Friday, June 6, 2008

Out Of Africa

A total of 9 nights were spent on South African soil. Instead of boring you guys with the detailed itinerary, I thought I'd just summarise the whole thing here with the highlights of the trip!

The Journey - Flight, Bus
The journey began with a 10 hour flight to Johannesburg, 1 hour transit and then another 2 hours to Cape Town. A long long flight but I got to sleep most of the time. Other times were spent playing video games and watching the comedies. So it was quite pleasant.

The journey back to KL was another story altogether. I spent the 9 waking hours playing video games (thank goodness for that!). Didn't sleep at all, not even a wink!

In between the beginning and the end, we travelled a lot by bus. The bus drivers we had were friendly and helpful - Mahir and Gert.

Weather - cold.. and wet!

As it was winter, the cold weather was expected. The rain however was totally unexpected! (this what happens when you travel without doing research). We were not drenched (the closest we got to was during our run up to Cape Point!). But since I wasn't prepared to get wet, it added more to the cold.

Decided to invest in a set of thermals (since the ones I had were nicely laying at home).

Table Mountain - so near yet so far, remained elusively out of reach

No thanks to the weather, we did not get to the top of Table Mountain. The cable car service was closed for the 3 days we were there. It was open for operations on the 4th day but since our flight to Joburg was at 10:40am, our tour guide Benjamin decided not to risk it.

We did however console ourselves by going to the bottom cable station of Table Mountain where we posed for pictures (whenever the clouds cleared out).

p.s. pic is not at the lower cable station of Table Mountain.

Safari - Lion-less & Leopard-less too
The stay at Entabeni was best gile. To get a better idea on what I mean, go to (not the best of the sites, but this is what I got in the few minutes I allocated for search.. haha).

But anyways, back to the safari. Due to time constraints, we didn't get to visit the lions in the lower plains. And they were not adventurous enough to venture into the upper plains to allow us to get a glimpse of them.

The leopard.. well, what can I say, apparently it's not easy to spot them either. They like to hide in trees where they feel safe. Along the game drive, I didn't see that many trees that were strong enough to house a leopard.. so my guess is they have changed their hiding spot!

Nevertheless, during the 1st night drive.. I managed to see the following at close range -- giraffes, buffaloes (or was it 1 buffalo), rhinos, elephants, impalas (abundant), kudus and I did see 1 zebra during the drive into the resort.

The next morning, we spotted the following -- impalas, kudus, warthogs aka babi hutan, ostriches, baby elephant footprints, zebra footprints, rhinos at close range (this was the highlight of the day, yay!)

p.s. Next time, I'm aiming to spot the lions & leopards.

The company
The whole group consisted mainly of my mother's friends. I was the youngest (if you don't count our tour guide Clive. If you counted him in, then he'll be the youngest). Everyone was jovial and friendly and we had good laughs throughout the entire trip. Most of the jokes were "you had to be there for it to be funny" jokes, so I won't even attempt to type it out.

I just love the chocolates there.. it tastes so different from the chocolates you get in Malaysia (although it's of the same variety). I somehow suspect this has something to do with the cow's milk used to produce these chocs. The milk there just tastes much better I suppose.

Clean, clean and very clean. Makes me not hesitate to make a pit-stop whenever required!
Note: Malaysian toilets have a long long way to go!

The whole South Africa experience - from a tourist perspective
I liked what I saw and experienced. Definitely wouldn't mind going back there again.