South Africa

Photos and Blog

If there is a city in this world filled with such contrasts and dichotomies as Cape Town, we certainly haven't seen it yet. The landscape is as shocking as anything with its wild ocean running right up to the base of the mammoth Table Mountain, which protectively hugs the city bowl. Within the city you have an economical range from shanties to chalets and the people make up every color of the rainbow. Surprisingly all these elements live together in a unique harmony that doesn't at all live up to the scary reputation that might wrongly turn travelers away. In short: We loved it! Go! Visit!

Being greeted by sizzling braais, a children's game of football and a thousand smiles is how we would love to find every new location. This inclusion is how large township communities such as Masiphumelele work and honestly, it grabs you. We were here on our way to catch up with Tim, the co-founder of a non-profit program - Isiqalo. This budding program tackles the harder issues that arise within larger communities such as substance abuse, gender related violence and HIV education with a very South African skew.

Their program, Waves for Change, really struck a cord with us so we were stoked to be able to spend some time with three of the coaches, Apish, Oscar and Bongoni who use the bond created between a surfing coach and student as a conduit to educate on HIV prevention and awareness.

Our few days with these guys made a huge impact on us so we can imagine how powerful their teaching and presence is for the kids they're coaching. Please check out their website and see how you can help this very very worthy cause.

After Cape Town, we made the seven or so hour drive to an area further East along the Wild Coast called the Transkei. It is a pretty large region which from 1976 to 1994 was governed separately from South Africa as The Republic of Transkei. Today it remains mainly the same save for the influx of modern clothing. The area we visited,Ngqeleni, sits above a quiet fishing bay with a nice little beach break. The Xhosa people who live there go about life in much the same way they have for generations. We spent several days with a local family and learned the tradition of harvesting and making Pap, the staple of most South African diets. The only negative thing we could say about this area is that the ticks left 7 out of 10 of us with a nasty case of tick bite fever.

You can't have a proper trip to South Africa without spending some time in The Bush. We were lucky enough to find ourselves in the Manyeleti Game Reserve in the capable hands of the Honeyguide crew. We managed to see all of the Big Five minus the elusive Leopard.But, we saw plenty of other animals to make up for the missing cat. We had no idea you could live among the wild so closely but also so safely. There is just nothing that compares to falling asleep to the sound of a growling lion.