Monday, 1 August 2016

South Africa - Summer 2016

Zebra Kebabs
Wednesday, 27 July



After camping for as long as we have we totally deserve some R&R.  To that end we are staying in an amazing AirBnB in Camps Bay, Cape Town.  We're a few minutes drive from Table Mountain and again from the beach in the other direction.  Not that it is the time of year to be going to the beach; we have a lovely swimming pool but it is far to cold to use.  In fact, not just cold, full on wet and stormy.  The cable cars for table mountain are going through there once a year maintenance check for the one and only week that we are here.  We had a breazy beach side walk and ordered an indian takeaway whilst we waited out the storm. Fire blazing, t.v on, wine glasses full - the opposite end of the spectrum that camping sits on.



A bit of shopping and some normal day to day western life was on everyones to do list so we headed out to V&A Waterfront and had some well earned retail therapy.  Lunch at their food market gave a nice insight to locally produced products and I took the opportunity to sample some zebra, warthog, crocodile and ostrich meat skewers and some fried mapone worms.  Are these popular and regular eaten meats in South Africa?  I'm not sure, the mapone worms definitely are though!  Kind of crispy on the outside and pasty on the inside not a desirable texture or flavour for a western palette.  Warthog was incredibly tasty with a perfect amount of fat and more flavoursome but not to disimilar to pork.  We cooked like a big family in the evening and finished with a Woolworths Malva Pudding, propbably our most South African dish of the day.  Malva Pudding trumps all puddings.  This shop bought version was the definition of scrumptious.  A freshly baked Malva Pudding must be out of this world!

Today was the day I have been nervously looking forward to since we landed in Cape Town.  Today we got up close and personal with the Great White Shark in the freezing cold atlantic ocean.  We got up early, swallowed some sea sickness tablets, wrapped up warm and drove out to Simon's town for a real once in a lifetime experience.  We took a boat out to a small island densely populated with Seal and told to keep an eye on any seal stupid enough to try and swim through open water to the main island.  A few hours passed and nothing happened.  Then we dragged a fake seal from the back of our boat for an hour and still nothing; our luck was seemingly down.  Then we were instructed to change from our cosy, warm layers into cold, slightly damp wetsuits to get into the ice cold Atlantic ocean where there may or may not be any sharks.  I have to admit that it definitely crossed my mind whether I should bother or not.  I went first, with a lets get it over and done with kind of mind set, got into the cage and within 30 seconds had everybody on the boat screaming and the guides telling us to dive under.  My first ever sighting of a great white shark was with it being no more than 50cms away from my face!!  For the rest of the afternoon we had some awesome sightings from in the cage and on the boat.  We loved every second of it even with the biting cold.  Would do it all over again... and again and again.

How to wine and dine...and wine 
Saturday, 30 July

I have been to South Africa before and did not manage to get round to ticking off the National Dish of Bobotie.  Second time round I am leaving once again without having eaten it.  Not to worry, it's not like I missed out on other South African delights.  One local delicacy I 100% definitely did not miss was a beautiful glass of South African wine... or seven.  We drove to Stellenbosch and checked in to Albarosa Guesthouse for a few nights.  On our first day we hit 4 different wineries and tasted 22 different wines.  22!?  Most places were free especially if your bought a bottle.  A "taster" is no less than half a normal glass of wine so pretty much 11 glasses of wine.  I started the day turning my nose up at the people spitting their wine out in to the spittoon but by glass 17 I totally understood it.  5 glasses of South Africas version of Champagne, J.C.Le Roux, were paired nicely with 5 nougat and then lunch was a 4 season pizza paired with 4 more wines and then dinner was a Gemsbok steak with... a lemonade.  I couldn't bring myself to drink another wine let alone pay for one!

The wine regions are stunning and a million miles away from polluted Beijing.  We spent the following day visiting another 4 wineries and making full use of the Rand to Pound exchange rate.  We were washing down steaks, lobsters and oysters with posh plonk and paying with pocket change.  There's nothing like a good bottle of wine to ponder over how immense your last 5 weeks have been.  I have bought 4 bottles of wine to take home (with zero space in my rucksack...) and it will serve the same purpose in a few months time when I want to reminisce once more how frickin amazing this trip has been.  :o)



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