Before arriving in South Africa, we were given instructions on staying safe, useful phone numbers in case of trouble and other information that doesn’t encourage you to explore on your own away from the tourist centres which have very obvious security throughout. We arrived in Durban on a dull and cloudy day. We had booked on a trip to the Valley of a Thousand Hills, a beautiful area and home of the Zulus.
Here we visited a recreated zulu village and saw a marriage dance
and then walked round the snake and crocodile centre. The venue was very busy with coach after coach of tourists being marshalled round. This was followed by a typical zulu afternoon tea of tea and a scone….
Durban had visible poverty with a lot of dirt, rubbish and wandering lost souls looking for an easy rand to earn.
Port Elizabeth was very different in that this is a very busy port as well as being the bottlenose dolphin capital of the world and the site of a lovely beach much used by the locals and local artists. A much cleaner, multicultural city.
Rows and rows of mini buses line up to be used as bus/taxis to get you to your township. Lots of shouting and gesturing to get yours full and leave.
Our favourite place was Cape Town where we had 2 days despite the weather being cold and wet on day 1 and cold and windy on day 2 and Table Mountain being obscured by cloud for the majority of our stay
The city by the docks has been nicely done up with old grain silos being repurposed into art centres and hotels
Much of the produce on sale was made in Africa, often from recycled materials and one shop had a fantastic selection of animals created from metal cast-offs
Outside of which was a performance area for local artistes
And touristy things to do
As in Port Elizabeth the harbour was teeming with large ships and wildlife, some of which had learned to capitalise on the former
So, visiting 3 ports in South Africa whetted our appetite to return and see far more of the country in a much less rushed way.
Our next and final stop south of the equator was Walvis Bay, Namibia. Namibia sounds like a fabulous place to spend time with a large proportion of the country conserved as national parks and with good access to other African countries such as Botswana. We arrived late as there were problems in departing Cape Town and our visit coincided with Easter Monday so many places were closed. In many ways the photo summarises the problem with travelling on a ship this large…the attractions are out there (in this case the famous sand dunes in the distance) but the hurdles are substantial (the logistical issues illustrated by the long line of people waiting to climb on a shuttle)
The free shuttle bus laid on by Cunard took us to a shopping mall in the middle of a god-forsaken area of town and we only stayed there for an hour or so. All other options, save the Cunard-arranged tours, were dependent on us trusting one of the legions of van drivers hanging around the port and mall. They all had sheets of paper advertising various tours but, without local currency and no wish to miss the departure time, we politely declined. Namibia is the kind of place to spend a couple of weeks perhaps in conjunction with visits to world-renowned sites such as the Okavango Delta
8 days at sea now until our last port of call in Tenerife. Books to read, films to watch, food to eat, warmth as we cross the equator………chill time before we head back to car issues, planning issues, but more importantly, start looking forward towards our next adventure.