We arrived in South Africa just before the 2010 FIFA World Cup and spent the next 2 months touring all around, primarily in a rental car while waiting for TianMa to make his way over from Argentina.

 

South Africa

Quick Summary

Time in South Africa: May 27 - August 2, 2010

Route: around Cape Town and wine country then to Jeffrey’s Bay before looping the eastern half of the country (Grahamstown, Kruger Park, Drakensberg, Durban, Wild Coast amongst others); then along the Garden Route from Port Elizabeth back to Cape Town and up the west coast to Namibia.  

Food: lots of good and varied food and wine in Cape Town (plus some great home cooking thanks to couchsurfing); elsewhere we could find good grills and sometimes fish or curries readily but the lack of variety wore us down especially because South Africans are not big on vegetables or any other side dishes; cuisine very conducive to road-tripping and camping - our lessons on braai, potjie and biltong will serve us well for many travels to come

People: sensitive topic so we shouldn’t get too deep into it - let’s just say it’s clear that at least several more generations will need to go by to move beyond the racial divisions and tensions left over from Apartheid that are still quite evident - at times we felt quite uncomfortable; that being said, the South Africans we did interact with were without exception warm, welcoming, generous, helpful and genuine people so we have hope for the future; average person knows a lot about cars, off-road driving and camping (truly impressive)

Roads: good roads (apparently major upgrades before the World Cup), extensive network, solid drivers (just a little too fast); toll road system obviously built for corruption but luckily most tolls can be avoided with a little planning and luck if you’re not in a rush

Distance covered: 8021km (4984 miles) - 2241km in TianMa, 5100km by rental Ford Fiesta and 680km by bus

Highlights: pretty much everything we did in Cape Town, our 9 days at the Wild Spirit backpackers, World Cup games, whales and penguins, Kruger Park sunset and sunrise, sleeping in a Ford Fiesta in a casino parking lot

Low-lights: greedy “hostels” charging ridiculous rates during the World Cup, Intercape bus ride (never ever use this company!), delays and frustrations in reuniting with TianMa, sleeping in a Ford Fiesta in a casino parking lot

Impression: beautiful!!! pretty sights and attractions can be found throughout the country - we were all but set to relocate to Cape Town when we first arrived; unfortunately, beauty is not all that matters and even casual tourists like us can’t help but repeatedly confront the country’s dark history and extreme ongoing divisions and inequalities; lucky for us we were there during the World Cup which really did unite all South Africans and they really did an admirable job as hosts; we hope that someday they do become the nation they dream of being

Lots more pictures from South Africa to come if we ever find a good Internet connection