Categories
bali Gili Islands Nature

Gili Air, an escape from the real world

Gili Air is a small rustic island near to Bali, that is only accessible by boat, and on the island there are no cars or petrol motorbikes.

We arrived by fast boat, which we took from Padang Bai, on Bali.

Gili Air island does not have proper paved roads, only dirt roads and foot paths. The only way to get anywhere is by foot, bicycle, boat, or by horse and cart. It is so small, that you can walk around the entire island in about 2 hours.

The entire island is literally a village in the middle, with restaurants, dive shops, and bars around the edge, facing out to sea.

We checked into the cheapest island accommodation we could find, which was Gili Air garden. It was a small bungalow, with a futon, fan, mosquito net, and private bathroom. It only took about 3 minutes to walk to the beach from the accommodation so we were able to really take advantage of the warm tropical ocean numerous times a day.

The island was filled with lots of travellers from all over the world, mostly backpacker types looking for a relaxed island life. If there ever was a ‘chill out’ island, Gili Air is it.

We explored the paths around the island and through the villagers’ houses on foot, and other times we hired a bicycle to get around, just for something different. It was fun to cycle without any cars to worry about.

We made the best of the island, going snorkeling at the beach every day with turtles, and lots of vibrantly coloured fish and corals. Every day we went snorkeling by ourselves for hours, and one of the days we treated ourselves to a snorkeling tour with a local guide. The guide took us on a boat to some amazing coral reefs around the island, where we saw lots of beautiful fish and of course more turtles.

Some evenings we were treated to an amazing sunset on the beach, the sea was extremely calm with no waves and the water reflected the pink sky like a mirror. The weather was hot and humid every day, with occasional down pours of heavy rain, and thunder storms which didnt seem to last very long. The nights were less humid, but still very hot, so having a room with a fan or aircon is a necessity.

The electricity supply on the island is a bit dodgy, and the entire island often had days where there was no power for hours a few hours in the afternoon. We also experienced power cuts during the night, which was bad when your room is like a sauna, and you cant open the door without inviting a million mosquitos.

While we were on the island, there was a free trance festival at one of the beach bars, which made our experience even more interesting.

We saw some of the local wild life again, with a scorpion we found in our room one night, lots of large golden orb spiders and giant snails that we would find crossing the foot paths at night.

On one of the days we thought our eyes were playing tricks on us, as we noticed what looked like a horse on a boat….and it turned out, that it was! The first and probably last time we will ever see a horse on a boat! We suspected the horse either went on one of the many snorkeling tours available on the island, or possibly just a trip to the vet, lol!

We got so used to the extremely slow and relaxed lifestyle on the island that we were not looking forward to going back to the real world.

If you are looking for a place to do nothing but relax, snorkel, lie on the beach and chill, Gili Air is definitely the island to do that.

Categories
bali Gili Islands

3 days in Padang bai

padang bai harbourWe left Ubud for Padang bai, a little seaside town where everyone catches a ferry the various Gili islands. Most people overlook it as a place to stay, as there is not much there, and its generally a place to stop over on your way to and from the Gili islands.

We checked into Serangan Inn II accommodation near the harbour, which was located in a great spot that was within easy walking distance to the harbour, as well as restraunts and the beaches.

We decided to spend a couple of days, and we were glad we did. We discovered a great beach called White Sand beach, which was awesome.

It was not easy to find at first, we had to walk through local housing area and through some back roads, past chickens and cows, and under a fence, to get to the secluded beach.

We knew about the beach via a random post online, and after not knowing if we were going in the right direction, after about half an hour we were relieved and excited to see the blue water, palm trees and white sand in the distance. At this stage we we felt like we were in desperate need of a dip in the ocean, as it was what I call ‘poes hot’, and we were dripping with sweat!

It was well worth the walk, the beach is clean, with soft white powdery sand, and lived up to its name of “white sand beach”. There were a few rustic beach “shacks”, selling delicious cheap local food, and drinks, right on the beach.

We felt really safe leaving our belongings on the beach, something we would never dream of doing in Cape Town, and you can easily spend the entire day there swimming in the warm water and relaxing on the beach.

his was our first proper taste of snorkeling in Indonesia and we were lucky to see a moray eel, two turtles, and lots of small fish. The evenings were very quite and relaxed, definitely not a ‘party’ town. We tried a different local restaurant every night, and on the last night while walking around, we discovered a tiny local pub that had a live band playing covers of rock and alternative music. We were surprised that they were actually pretty talented musicians.

Since this is a main stop on the way to all of the Gili Islands, there is loads of travellers coming and going all the time, and almost every local wants to sell you a discount ticket for the ferry, so negotiating a cheap ticket for one of the fast boats to the Gilli islands is pretty easy.

On the morning of the third day in Padang bai, we caught the fast boat to Gili Air island. All the travellers congregate near the harbour in the morning to board the various fast boats the the various Gili islands and Lombok.

After around 2 hours we arrived at Lombok first to drop and collect travellers, followed by Gili Air, where we got off.

Categories
bali Ubud

Discovering Ubud

If you visit Bali, you will almost always visit Ubud, which is quite a bit of a tourist trap. The streets are pretty narrow, and congested with scooters that dont seem to follow any rules of the road at all, as well as droves of tourists on the pavements going in and out of all the sidewalk shops.

The streets are lined with loads of temples, curio and souvenir shops, massage parlors, and there are tons of local and western restaurants which are usually full of tourists. If you are trying to save money, the local warungs were much better value for money than western restaurants, just DO NOT order western food, at a local restaurant.

The problem with the warungs is that the local chefs and staff most of the time have zero idea of what western food should look or taste like. So do yourself a favour if you are at a local restaurant, and eat local food, its pretty good, and really cheap!

Ubud has quite a few great restaurants serving Western dishes that we found excellent, one of our favourites was Bali budah, which had a great selection of vegetarian food, smoothies and juices.

Another one we were blown away by was Kismet, which was an excellent experience from start to finish, the decor and service was top notch, and the food was reall really good! The cherry on the top was that they also accepted bitcoin for payment!

Nightlife in Ubud is quite lively, and there are plenty of shisha lounges, bars, and night clubs that go on until all hours of the morning. We  unfortunately found most cocktails to be expensive, and taste disgusting! The only thing that seemed reasonably priced and tasty was the Bintang beer, which was excellent!

On one of the days we met friends and went on a hike through the jungle to get to a lovely river and waterfall. The walk took most of the day, and we almost got lost as the waterfall is not on any tourist map.

Looking for more exciting things to do in ubud besides eating and shopping, we decided to take a full day tour with BaliHaiBike, which was amazing!

They collected us in the morning and took us to Tegallalang rice terraces, followed by a tour of a coffee plantation where we sampled a variety of coffee and teas, and I tried the coffee luwak (civet pooh coffee). Next we went breakfast at a restaurant overlooking Mount Batur, and active volcano, and Batur lake. After we had eaten, we were given our bikes and cycled down the mountain through the traditional villages, rice fields, and jungle.

We made stops in a traditional village, at Kehen temple, Kintamani temple and the water temple, before ending at the BaliHai restaurant for dinner. After our dinner we were returned to our accommodation at around 6pm.

Our first accommodation in Ubud was Kabera bungalow, which we chose because it was great value for money, and came highly recommended on Booking.com. The accommodation was in the perfect location for us because it was positioned down an alley off the top of Monkey forest road, so within walking distance to plenty of great restaurants as well as some attractions.

Kabera was actually the cheapest accommodation we could find that had private bathroom, and the bonus was that it included breakfast every day. The breakfast every morning was awesome, a flask of hot water with tea and coffee making supplies, a delicious fruit salad, and toast with fried eggs. Just what you need to get the day started 🙂

We decided to take a walk along Campuhan Ridge, which is a free and easy nature trek not far from the center of Ubud. We walked the route and then had a drink at the restaurant on the other side, before making our way back along the same route. This walk is highly recommended if you are a nature lover and would like to see some of the surrounding countryside and interesting insects along the route.

Although we found Ubud to be a bit cooler than Sanur, it is still really hot and humid most of the time, and there are sometimes thunder storms, which we found to be amazing! The thunder and lightning was so loud and really fun to experience, and the rain drops were so fat and heavy that we were drenched in about a minute of being caught in the rain on the way back from Campuhan Ridge.

We went to visit Kajeng street, also known as ‘signature street’, we found loads of hand imprints, quotes, signatures, pictures and messages that have been written into the concrete on the ground. The story goes that if you make a donation you are able to create your message and leave your mark in the street. Some of the messages were pretty old, going back many years.

We decided to take a break from the busy Ubud center, and stay 2 nights in the rice fields just outside of Ubud in a ‘Bamboo Birds Nest’.

The ‘nest’ is a two story bamboo house resembling a birds nest, that you access by climbing up the bamboo ladder. There is no door, just a double bed with bedding, mosquito net, and light with power point at the top. At the bottom of the nest was the bathroom which was really basic, a ‘squatty potty’ toilet, and the shower was a barrel of water with a coconut ladle scoop! We really felt like we were one with nature 🙂

The accommodation was pretty quiet and isolated, the main house had an open plan kitchen and bar that served meals, and a decent WiFi connection for communication. The main house also had a great view of the rice fields, and had an awesome swing hanging from two palm trees, allowing you to swing over the rice fields.

Being right in the middle of a rice field, which were filled with loads of dragon flies by day, and come alive at night with lots of bright green fireflies, and combined with the sounds of nature, amazing sunrises and sunsets, it was amazing.  After a couple of days we went back to Ubud, so that we could continue exploring the area.

The Monkey Forest is one of the main tourist attractions in Ubud. It is a really beautiful monkey sanctuary. The only problem with the Monkey forest is that they encourage the feeding of the monkeys by selling food to tourists to give to the monkeys. This has the caused the monkeys to become rather aggressive and they regularly attack visitors, or steal their belongings.

We knew how aggressive they were beforehand, so were prepared, but it was fun to watch other tourists being robbed.

The forest itself is cool and shaded, and really beautiful with lots of awesomely weird statues everywhere.

Dengue fever in Ubud

A day or so after arriving back in Ubud, I started feeling ill, and as someone who generally does not ever get sick, or even need to see a doctor, I knew something was not quite right. It was bad enough that I started to look up symptoms online and decided that I might need to take a blood test for dengue fever.

Having no idea where to go, I again turned to the internet and found http://www.ubudcare.com/

Ubud Care tested my blood and confirmed that I did indeed have Dengue Fever and needed to stay in bed and drink lots of water. I went for daily blood tests and chekups at the clinic until I was well. They were kind enough to collect me every day in their ambulance 🙂

Bed ridden for 9 days, changed accommodation to Alamanda accommodation, which had a mosquito net, and a rooftop swimming pool for cooling off in the heat.

Alamanda accommodation was another budget accommodation that included a good breakfast to start the day. The home-stay was nice and shaded with lots of plants and trees, so was cool during the day.

Categories
bali Sanur

Out and about in Sanur Bali

Little Pond homestay

We moved to the chilled seaside town of Sanur on the 4th of March, where we spent 6 awesome nights at Little Pond homestay. We had barely put our luggage in the room when we went to try out the pool, oh happiness! With the hot humid weather, and all the sweating it was such a relief to be able to swim. The Little pond homestay is a small group of rooms each with their own bathroom, that overlook a little communal garden with a pool. Thank you Sabrina for showing us this awesome place! A flushing toilet and private bathroom never sounded so good 🙂

Bajra Sandhi monument
Bajra Sandhi monument

While in Sanur we decided to check out the Bajra Sandhi monument, a short drive away from where we were staying. We spent a good few hours walking around admiring the grounds, statues and architecture of the monument.

IMG_6255We went to visit the beach for the first time, and were amazed at how clear and warm the water was! Indian ocean is awesome 🙂 Lots of colourful fish, and crabs etc in the rockpools to see with the goggles. Once we realised how close we were to staying to the beach, we went there every day. One word to describe Bali so far is “moist“. We were either wet from sweat, the pool, a warm shower, or the sea at any time of the day or night! The heat and humidity is crazy.

Sanur beachThere is a huge amount of frangipani trees all over the place in Bali, and you cant go far without smelling their awesome scent. They were growing all around the pool at Little pond, and the pool was littered with blossoms floating on the surface water, it almost looked like they had been put there on purpose.

 

Night MarketIn the evening we went to our first night market in Sanur to eat authentic Balinese cuisine with the locals. The food was so very tasty and cheap! A plate of awesome vegetarian food was 18k IDR, which is about R20. We also tried some of the fresh juices, a dragon fruit and banana mix, as well as an avocado and chocolate mix were both 10k each. Our night out at the market was the equivalent of about R65 in total for everything, and we were so full! The food was so good that we went back a few nights to eat there again.

Night market foodThe markets are busy, and almost every store you go past has the same sarongs or clothing for sale. If you dare glance over, or make eye contact, you will have to try really hard to get away as the store seller will try relentlessly to sell you something, even if you don’t want it. They could probably sell you your own shoes if you were not careful. You are able to get good prices, because you can barter with every seller, but it is draining, and we got tired of trying to walk past without being hassled, and started staying away. We learned that the word “NO!” in Balinese is “Tidak”, which we tried to use….

12795265_10153743983516997_2458985039857894582_nAnother common irritation when you walk down the streets in Bali, is that there is a massage parlor or taxi driver literally on almost every corner, and you cannot walk down the street without one of them trying to get you to use their services. We started off being polite and saying “no thanks” but they will not leave you alone, so now we just completely ignore them. Any interaction with a seller, even to say “no”, does not work, they still believe there is some chance that you might possibly use them or buy from them, so they will continue asking. Ignoring is the best way to move swiftly through the streets if they are crowded.

12670396_10153743988806997_2311432516407929480_nOne of the days we were in Sanur, we decided to do a ‘Sea Walker’ tour in Nusa Dua. This is a tour where you go down about 5 meters under the sea, and walk through a circuit that has corals and fish all around it. You wear some ‘vintage’ looking dive gear that they pump air into, allowing you to walk and see everything, without having to wear scuba gear. Your head stays completely dry while you walk the circuit, and feed the fish all around you.

12806155_10153750761346997_3570784158127950331_nAnother night we were in Sanur we decided to eat a meal at a restaurant purely because you got to see the ‘masked dance’ + ‘Barong Bangkung’ dance while you eat. We enjoyed the show, and Natacha was invited by the Balinese dancers to join them on stage, which she did!

12814133_10153750761781997_5881441943278668118_nOn the 9th of March is a major Hindu festival in Bali called Nyepi (Day of silence). It is the start of the new year, and for an entire day you must stay indoors, and stay quiet. The reason for this is to convice the evil spirits that Bali is uninhabited, so that they will leave the island alone for another year.

IMG_6363The night before (Nyepi eve) is a big celebration, where the “ogoh-ogoh” (the evil gods / monsters) models that are made by locals are exercised, and the priest does an exorcism bali style in a huge festival. The “ogoh-ogoh” monsters from different parts of Bali are all paraded through the streets by the people who made them, before getting exercised at the festival.

We decided to go to the festival to see all the “ogoh-ogoh” monsters that had been made by the different groups. They were amazing to look at, and it was hard to believe they are made from mostly papier mache.

IMG_6459 (Copy)We spent “Nyepi day” indoors at our accommodation, relaxing by the pool with our friends who had come to spend the holiday with us. The streets were empty, with nobody allowed to go outside. We had a peek to see, and the street was like a ghost town, not a soul around. Luckily we were not spotted by the Pecalang (police) who patrol the streets, looking for people who are not indoors.

12801207_10153739601831997_2187106227536610143_nWalking around Sanur, you see a huge amount of offerings to the gods outside almost every home and shop. The sidewalks are littered daily with a little offering and some insence for the gods. A lot of places also have a mini ‘temple’ outside their home or place of business, where they leave their offerings. This is awesome for the ants, birds and other creatures who we saw snacking on some of the offerings, not to mention the confused cat or dog, who left an offering of their own to the gods on one of them.

Every night in Sanur we relaxed on our balcony, taking dips in the pool, and listening to the geckos that are everywhere in Bali.

12804883_10153739602081997_5762525270994846202_nThey gather around the light fittings, which becomes a death trap for moths and flying insects. The geckos become territorial and make noises and flap their tails around to warn other geckos to stay away from “their” light. At night you really feel like you are in the jungle, with the sounds of all the insects and geckos.

IMG_6442 (Copy)Due to the lack of public transport in Bali, everyone from around the age of 12 years old and upwards rides a scooter to get around! We have been too nervous to ride one, due to the hectic traffic, so we have been walking everywhere we need to go. If the distance is too far, we have been using Uber, which is normally half the price of a local taxi! We have tried getting quotes a few times for a taxi from one place to another, and the Uber price has always been at least half the price, sometimes more.

IMG_6435 (Copy)We again used Uber when we left Sanur to go to Ubud, and were quoted from 150k to 300k by local taxis, while Uber charged only 95k, and they are normally only about a minute or two away from you when you place the order. We had a big fright one day when Francois forgot one bag in the back of the Uber car. The bag had his wallet, passport, camera, gopro etc. in it. We only discovered this when we tried to check in at our accommodation in Ubud, and the owner of the homestay wanted both our passport numbers.

Luckily using Uber, we were able to quickly call the driver who had just given us the ride by using the Uber app, and he returned a few minutes later with the bag and all its contents! That is something that would have been a lot harder to do with a normal taxi, maybe even impossible.

Categories
bali

Hello Bali

Travel bagsOur S.E. Asia journey has begun, and we started off with flying from Cape Town to Bali via Dubai. We used Emirates airline and were impressed with pretty much everything, even the airline food was pretty good, and the free drinks any time you wanted was awesome 🙂

The flight to Dubai was about 9 and a half hours, starting at 1:30pm on Monday in Cape Town (29 Feb), and arriving in Dubai on Tuesday at 01:15.We time traveled by 2 hours. At Dubai airport we had to wait until 8:50am for our connecting flight, so spent a few hours walking around the airport, before claiming some chairs to sit / sleep in until our next flight.

Carving at airport

Trying to sleep in Dubai airport
Trying to sleep in Dubai airport

The flight from Dubai to Bali was again about 9 hours, so we arrived at about 10pm in Denpasar, still on 1 March. We time traveled a further 4 hours. We hadn’t really slept much at all during the journey to Bali, so were eager to get to our first accommodation place called Gandhi Hostel. After going through customs, we quickly met up with our driver from the hostel, who took us directly there.

The first impression when walking out of the airport in Denpasar at about 11pm was “Oh my god it is HOT!”. After being in cold aircon for hours, it felt like walking into a hot oven. The drive to our accommodation was INSANE! The streets were packed with scooters, so many scooters it was crazy, and it seemed like not one person was obeying any rules of the road. We were surprised we did not witness at least 5 accidents on the way from the airport.

Indonesia is about 6 hours ahead of Cape Town, so even though it was late in Bali, we were still on SA time, so were exhausted, but feeling awake…very strange.

View from Gandhi Hostel
View from Gandhi Hostel

The Gandhi hostel is in the middle of Denpasar, and is really a kind of stop over place once you arrive from the airport, or if you are going to the airport. There is nothing really to do nearby, and walking around the neighborhood is not very interesting.

The rooms at the Gandhi hostel are also not great. On the first night we had a room with an aircon, but had to move to another room for the next 2 nights as that room was already booked by other people. The new room we got only had a fan, no aircon, and was insanely hot! Still, we were glad to have a power point in the room to charge phones etc, since the first room did not have that. The new room didnt have any lock on the door, so we barricaded ourselves into the room at night, lol. In Cape Town we always lock everything, and double check it is safe, in Bali, that does not seem to be such an issue.

Staircase up to the second floor
Staircase up to the second floor

Gandhi HostelThe people at the Gandhi Hostel were very nice and friendly, but the place needed a lot of renovation. There were 2 floors with double, twin and dorm rooms on each floor, and a bathroom. Both bathrooms were a single room with a bath, toilet, basin, and a shower head. The bath was out of order in both bathrooms, and the toilet on the top floor where we were did not flush. Leaving just the basin and the shower head. We discovered that in Indonesia, most bathrooms are fully tiled and the entire room is basically a shower. There is no divider separating the shower, you just shower and all the water goes onto the floor and down a drain…sometimes close to where the  toilet is too….yes, your toilet is in the shower! The top floor bathroom also had a large bucket filled with water and a scoop, so that you can manually flush the toilet…apparently this is how a lot of toilets work in Indonesia, and a Western flushing toilet is not too common outside of tourist areas.

One great thing about the Gandhi Hostel, is that they are super friendly and always willing to make you awesome ‘Mie Goreng’ or ‘Nasi Goreng’, any time day or night. Mie Goreng is a spicy fried noodle dish with vegetables and a fried egg, and Nasi Goreng is basically the same, except with rice. The meals were huge too, so one mie goreng dish was enough to fill both of us. Not bad for 20k IDR, which is about R24. So far we have not found a place that actually makes better mie goreng that they made at Gandhi hostel, it was so delicious!

Artworks for sale
Artworks for sale

12043046_10153730327406997_6489030262936613282_nWe had booked 3 nights at Gandhi Hostel, just so that we could figure out what we wanted to do, and where we wanted to go, once we were on the ground.

After the first night, we needed to get some Indonesian money to pay for our stay, so took a 15min walk to the closest ATM. On our walk we saw how the locals in that part of Bali live, and looked around the area of Denpasar we were in, that  was close to the airport…it was not pretty! The houses were all very close together, and the streets buzzing with tons of scooters and cars that appear obey no rules of the road. It takes skill just to cross the road! Most people riding the scooters don’t have helmets! Many of them look way too young to even be driving, and we saw a lot of families riding a scooter! Yes, mother, father, two children and a baby or dog on one scooter, all without helmets! It was crazy, but we have yet to see one accident.

The Gandhi Hostel is in a part of Denpasar that is smelly and dirty, and not the best place to stay, but Hostel was close to the airport, cheap, had good food, was run by a friendly family, and was full of other travelers and backpackers to talk to. Unfortunately we did encounter some bed bugs too!

Little Bird Warung
Little Bird Warung
Mie Goreng
Mie Goreng

It was an interesting start to the adventure, but we were more than ready to move on.

On the third day we were there, we traveled to another part of Denpasar to meet our friend Sabrina, and see where she lived. She took us to an awesome area called Sanur, and showed us a great place to stay called Little Pond, which is in a great area, close to shopping, restaurants, and only 5 minutes walk to the beach!

We went out to get something to eat at Little Bird warung, which was almost across the road from Little Pond, and had great food at a reasonable price. 25k – 45k for most meals which works out to about R30 – R55 for a meal. That is pretty good for a sit down meal in a restaurant.

We went shopping for groceries, and got some foreign fruit to take back home to try later. The ‘snake fruit’ actually looks like it has scales on it, and tastes kind of like a perfumed apple. We also got ‘mangosteen’ fruit, which was hard on the outside, had soft segments on the inside, and was quite nice tasting. The store we went to was called Hardies, and it has everything you can think of, from fresh food and groceries, to clothing, souvenirs, beers, etc. You can spend hours in there enjoying the cool aircon while looking around at all the beautiful artwork. We think most of the stalls around Bali must get their stock at Hardies and then resell it to tourists.

Snake fruit    mangosteen

At the end of the day, we made a booking at Little pond homestay before heading back to Gandhi hostel to spend the last night and begin our evacuation to Sanur.

Categories
Cape Town Hike Nature

Lions Head hike

This is one of the nice and easy hikes to do in Cape Town, and probably the most popular. The locals as well as tourists all want to do this easy walk / hike to the top of Lions head, where you get 360 degree panoramic views of Cape Town

This hike takes about 45 minutes to an hour to get to the top from where you park your car, depending on your fitness level. The hike is not that difficult, even if you are unfit, you will be able to cope as long as you take it slow. If you are quick, you can reach the top and be down again in about 2.5 hours.

If you are in Cape Town and like short hikes and the outdoors, the hike up Lions head is a must. We have been lots of times to the top and always enjoy the experience.

To get to the starting point you need to drive up Kloof Nek road in Cape Town. At the top where the turn off is on the left to the Table Mountain cable way, you need to go right, into Signal Hill road. Drive a couple of hundred meters up the road, and park in the parking bays at the bottom of the path that takes you to the top of Lion’s Head.

Categories
Cape Town Nature

A day at Boulders beach

We decided to spend the day relaxing at Boulders beach in Simon’s Town. Boulders is definitely one of the most beautiful beaches in Cape Town. The beach is sheltered from the wind and big waves, and is ideal if you want calm ocean water to swim in.

There is an entrance fee to get into the beach area as it is part of the Table Mountain National Park. The beach is totally worth it though, and you are quite likely to see penguins on the beach and swimming in the sea near you.

Boulders beach penguin colony is right near the swimming beach, so if you are keen on seeing some penguins, you can walk on the proper boardwalk to see the penguins nesting, and to learn about the penguins in the information center.

This beach is just around the corner from one of our other favorite beaches called the Secret Beach. The main difference about going to the secret beach, is you dont pay to enter, there are no penguins, and far less people.

One thing to note about the part of the beach we were on at Boulders beach is that as the tide comes in, there is less and less sand to use. It is a good idea to look up the tide table before you go, to make sure you are there when there is lots of space available.

Categories
Cape Town Hike Nature

Cape Point Thomas T Tucker shipwreck trail hike

Thomas T. Tucker trailCape Point Nature reserve is really pretty, and has some cool little hikes you can do if you want to spend the afternoon in nature by the sea.

The Thomas T. Tucker shipwreck trail in the Cape Point Nature Reserve is a very easy hike. This starts from the Olifantsbos parking lot. Follow the yellow markers that guide you through the fynbos down to the beach past rockpools.

Once on the shore, follow the beach towards the wreck of the SS Thomas T. Tucker. This ship was wrecked in 1942 while trying to avoid detection by German U-boats. Along the way you will find lots of interesting things washed up on the beach, and see quite a few different bird species, and maybe even some antelope, ostriches or zebras.

After the Thomas T. Tucker wreck comes the wreck of the Nolloth. The Nolloth was wrecked in 1965, it makes for a good resting point before returning back. You can either return back to the parking lot the same way you came, or follow inland ridge just past the Nolloth wreck and take it back to the Olifantsbos parking area/

If you return from the Nolloth along the beach, the route is an easy 3km and should take around an hour and a half. The inland route is 5km, and will take about two and a half hours.

Here are some of our pictures from the day we spent at Cape Point and on Thomas T. Tucker shipwreck trail:

Categories
Cape Town Hike Nature

Kirstenbosch botanical gardens

The Kirstenbosch botanical gardens is a famous Cape Town botanical garden in Newlands, at the foot of Table Mountain. This is a great place spend the afternoon with a picnic under one of the trees on one of the big lawn areas. There are often music concerts in the gardens and locals arrive early to picnic then watch the concert. Outdoor cinema is also held at the gardens

Kirstenbosch was founded in 1913 to preserve the country’s unique flora and has a lot of indigenous plants from around South Africa.

The conservatory has plants from different regions of South Africa, some from fybos, savanna, and the karoo  areas. The focus is on plants that are only found in the Cape, especially different kinds of proteas.

Kirstenbosch is popular with both locals and tourists. From the gardens several hiking trails lead off along and up the mountain slopes and these are much used by hikers. One of the trails, up a ravine called Skeleton Gorge, is an popular route to the top of Table Mountain.

There is quite a lot of cool art in the gardens too. Zimbabwean stone sculptures are sometimes in the gardens by artists from Chapungu Sculpture Park in Zimbabwe.

If you like nature, the outdoors, plants, pretty scenery and a relaxing atmosphere, then do go check out the gardens.