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capetownseptember

September

From left to right:

  1. Photo of me and the niece taken by my dad
  2. Last two photos were taken in Kleinsky’s in Sea Point. They serve the most delicious bagels. The photos of prints of embroidery. Work by Danielle Clough.

A list of my favourite travel photos and stories:

I’m looking forward to my next adventure: hiking the Whale Trail. I’m a little apprehensive that I’ll be the weakest link and that I won’t be able to keep up with the rest of the guys.

Here are the last of the Victoria Falls photos.

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Flowers - Victoria Falls

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VicFallsEdgeThere are times where you spend years dreaming of a country, palace or monument. Some place magical and far faraway. The type of place where unicorns eat straight from your hands; and all the men are taller than you. You trace the outlines of train routes and flight paths, and you memorise the names of unpronounceable cities. You save up oodles of cash and rack up all your courage to make this a reality; only to arrive at your destination and end up disappointed. (Here’s looking at you Eiffel Tower.)

 

The Victoria Falls was not one of those times. I girly squealed the minute I laid eyes on the falls. The sound, the rainbow, the light spray of water on your skin, was simply too much for me to contain my delight.

 

The boring stuff

I went to the falls at the end of July, when water levels of fairly low and didn’t feel that it was necessary to hire a raincoat when visiting the falls. I got slightly wet, but the spray from the falls was relief in the heat.

 

I visited the falls from the Zambian side and Zimbabwean side. The entry fee from the Zimbabwean side was $30 and $20 on the Zambian side. I definitely think that the view from the Zimbabwean side is better.

 

On the Zambian side, I walked over to the edge of the falls with a guide. There is a warning sign stating that one should only ever walk to the edge with an official guide. There are also jagged, little rocks at the edge of the river to stop people from doing stupid things and walking towards the edge.

 

As a South African I didn’t have to pay an entry fee to cross over the Zimbabwean and Zambian borders.

 

I wish that I’d spent more time in Victoria Falls. I wish that I’d done a daytrip to Chobe National Park. (The price I paid for the 15 minute helicopter ride $165 was the same price as a 10 hour daytrip to Chobe. I do not regret the helicopter ride.) I wish that I’d hiked to the very bottom of the falls. I wish that I’d had High Tea at The Victoria Falls Hotel.

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Victoria Falls - Zim side

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The original plan was to have High Tea at The Victoria Falls Hotel. I use the term “plan” lightly. By plan I mean that someone suggested it and I thought it was a good idea. I took no steps to bring this to fruition. I did no research. I did not jot off a polite query to Professor Google. And as a consequence I have no idea how much High Tea costs, or what time it is scheduled.

 

In the end, I popped into the hotel on the very day I was to fly out. I walked through the lush grounds overlooking the falls, I snapped pictures of everything that took my fancy, and then proceeded to order the least expensive thing on the menu. I ordered the Eton Mess, a scrumptious dessert of meringue, cream and strawberries. At $10, I can assure you that I scrapped every ounce of cream from that damn bowl.

 

Anyway, here are some pictures of the hotel.

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Side note: The manageress at the hotel was an absolute doll. She showed me around the grounds and stated that the best time to visit the hotel is at sunrise or sunset. Next time!

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About a month or two ago, I booked a plane ticket to Victoria Falls. I didn’t do much research before booking the ticket.

 

I booked the ticket because I wanted to escape the Cape Town winter and craved the warmth of the sun on my skin. I booked the ticket because I couldn’t get the idea that it has been almost a month since I last visited a new country. I booked the ticket because for the longest time ever I had stared at a pamphlet of the Victoria Falls Marathon on my fridge. I booked the ticket because Victoria Falls Airport is only a 45 minute flight from Johannesburg International. I booked the ticket because I had the money.

 

If I’d done the research I would have known that there is more than one way to fly to Victoria Falls. I flew from Cape Town to Victoria Falls Airport in Zimbabwe, via Johannesburg. If I’d done my research I’d have known that I could have flown to Victoria Falls via Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport in Livingstone, Zambia. If I’d known this I would have checked flight prices for both airports and might have scored a better deal.

 

If I’d done my research then I’d have known that South African’s don’t have to pay any visa fees for Zambia or Zimbabwe.

 

If I’d done my research I’d have known that the walk down to the falls is closed on the Zimbabwean side.

 

(Note: Even though I didn’t know any of the above-mentioned facts I still visited both sides of the falls.)

 

Here are some pictures taken on my first day of the trip.
At present, the data will only be able for viewing from the interactive map. Please let me know if we can make this information available for download too.
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July2016

From left to right:

  1. Painting I saw at First Thursdays
  2. Pretty flowers on Lion’s Head
  3. Carrot cake flavoured ice-cream from The Creamery

It’s been nearly two weeks since I’ve booked my tickets to Victoria Falls International Airport and since then I haven’t done much in the way of research and planning. I haven’t booked accommodation, arranged for any tours or check that my yellow fever certification is still current, which is worrisome considering that I board said flight in less than two weeks. Instead I’ve spent the last two weeks feasting (Ramadaan just ended), teaching myself some Python scripting, and being paralyzed by fear.

 

You see, days after I booked my plane tickets to Victoria Falls (which is situated in Zimbabwe), I would learn via Twitter of the national shutdown protests in Zimbabwe. This ultimately leaves me with the following questions:

  • Is the Zimbabwean side of Victoria Falls safe to travel to?
  • Is it ethical to travel to a country where a majority of the citizens are clearly fed up with the current government?

*

Anyway, I’m currently reading “Into Thin Air“.

Here’s an extract from the novel:

“Straddling the top of the world, one foot in China and the other in Nepal, I cleared the ice from my oxygen mask, hunched a shoulder against the wind, and stared absently down at the vastness of Tibet. I understood on some dim, detached level that the sweep of earth beneath my feet was a spectacular sight. I’d been fantasizing about this moment, and the release of emotion that would accompany it, for many months. But now that I was finally here, actually standing on the summit of Mount Everest, I just couldn’t summon the energy to care.

It was early in the afternoon of May 10, 1996. I hadn’t slept in fifty-seven hours. The only food I’d been able to force down over the preceding three days was a bowl of ramen soup and a handful of peanut M&Ms. Weeks of violent coughing had left me with two separated ribs that made ordinary breathing an excruciating trial. At 29, 028 feet up in the troposhere, so little oxygen was reaching my brain that my mental capacity was that of a slow child. Under the circumstances, I was incapable of feeling much of anything except cold and tired.”

Durban 2016 - Ushaka

Crossing the finish line of the Comrades Marathon, I was filled with sheer relief, immense accomplishment and astonishment. I couldn’t quite believe that I’d managed to achieve my goal; that I’d battled exhaustion, despair, self-doubt and minor cramping to finish THE FUCKING COMRADES in 11 hours. Days later I would think back to THAT moment, the moment when I actually crossed the finish line and I’d smile like a lunatic.

And even though that feeling of accomplishment has yet to diminish, it was soon followed by the question, “What next?” I’d started this year with the simple resolve to make this year amazing, which meant that other than improving on my running, I needed to travel. So after visiting the Travel Start website on a daily basis for the last week, I finally entered my credit card details and booked that damn plane ticket.

More details to follow soon.

Anyway, here are a couple of links to my favourite travel posts and Instagram accounts.

  1. Nasrin Suleiman posts pictures of her life in beautiful Zanzibar.
  2. Olivia Rae Jame’s bachelorette party in Harbour Island.
  3. 9 American habits I lost when I moved to Germany.
  4. Hoping that I can one day tick Bolivia off my bucket list.
  5. Hailey Wist is currently in Italy at the moment.
  6. Truth Slinger normally posts pictures of his home country, Kenya, but he’s currently in Iceland.

 

Two things I’m most proud

1.Completing the Comrades Marathon
ComradesWeeks before running the Ultra, I’d told my dad that this was the first and last Comrades. I was convinced that I would hate every second of it. I was afraid that I would fail badly; that I wouldn’t make it pass the 20km mark before I would start vomiting, cramping or crying.
Well, I did it. I managed to run 89km in under 11 hours, earning my second bronze medal for an Ultra this year. And I only wanted to cry at the last 5km of the race.

Insert quick rant: To get the start of the race, my peers and I took an official Comrades bus from Durban to Pietermaritzburg. Our bus driver got lost IN Durban and we arrived to the race late! At some point my fellow runners and I told the bus driver to stop, we bolted out of the bus and sprinted the last 1km to the start line. By the time I arrived at the start I’d miss the national anthem and the race had already started.

 

2. Hiking Lion’s Head on my own
LionsheadHiking up Lion’s Head is something I’ve wanted to do for ages now, but it isn’t always easy to find a partner in crime. In the end, I simply decided to go up by myself.

 

Two things I’m grateful for:
1. My brother-in-law
He found me at the last 5km of the Comrades, the point at which I finally hit the wall. The point at which I’d decided that I’d simply walk the rest of the damn thing. It was at the point that he delivered some vital information. He told me that I had 38 minutes to do this in under 11 hours. Realising that this was achievable, my body responded positively.
2. My Comrades running partner
On the day of the race, I met a guy who would pace me for 90% of the race. He told me when to run, when to walk and urged me to eat. Unfortunately, I lost him at the last 10km when I stopped to use the portaloo. Without him by my side I found it really hard to urge my body forward.

My intention for June:
To track every kilometre I run during this period.
Try to figure out my next big goal or adventure. I want to hike the Fish River Canyon but I’m not really sure how to make this happen. This isn’t something I’m keen to do on my own. This is something I would need to do with a group.

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Some random photos (left to right):

  1. Tortoise spotted at work
  2. Protea
  3. Sunset over Sea Point swimming pool

I am currently reading Jazz by Toni Morrison.

Here’s an extract from the novel:

“Dorcas has been acknowledged, appraised and dismissed in the time it takes for a needle to find its opening groove. The stomach-jump of possible love is nothing compared to the ice floes that block up her veins now. The body she inhabits is unworthy. Although it is young and all she has, it is as if it had decayed on the vine at budding time. No wonder Neola closed her arm and held the pieces of her heart in her hand.

So by the time Joe Trace whispered to her through the crack of a closing door her life had become almost unbearable. Almost. The flesh, heavily despised by the brothers, held secret the love appetite soaring inside it.”

And if you’re looking to kill more time at work, may I suggest the following articles:

  1. A modern proposal by David Sedaris.
  2. The racist gatekeepers of Hollywood
  3. To anyone who thinks they’re falling behind in life
  4. Bad blogging in Turin, my favourite city in Italy