Category Archives: Cape Town

Posts that relate to travel in Cape Town, South Africa

Facts About South Africa – Things I didn’t know last week

Here are some surprising facts about South Africa that I learned while I was here:

South Africa has some of the oldest archaeological and human fossil sites in the world, which has resulted in UNESCO to term it, the Cradle of Mankind. It has a population of 80% black Africans and 9% whites.

facts about south africa

Apartheid “apart-ness” (racial segregation) has been a very large part of its recent history. Apartheid was very similar to the US previous to the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s. Non-whites were forced to go to different schools, use separate entrances, beaches, park benches, etc. Families were forced apart as for example, if one spouse was black and another of Indian ancestry; they were forced to live in separate communities.

facts about south africa
Apartheid

In the 90s, the US and other United Nations had placed sanctions on South Africa to stand against apartheid and in support for the release of Nelson Mandela from prison. Hypocritically, while the US had sanctioned SA for Mandela’s release from prison, laterally they had him on a terrorist watch list up until 1998 due to his affiliation with the African National Congress. Mandela was released from prison in 1994, and shortly thereafter elected as president, which then brought about the end of apartheid and the South African government recognizing the African National Congress as an actual political party and not a terrorist organization.

facts about south africa

Since Mandela’s release, the ANC has continued to be the ruling party in SA, mainly due to the black majority and their continuing policies on restoring empowerment to non-whites that was lost during the apartheid years. This includes giving over 30% of the current white owned land to black Africans as well as rules such as that any black must be hired before a white person regardless of qualification.

facts about south africa

Today, while many blacks still struggle and are seen as the service class (with mama in the kitchen in uniform dress and headscarf-think civil war slavery), many whites are now getting reverse discrimination as their jobless rate has skyrocketed and there are also many black on white killings (10% of white South African farmers have been murdered in very gruesome ways since 1994).

facts about south africa
Jacob Zuma

The current ANC president, Jacob Zuma, has been charged with rape, racketeering and corruption and is infamous for in 2006 saying that if you take a shower after having unprotected intercourse, you wont get AIDS. Sadly there are other sick theories on AIDS proliferating here, including if you have sex with a baby or a virgin, it will cure you. This has resulted in many other challenges in AIDS epidemic and rape rate, especially when your own president has such unfounded beliefs. There is also a 50% chance of a child being sexually abused before age 18.

facts about south africa
Front page of a local paper

While South Africa is continuing to face many challenges as a nation, there are also many glimmers of hope. Its GDP has tripled since the end of apartheid and the sanctions against it were removed. Main exports include precious metals and diamonds. It is truly a beautiful wild place, like the last true frontier. It produces 8% of the worlds wine (and keeps a lot of the best vintages for its own self consumption!!!! instead of exporting it), it has many amazing things to offer the world and tourism.

facts about south africa
Drinking wine during wine flies wine tour

Table Mountain is one of the 7 wonders of the nature, all of the big 5 animals can be found here in National parks and game reserves, it has world class surfing, diving, golfing, etc. and I will attest many times over that the food scene is hands down world class.

pondoro game lodge
Wait for me Mom!

It has a charm unlike any other and every tourist I talked to had one thing they all agreed on, it much surpassed their expectations and they would be back.

facts about south africa
Drinking coffee at Chapman’s Peak

 

Wine Tasting Cape Town

Beyond climbing table mountain, and wanting to cage dive with great whites, priority number three on my Cape Town agenda was doing a wine tour so I could enjoy some of the fabulous wines South Africa has to offer, so I signed up with Wine Flies Wine Tour to do my wine tasting Cape Town.  Today we  headed to the Stellenbosch region to see several wineries and what they had to offer.

First stop was Fairview estate.  Fairview exports their wines, has a huge cellar and makes their own cheeses.  So what was amazing about this tasting, was each of their wines was paired with a delicious matching cheese.

After we did our tastings, and made some purchases at their deli, we were off to the next estate, Villiera… for some wine (and sparking wine, aka Champagne) tastings!  We also had biltong while at Villiera… it’s basically South African beef jerky, but it has more fat/moisture in it then our jerky.  I loved it.

From Villiera I bought an amazing bottle of a dessert wine, Inspiration Noble Late Harvest.  I plan on sharing this with some friends I am meeting up with in Rwanda in a few weeks.

Next we went to an estate on a big farm and had lunch with some more wine and did some barrel tastings of freshly casked Merlot:

wine tasting cape town
On a beautiful estate playing with Merlot, the great dane
wine tasting cape town
Barrel tastings of freshly casked merlot

After lunch we headed to yet another winery, this time a boutique winery that produces small batch and does not sell it wholesale, nor export it, Lovane.

wine tasting cape town
Boutique winery, not for wholesale nor for export

Finally we ended with a bang at Annandale Winery.  These guys know how to party and are one of the oldest wineries in South Africa.  Here we tasted more wine, port and brandy…and if your glass became empty, it was instantly refilled with something else.

wine tasting cape town
Tasting 20+ vino, port & brandy

Annandale provided the wines for the princess of Monaco’s royal wedding in 2013.  They also provided me with a 2-liter bottle of brandy and coke and another bottle of wine for the drive back to Cape Town.  Annandale for the win.

wine tasting cape town
26 wine tastings + top offs + brandy & cokes later, drinking wine from the bottles in our tour van

Had an amazing day on my wine tasting Cape Town tour with Wine Flies!  Highly recommend!

As it was my last night in Cape Town, and I had drunk all day, I was pretty exhausted, but headed out to dinner with Chris and to the beach where he learned to surf which had a pretty cool lighthouse and view of Cape Town.

Beyond not getting to play Jaws, I loveddddd Cape Town and hope I make it back some day, but now I’m off to Aliwal Shoal to try some scuba diving in Africa.

A Day Trip to the Cape of Good Hope

Today, my heart was broken.  My #1 must do in South Africa was to cage dive with great whites and I have been booked for months.

Enroute to the cage dive, they called the driver and said the sea state was too bad, and that they were going to cancel.

NOOOOOOOOO, whatttttt?

great white shark

So instead, we headed out for a tour around the Cape and to the Cape of Good Hope. The driver was fabulous and was really trying to cheer me up, but I was still pretty sad about not getting play Jaws all day. Now I guess I’ll have to come back to South Africa some day, dang. 😉

cape of good hope
My trying not to be sad face at Chapman’s Peak.

Cape of Good Hope was pretty interesting though… not as exhilarating as seeing a Great White breaching of course, but…sometimes life throws you lemons and you have to make chocolate cake with them instead of lemonade?

Cape of Good Hope
Southern most point in Africa

There were also several wild animals around the Cape of Good Hope, including this wild ostrich:

Cape of Good Hope
Hey Bru, I ate your brother medium rare last night.
Cape of good hope
Wild ostrich — at Cape Point, Cape of Good Hope.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also these wild baboons.  You shouldn’t open your doors or windows or they will crawl in and raid your vehicle and there is no stopping them and its hard to get them out.

Now, I have a terrible record of being attacked by monkeys (Bali, Thailand, etc), and I have a feeling this would have been no different as a “very excited” male baboon jumped on to the car and was touching himself right in my window.  I must look like a really hot female baboon… I guess I’ll take that as a compliment.
Cape of Good Hope

Cape of Good Hope
Male baboon climbed on the car and was “quite excited” as in.. he wanted to mate with me. awkward.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also visited the lighthouse at Cape Point on our Cape of Good Hope tour:

cape of good hope

After we were finished at the Cape of Good Hope, we headed to Boulder’s Beach.

Cape of Good Hope
Looking for penguins

Boulder’s Beach is a famous penguin colony and we were able to see some Jackass penguins there.  They are called Jackass Penguins because they sound like a donkey when the squawk.

Cape of Good Hope
Baby Jackass Penguin
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Adult Jackass Penguin

While we were doing these activities while exploring Cape of Good Hope, I also asked the driver a lot of questions about Apartheid and I am going to write-up a summation of what I learned in South Africa after I leave here next week.

After I got back to Cape Town, I was still kind of sad, so had to go cheer myself up with some of my guilty little pleasures:

Cape of Good Hope
My dirty little addictions — and listening to Bon Iver

Then of course I hung out with Afrikaner Chris and we drank wine again and went to dinner…. as if I’m not going to get enough wine tomorrow as I’m heading out for a WINE TOUR!  YAY.

Cape of Good Hope
South Afrikan Masterpiece theater