5 Exceptional Stops That Will Make You Say, I Want To Go There. (South Africa)
Did you know that South Africa was our first international trip together and still holds as one of our favorite destinations? There is a vibrant energy in this country that is hard to come by with its lands offering so much to see. Spoil yourself in the lush wine country, get outdoors and hike to your hearts desire, surf at killer beaches and stumble upon great whites! I remember watching a wild ostrich running on the shoreline and just shaking my head, really? It is an amazing place and it's about time we share 5 adventures that are our must-sees!
STELLENBOSCH WINE REGION
If you’ve seen some of our other blogs and social media posts (I’m sure you have), you will notice that we love to hit different wine regions. Wherever we go we always make it a point to spend a day on a wine tour, whether it’s South Africa, California, Australia, etc.
We were lucky enough to visit the Stellenbosch wine region during our visit and even luckier that we did our tour with Wine Flies. The trip was engaging, informative, and most importantly, it was friggin fun as hell. We met so many people from around the world and bonded during our whole tour. If you have the opportunity to visit this wine region make sure you head out with Wine Flies.
GOAL TIP: our favorite winery was called Annandale. Owned by retired South African rugby player, this winery claims to have supplied Napoleon Bonaparte all his wine when he was exiled off the coast of Africa. Pretty cool. The “cottage” and rustic vibe on the property was stunning.
Considered part of Table Mountain National Park, this was an awesome place to check out the African penguins. Because who doesn’t love to chill with penguins? About 3000 of these little guys populate the beach, which is amazing because there were just two breeding pairs in 1982. They have flourished and are now protected by Cape Nature Conservation. Not only are they cute and easy to spot, but they are even easier to hear. Some like to call them the “jackass” penguins. Why? Because they make noises similar to that of a burro, mule, or “jackass”. Man are these guys cool.
DRIVING CHAPMANS PEAK
If you love the scenery and a great drive, this has to be one of the best in the world. “Chappies”, as the locals call it, last just a mere 5.5 miles but it packs a huge punch. Located on Cape Town’s western cape, it connects Hout Bay with Noordhoek. Rent a car and treat yourself to the 114 curves that reward you with amazing views from nearly 2000 feet above the Atlantic Ocean.
Try to begin the drive starting from the south entrance because South Africans drive on the left side of the road. That means you will be white-knuckling the steering wheel while you and the car are hugging the guardrail. The only thing separating you from the Atlantic Ocean! We randomly took this road and had no idea what to expect. Another reason we love to rent a car and get lost!
HIKING TABLE MOUNTAIN
Table Mountain is the iconic backdrop of one of our favorite cities, Cape Town. The mountain towers over 3500 feet above the city and was one of the coolest hikes we’ve done. This place represents a special place in our traveling resume and it’s one that we won’t forget. Why? Because it was one of the first times I made Cydny do something way outside of her comfort zone. The hike is only 2 km’s long but it’s a direct assault straight up the mountain. It was really steep and it takes 2 hours one-way. Cyd was not happy with me. Partly because it was pretty hard and also because we expected to take the cable car down from the summit. Well, things don’t always go as planned.
We planned on eating lunch/dinner at the summit so we barely packed any snacks. I think you can guess what happened next. Not only was the restaurant closed, but the cable car was also closed for a couple days due to maintenance. Maybe we should have researched a little more, but it ended up being a pretty epic day. Cyd wanted to murder me but it would have been worth it for those views.
GREAT WHITE SHARK CAGE DIVING
Yea, we saved the best for last. Cage diving with great white sharks was one of the most memorable experiences of my life. For Cyd, I think it was also memorable and terrifying. Regardless, it was top of our list when we got to South Africa. There was no way I was missing out on this.
We drove over 2 hours one-way, just to get in the water with these killers for about 20-30 minutes. We booked a trip on the Nemo and it was launching from Gansbaai, where the majority of Shark Week is filmed. Picture yourself in a cage attached to a boat in the middle of the ocean. Now picture that ocean freezing cold, littered with bloody chum and gigantic fish heads attached to hooks. Sounds nasty but it’s much better than using our own bodies as bait.
Hold your breath and keep your arms and legs inside the cage cause these monsters buzz and crash into those thin bars constantly. We can’t compare this experience to anything else we’ve ever done because, frankly, there is no comparison.
We have to recommend that you use White Shark Safaris because they got us back alive and with all limbs attached. There website is under construction at the moment but the link is provided for future reference.