I recently wrapped a refreshing visit to the beautiful Western Cape of South Africa – trip four, continent four and country nine of my See All the Things year – and it was quite an experience! So different from what I expected, yet somehow familiar too. South Africa is not like other parts of Africa, nor is it (as I had imagined) like parts of Asia or Latin America. It is unique in many ways – geographically, climatically, botanically – all of which add to the intense beauty. There is a distinct European vibe along the coast, with a dash of the exotic that you expect to find. The exotic is much more apparent as you travel inland, yet there remains the surprising and sometimes comical touch of modernization – power lines running through desert landscapes, bustling truck stops (with bathrooms nicer than in the states) just before a stretch of highway with baboons playing on the shoulder, and the occasional mansion tucked away in the hills.
Most of my time was spent in the Overberg Region just East of Cape Town, a little coastal area whose main attractions are Whales, Sharks and Wine. Here, the landscape consists of startling mountains on top of lush greenery adjacent to golden sandy beaches. The water is a deep sapphire blue and goes on forever past the horizon. The sun is warm but the water is bitterly cold. There are no bugs to speak of but hundreds of beautiful birds. It is a place that some may overlook, it’s overshadowed by the city, after all; But I quickly embraced its smallness. My husband and I spent a few hours exploring our little beach town – walking from one end to the other, about 15 blocks. There is a beautiful blue flag beach at one end and a cute little harbor/downtown at the other. The best part, though, was the path carved into the cliffs between the two. So beautifully wild and unexpected!
This trip was full of new adventures and wild encounters. Too much, I think, for one blog post. But I do want to start off by showing you all just how beautiful these places are. If you have a chance to visit South Africa, I highly recommend it. It is certainly going on my list of places to return to as I still feel there is much more to see and do than we were able to squeeze in to our 7 day trip! Stay tuned for trip highlights.
For my fellow travel bloggers: If you’ve been already, what was your experience in South Africa?