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April 22, 2007

South Africa Wrap Up



As we move further into the deep dark continent, South Africa fulfilled its role as a gentle introduction to Africa. We had a great time as we traversed this massive country, and while in hindsight we could have perhaps moved a little quicker, there are some great towns, hikes, bike rides, wineries and museums to see.   Among the places we particularly enjoyed were the wine region of Stellenbosch, Oudtshoorn and it's quirky Ostriches, Cintsa, Hogsback, Soweto and of course Kruger National Park. 

Lesotho will hold a special place in our hearts as we move forward on our journey - the pony trek through the highlands is our highlight to date. The friendliness of the people, remote villages, beautiful scenery and traditional way of living was great to experience.  Our only disappointment from our trip to Lesotho was not getting a copy of Bo Ma Be Maphutsing to add to our MP3 player!

South Africa is still a very messed up place, white South African's suffer from extreme paranoia (real or not), constantly living in fear of the blacks behind their razor wire fences. Understandably many may have been through circumstances beyond our comprehesion, however, particlarly in Cape Town, we were made to feel we should be afraid of the blacks, constanly being advised against going into black areas or using black transport options.  South Africa still has a long way to go in terms of reversing the damage caused by the Apartheid era. 

We predominatly used the larger public buses to get around South Africa, taking advantage of the mini buses in Lesotho and to get around between some of the smaller towns. Not only did we find this more flexible and cheaper than the alternative options, but using local transport was a great way to interact with the locals. On numerous occasions during our travels we have been lost and needed guidance and without fail we were assisted by the kindness of a local.

The soccer World Cup in 2010 is causing a major stir among the population, and while most of the population who actually play or support the game (the blacks) will not be able to attend due to the ticket prices, there is a real buzz about the place. Even in the townships, major development is taking place which is great to see.

South Africa and Lesotho introduced us both to a number of more exotic dishes, along the way we sampled Ostrich (eggs and meat), Kudu, Springbok, and Warthog. Mealie Meal (Pap) was a first for me and definitly won't be a last on this journey. Travelling on the local buses we normally resorted to dehydrating ourselves (no bathroom breaks), on the flip side this also gave us many chances to sample some of the fantastic local breads. South Africans have unfortunatly grown attached to Rooibos Tea - this is something that definitly should be phased out.

Overall South Africa and Lesotho offered a plethitude of things to do and see, the people were great, and getting around was relatively easy (if not a little slow).

     
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