Meet Mara

Trip Start Sep 08, 2010
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed

Flag of South Africa  , Western Cape,
Saturday, September 18, 2010

After the last minute shopping and packing into the early hours we woke up ready and excited about the next leg of the trip, a 19 day camping safari that would take us from Cape Town, out of South Africa, through Namibia and Botswana before dropping us off in Livingstone, Zambia. 

Due to emptying the flat in London and the quick trip from Joberg to Cape Town as well as missing the pre-departure meeting the night before as we were filling out Crime forms at the Police Station we didn't really know much about the trip apart from the route we were following. We met up with the tour guide Mia and apologised for not being at the meeting the night before, quickly loaded our luggage onto the truck before we were told to get onto another minibus as we were doing a township tour.  

The township tour was guide as to what Cape Town was during the Apartheid years.  First we were taken to District 6, an area which had a mixed community till the 1960's when many of the residents were forcibly removed and their houses bulldozed as it was declared a white only area,  after that we were taken on a walking tour through the Lange township where many of the residents of District 6 were moved to, we saw houses that would have 3 families sharing a room, the house would have 4 rooms so up to 12 familes would share the kitchen, bathroom and toilets and each family would have just a single concrete bed.  We drove through a market which  had sheeps heads being cooked over an oil drum as well as chicken heads and feet which is a township delicacy known as 'walkie talkie'.  We stopped for lunch at Mzoli's Meat where we had a braai (bbq) of chicken wings and lamb chops accompanied by a delicious salsa as well as the African staple of meali meal/pup/nchima.  The food was plentiful and amazingly tasty.

While waiting for lunch we finally got a chance to meet the rest of the tour group.  There was Diane and Owen, a retired couple who were originally from New Zealand but now in Australia, Joghan and Anya from Germany, Stuart and Hailey from UK, Jo from Canada, Katie from USA, Olga from Latvia but now in London, two sisters Bianca and Kyla from Australia, and Brent also from Australia.  After lunch we drove to Table View for another view of Table Mountain from the beach before we were met by Mia and Anthony, the driver as well as Mara, the truck that was to be home for the best part of 3 weeks.

We started our journey towards the north east of South Africa, passing many fruit farms - the majority being orange trees and vineyards.  Our first overnight stop was at Highlanders Wine Farm in Vanrhynsdorp which is around 300km from Cape Town.  We set up camp, Mia ran through the daily chores and we went up to the bar/braii area for our evening meal...  just in time for the power cut!  We sat with our head torches, surrounded by candles getting to know the rest of the group.  Following our 2nd lovely braii of the day, we had a wine tasting session in front of the log fire.  Sparky, the owner, was South African, met his British wife when he was working as an overlander and she was a passenger.  They got married and decided to travel up to the UK by land, they got just passed Kenya and realised they didn't want to leave Africa, so came back down south and set up Highlanders.  Had a great evening, lovely wine - although i'm still not a fan of the red...

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