A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: TarrynK

South Africa Adventure Tour

i appologise in advance this will be VERY long

sunny 29 °C

It has been a long time since I wrote in here, but i just didnt have time. We were all so busy on the adventure tour we barely had time to do anything else! Then i felt rushed and just not able to sit down and write about everything that we have done.

So saying goodbye to all the people in Chinsta was very sad, and the travel day was not something we looked forward to. As it was a long drive from Chinsta to Jeffery's Bay, we were suppose to meet up with the conservation groups at Port Elizabeth, but we didnt really want to wait around for 6 hours. We had a chance to do some speed shopping on Port Elizabeth, Kelsey and Clare bought heaps.

Jeffery's bay was a realy nice place, and the rooms we were staying in were also good, with a view of the ocean. However the doors to the bathroom, were sliding ones, but werent big enough to cover the whole door. This made for a couple of awkward situations and making sure to look in a different direction when people where showering. Our First day in Jeffery's bay we went surfing and horse riding. Surfing was fun, although the sand was very un even and i would randomly fall into a hole and not be able to touch the ground. The current also got really strong and i felt like i could barely move (which is even harder when i have fallen into a deep hole). Horse Riding had its good and bad bits. The wind was so strong that when we were walking through the sand dunes we were getting hit with sand and it was really painful. I couldnt look forward so spent the whole time looking at Ritcho. But it got better as we got onto the beach and got to walk along the beach. It turns out we had choosen the good way to do the activities as we surfed first and then did the horse riding, where as the other group did horse riding first and then only got to do 20 minutes of surfing because of the currents.

Day 3 - After some shopping in jeffery's bay we travelled to Storms river/Tsitsikamma National Park. Once there we went on a tree top canopy tour. It was amazing to see how they had set up the zip lining as the dont put any bolts into the tree and it is all done on tension. We learnt more about Tsitsikamma National Park and tried to do some animal spotting, Jo and Clare saw a bird, I missed it.

Day 4 - We started off with a 3 hour hike. It wasnt even the far of a distance, but most of it included walking over rocks along the side of a hill i understood while it took so long. It was a really nice walk, and it ends at a waterfall where we went swimming and some people went cliff jumping (as i had already been cliff jumping and it wasnt as big i decided i didnt want to do it) and the water was freezing. After swimming, sun baking and cliff jumping we started the hike back. It was much faster as the promise of lunch at the end was very appealing. We had lunch at a restaurant with an amazing view of the ocean. After lunch it was time for those brave enough to do the Bungy. As i would never do it, i decided to go and watch them do it. It was so scary for me. Clare, Kelsey and I all screamed when Ritcho jumped off. He was the first, and obviously the bravest to go first. However the look on his face showed he was hesitant. We sat in a restaurant that has a screen so we can see their faces before they jump off. and close ups of them falling.

Day 5 - Ocean Kayaking. I was really looking forward to this, until they told us how we would get out there. Going through the waves i was sure i would fall out. i didnt and i was very releaved. I am a bit disappointed that we only got to see one seal, but it was really close. Some people in the group saw a shark swimming near them, im so glad i didnt see that. i would have freaked! Going back into shore was the worst. it felt like we werent going anywhere and i started to get sea sick. It was horrible. Coming into shore as well i fell out of the kayak and had it land on my head. It really hurt! After lunch and looking around, we drove to Oudtshoorn the ostich capital of the world (apprantly anyway)

Day 6 - Cango caves, kelsey was very worried about doing this but she did it just fine. Some of the spots were really small and tiny and i got like stuck while trying to climb up through one! it was so difficult to move. But it was amazing, i did it barefoot. the ground got very slimy at some spots, which was kinda gross but it added to the experience. After finishing the cave tour, which took forever with 30 people, we did a cycling tour (14 or 16 km i cant remember) to the ostrich farm where we had lunch and the opportunity to eat ostrich. It was weird, i didnt like it very much and couldnt get over the fact that i was eating an ostirch. The farm was pritty interesting, we got to hold baby ostrichs, kelsey rode an ostrich, kelsey got a "hug" from an ostrich (even though she spent most of the time trying to move away from it and making noises), i also stood on ostrich eggs (and no they did not break)

Day 7 - travell day. it a very long day and we finally end up in cape town.

Day 8 - We have a 3 hour walking tour (which consists of more sitting down and listening then actually walking), having been drinking the night before some of us *cough* alex *cough* wasnt feeling very good, lets just say she added something to the goverment gardens in front of the parliament building. the guide then left, jo, alex and me as we had gone to the bathroom, we didnt get to go to the district 6 museum which i had wanted to go to. (Cape Town resisted Apartai in the beginning but the sent their hardest people to cape town, and destroyed all the houses in District 6, however when "whites" were told they could built where they wanted in district 6, no one did) We did some more shopping (i didnt buy any clothes, it was all the other girls!) it was time to go to Robben Island. It was very interesting to go there, first you go on an half an hour bus ride around the island. We got shown the minds Nelson Mandela worked in and that because of those minds he cant cry. It was then time to meet up with our tour guide, who was an ex political prisoner, who took us round and told us all about the actual prison. We later found out he was imprisoned for high treason (blowing up things). For Dinner we went to this really nice place called Moyo African Village, which included buffet, dance and music. it was so pritty there. and i would recommend going there for anyone who goes to Cape Town. Today was a really long day, as we didnt get home til 12, and had started very early so we were all exhausted.

Day 9 - was supposed to be absailing down table mountain but the weather was not good at all. So, Clare, Kelsey, Luke, Alex, Kim and I all decided we would have a day off instead of going to some other mountain (this actually worked out really well for us, because they others didnt get to absail so we really missed out on nothing). We went shopping, and wondered round Cape Town. At one point we ended up in the wrong part of town and a guy started talking to Luke and started to get agressive. Kelsey was freaking out. We later found out that he had threatened luke but he hadnt told us coz we were already freaked out.

Day 10 - sandboarding. Kelsey and I were awesome! snowboardig really helped. We even helped people who face planted and were falling over (yes we are just that good). Walking back up the sand dunes was a bit annoying as the biggest one my legs just sunk in and the sand would move and i took a long time to get back up to the top. We also had to wax our board after every run. After sandboarding we were suppose to have to have the afternoon off, but since no one absailed we got to do that instead. So we went to the top of Table mountain, and absail 116m down. with a little surprise half way down. as must of you know im not very good with height, and i was completely fine, until they strapped me in and were like ok now walk backwards over the cliff. i was the first one strapped in and the last one to get over the ledge. I was freaking out so badly, and my guy who was my safety line was not very happy with me at all. The surprise consisted of the wall dropping away and you just lowering yourself down. My hands got very sore, and i started to get tangled up in alexs ropes, (thank god she had already finished coz there was no way i was looking down). I ended up being the second one to get to the bottom and i just couldnt move. Alex had to take off my gloves and my harness for me cause i couldnt move and i felt sick. We then had to walk back up. The paths got so close to the end, it was like if i slipped i would fall over.

Day 11 - another travell day, with a flight from Cape Town to Jo'burg and then a 5 hour drive to Blyde River. It was so hot when we got there, that most of us went straight for the pool.

Day 12 - travelling to Kruger National Park, going the scenice route and stopping at places such as Bourkes Luck Potholes to God's Window. When we got through the gates at Kruger, it was time to see if we could spot any animals. Sure even we spotted antilope (so many of them) and a pride of lions. It is so hot at Kruger that we again ran for the pool once we were there, before we went on our Sunset Game drive where we saw Buffollo, Elephants, Rhinos, Worthogs, giraffe, zebra. i think thats all.

Day 13 - was an early morning game drive, with a stop for brunch. We came across a herd of Elephants, which was cool and an adolescent male on PMS, who tried to dare us to ran at him, and threatening behaviour which was cool to see. When we decided to move on it was raning next to the truck and a little voice in side my head was saying "yeah thats right run away i win". He seemed very proud as he walked back to the herd. It was then that a MASSIVE elephant came to see what all the fuss was about. Alot of us decided that we didnt want to go on the afternoon game drive, as it was getting so hot in the trucks and we were satisfied with the animals we had already seen. Although if they had come back and said they had seen a leopard we would have all been secretly crying.

Day 14 - drive from kruger to Jo'burg where we all had to stay the night in not very good accomodation. The bathrooms were gross, our toilet was so low, and our bathroom had two showers in it. why i dont know.

Day 15 - well we hung around at the hotel until the group flight had to leave (leaving me all alone in jo'burg) and it was sad to leave them all and its weird that i am alone having spent the last 2 weeks with 27 people and the 2 weeks before with 12.

Day 16 - i am patiently waiting for time to leave my hotel so that i can get on a plan and come home!!

Posted by TarrynK 21:55 Archived in South Africa Tagged volunteer Comments (0)

Good-bye Chinsta

semi-overcast 24 °C

It is my last day in Chinsta so i thought i better give you some info about what i have been doing since the break. Our first day off included a trip to the transkie, across the kie river. Which was something different, and something that i wouldnt get to experience on the adventure tour. The country isnt as developed, and it was so nice. We went on a little hike and then we cliff jumped. We had to climb up this rock faces to get back up after cliff jumping which was a bit scary, but we had Denver, Milton and Rob all there to make sure we didnt fall down. (Rob is an ISV leader, Denver and Milton are with VA32 the south african volunteer).

After that we went to Mumma Tofu, where we got to see the cultural side of her clan. SOme girls did some dancing for us and they were just so adorable!! One of them was like 3 or 4 years old dancing with them and she was just so cute!! we learnt about how the women are worth more (about 18 cows if a guy wants to marry your daughter) but have to do everything (build houses, care for children, guys dont touch water to do dishes or have to do anything!) We got to dance with the girls and it was such a good experience.

That night we all went back to our house and started drinking. Denver, Milton and Tobz did not get the little man rule that we used in Kings. It was very funny. The next morning however was not so much fun. However Rob was kind enough to go down to the store and buy a thing of bacon so i could eat it. It was AMAZING!

Our two days off really refreshed us and it was straight back into the work. Levelling out the ground, picking up rubbish, putting in a drain pipe, sorting the shed. and im sure heaps of other things but i dont have my camera or notebook here so i cant quiet remember.

Today as it was our last day at the school it was a very chill day. As we were leaving the teachers organized for their choir to sing to us. It was so gorgeous! One of the teachers then went on to say how much they appreciated what we had done, that we were young and they were so happy that we took time to help them. It was so moving, Kelsey cried. Which in turn made almost all us girls cry. Im sure Ritcho, Luke and Hamish were like what is wrong with them.

Tomorrow we leave for our adventure tour and im having mixed feelings. I'm ready to go home having been away for so long, but cant wait to do all the activities, and im loving it here and dont really want to leave. It a very confusing time right now. We are also sad as Rob isnt coming on the tour with us, and neither is Milton or Denver. Milton if you i hadnt realised we nicknamed superman, if we cant dig in the ground we call for milton and its done in like 30 seconds. Ritcho and Luke bet Milton that he couldnt dig a hole in under 4 mintues. It had to be very deep and was very tough ground. It took him 1min 42sec. Superman.

Well that is it from me for now. Dont know how the internet will go for the tour but i will try my best!

Posted by TarrynK 03:49 Archived in South Africa Tagged volunteer Comments (0)

South Africa

sunny 33 °C

So it is now like the 5th day of the volunteer part, and am looking forward to having the next two days off! The weather has been pritty hot the last couple of days and when we are working from 8 30 - 12, 2 - 4 its a very hot and exhausting day.

We arrived in East London late on the 13th of Jan, and then had to go another 45 minutes to get to Chinsta (pronanced cin-sa europian way, too hard to write the way it is actually said). Apparently if we had driven through during the day we would have had a chance of seeing a girraffe or zebra but since we have plenty of chances of that it wasnt too bad. The house we are staying in is actually very nice. not what i was expecting at all. We are staying in "white" chinsta (or chinsta east) while we are working in "black" chinsta (township or chinsta).

It is so weird but every morning we all wake up at like the same time, bright and early at about 6am. its very weird! might have something to do with the fact that it is very hot and i always wake up during the night sweating. and i dont know why coz it isnt even that hot at night.

On the first day we had orientation, which involved ultimate freebe on the beach followed by a walk through the township. It is amazing that as soon as the young kids see us walking down the hill they grab their friends and they come and bombard us. Kelsey had a girl cling onto her and would not let go. We have called this girl "monkey".

The first day of work consisted of moving and clearing lots of areas, we also put up a playground. We are working at the primary school and there is alot of stuff to do. The second day was a lot of digging for a table that we were going to be putting up. By the end of the day we had built these tables. It was alot of work. But very rewarding as the kids now have somewhere that they can actually eat their lunch. Today was the hotteset day so far, and there was more digging. This time building a retaining wall as when it rains all hte dirt just moves and the tables and everything wouldnt last very long.

Last night we went out for "sundowners", at a restaurant on top of a hill that involved catching a lift up to it. It had a very nice view at the top and it was nice to get "dressed" up and even though my feet were still probably covered in dirt, wearing makeup felt nice. i think we are going out again tonight to buckeneers, which is on the otherside of the lagoon. yes within 5 minutes we have a lagoon and a beach!! it is a very nice area and am so happy to have been put in this area.

well i think thats it for now. will try to update when i can.

o and another congrats to dave who has qualified for the OLYMPICS! GO DAVE!

Posted by TarrynK 05:19 Archived in South Africa Tagged volunteer Comments (0)

End of Eurotrip

semi-overcast -4 °C

The Concentration camp was very interesting. it was also freezing and halfway through the tour i swear it dropped like 10 degrees. After the concentration camp (which took all day as it is 1 hour out of Berlin) we decided to go see a movie to waste time til our 12 30am train to Amsterdam. We ended up seeing Did You Hear About The Morgans, which actually ended up to be a not so bad film. I wouldnt have seen it except Catherines family had said it was really funny. It was in english (thank god) as it just so happened we stumbled across a cinema that shows all movies in the original condition.

Our train that night ended up being delayed by an hour, so we didnt actually get on it til 1 30am. By that time we were all ready to go to bed. But we had too many people in our cabin. A random (who i dont think had a ticket) had just decided to sleep on catherines bed. the other people in our cabin managed to get him out.

I dont even remember what happened next, as i had written this whole thing and then it deleted itself and im exhausted!. But we arrived in amsterdam and we went to Anne Franks house, which was good since we had been to the concentration camp the day before, it was really interesting to see this side of it. After that we headed off to the red light district. It was an experience, very comfronting. It was even weirder as we saw a group of people with a little girl (about four years old) walking through the red light district and almost went into a "shop" with her. Very weird indeed.

It was then back to copenhagen for one night while i waited for my flight to london, catherine to melbourne and katelyn got on a train to go back to malmo. was very weird. i had decided on sunday morning to get up earlier and go shopping for some gifts, little did i know that all shops are basically closed on sundays, and i had walked ages too. But it was good to be out and walking in the fresh air.

Arriving in London, i met up with Laura and stayed the night at hers. i watched as she compared "penguins" with tim tams. tim tams are obviously better then the british version. there were photos involved too. girly catch ups and watching girls of the playboy mansion. it was sleep time. My first sleep in for good knows how long. and breakfast was vegimite on toast! YUM!

So i am currently sitting in my hotel room in South Africa, i have had a nap (which wasnt a good idea as the weather has turned and i wanted to swim!) but im loving being back in heat!!

Posted by TarrynK 03:04 Archived in Netherlands Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Venice and Switzerland

snow -3 °C

I just realised that I forgot to write about our time in Venice. We only spent a day there, which is a bit disappointing cause it is so nice and beautiful. However we were very lucky as it flooded on christmas day, and the picture of Venice from New Years it was flooded again. So a couple days before and after we were there it was totally flooded. Thank god it wasnt flooded when we were there, pulling our bags through the water would not have been fun.

We went on a gondola ride, we ended up get it for cheaper as we walked away (not even trying to play had to get) and he walked after us calling "lady, lady". He was a very good and funny, gondola man. Catherine is a little scared of boats, and she and katelyn would scream everytime it tipped a little bit. So in no time he was rocking the boat and laughing at them. It was hilarious. Everybody would look. He also told us about the areas we were going through, including the building from Casino Royale that got blown up. He then told us that they did it digitally, really thanks i thought they would have actually blown it up.

So back to Switzerland. We arrived in switzerland at like 11pm. And the train network is horrible! no signs anywhere. so it was impossible to find the train we needed to get to our hotel! We found a very nice Swiss couple that took us to the right platform and made sure we were all okay. Thank god for them cause the last trains were fast approaching and we didnt have any Swiss Frank to pay for a taxi.

We woke up in the morning, looked out the window and it was snowing!! It will never get old. I love when it snows. We spent the day in Zurich. Wondering around. So many chocolate shops and so EXPENSIVE. Sorry family no swiss chocolate for you. For dinner we had chinese, and it was soo good. Catherine was getting high off the soy sauce, and I can say i have missed spring rolls. It was very nice and satisfying. While expensive we shared two entree and one main. It was so worth it.

I am currently in Berlin, sitting in a restaurant attached to the Hostel. Yes I am on the internet in a restaurant but im not really eating, catherine and katelyn are. We went on the free tour this morning after arriving at like 7 30. and guess what? I finally got my BACON AND EGG MCMUFFIN! although i must admit it is much better back in australia. We are going to go the concentration camp tomorrow which is going to be depressing. and then its off to Amsterdam and my Eurotrip is almost over :(

Posted by TarrynK 13:07 Archived in Switzerland Tagged round_the_world Comments (1)

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