A Travellerspoint blog

Goodbye to Africa

reflecting on an amazing journey


Well it is now our last day in Africa- Tomorrow we embark on a mammoth convoluted journey back to Manchester UK which involves flying via Johannesburg and Heathrow..
[b]I have just checked the blog site and we have had over 6,500 hits.. which is amazing as I am not sure if I have gauged the blogs right... I suspect they might be a bit rambly (please dont all comment at once!!) .. but they are what they are..an honest account of what we have been up to and how its affected us.

I did have a pre -concieved shopping list of things I wanted to achieve before we left here (see Blog) but what I hadn't bargained for was all the amazing extras.. Like finding Hannah the most perfect impish child both Caro and myself used to entertain when we were midwives in Ghana over 20 years ago ..now she's turned into a beautiful African long necked swan..( but still a scream) ..Or the lasting effect that seeing Nelson Mandellas cell and other political prisoners cells would have , or the barbaric and erie feel of the slave castle we visited ..

The world cup was the cherry on our family cake when we met up with Jonathan ... wowee... the organization was absolutely fantastic and we felt safe and had a vevezula ball.... How lucky Tom is.

Most of all I will treasure the memories of the warm and friendly welcome we have had, of visiting old friends and making new ones, of meeting travelers either en route on a world tour or like us savoring all that Africa has to offer..I have only been here for 2 months and wouldn't change a thing..


Posted by WAKEFIELDS 07:27 Archived in South Africa Tagged backpacking Comments (2)

From Robyn Island to the Eastern Cape

elephants lions and backpackers


We have visited Robyn Island- the catamarans (CATS) take you over a large stretch of choppy water to the island visible from Cape Town on a clear day.. The CATS load was a mixture of South Africans, Vevezula waving Dutch, and yanks we seemed to be the only Brits onboard, Met by a comedic guide who thought his jokes were a lot funnier than they actually were, we all boarded a bus and toured the island visiting the pointless limestone quarry where prisoners in the full hot bright sun chipped away at stones that had no purpose. These workers were allowed no shade until a break for lunch consequently many x prisoners including Mandela cant produce tears..it was completely barbaric.
Along with other prisoners Nelson Mandela’s cell was the length and width of a dog kennel, he was not allowed to play football with the others, his world revolved around a back yard he was a high risk prisoner. (See pictures)
I did have to bear in mind that the fact despite all efforts to lead the ANC in peaceful means to end arpartite Nelson and others were imprisoned due to a foiled bomb plot.
“Any questions” asked the prison guide,
“Did your Jailors say sorry” I asked
“They did yes”
“Did they mean it?” ……………No answer

From Somerset West we packed up and headed for the Eastern Cape staying at Starling Backpackers which is the most welcoming place we have yet been to… the accommodation was very basic and more dormitory style but the hosts created an atmosphere for travellers to all feel included and we had 3 nights of entertainment, and I managed to get the whole room to support Ghana for the nail biting quaterfinal against cheating Uraguay…
Tom thrashed the Irish, Chinese and US and at table tennis, we toured the beaches around Plattenberg bay and at my insistence went to see crazy people jump from the highest bungee bridge in the world tossed like rag dolls in the air

Folk actually like suspending themselves like this! .. Jonathan had no interest in jumping preferring to be in control and climb the Gorge but of course Tom begged us to let him do it.….. Shame he’s too young minimum age 14!
From Plat bay we headed to Addo game reserve. On the eastern Cape. This is full of animals that live wild and free in an area the size of Belgium..they rely on the food chain of life .. So Kudu are hunted by Lions and hyenas and Elephants lurk around eating bushes all day in amazing herds and parades ..(there is a difference)
I never thought I would feel happy to go out on our own into the bush but we were all hungry for more ..it was so unpredictable and there was an element of danger that gave it an edge… Elephants the size of houses pounding nearby the car within touching distance ..Keeping still and quiet is an art form for both myself and Tom but we quickly got the hang of it… being so close elephants and lions was out of this world.

And Now? Well we are at Umbuto backpackers in Jefferies bay we had a drastic change of plan as we have got tickets for our final game of the world cup 3rd place play off .. This is a surfers paradise the Billabong surf championships start here next week ..I soon figured that if I cook a large curry I could barter it for surf lessons for Tom.. one this pm secured with the most attractive young German lad this afternoon …
All backpackers places have similar atmospheres ethos and compulsory features…
All inhabitants to say “awesome,” “cool” and “man” after every sentence
Smells and tastes of Africa
Large dogs
Every nationality passing through
African art covering all surfaces
I could go on and on …but what they don’t generally have of course is a cheeky 11 year old Buxton boy having the time of his life.

Love from J L & T

Posted by WAKEFIELDS 04:16 Archived in South Africa Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

Avoiding Cobras , puff adders and sharks-

Eastern cape heading towards Port Elizabeth

overcast 17 °C

Picture the scene, Tom climbing near table mountain Jonathan having hooked up with a south African climber .. phone call received from Tom....."Mum I am high up and there is a cobra curled up sunbathing on the rock next to me and there are puff adders in the bushes".... he was full of dramatic near miss stories when he got back home. Later when Tom was tucked up in bed dreaming of his narrow escapes, Jonathan admitted they would have received flesh burning blisters from the bushes near the hand holds, but for his new friend there pointing them out!

On 28th June ..(J's birthday) Tom joined local kids at Muisenberg beach surf school for the day we left him whilst we toured Simonstown area for a few celebratory drinks! .When we collected him we realised that this bay is shark infested and the significance of the flag system to warn of sharks.. apart from a huge egg on his head from a board that clunked him..he was unscathed and in one piece .. Thank god I didn’t see the graphic pictures of children with chunks out of their limbs in newspaper cuttings at the local cafe ..

The scenery is contrastingly breathtaking ....sheer cliff drops from roadsides down to the Atlantic ..miles and miles of African plains peppered with ostriches and cattle ( their ostriches are our sheep. If you know what I mean)
So now we are heading for Port Elizabeth towards the Eastern Cape- we are staying at Starling backpackers off the beaten track, it has all essential luxuries ..a bed, a hot shower beer, wifi, table tennis and best of all a roaring circular camp fire which is set indoors near the dimly lit bar and dining area-the place is transfused with Indy music... ( I’m right by the fire as I write this by the way) Large comfy sofas are placed all around the room each furnishing bottoms from Korea, Sweden South Africa, USA and Germany. We are waiting for a communal curry to be produced

I wasn't going to mention Germany ... so this is my final comment re: the world cup and England .. we didn’t deserve to win and we shouldn't have expected to ... I think all here bar the Germans want Ghana to win ..ok at least go to the Semi's....Go Ghana... please friends at home say a prayer to whoever it is you talk to....
XX L J and T

Posted by WAKEFIELDS 11:52 Archived in South Africa Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Swimming with Penguins -

Boulders bay - Simonstown

Yesterday we set off for cape point (where the Indian ocean meets the Atlantic) and stopped over in Simonstown where huge colonies (is that the right term for a group of penguins?) gather .. its is quite spectacular , there is a small secluded beach where its possible to swim.. - it is quite something to have penguins swimming near you they may waddle in to the water but they swim so fast... its amusing to watch them waddle out of the water and back to their babies on a mission to feed.
The day was topped off with our final group match- we decided to leave the car in Fish hoek and got the train in to Capetown... we have been warned not to ride the trains as there are tales of robbery etc .. but we had a great time and chatted to the warm and friendly local South Africans striking up friendships with local lads from a township nearby.
The Townships lie side by side next to the affluent areas .. miles and miles of corrugated tin roofs placed on top of brightly coloured Wendy sized houses that I can only imagine sleep large numbers... once again the contrast between the haves and have nots is very apparent. there are large government signs up that herald new building works / sewage plants..but reading the press and speaking to locals so much money has been spent on the world cup that has to be funded from the state purse Its hard to see how it can happen at the speed expected.- Fifa take all profits from games and ticket sales etc..

The football was amazing we were high up at green point stadium and even though we know Holland is through and Cameroon out- it was full capacity and CAMEROON DID THEM SELVES PROUD! - Tom was of course shouting for Cameroon and blowing the Vezula ..I was listing to the black eyed peas to drown the sound out of the horns! -
Off to Robbin Island today - to see Nelsons prison cell.
best wishes to all- thanks for your lovely messages


Posted by WAKEFIELDS 02:23 Archived in South Africa Comments (2)

Toms Blog from Capetown

skype is cool!

semi-overcast 22 °C

Hi to Liam, Giaan and Dom and all my friends following our blog..
I have spoken and seen Liam and Ben and Ian on skype it was fun to see them.
Today England play we dont think they deserve to get through but hope they do. Ghana and portugal are the other teams we are supporting.
Ghana play tonight cant wait !!

Going to the Holland Cameroon match tomorrow in CAPETOWN, even though Holland are through and CAMEROON ARE NOT we still think it will be a good match as CAMEROON will hopefully get loads of goals!
Capetown is a brilliant city and every one here is very friendly -
Looking forward to going back to school for the last week
From Tom.

Posted by WAKEFIELDS 00:42 Archived in South Africa Comments (0)

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