I am currently sitting in Auckland Airport and its just gone 2am. I cannot sleep, the chairs at McDonalds just aren’t comfy enough, but its giving me lots of time to think about some of the amazing things that I have done over the last few months and since my last update.
I have tried to condense my remaining time in South Africa down to a readable chunk, yet there is still a lot to read so grab yourself a cuppa and lets get started with my last few weeks in Joburg.
In terms of events, I worked on a further 3 events since my last update:
OR Tambo Memorial Lecture – This was a memorial lecture for the late Oliver Tambo. He is one of the most known political leaders that South Africa has had (after Nelson Mandela). This event was held in a beautiful old water mill. This event was simple as it was just checking people in on the guest list and giving them the correct wristband. The problem was, we had 850 rsvp for a venue that holds 400 people… Once the event was over, we were able to see that we had around 350 people show up and then noticing that only 100 of these had rsvp’d. Overall, everyone really enjoyed the event & it sounded like it was a great way to remember OR Tambo.
IHF Conference – this event got me to Durban which was exciting! Unfortunately I didn’t get to see much of Durban but it was nice to go somewhere different. We were working at the Durban ICC for the International Hospital Federation Conference, hosting nearly 2000 people. This is a conference that happens every year where the leaders of medical advances meet together and share their discoveries, tips and tricks of the business. I met a lot of intelligent people from all over the world and it was a fun event to work on.
National Geographic Lecture – this was a last minute event, held at a very fancy hotel in Johannesburg (I forgot the name). This was a last minute event for only 35 people, the smallest event that I had worked on. The CEO of National Geographic had flown from the USA to give a press lecture. I wish I could tell you what the lecture was about, but the event was so last minute that we turned up, gave the people their name badges and left!
On the 1st of December, my boyfriend Ty flew out from the UK which was amazing and I feel so lucky that he travelled half way across the world for me! He was my date to my work Christmas party which was such a lovely afternoon at a comedy lunch filled with South African humour and surrounded with great people. Then for my birthday, Ty and I went to Pilanesburg Nature Reserve for a safari. We saw lots of giraffes, elephants, zebras and buffalo. It was nice to do something different for my birthday and celebrate turning 19.
The remainder of my time in Johannesburg was so fun, I met some incredible people and learnt so many new things and just want to say a huge thank you to the Jacksons for letting my stay with them. They are such an incredible and beautiful family and I feel so honoured that I was able to meet them.
Ty and I flew to Cape Town on the 6th of December. We were booked on to the Garden Route Tour which took all along the South West coast of the country.
The first night that we arrived we treated ourself to a really nice hotel, and due to the currency conversions between the pound and rand, we hardly paid anything for a 5 star hotel. It had a rooftop restaurant, known for the best view of Cape Town, and honestly it was beautiful.
We started the tour in Cape Town, exploring the city and the famous V&A Waterfront where we ate some of the best fish on the whole trip. We also got the cable car up Table Mountain and did a 2 hour hike at the top. The views from the top were incredible! When we first got the the top we were in thick cloud and couldn’t see anything, but as the clouds disappeared they revealed the beautiful sights of Cape Town below.
Our accommodation was in Table View which was on the beach front and from the beach you had the most stunning view of Table Mountain and blue skies for days.
The Garden Route then took us to Hout Bay, a perfect place for whale watching and seal spotting. The Cape of Good Hope was our next destination which is a national park including an ostrich farm where we fed Bonny and Clyde followed by climbing up endless stairs and the steepest slopes to Cape Point, the most south western part of South Africa.
Stellenbosch, the largest wine growing region in South Africa was our next stop where Ty and I met some Germans and Dutch who were staying in the same room as us in our hostel and we ended up going out for dinner with them, drinking a bit too much of Stellenbosh’s finest wine and checking out the club scene. This all felt like a good idea at the time but we soon realised it wasn’t as the next day was filled with a port and chocolate tasting, and a wine and cheese tasting. By this stage, wine was not a desire for either of us but we definitly ate some of the best cheese and chocolate. After this we went to a market in the cute little town of Franschhoek, followed by visiting Cape Agulhas, the most Southern point of the whole of Africa.
The next morning found me cage diving which was such an incredible experience that I would recommend to everyone. I have never felt so safe while being face to face with 6 different great white sharks. The whole trip was awesome and there was a marine biologist on hand to reassure you and answer any questions. Would love to jump back in the cage again!
We went canoeing on Storms River our route from Cape Town to Sedgefield. Ty and I were very soon to realise that canoeing is not for us.. One of my favourite things about South Africa is the sunsets, and I certainly wasn’t dissapointed with the beach sunset at Sedgefield. It was breathtaking and we had the whole beach to ourselves.
The following morning, I somehow managed to find myself on a bridge, 216m high to jump off. I never thought I would be one to do a bungee jump but I have no regrets and absolutely loved it while hating it at the same time. I’m just so glad that they pushed me, because my legs were jelly and I wouldn’t’ have been able to jump off myself. The adrenaline rush was incredible though!
The following day, Ty and I had a free day to explore Jeffrey’s Bay. This is a town that has the most relaxed vibe, where everyone is so friendly! it has such a beautiful white sand beach that stretches for miles, and our room looked out over the ocean. It had amusement parks, markets, and lots of restaurants. We had such an incredible meal overlooking the sea and watching the sunset and the moon come out, it was stunning!
One thing I managed to tick off my bucket list was horse riding on the beach. Now I am probably the least horsey person you could meet. The views were stunning from the beach as it was sunset, but overall I wouldn’t be sad if I never rode a horse ever again, but I think that was mostly due to the horse that I had. He kept going into thorn bushes while I was on its back and scratching its bum meaning that his itches were relieved, but I was then covered in thorns. It was good to do though!
Our final part of the Garden Route Tour took us to Oudtshoorn. This was after a very long, but beautiful drive through mountains to an animal sanctuary. This sanctuary works very close with the cheetah population which is a dying one due to the reduction of their natural habit resulting in the cheetahs being more sparse across Africa. This results in many cheetah cubs being inbred leading to their immune system being weaker and therefore increasing the death rate. This sanctuary are helping to breed healthy cheetahs with strong immune systems in an attempt to increase the cheetah population. We also went to another ostrich farm and I got to hug an Ostrich which I have to say was very weird..
Overall I have completly fallen in love with South Africa, with its friendly people, its stunning landscapes and incredible experiences it has to offer, and I would highly recommend visiting there to everyone.