Tag: #solotraveler

Table Mountain: If At First You Don’t Succeed, Upgrade Your Offer

Table Mountain must be wooed, it demands you ask nicely and put in an effort, if you really want to see it, you have to be prepared to be rejected, a couple of times. 

Like anything that thinks highly of itself, it is also not a cheap date, if you offer it tacos, it’s going to keep saying no until you upgrade to steak.

It all started on the plane: the airline magazine said that during the month of February the Table Mountain cable car was half-off after 6pm.

Half-off? During sunset? Basically dream words to anyone travelling on a budget, if it said “free toast for breakfast” I might have suggested camping up there.

But the Mountain wasn’t the one that agreed to being offered up cheaply, so, like any offspring that feels like its parent is sacrificing them to “Joe, you know, your neighbor who doesn’t have a job, but is a very nice man, and you are getting older, so maybe give him a chance”, the Mountain rebelled. 

Monday, 5:57pm: we park, we hear a siren. We question whether it means the cable car is arriving. Turns out it actually means the winds have picked up and the clouds have started to roll in, meaning everything must shut for the day. The Mountain was obviously displeased with our spontaneous offer of “you’re here, I’m here and it’s happy hour so we may as well do this thing…”
Tuesday, 4pm: check conditions, according to website, “temp: good, visibility: decent” (we later figure out is about 30 mins behind in updating its mood). We begin to drive, we see clouds pouring down over the mountain, we are stuck in traffic, we stop driving and change plans. The Mountain is such a tease, it appreciated the extra planning but really wanted more fan fare, it’s a bit stuck in the world of 90s teen romance movies. 

The view from the backseat window

Wednesday, 5pm: “Table Mountain road is closed due to fire” comes over the radio, followed by hysterical laughter.”No, I can’t go out tonight, I’m getting my hair done”

Last attempt possible is Thursday morning, obviously not possible if the whole thing went up in flames. 

Thursday, 8am: Table Mountain Facebook page says they are currently closed due to wind. 

Thursday, 8:30am: Mountain is open! Go, go, get in car, drive as fast as possible.

Thursday, 11am: paid full price, but up mountain! Third time’s the charm! We had basically gotten down on one knee, sang it some love songs and offered up our allowance for the week.

And just like any date you spend a lot of time thinking about, it ends up being slightly better in your head. The views were lovely, but we spent more time wondering how many people die up here per year? (can’t find an average, but 16 died in 2009).

Lesson: if you can’t find somebody to be yourself with, you accepts you for your offer of tacos, you’re going to want to throw yourself off a cliff.

Game Drives: 101

Best things about game drives:

– animals!

– no seatbelts

– basically being chauffeured around

– free Jane Fonda approved (I’m sure she would) “bumpy-ride” complete ab workout 

– pretending you are some sort of professional photographer who knows how to take pictures and just explains the bad ones by saying “argh, he moved!”

Worst thing about game drives (if you have bangs)

– the “Something About Mary” Hair Effect

“he moved”

I Didn’t Want to Get Eaten by a Cheetah Whilst Taking a Photo, So All You Get Is This Terrible Photo

“Please don’t die one of those stupid, highly preventable deaths” is a recurring thought:

– don’t get run over by your own car

– dont die sky diving because you forgot to bring your parachute (or check that it was there)

– don’t not “mind the gap”

– don’t “overwork” yourself to death by not going home, not eating and then turning into an mummified corpse at your desk

– don’t become obsessed with video games and die playing 

– always shut the lid on the airline toilet before you flush so that you don’t get sucked into that vortex that totally does exist

In Africa, the big one is definitely “do not get eaten by a wild animal whilst trying to take a picture of it”. 

If one is in an open air vehicle and an animal approaches and for whatever reason, you cannot get away (always make sure your car has gas) then be very still, at least if it attacks no one will assume it was your fault for wanting to take a selfie with your new friend. 

Cut to today – we came across a cheetah and her four Cubs (note, my phone seems to think I am referencing the Chicago Cubs and it won’t let me uncapitalize the word Cubs). They were lounging in the sun about 30 meters away; we happily snapped away. 

Then they decided to get up, stretch and walk to us, at some point in the walk I realized that looking through my phone lens was giving me a distorted view of how far away they were; I looked up and this giant, recent mother of a cat is approaching the hood of the car, about to get to my, completely open side.

I froze, wondered why no one else seemed to mind (totally different when you know what you wouldn’t be the sacrificial lamb) and thought “I’m missing a great picture, shut it dumbass you need to NOT be taking a picture right now”

She kept walking a disappeared into the bush. Other people got great pictures, but I leave you with this

Volunteering: Day 1

I am in Port Elizabeth, volunteering on a game reserve!

Highlights from Day 1:

– tracking a cheetah using a radio signal, but not actually seeing the cheetah

– coming across a herd (family? Group?) Of giraffes that sort of had this effect:

– helping a tortoise get right away up

– discovering that the toilet I’m using doesn’t have a toilet seat (very jarring discovery), deciding to be a diva and mention it (a new seat is coming tomorrow and people wonder why the last two volunteers didn’t complain)

– hearing stories of the “young” volunteers who arrive at the age of 19, don’t know how to boil an egg, want to party even though they signed up for an assignment in a game reserve and who generally want to take selfies with dangerous animals. Luckily no one has used the term “millennial” yet. Some young ones arrive over the weekend, fingers crossed

– discovering that there is hot water for the showers! Discovering that there is no cold water for the showers, getting a mild scalp burn in attempt to de-dust my hair