travel south africa tugela falls

I’m back!!

One month ago, I began traveling through South Africa. First with friends, later on alone.

Finally, we came outside the Western Cape, of which everyone always told us that that wasn’t “the real Africa”. And from the moment that we arrived in Joburg, ’till the moment I drove with the bus into the Western Cape again, I understood why they say it.

It was a month full of small adventures and happiness, and looking back on all the amazing pictures we took, I can only be grateful that I got to see so much of this beautiful country.

It all began in a loooong train ride…

travel south africa train

From Cape Town we left on November 11th by Shosholoza train. In total it would be a journey of 30 hours, but it was totally worth it. Through our windows, we saw the landscape change and evolve towards something totally different.

We started off in Johannesburg or Joburg, the “big, dark city” where we actually had a lot of fun. We continued our trip to Blyde River Canyon, Kruger National Park, Swaziland, Durban and the Drakensberg. From there on, I continued on my own to see the Wild Coast and learn surfing. Those last two weeks on the Wild Coast were actually most magical of all.

I made new friends

travel south africa coffee bay

Traveling alone may sound lonely, but it’s the opposite: especially by traveling on your own, you meet so many great new people and can even make new friends. I experienced this when I arrived in Stellenbosch at the beginning of my semester abroad, and the same happened when I started traveling on my own. It didn’t even take that much effort – in a lot of hostels, dinner was communal and sitting together on the eating table, a new conversation would begin naturally. Especially in Coffee Bay, where I stayed for five nights, I really had the feeling I found a new group of friends. We just did everything together there and had a lot of fun as well.

I visited forgotten places

travel south africa wild coast

There are not many tourists who visit the Transkei, an area of South Africa where there hasn’t been much development. There are almost no roads, and cows and goats are walking freely. The road to my destination Bulungula was dusty and bumpy, but it was totally worth the ride. The people where extremely friendly and learnt me a few basics in the Xhosa language. A special moment was when we sat around the camp fire with a local group of friends, playing the drums and singing African songs.

Ilearned new skills

Sometimes it’s hard to exactly point out what you’ve learnt, and it’s the same for this journey. But one thing is very concrete: I learnt surfing!! Or at least the very basics of it. That first moment when I stood on the board, on top of a wave, that was magical. And it kept on being magical. Magical enough to keep on fighting against strong waves to feel that amazing feeling again.

And now I’m back “home” in Stellenbosch. It really does feel like home, and I’m so glad it does. Yet, I only have a few weeks left to enjoy South Africa and summer. I’m going to make the most of it, enjoy it to the fullest. With my Stellies friends, on my own, and in a few days with the boyfriend.. Christmas is going to be special this year, that’s for sure!