept great every night. The weather in Durban wasn't by any means hot beach weather but it was perfectly comfortable and just nice enough to take a dip.... if your not a wimp... which one of us didn't go swimming?

large_DSC_6038.jpglarge_DSC_6052.jpglarge_DSC_6055.jpglarge_DSC_6064.jpglarge_DSC_6073.jpglarge_DSC_6088.jpglarge_DSC_6099.jpglarge_DSC_6111.jpg

After spending some time on the beach we headed back into town, grabbed some supplies and started to cook our first meal in months!!

large_DSC_6138.jpg

It honestly felt so good to be able to cook our own food for once. Think about it though... we've literally been eating out 2-3 times a day for the past 9+ months! Sometimes change is good.

The next day we spent the morning checking out dive shops and arranged for the following day to dive the world famous site Aliwol Shoal, which is a reef just off the coast from Warner Beach and is famously frequented by sharks! Yep, sharks. Ragged Tooth, Dusky and sometimes Tiger sharks all can be spotted in the area near the reef and winter time is the best chance you have of spotting them. Super exciting! So that afternoon we decided to do a little research and go to Durban's new aquarium called Ushaka.

A quick pitstop at Steers (South African fast-food burger chain) for coffee before heading to Durban...

large_DSC_6143.jpglarge_DSC_6157.jpg

The whole entire area surrounding the aquarium is really nice and the perfect place to just wander around, people watch and enjoy the weather. Ushaka also contains a water park, restaurants/nightclubs, theme rides, shark diving and swimming with dolphins. A promenade runs right through the park and continues on along Durban's coast. We even got to have a drink and check out a reggae band.

large_DSC_6172.jpglarge_DSC_6174.jpglarge_DSC_6176.jpglarge_DSC_6179.jpglarge_DSC_6180.jpglarge_DSC_6184.jpg

But this was the big ticket... the aquarium... made out of an old ship!

large_DSC_6188.jpglarge_DSC_6164.jpglarge_DSC_6169.jpg

And inside it was even more spectacular!

large_DSC_6201.jpglarge_DSC_6204.jpglarge_DSC_6205.jpglarge_DSC_6198.jpglarge_DSC_6218.jpglarge_DSC_6226.jpg

The whole inside mimicked an old sunken ship and they really did a fantastic job making everything look so old and relic's... well I suppose that's not too hard considering it is a real ship lol. Still they did a great job converting it into a world class aquarium. Oh ya our research lol. We got to stare right into their eyes and think 'I'm actually going to be swimming right next to you tomorrow? Good Lord...'

large_DSC_6208.jpglarge_DSC_6216.jpglarge_DSC_6229.jpg

Interesting fact: Ragged Tooth's, although they look insane with their crazy jagged teeth, are quite docile, more so the larger they get. That's comforting lol.

large_DSC_6233.jpglarge_DSC_6236.jpglarge_DSC_6241.jpglarge_DSC_6245.jpglarge_DSC_6248.jpg

The next day was it!! WE WOULD BE DIVING WITH SHARKS OUT IN THE INDIAN OCEAN!!! NO CAGE... Just open water. Crazy... still can't believe it. I don't have the best pictures of it so I'll have to describe a bit of the experience here:

The first unique thing about it for us was that we launched our boat from the mouth of a river out into the ocean. That sounds like 'ya so what' but we've ever done this before (only beach dives and dive-boat scuba dives) and it's quite a rush to be in this semi inflatable boat (I am so not a boat guy and couldn't tell you the name/type of boat so just look at the pic) launching waves or trying to outrun big ones to make it out to sea! Intense... especially when they tell you that they don't want anyone to fall off today... cause it happens lots I guess lol.

large_The_Shoal_..RSA_034.jpg

So we finally get out to the Shoal, dive down (not too deep - 24m) and still the swells are insane!! We have never dove in such strong curtain/drift... it was crazy. AND.... my BCD wouldn't function under water proper (this is your 'life jacket' that inflates with air and helps you to control your buoyancy) which sucks when you just want to focus on the dive. Not gonna lie it was super hard trying to find my neutral buoyancy in that rough water... kinda scary actually lol. And then right away... BAM... sharks... 2m away from me!!!!

large_The_Shoal_..RSA_024.jpglarge_The_Shoal_..RSA_026.jpglarge_The_Shoal_..RSA_030.jpg

When he first popped out I nearly kicked him with my fin cause I didn't know he was behind me lol. I knew something was up looking into my dive buddies eyes though lol and quickly turned around to nearly get hit be a huge Ragged Tooth shark.

large_The_Shoal_..RSA_027.jpg

Aside from the strong current and my shit BCD the dive was amazing!! Visibility wasn't great (10m tops) which sucks when sharks are in the waters around you lol, but we still saw loads of cool stuff other then sharks including turtles. (Maybe I'll see if I can post some video later).

What a freakin' rush!! After we got our adrenaline fix shark diving we decided to check out another local attraction...

large_DSC_6145.jpglarge_DSC_6146.jpg

Crocworld!!

large_DSC_6267.jpglarge_DSC_6289.jpglarge_DSC_6327.jpglarge_DSC_6324.jpg

It used to be a croc farm that harvested these beasts for their leather of course and a little bit for their meat, but since the market has dwindled they converted their operation into a tourist attraction. Look who the brave one is again!

large_DSC_6271.jpglarge_DSC_6276.jpglarge_DSC_6281.jpg

One of Crocworld's biggest attractions is Henry a roughly 112 year old male crocodile who's been at the park since 1984. He is the oldest Nile Crocodile in captivity and weighs roughly 840 kgs!!

large_DSC_6286.jpglarge_DSC_6287.jpglarge_DSC_6288.jpg

Look at those teeth!! Henry would have no problem taking a human down! We learnt quite a lot about crocs and even got to see a feeding. And I gotta say the park was just immaculately kept and the grounds were utterly spotless... always a welcome change from some of the countries we've travelled.

large_DSC_6292.jpglarge_DSC_6298.jpglarge_DSC_6305.jpglarge_DSC_6311.jpglarge_DSC_6315.jpglarge_DSC_6316.jpglarge_DSC_6321.jpg

On site there was also a snake exhibit (yea me!) and also several bird enclosures.

large_DSC_6345.jpg

Two of the most deadly snakes in the world: The Green and Black Mambas

large_DSC_6348.jpglarge_DSC_6350.jpglarge_DSC_6358.jpglarge_DSC_6361.jpg

Sick lol. Those green mambas scare the shit outta me! You should have seen how they interacted with you up at the glass. And they're so green and camouflaged you'd never see them in a tree or grass. Ah I cringe just thinking about them. I like this guy much better... hopefully we can see more in Brazil.

large_DSC_6362.jpg

That night we celebrated our action filled day with a traditional South African braai which as it turns out is basically a Canadian BBQ lol.... I love this country!!

large_DSC_6366.jpg

We did this quite often at the Ire Lodge and I need to say a big thank you to our most gracious and wonderful hosts Nel and Will! Thank you for making us feel so at home in your beautiful home. You are welcome to stay with us any time... but there's no ocean lol... and the beef and wine are significantly more expensive... I'm not doing a very good job selling Canada am I lol.

large_DSC_6368.jpglarge_DSC_6375.jpg

That's it for Durban/Warner Beach guys. One of our favourite places to date and just another reason as to why South Africa is our favourite country so far! Stay tuned cause next up is Jefferys Bay and The Billabong Supertubes Pro surfing competition.

Posted by ttbwarren 00:19 Archived in South Africa Comments (0)

Johannesburg

'Get Outta My Dreams & Into My Car'

semi-overcast 14 °C

large_DSC_5901.jpg

I am so excited to finally get to start blogging about South Africa!! As you have probably already guessed we are having a wicked time here and I don't ever want it to stop. The longer we're here the more this amazing land impresses us. It's hard for me to express in words why it's so special here... luckily enough our blog is aided with great pictures (mainly taken by my much sexier counterpart and fiancé) and hopefully the two together will help to convey some of the spectacular sights we've seen in this great diverse country.

We touched down in Jo'Burg late morning and immediately went to Avis to pick up our car. We wanted to be as fast as possible because we were hoping to get to the Brazilian Embassy in Pretoria (about a hours drive away) that day to start on our VISA applications. Because we've been on the road so long we were unable to get them in Canada before we left, so this was our only option... kind of a shitty feeling when you already have a flight booked somewhere and your not even sure you can visit the country or not. Well we got delayed by bad luck (credit card chip errors, SIM card issues etc etc) but finally we had both a GPS and a car... so we were off... and on the wrong side of the road for the first time in a car.

large_DSC_5830.jpglarge_DSC_5875.jpg

I can't lie, at first it felt really weird to be driving on the other side but it was pretty much all freeway to Pretoria. Unfortunately the girl at the GPS rental store programmed the stupid GPS wrong and the thing wasn't actually using its satellites, so it's telling us to turn into fences or on golf courses and what not. It even told us to exit into Alexandria which is one off the most notorious townships in Jo'Burg (our guidebook even says 'if you drive in don't expect to leave with anything but your underwear if your lucky'). Not a very fun experience being lead astray by your "supposed" navigator and getting lost in a foreign city within 30 minutes of driving lol. But we got the damn thing straightened away and found our hostel before nightfall. We celebrated with hats...

large_DSC_5832.jpglarge_DSC_5837.jpglarge_DSC_5839.jpglarge_DSC_5841.jpglarge_DSC_5854.jpg

The next day we honestly didn't do a heck of a lot other than catch up on sleep (the beds here are heaven and it's been too long since we've slept on proper mattresses or had duvets) and go shopping.

large_DSC_5869.jpglarge_IMG_2734.jpg

Most things in South Africa are quite a bit cheaper then in Canada. Clothes, food, alcohol, and even our car rental ($600 for the entire month with unlimited km's) are/were less expensive, while gas and hotels are roughly the same price. Even Harley's were quite a bit cheaper then back home!

large_DSC_5857.jpglarge_DSC_5863.jpglarge_DSC_5865.jpg

Jo'Burg tends to get a bit of a bad reputation in the media and in different published statistics (highest murder rate in the world according to certain stats) but to be honest it felt quite normal and much like any other Canadian city. Keep in mind that I am generalizing here and we obviously didn't travel into any townships. Although we felt relatively safe you could still see the great divide between rich and poor everywhere you went. We spent quite a lot of time in Pretoria (the capital just north of Jo'Burg where we had to arrange our VISAS) and Sandton (one of the wealthier neighbourhoods of the city) but on our 3rd we headed into the main downtown to see what it was like.

large_DSC_5872.jpglarge_DSC_5877.jpglarge_DSC_5881.jpglarge_DSC_5885.jpglarge_DSC_5887.jpglarge_DSC_5893.jpg

It was much like any big city (supposed to be quite dangerous at night however) and quite easy to navigate around. We had to head there to see if we could retrieve our travel books for the Post Office and to venture up to the Top Of Africa.... technically that would be Kilimanjaro but the man-made top of Africa is the Carlton Building which is still the tallest building on the continent.

large_DSC_5894.jpg

Got to take in some great views of Jo'Burg.

large_DSC_5898.jpglarge_DSC_5899.jpglarge_DSC_5905.jpglarge_DSC_5908.jpglarge_DSC_5915.jpglarge_DSC_5919.jpglarge_DSC_5913.jpglarge_DSC_5925.jpg

We had quite a busy day planned so after the Top Of Africa we high tailed it over to the Apartheid Museum to take in some of the country's troubled history.

large_DSC_5928.jpglarge_DSC_5930.jpg

We never grow tired of a good museum (there is obviously a big difference in museum quality country to country) and have found ourselves spending lots of time in them throughout this trip. The Apartheid Museum was really really good and impressively designed and laid out. We wound up staying until closing and nearly took in the entire museum.

large_DSC_5931.jpglarge_DSC_5932.jpglarge_DSC_5935.jpglarge_DSC_5936.jpglarge_DSC_5938.jpglarge_DSC_5942.jpg

I would like to go into further detail about the history of the Apartheid but I am neither history teacher nor historian so I'll leave it to the professionals. Take it from me though South Africa has an extremely interesting history so do yourself a favour and run a quick wikipedia search on it.

large_DSC_5945.jpglarge_DSC_5947.jpg

Nooses symbolizing all the executions of political opposers during the Apartheid years...

large_DSC_5948.jpg

Cells where prisoners were detained 24 hours a day for as long as 3 years!!

large_DSC_5949.jpg

Vehicles (can't remember the name) used to patrol the townships and quash uprisings.

large_DSC_5951.jpg

After finishing up at the museum we drove about a hour north-west of Jo'Burg to a small suburb where our good friend Spencer (travelled with him in Israel) recommended we try out a restaurant called Carnivores. Who could pass up the opportunity to try game meat?

large_DSC_5955.jpglarge_DSC_5958.jpglarge_DSC_5959.jpg

I still can't believe it... $67 for all you can eat Braai (BBQ) meat, soup, salads, sauces, desert and two rounds of cocktails!!

Me getting ready to eat zebra!

large_DSC_5964.jpg

MMMmm... Zebra...

large_DSC_5969.jpg

Well done Stacey!! Like a true carnivore! Zebra wasn't all they had on the menu that night as we also got to feast on crocodile, impala, kudu (antelope) and beef, chicken and pork.

large_DSC_5971.jpglarge_DSC_5972.jpglarge_DSC_5973.jpglarge_DSC_5974.jpg

By far the best meal we've had yet on this trip!! The meat was cooked perfectly and I gotta say I'm a big fan of both impala and kudu. So delicious! Before coming to SA we were starved of REAL meat, and now that we're here it's like I want to go on a steak bender lol. Its just such good quality and SOO cheap... for example the other night we bought 2 big T-Bone steaks for just under $5!! And everyone here is just absolutely nuts about braai (BBQ) and meat... my kinda of people... the only cow worshipping done here is by the peoples tastes buds.

large_DSC_5978.jpg

All the braai up on the fire...

large_DSC_5980.jpglarge_DSC_5982.jpg

Of course Carnivores was decked out with all kinds of cool memorabilia and relics. Photo-op...

large_DSC_5984.jpg

The other thing I've yet to touch on has been the weather. Well let me first just say that we have both become utter pussies when it comes to the cold lol. Not totally lol but it has been a big shock to our systems to find ourselves experiencing winter for the first time in 15 months (our last winter was spring 2011 in Canada). And its not even a real winter lol but rather a Canadian spring. We did get this one morning...

large_IMG_2731.jpglarge_IMG_2732.jpg

Frost... on our gay little car lol. At night in Jo'Burg temperatures dropped to near freezing... a big change for us. I keep saying we gotta toughen up and get used to it... Stacey keeps saying crank the heat and grab another blanket lol. Generally we find however that buildings here don't have heating systems (I'm sure really fancy places do but we've yet to see one), but everyone likes a good roaring fire which is always a nice to gather around.

So thats all for now on Jo'Burg. We have to return at the end of the month to pick up our VISAS and catch our flight out of Africa :( Still have a few things to see there yet so hopefully we'll get a chance on our return visit. From Jo'Burg we drove south east towards the coastal sun city of Durban, our next destination. Our first South Africa road trip!! I don't know what it is but I always love a good road trip with my Stacey... especially when she's driving and I get to pick the music lol.

large_DSC_5989.jpglarge_DSC_5993.jpg

The roads were fantastic the entire way but they were toll (about $25). Well thats all for now... oh.. here's a farming pic for you Dad to end off (for some reason they all burn their straw and stubble?? Not sure why). Cheers.

large_DSC_5994.jpg

Posted by ttbwarren 08:53 Archived in South Africa Comments (0)

(Entries 21 - 25 of 107) « Page 1 2 3 4 [5] 6 7 8 9 10 .. »