Sunday, June 14, 2015

South Africa XII: Franschhoek and Stellenbosch

After our incredible time in Hermanus we headed to Franshhoek and Stellenbosch. I couldn't wait to get there, not only for all the good things I've heard or seen of Stellenbosch and Franshhoek in other travel blogs, especially this one, but also because we were meeting Lizanne there, which I hadn't seen in ten years or so, when we used to work together in London. She suggested to meet in the Hillcrest Berry Orchards, where we had the most delicious breakfast with the most beautiful views, and company, of course. We just loved it. And then we were ready to discover the beautiful Franshhoek and Stellenbosch with the best guide ever.

And here are some shots of Stellenbosch:

We had a fantastic day and it was great and fun catching up with Lizanne.  We are so lucky and thankful. Franshhoek and Stellenbosch are very beautiful and it is really worth it to spend a day there if you have the opportunity, especially if you are into wine :)
And after such a cool day we were finally ready to go to the stunning Cape Town.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

South Africa XI: White Shark Cage Diving in Gansbaai

One of the highlights of our trip to South Africa was with no doubt the possibility to see White sharks. We were so excited about it.  The first thing we did when we arrived to Hermanus was going to the tourism office  and ask about the white shark cage diving tours. And they told us that there were no tours available. That was such a downer, but we decided to try the next  day in the tourism/booking that is on the Harbour. So we wake up early and went straight there. The girl in that office was very  helpful and she did find us a place in a boat that was leaving at midday. 

Ok, I won't lie, I did not go into the cage, I was happy just taking pictures of the sharks from the outside, and I think I got my best shot of the trip:

My sister and cousin did the cage diving and they really enjoyed it. You could read the excitement and the adrenaline in their faces and the enthusiasm of the experience lasted for days. I was happy too, I had a really good spot to take pictures and soon I realized that it was quite difficult to take a good shot. You have to be fast and also the reflection of the sun in the water wasn't helping much.

This seal silhouette was used to attract sharks to the cage. The boat crew called her Gladys, and poor Gladys received some good bites...

And here is the vision of my sister and cousin from the cage.

It was difficult to take pictures from the cage because you have to many things to think and do at the same time. Basically, this is how it works: you are floating inside the cage and when the boat's crew see a shark coming they shout: Down!!! Then you must dive holding your breath and try to find where is the shark, which is not easy. 

We stayed in the boat for around three hours. Before leaving they served us lunch and they put us a video explaining some safety rules and how was the cage diving working. I do recommend you to take some pills to avoid sea sickness , as you stay quite a long time on the boat. And they served us hot drinks and cakes when we arrived, while we were watching the video they took of the trip. 
The whole experienced is quite expensive, I think it cost us around 1300 Rands per person, which is a lot, but it is once in a lifetime experience, and I don't think any of us regrets it. After all, I think South Africa  is the only place were you can do this, and white sharks are just so amazing and fascinating.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

South Africa X: Whale watching in Hermanus

After finishing our Garden route trip, we were so surprised to find the following road:

A half -green- half -yellow path driving to the clouds???? :) How come everybody is talking about the garden route and no one is talking about the road that goes from Mossel Bay to Hermanus?? Is to keep the surprised factor? Upsss, then I've just spoiled that....My goodness, we enjoyed so much that bit of the trip...

Wouldn't you like living in here...

And then we finally arrived to  Hermanus. What a special and beautiful place, and what a location, those mountains are just magnificent. 

Hermanus is one of the best whale watching destinations in the world. The whale season goes from June to November, and you just have to go to the beach or the cliff path, catch a good spot and enjoy of this amazing creatures. We spend hours there just watching, we couldn't get enough. It also nice to see so many people there, amazed by the whales, just enjoying sitting there, whale watching. No rush, not watch watching, just the Big mother's nature Show, which can't be beaten.

And then, another surprise. Who are these cute fat little fellas?

Everyone was distracted watching whales and no one was paying attention to  this  cute dassies (or Hyraxs). How come???!!! Come on, there were many french and italian tourists there, and , believe me, we have never seen dassies in Europe, I didn't even know that they existed till that moment. Ok, whales are bigger, but how can you cross with an animal that you didn't even know that existed and not react. Strange tourists, if they come to see whales they just can see whale.. I was very shocked and pleased to discover this cute animals  though. What a day :))))))

Ok, that's all for today. Be ready for the fascinating WHITE SHARKS in the next one ;)

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