Pictures from South Africa
After the adventures in Southern China we headed for Hong Kong to catch a flight to Cape Town, South Africa. One of the reasons for travelling to South Africa is that Kate's past is in South Africa and I wanted to experience where she comes from. Plus Kate's cousin, Robyn, was getting married to Mark and we wanted to be part of it.
At the same time this trip gave Kate and I some good time with her friends dotted around South Africa to do a serious job at catching up.
After 5 weeks in South Africa most of my perceptions of a dangerous and violent country were replaced with a sense of space and friendliness.
The poorest are still vulnerable and Kate's Mum does some great charity work raising money for soup kitchens in the townships (WARMTH). These kitchens provide nutritional food to those otherwise unable to eat a decent meal and this in turn helps them avoid poverty traps such as drugs and disease.
We spend the remainder of our time on a road trip along the Garden Route visiting all of Kate's friends and driving on roads that never seemed to end!
Then after nearly a year backpacking Asia and South Africa I found myself on a plane heading back to the UK.
Crikey, that was one shocking moment!
The night Kate and I arrived in South Africa and surprised Val, Kate's Mum (She's the one in the middle, looking quite shocked to see her daughter, who she thought was in China).
Kate standing outside an old Dutch settlement building in Cape Town. There's a wonderful restaurant here too.
Chilly Poppers blow the mind and make one sweat blood, but Gareth and I went back for more. Grrrr.
Me standing next to Soraya (Graeth's lady) and Gareth (Kate's older brother who lives in SA)
The sunset at Moya (Spiers' Wine Farm) just outside Stellenbosh.
The gang at Moya, having eaten a wonderful platter of seafood and meat. The white stuff on our faces is traditional face paint, I got doggy prints.
Robyn and Mark's wedding day and the ceremony is about to begin...
A sweltering and magic day! I got to meet all the family in one day, nooooo pressure.
Kate and I looking cool in the wedding garden. Kate looked stunning in her tailor-made skirt from Thailand.
We men, we braai meat... while Martin takes the camp-pose... shame
Val, Jerry, Tina (Kate's aunt or tannie), Kate and I walked around the De Mond Nature Reserve while staying in Tina's Napier retreat. Here we walked along a beautiful beach that goes on forever. Breath-taking.
De Mont SA Website
The girls stride up the sand hill reaching for the sea and coastline.
Back at Napier we make "koeksisters" to the consternation of Jerry.
A day drip to Hermanus, where Kate lived her younger years. A place made famous by the Southern Right Whale and the only whale crier on the planet... oh and Kate.
Back in Cape Town Kate, Jerry and I ascend Table Mountain. The view is a Cape Town panorama.
Kate adopts a child from a township while we get a guided tour to see where the money from WARMTH is put. The lady behind is a larger than life Xhosa speaking worker for WARMTH who kept us safe and entertained all day.
A bit of Delheim wine tasting. Yum... hic... vom...
Kate and her Tannie relax to the smells of wine and cheese.
Soraya and I chat about serious stuff on the roof in Stellenbosch for a goodbye family meal.
Now travelling alone, Kate and I head along the famous Garden Route. First stop Cape Agulhas, the southern most tip of Africa. It's was so windy I had to tie Kate to a piece of string so she wouldn't blow away.
After staying the night camping at De Hoop Nature Reserve with zebras and other wildlife, I drive us to Jefferey's Bay to meet Glen and Holle. Glen's the one with awesome beach shorts.
Surfing the sea and not the internet, so much cooler, especially when you get lessons from a pro.
After JBay we headed for Grahamstown, the place where Kate went to University (Varsity for SA people). These friends are from the Rhodes Choir. Quite a good bunch of singers.
Simone provided some hilarious moments. This hilarious moment was in the "Rat and Parrot".
After the mighty G'Town we headed for Port St. Johns, with no reason other than a place to stay and break up the journey. I felt unsafe and paranoid... this coming from a person who'd spent three years in Asia! We left early in the morning.
Kate has a famous family!
From dodgy-ville we carried on up the Garden Route to Durban. This is where many of Kate's boozy Uni pals live, great people and not boozy! Tam and her baby, showing her off to Kate for the first time.
Vix and I do the tea run.
All the Uni posse, minus Thandi.
Finishing our time in Durban we drive the 1,700km back to Cape Town to catch the flight to the UK. We spend the night at Tina's for a rest and say goodbye to Twigs!
And some of the other wildlife said goodbye too, so sweet. Don't miss the laser guided spider-eye-gun reflecting in the camera flash. SA animals are fierce!
A bit of SA landscape on the road trip. We travelled about 3,500km in 9 days and felt exhausted afterwards.
Back safely in Cape Town we meet the missing member of the Durban gang, Thandi. Before they catch fire and their harrowing screams turn heads I snap a picture.
Outside the pub a fire-swishing display takes place.
A passenger decides to play on the wheelchairs and pretends to surf the internet that won't work because he won't pay... all because he's bored waiting for the plane to take him home.
Today I'm living in Bristol, UK with Kate and her parents. I'm looking for a job and a house with Kate. I will never forget those moments of travel however old I get. Is the travelling over...? I hope not!