You’re afraid. And you should be afraid. We are simply not meant to mingle in water mere feet from a Great White Shark. Everything in your involuntary, evolutionary DNA is screaming out, no no no … this is not right … no no no. But before you bail and bomb out on your chance to encounter a prehistoric holdover, a fish the size of Fiat, with a razor sharp chomping power only matched by a similarly nasty disposition in its own domain, you come to a warm memory. You catch back site of land, of South Africa, and think of its forever-leader, Nelson Mandela.
Ahhh yes. He’s right. It’s not unreasonable to feel this fear. In fact, feeling that feeling has been very much part of this entire trip. We’re all here on this week of adventure in a large way to be a little challenged by Africa, by the unknown in a far away place. And coming upon this cold-blood, very large, scary unknown, just maybe typifies the whole experience of this week. And in some ways, it typifies what travel itself means.
For as much as Rad has traveled through Africa, from the top of Kilimanjaro to the souks of Marrakech, he is terrified of hopping in a boat, heading out to the Cape, chumming the water, suiting up, ducking into a cage, and meeting some new friends. Heeheehee. And that’s exactly why we’re doing it! Word has it Rad’s already been stocking up on dramamine patches. Come on buddy!
But, of course, there are more deep rooted reasons for taking GlobeKick to the tip of the Dark Star. South Africa is as varied in its travel-experience as its populace. In this country, we’ve seen dramatic coastlines, playful penguins, pristine shopping promenades, and poverty that is abject and real. But, if the world can get it right here, in a place with a past like South Africa’s, if they can figure out how to make it work here — for everybody — absorb all the people flooding in from all over Africa to continue to make Mandela’s dream a reality, maybe there’s hope for the rest of us.
- Ambling on the Apartheid to Freedom Walking Tour of Cape Town
- Riding the The Southern Line Rail Route to Simon’s Town
- Whale Watching in False Bay by Boat
- Snorkeling with Seals in Hout Bay Harbour
- Great White Shark Cage Diving
- Constantia Winelands: Vineyard Tasting
3 nights in Cape Town Guesthouse (shared room)
3 nights in Simon’s Town Guesthouse (shared room)
[expand title=”Day 1: Meet The Mother City”]
- Arriving in Cape Town International Airport feels different. Yes, there’s a coffee shop. Yes, there’s a rental car kiosk. Yes, CPT is one of the largest, most modern airports in Africa by its footprint & passenger-volume … but something just feels more eclectic, electric, and fun about this place. And that’s even before you make your way by MyCiTi Metro to Civic Centre to catch us at your guesthouse for the week. In fact, the airport is a great proxy for the city itself (as can sometimes be the case); eminently modern and economically forward, but awash with swirl of diversity, humanity, and histories that are uniquely African.
- After arrival at your home for the week and a bit of unpacking (and possibly a glass of welcome Chenin Blanc … because hey, vacation), we’ll make our way over to Motherland Coffee Company for an afternoon pick-me-up and to join a walking tour of Cape Town through the lens of South Africa’s struggle to overthrow Apartheid.
- With a new sense of place in our city and a walker’s appetite to match, we’ll wind down our arrival day in camaraderie and comfort. Sharing a group dinner inspired by South Africa’s mix-mash of cultures, histories, stories, and heroes is also a great proxy for a true Cape experience. As the week of our adventure comes to focus, it’s clear that our time together in The Mother City will be a mix of everything: adventure, culture, history, fear (sharks!), joy (seals!), immense beauty (whales & wine!) … Oh my.
[expand title=”Day 2-6: Land & Sea: Sharks & Wine (Simon’s Town)”]
- We’ll begin our day by hopping one of the most historic & scenic commuter trains in all of Africa, The Southern Rail Line, en route to Simon’s Town. After all, we’ve got a boat to catch and whales to see. But before that, stunning vistas of coastline, leafy suburbs, sand dunes, and historic tram stations are all for the viewing on this approximately two hour ride. Rumor has it that whales have even been spotted from the train itself! For those into sports, we’ll also be passing by Newlands Rugby and Cricket Stadiums. We’ll also pass through the acclaimed Cavendish Square shopping center.
- The western half of False Bay – stretching from Strandfontein all the way to Cape Point is one of the finest boat based whale watching sites in South Africa. This area is sheltered from the open ocean, surrounded by stunning views & provides an ideal winter home for the Southern Right Whales. They visit each year between June & November to mate, calve, or simply to get away from the icy Antarctic winter. Interacting with these gigantic & magnificent mammals (the size of 12 elephants) alongside our boat will be an experience that will stay with you for the rest of your life. Be ready to photograph one breaching or giving you a friendly wave with its tail! Sightings of Brydes whales, Humpback whales, Orcas and Dolphins are also common.
- Our next day takes us from the boat into the water. That’s right! Gear up in your 5mmm wet suit, flippers, and pull tight that snorkel mask … we’re jumping in! And what better reason to take a swim boat-side in Hout Bay Harbour than to play with a pack of the ocean’s friendliest creatures, Cape Fur seals.
- Our third full day together presents the main event. We’ve watched whales, we’ve petted seals, now it’s time to look fear right in its cold black eye.
- After a light breakfast, we’ll receive a full safety and weather briefing aboard our boat before departure out to Seal Island. The Island is an approximately 25 to 35 minute boat ride based on sea and weather conditions. Be ready. We’ll arrive in the early morning light as this is the optimum time to view the sharks actively hunting the Cape Fur seals. Data indicates that half an hour before sunrise to one and a half hours after sunrise is the best time to witness this natural event.
- Once the hunting quiets down and based on weather conditions, we will then decide on the best spot to weigh anchor and begin attracting sharks to the vessel. The cage will then deployed, where it’ll float next to our vessel. Once a shark approaches our boat, bait is kept in the water to keep the shark around long enough for identification, viewing, and cage diving purposes. At no point are the sharks purposefully fed or handled and all efforts are made to prevent the sharks from coming into contact with our vessel. If the weather conditions are favorable, we will be readied for cage diving. Safety precautions and operational procedures are then re-explained to anyone wishing to enter the cage. It is important to know that the sharks come very close to the boat, so it is not necessary to dive in order to see them. Those not wishing to dive will still have excellent views of the Great White Shark.
- Light lunch will be served on our boat (sandwiches, soft drinks, fruit juice, bottled water and a variety of snacks), because even Great Whites shouldn’t dine alone. Zing! After returning back to Simon’s Town by boat, we’ll debrief and enjoy some coffee & tea … yes, slowly realizing that we’re still alive and we just payed witness to one of the most awesome predator vs. prey ballets that nature has to show.
- Shortly after 12noon, we’ll make our way up the Cape to arrive at Constantia Winelands, a picturesque valley nestled beneath Table Mountain. Constantia is the oldest wine producing region in the Southern Hemisphere with an uninterrupted history of wine making. Our afternoon will include a cellar tour and two tastings. What better way to celebrate and unwind after our high-action morning on the water?
[expand title=”Day 7: Freedom from Fear”]
- Our next two days will present plenty of time to quilt-work your South African story amid the many city experiences and adventures around beautiful Cape Town. We’ll recommend certain impactful activities: Robin Island Tour, Abseiling Table Mountain, Hiking the hinterlands into Table Mountain parklands, and/or taking a boat cruise around The Cape of Good Hope. Let your story come alive.
- On the morning of our last day together in Cape Town, we’ll gather our things and begin to move out in all directions. Some will surely be staying on to continue their own safari’s and further travels in country. And some, no doubt, will be flying farther to home ports to land back to work by Monday. This feels like a familiar thing we’re doing. We’ve moved from here before. Looking back, our time in South Africa has been about way more than diversity. It’s meant more than seeing the juxtapositions of native & colonial, old & new, rich & poor. In fact, our time here has struck a low-vibrating chord that reverberates throughout the eons of human-kind. Whereas once I was afraid, coming to know things closely, I no longer am. That’s travel at its best. And maybe it’s because this is the place from which we first stood up as homo sapiens and walked out of thousands and thousands of year ago, that the low slung of this vibration is particularly rich and resonating on this morning here in Cape Town.
[expand title=”What’s Included”]
Six nights of lodging in Cape Town & Simon’s Town (shared room)
Opening Night Dinner at Cape Town Guesthouse
Greeting & Guided Transport Advice from Airport to Guesthouse (one way)
Southern Rail Line transport to Simon’s Town
Whale Watching in False Bay by Boat
Snorkeling with Seals in Hout Bay Harbour
Great White Shark Cage Diving
Constantia Winelands: Vineyard Tasting
[expand title=”What’s Not Included”]
Meals not specified above
The cost of airport transfers
On-the-ground transport (aside from specified above)
Insurance of any kind
Alcoholic beverages and/or Soft Drinks
Optional Touring or Excursions : Robbin Island, Abseiling, Hiking, Boat Cruise, etc
Visas, Associated Travel Fees
Items of a Personal Nature
August 18th – 23rd 2019
Maximum 26 GlobeKickers
Cape Town International Airport (CPT) in Cape Town, South Africa
Daily high temperatures in August are around 60°F with daily lows at about 49°F. Precipitation is hit or miss in August, with chances of rain higher than average during the month. August sees winter in South Africa coming to an end. There is no doubt that the weather is getting warmer. Days start to seem a bit longer and while evenings are still very chilly, the spectacular sunny days are a sure sign that spring is almost on its way. Along with warmer weather, August also marks the start of the Flower Season in the Cape. As such, pollen counts are a bit higher than they are during winter.
- 2-3 pair travel pants for men & women
- 2 long sleeve shirts (lightweight)
- 4 t-shirts or tank tops
- 1 pair sweatpants or lounge wear for cool nights
- 1 sweatshirt
- 1 pair closed toed sturdy shoes
- 1 pair sandals or flip flops
- 1 bandana or scarf
- 1-2 swimwear
- 1 light jacket or sweatshirt (depending on the season)
- 5 pair underwear
- 6 pair socks (at least 6 pair)
- 1 pajamas
- 1 nice outfit for evenings out
- 1 pair sunglasses
- 1 rain jacket
- Laptop and chargers
- Converters & necessary cables
- Travel alarm clock (today most travelers use their phones)
- Mobile phone & chargers (be sure to check with your carriers on how to avoid roaming charges)
- Portable charger & cables
- Camera with extra battery, memory cards, or hard drives
- First aid kit (band aids, alcohol wipes, anti-sting pads, bandage, medical tape plus others)
- If meds are loose (inhalers, epi pens) be sure to have their labels or prescriptions with generic names included
- Epi – pens (if you typically carry them; bring two)
- Anti-malaria meds (check with your travel doctor, the CDC or the WHO websites to confirm if needed)
- Antibacterial lotion, spray & wipes
- Toilet paper
- Sunscreen (especially if you’re sensitive to allergies)
- Lip balm
- Shampoo, conditioner, & soap
- Hair essentials
- Shaving & grooming essentials
- Skin care regimen essentials
- Toothbrush & toothpaste
- Contacts or glasses if this applies
- Deodorant (non-aerosol)
- Bug spray, cream and/or essential oils
[expand title=”Travel Documents”]
- South Africa Visa Requirements
- Airline Tickets (Confirmation and Itinerary)
- Photo Identification
- Color Copy of Passport Identification Page
1 = lowest and 10 = highest