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Cairo to Cape Town – South Africa Solo – Port Elizabeth, George and Cape Town Part 1

Sunday 1st November

Up early to say goodbye to Nicole and grab the bus to Port Elizabeth. Long old drive, left Durban and 7am, drove all day passing township after township, bright pastel coloured houses and rolling green hills before arriving in PE at 10pm.

Met the taxi, headed to the backpackers, checked in and slept!

Bus to Port Elizabeth. Left Durban 7am, drove all day passing township after township, bright pastel coloured houses and rolling verdant hills.

Monday 2nd November

Lie in, had no Nicole waking me up! Had a lazy morning, showered and headed out about 9.30am for a wander along beachfront down to the boardwalk. Wandered around the shops, headed back and walked to supermarket…which was miles! Then grabbed lunch on route back to backpackers.

Had a nap and awoke to pumping Jamaican-esque music, guys playing pool, more guys slobbing on sofas watching an odd film and an old man making an omelette from scratch…TIA

Welcome to life in a backpackers!

Tuesday 3rd November

Today I went on a self-guided walking tour around Port Elizabeth, got a taxi to the start point and grabbed the map and book and off I went on a wander taking in some of the sights of PE. I didn’t do all the walk as it consists of some 51 sights but I saw a vast amount of them. Took me half a day at best, so once done I walked back to the backpackers which took about another hour and then rested for the rest of the day!

Wednesday 4th November

Today was all about wandering along the beach, watching the waves and the surfers. Found a beachside cafe and had a spot of lunch before a slow wander back and spent the rest of the day round the pool reading.

Thursday 5th November

Up crack of dawn…for a taxi to the bus station to get the 6am bus to George. As it turns out I needn’t have bothered as the bus was delayed 2 hours due to armed robbery! Finally left about 8.30am and spent 6 hours heading to George taking in the views of the wild coast and then the garden route.

Made it to George in time to head to a local tapas bar for a light late lunch before locating spar next door for a food shop.

Headed back to the guesthouse late afternoon and spent the rest of the afternoon chilling.

Friday 6th November

Lazy day today, sat writing my Mozambique blog in a proper Sherlock Holmes style writers chair with the dog asleep on my lap!

Saturday 7th November

Today I actually did something, went on an hours walk to the Outeniqua Transport Museum which is pretty cool if you are a geek like me! It’s basically a massive shed full of old steam trains and classic cars. Spent a couple of hours mooching around looking at the old British trains, plush Royal carriages and classic cars stored in the museum. Had to photograph all the Alfas for my dad before jumping on the Powervan for a quick ride up to the Outeniqua Pass.

Once back I grabbed a late lunch at an Italian restaurant before walking back to the guesthouse for a well-earned rest and afternoon nap.

The evening was spent watching films.

Sunday 8th & Monday 9th November

Both lazy days where I just walked to the shop to buy something for dinner and something to drink and chilled out reading and watching films. Nothing much to report really, total relax!

Tuesday 10th November

Left George this morning on the Citiliner bus, 7 hours to Cape Town. Again, the scenery was absolutely astonishing. Managed to get these pictures to show the sheer beauty but impossible to capture it from the bus as we hurtled along the road!

Arrived in Cape Town and jumped in the waiting taxi to take me to the hostel and my home for the next 5 weeks. Once checked in and unpacked I basically crashed out for the night.

Well 5 months on the road with a group, with Nicole and solo! Here I am at the end of the line….Cairo to Cape Town…done!

Wednesday 11th November

Woke up late and spent the day walking and venturing out around Observatory, the area where I am staying. Found a supermarket so grabbed some food shopping to do me for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the next week. Then sat in the sun catching up on the news and writing my blog.

Nothing much else to report, lazy day!

Thursday 12th November

Headed into the centre of Cape Town late morning and managed to jump on a Historical Free Walking tour around the town, very interesting taking in some key historical buildings during the pre and post apartheid life and the church where Desmond Tutu hangs out.

After the stroll about town I grabbed some drinks and headed back to the backpackers for a nap and chill time!

Friday 13th November

I actually set my alarm today, albeit for 8.30am to make sure I was up and out early as I had planned a full day on the sightseeing bus! For £7.50 I could sit on 4 different buses all day and see all of Cape Town and listen to the really informative Audio Guide. I started on the Red line that goes to the foot of Table Mountain then out to the beaches, which were stunning before coming back into town via the V&A Waterfront, then I hopped off and picked up the Blue bus and went out through the winelands (where I could have picked up the purple bus and done a wine tour, waiting for Lynn to come out for that!) and then cut back along the coast and back into town.

Sat on the bus for a good 4 hours, saw most of Cape Town, topped up my tan and learned a lot about the city at the same time. Win win!

Saturday 14th & Sunday 15th November

As it was the weekend, I decided to take it easy and just relax for 2 days. I read, napped, sat in the sun and walked around Observatory and didn’t do much else really! It’s a hard life this travelling sometimes!

Monday 16th November

Decided after my very lazy weekend that I need to get off my butt and do some stuff today, so I headed into town early and picked up a late morning free walking tour to Bo Kaap, a colourful area of the city that is also called Cape Malay. It is home to a lot of the Islamic population and is where all the freed slaves moved to in the 1800s. It’s a beautiful part of the city to walk around and has a very chilled vibe, we even had time to pop into a spice shop which was very reminiscent of India!

Whilst on the walking tour I got chatting to a fellow Englishman who was over in Cape Town for a few days before embarking on an overland trip with a small African tour company to Zambia. He has recently retired and decided to do a bit more of Africa.

Anyway after the tour he asked if he could join me for a spot of lunch so we grabbed some gnocchi and sat in Greenmarket Square people watching. Upon having the ‘what do you do back home’ discussion we discovered that we have actually spoken on the phone through work a few times as he was the MD of Town & Country Scaffolding, a company which I have had on my Supply Chain in the past and have used on projects previously. Small world huh?!

After lunch we parted ways and I grabbed some emergency rations from the supermarket and headed back to nap and chill. It’s a regular afternoon activity now!

Tuesday 17th November

Today started lazy, getting up at 10ish but I got my arse into gear and went to town and indulged myself in a spot of lunch before hitting the Planetarium and South African National Museum. Arrived right on time to catch the 2pm showing of ‘The Cosmic Egg’ at the planetarium which was very interesting and cool. Makes you think about whats out there and your brain grapples to grasp the science behind the vastness of space and how small we are in it!

Then I headed into the main museum for a mooch around, was pretty much the only person there which was nice but also slightly creepy as the majority of the museum is dedicated to African wildlife and the natural world and there are rooms and rooms of taxidermy from birds to snakes to dolphins to seals to sharks and even full-sized adult lions, cheetahs, hyenas, elephants, camels, hippos, rhinos and giraffes! Weird…all the predators have been left eternally angry snarling faces which are creepy when millimetres from the glass, staring at you and all you can hear are your own footsteps and some distant whale sounds from the underwater section!

Was good to see that nearly all of the animals on display I have seen in the wild during the various safaris, they look so much bigger when you are standing next to them. Who knew an Eland was so bloody massive!

I briefly wandered amongst the dinosaur, Nelson Mandela and Karoo sections which were also pretty interesting.

After my taxidermy mooch I hit the cafe for a well-earned drink and cake before catching the afternoon free walking tour to District Six. A famous and very important area and part of South African history during the apartheid. Well worth reading up on if you are interested in history.

By the time I had finished the walk it was gone 6pm, so I grabbed a taxi back to the backpackers and had a light dinner and read before heading to bed early so I could be fresh for when Lynn arrives in the morning!

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