When we speak about South Africa we also mean « the most southern country of Africa » ! That’s why it was a must to stop at the most southern tip of the continent of Africa. We went to Cape Agulhas, the point where Indian Ocean and Atlantic Ocean meet. At this exact place, a lot of boat sink. Why exactly here? Maybe because of the two opposite currents which meet there ? Or is it for some other reason? Only Mother Nature has the right answer…. We kept going to South and we arrived in Hermanus, a small town well known for its whales coming here in the winter season to breed and feed their babies (before going back to Antarctica). Even if the weather was not so good, we were lucky to spot some whales ;-) We were most than welcome by our two host from Couchsurfing Nadia and Daniel. More than a couch, we had a full equipped apartment only for both of us… and we could see the whales directly from the balcony!!! As little thank you, Romain cooked delicious French crêpes, which we all really enjoyed! For our first couchsurfing experience, it was a good one J. As we are French, we have to go on the wine route (and not only to drive if you know what I mean ;-) ). So we installed our tent in Stellenbosch were we visited different wineries: Glenelly, a winery owned by a French lady and “die Bergkelder”, the cave in the mountain. Even if we prefer sweet wines, we tried really good ones…
But the best place to taste and enjoy wines is Franschhoek. (which means “the French Corner” in Dutch). This city was founded in 1688 by 176 French called “Hugenot” who found refuge in South Africa (if you want to know exactly why, I let you check the French History… you’ll love it ;-) ). They received this territory from the Dutch (colonizers of that time). Before the French came, this town was called Olifantshoek which means “Elephants corner” in Dutch because of the huge number of elephants roaming this area.
Nowadays we still see signs from that past: There is a monument commemorating the French Hugenot, they celebrate the Bastille Day (the French National Day on 14th July) and the flag of the city is the French flag (Blue, White, Red) with an elephant in the middle… And of course the most visible heritage is the wine!!! A lot of wineries have French names (but be careful not all of them are French…). That’s why we spend some delicious moments with wines and cheese and wines and cheese pairing!!!
We love it!!!
But even if we liked this region we moved to Gordon’s Bay where we met Dries, another couchsurfer. We spent a really nice evening together, first eating a delicious pizza and then drinking some Jägermeister, and Springbocker in one of his favourite bar. After that we spent a night in his WARM bedroom!!! Wahouu just lovely!! Moreover because we just camped in a very cold place… We finally ended our South-African trip in Cape Town. We first said “Hello” to the penguins and then we climbed Table Mountain. After almost 3 hours of hiking we arrived at the top! The landscapes are very impressive. We could see all Cape Town (the port, the stadium…) and on the other side we saw the 12 Apostles” (12 mountains pics) and the Cape of Good Hope!!! But the way back…was difficult. Especially for me as I inured my foot ankle… anyway it worth it!!! The next day we went to Cape Point and Cape of Good Hope. We were lucky to see whales jumping out of the water. (and walking helps to eliminate the calories of all the good meals we had ;-) ) If you think about Cape Town, you also think about Robben Island (which means « seals island » in Dutch), the island where Nelson Mandela was a prisoner for 18 years (and 27 in total). We took the ferry for a very “emotional” visit: The island was used between the 17th century and the 20th century for different uses. It was a prison, a hospital for mental diseases and for the lepers, it was used as a military base during the world war II and finally it became a prison of high security for the political prisoners. This prison was built in the 60s (during the Apartheid) and was closed in 1996 but the last prisoner left the prison in 1991. Nelson Mandela came there in 1964 for 18 long years of detention (before being transferred to the mainland for 7 other years of prison). What was his fault? Fighting against Apartheid! When he arrived in Robben Island, he received a « new name » (such as all prisoners). He was the number 46664. Inside the prison there are a lot of inequalities. Black prisoners receive less food than others and they don’t get long pants nor shirts nor socks (only short pants, short sleeves shirt and no socks). All prisoners sleep on the floor with only 3 blankets (one is used as pillow). If they do something wrong (or if the guard decides they did something wrong), they get punished. There are 3 types of punishment: first they are bitten, then they go for one day in a confined cell without food nor water. That cell was built when the walls were still wet, so that inside is always very cold and wet… The last punishment is the 30 day-diet: during 30 days the prisoner only get 2 meals per day maid of porridge without milk (usually after 30 days he is so tired that he needs a doctor) Mandela’s cell was very small and he used a bucket as toilets… He could only receive one visit and one mail per year but of course the mail was censured (cut with scissors). But Nelson Mandela is not impressed by all these rules and keep going with fighting : he went in hunger strike and wrote his book « a long walk to freedom ». Black people have also to work hardly in lime mines without any good protection. A lot of them get sick or die… Robben Island is now a symbol of the freedom winning against oppression and racism. 3 prisoners of the island became president of South Africa (as Nelson Mandela). Since the end of the Apartheid and the long fight of Nelson Mandela a lot of things changed in South Africa regarding racism and differences between whites and blacks but there is still a lot to do… After, the weather wasn’t really good so we visited the Waterfront and its huge shopping centre. We walked in the colourful streets of Cape Town and we met a lot of squirrels in the company garden!!!
That’s it ! Our African journey is almost finished now. We will discover new countries and new cultures. First stop Malaysia!!! Continue to follow us ;-)