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11.08.2017 16 °C
10 August 2017.
The morning was cold and grey with rain expected in Cape Town. Table Mountain and Lions Head were covered in cloud. We were so lucky that we were able to go up Table Mountain on a clear sunny day – it doesn’t happen too often.
We had breakfast at 8.00am – what a luxury to choose what time you want breakfast! We walked a couple of blocks to the Castle of Good Hope, the oldest building in Cape Town. We had a look around and walked up on the walls, and stayed for the 10.00am key ceremony followed by the firing of the cannon.
We walked to the Parliament buildings and the Slave Lodge museum (didn’t go in), the Company's Garden and then walked back along Long St to return to the hotel for our late check out at 12.00pm. We walked back to the markets and had a quick look … didn’t need to buy any more because our bags are packed and are very full!
We had lunch and went back to the hotel to wait for our airport transfer at 2.00pm. At the airport I had to say goodbye to Jude. We’ve been travelling together for over six weeks and we’ve shared a lot of experiences … some incredible and unforgettable experiences.
My flight to Johannesburg left at 4.45pm and all three flights (Cape Town – Johannesburg – Perth – Canberra) were on time. I arrived in Canberra just after 9.00pm.
Some thoughts about doing this type of holiday …
I chose to do a NOMAD adventure tour because I was looking for something that I hadn’t done before. I’m glad I did it but couldn’t recommend it to everyone … you need to be prepared for the very long days, for the extremely rough and dusty roads, to be in the truck with a mix of people (some loud, annoying people) during those long days, to accept all types of accommodation, to sit outside in the heat/cold on a little camp chair and eat food that you won’t always like. On the first leg of the tour there were long stretches without any signs of civilisation, which means there’s no toilets, so we had plenty of ‘bushy bushy’ stops … this wasn’t a problem for the group we had but might be for some people.
But there are a lot of positives to this type of travel. We covered so much ground and went to some really remote places that a tour bus couldn’t go. I loved watching the incredible scenery along the way, which changed every day. We met some very friendly people – we found that service people (particularly in restaurants) and taxi drivers were extremely grateful to just have a job and not only provided great service with a smile but were always ready to have a chat.
The biggest positive was the amazing experiences we had. The game drives in Etosha, Kruger and Addo … it takes your breath away when you first see a lion, hippo, rhino or elephant close up. There are so many highlights (right now it’s all a blur), but I will always remember walking with the lions and the private game drive when the elephants came up close enough to touch … although these were not in the NOMAD itinerary and involved an extra cost.
Despite the warnings of violence and robberies in South Africa I never felt unsafe there or in any of the countries we visited, even on the few occasions I was out by myself during the day (not at night but I wouldn't go out by myself at night anyway).
The 42 day Southern Circle covers a lot of ground (11,696 kms) and has a variety of experiences to suit people that are reasonably fit. This tour can be broken down into shorter legs and we had some people start or finish at different points along the way. NOMAD’s most popular tour is the 20 day Cape Town to Victoria Falls.
I wanted an adventure holiday and that’s what I got. There were some days when I wasn’t feeling well or there was some tension within the group, or I was over-tired and I just wanted it to stop. No, I can’t get back on that truck again … but I did and I’m so pleased that I survived the 42 days!