This past November, Scott and I went to South Africa for the first time. I will be honest, I initially thought South Africa would be filled with all sorts of creatures and natural wonders that could kill me at every turn.
And I was right.
For those of you that have read about my love affair with the outdoors in the past, you know that this kind of adventure was a bit of a stretch for me. But sometimes you have to face your fears!
And if I can survive anyone can. Here’s a quick guide about how to experience South Africa and all its beauty from the ultimate indoor girl.
Table Mountain – Cape Town
We started our two week journey in Cape Town. Home to Table Mountain that stands at over 3,500 feet and claims more lives than Mount Everest! But look at that view…
To be clear I took a cable car up which takes about 5 minutes. It spins around a full 360 degrees so you can experience the views in the safety of a glass vehicle.
But don’t worry I still climbed around at the top of the mountain for a couple of hours and experienced the death defying cliffs with no barriers. Fortunately, you can easily spot them by all of the dumb people taking selfies.
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens – Cape Town
Nobody told me on top of everything else I was going to have to deal with dinosaurs! I didn’t get that close because it’s all fun and games at the beginning then they turn on you.
Fortunately you can escape the dinos by walking over the coolest tree canopy ever.
I just stayed there until Chris Pratt came to rescue me. Yes, I do realize I just admitted that I have watched Jurassic World.
I know you are wondering what could possibly harm you while you are drinking wine?
It’s called the wine tram, 6 wineries in 6 hours. And if you are like me and my husband we took this on as a personal challenge.
And we succeeded because we are winners, not quitters. We were also in bed by 8pm.
Whale watching – Hermanus
These gentle giants can grow up to 50 feet long! Fortunately, they don’t eat humans so it was all good.
And although you can see the whales from the shore, going on a boat and seeing them up close and personal is a must. We even saw a few breach in the distance, it was all sorts of Free Willy. Except these are Southern Right Whales, not orcas. Yea, that’s right I pay attention.
Great White Sharks – Gansbaii
Scott was determined to do two things while in South Africa – go shark diving and bungee jumping.
He did neither. To be fair the shark diving was canceled because November isn’t the best time of the year for them.
I had absolutely no intention in going shark diving, because I grew up in Florida and we are taught to stay out of the water when sharks are present. Not get in a metal cage and throw blood at them. But I’m sure it would have been perfectly safe.
Elephant Sanctuary – Plettenberg Bay
We spent the day at an elephant sanctuary and it was by far our favorite experience.
Look at this sweetheart. She let me pet her, feed her and lead her around the forest.
She then got spooked by some baboons along with her three friends and they all went stampeding past me. Yes, the ground does shake when four 10,000 pound elephants run past you. But I was brave and we remained friends.
Snake Farm – Plettenberg Bay
Like in all good marriages there is compromise. You would think moving across the world would be enough for a lifetime, but nope I also had to encounter a snake farm. That’s a place where there are over 100 types of snakes and I learned all the ways in which they can kill you. Some within 5 minutes, others may take a couple of days.
My husband has never been happier.
And I stayed a good 10 feet away from all possible threats.
Horseback riding – Plettenberg Bay
I did get a bit of revenge by going horseback riding the next day. An activity that Scott didn’t consider a sport until he couldn’t walk for three days.
This experience did, however, include a stop at a winery for a wine tasting and lunch, so I think Scott got off easy.
However, the memory of Scott holding on for dear life while being led by our tour guide…well, that will last forever.
Safari – Lalibela Game Reserve
Lions, Tigers and Bears, oh my! Ok so there are only lions in South Africa. Tigers are in Asia (some people didn’t know that and embarrassingly asked that stupid question during the game drive) and there are surprisingly no bears in South Africa (guess they figured there were enough wild animals that could kill you). But we did get within 20 feet of lions and as long as you didn’t exit the vehicle, make any sudden movements or breathe then you were perfectly safe. We also checked off a few of the other Big 5 including buffalo, rhinos and elephants! The leopard is extremely difficult to see but we did see a cheetah eating an antelope! Hey, it’s the circle of life.
I was so nervous to go on safari, but camping wasn’t all that bad…
And by the end of the trip I was basically a natural in the outdoors.
And Scott nearly grew a beard! So all in all a pretty great experience.
Sorry its been so long since you have heard from me. Right after we returned from South Africa we moved from Edinburgh to St Andrews and opened a Guest House! Yea I think that’s a good enough excuse to have gone MIA for a bit. More on that later, just didn’t want you to think I had forgotten about you.