My South African Experience...
Highs: My hotel in the De Waterkant Village; seeing the penguins at Boulder Beach; viewing Cape
Town from the top of Table Mountain; wine tasting in Robertson Valley; abseiling in Knysna; holding
and kissing and playing with white lion cubs.
Lows: Coming to terms that I might never see a Russian visa in my passport (after two different
trips to the consulate); buying the wrong bus tickets from Oudtshoorn.
Best Moment: Being able to hold a tiny little lion cub in my arms.
Smells: Wine (of course!); slight penguin stench; the 'meat' that the animals ate (could also be
Sounds: Musical performers at the Waterfront; hearing Afrikaans being spoken; elephants and
monkeys; lions; cheetah purrs; South African music.
Sights: V&A Waterfront; Slave Lodge (10 rand); Long Street; Table Mountain making an
appearance from under the clouds; cable car ride to the top of Table Mountain (115 rand); Malay
Quarter; Penguins at Boulder Beach (20 rand); Cape Point; Cape of Good Hope; boat ride down the
Breede River; Knysna Elephant Park; Monkeyland; town of Knysna; town of Plettenberg Bay; Cango
Wildlife Ranch; Cango Caves; Cango Ostrich Farm.
Activities: Quad-biking; abseiling (i.e. repelling); canoing; zip-lining; wine tasting; working with
Tastes: 'Biltong' (jerky of all sorts of exotic animals); wines; seared Ahi tuna burger with mango
salsa and sweet potato fries; meringues with crushed amaretto cookies; snooek (a type of fish) quiche;
potjie (a South African stew); curry chicken with chutney on the side; ostrich carpaccio; rusks (similar
to biscotti); delicious chutneys; crocodile sausage; ostrich filet with cranberry port sauce; crocodile
nuggets; chakalaka (a spicy blend of vegetables); Geldhof chocolates.
Purchases: Biltong; dried tropical fruit; fleece sweatshirt for my tour/safari; adapter for South
Africa (since my universal adapter does not have this one); UV lens for my camera (since I broke
mine when I dropped my camera in the jeep on our Wadi Rum trip); two bottles of wine; set of four
ceramic bottles at an artsy store in Cape Town; lens cap for my camera.
Street Food: Burgers; chips and nuts; biltong; savory pies.
Fun Food Finds: Potato chips flavored like fried chicken; snack sized bars of Cadbury's Crunchie
(my favorite!) and Lunch Bars; fruit flavored chips; crocodile and springbok pate.
Western Companies Out Here: KFC, Nine West; McDonald's; Burger King; Toys 'R Us.
Other General Info...
Visa needed? No.
Type of currency? South African rands. Approximately 7 equal $1 US.
Wallet Friendly? Extremely! Can eat excellent food at excellent restaurants for about $25
(including wine). Hotels were also a great price (in Cape Town we paid less than $40 for a place with
kitchen, bedroom and bathroom with a clawfoot tub and separate shower).
Transportation: I flew in on South African Airways - which was a great airline. I then had a
driver take me from the airport to my hotel. Otherwise, I would have taken a taxi. We are flying from
Cape Town to Jo'Burg on Kulula (a low-cost airline).
Things South Africa Is Known For: Apartheid; wines; Kruger National Park; Table
Mountain; hosting 2010 World Cup.
Electrical Outlets: They use plugs here that I have never seen before. My universal adapter
doesn't have this one so I bought an adapter at one of the stores at the Waterfront.
Local Spelling of Cape Town: Kaapstad.
Religion: Christian and Muslim. Some Jewish neighborhoods, as well.