Saturday, 3 May 2014

Cape Town 2013 - Part 3

So the main reason we visited Cape Town was actually to go the the body world expo, but somewhere we decided to hike up table and to do so without dying we gathered at the base of the mountain at 6:00 am, a Time at which being awake should be a capital offense. Needless to say it turned out to be quite a smart idea as you could see water boil in an instant when the sunlight hit it.

The took platte klip gorge route one of the shorter steeper routes which we did in just over 2 hours, mostly because we had to stop and rest for certain party members, if we didn't have to you could easily do it in 1h 30m. Needless to say the route if very simple and friendly with a mostly clean trail going up it also has bard wired rails at certain places. It's mostly like climbing very steep stairs that go on forever.


I must admit the surroundings are very beautiful and just makes me wanna pull out my climbing shoes and go climbing. Table Mountain also features tons a trad routes for all you trad climbers and we caught up with some climbing guys as we reached the top. The top of the mountain is not flat as one would suspect but rather rugged.

There are restaurants and toilets at the top, however it will happen often that the facilities will run out of water since the facilities water is brought up by the cable cars. To get down you can either hike down or take a cable carts, however if you do choose the cable cart you have to buy a 1-way ticket at the gift shop for R180, a 2-way ticket is R400

It's also worth noting that apparently the Mountain Club of South-Africa has a cabin at the top of the mountain. Afterwards I caught up with my friend who just started working in Cape Town well technically she starts work the next day but we thought we'd show her around a bit, since tourist visit the places more than the people that stay there.

We met up headed to body world, sadly no pictures are permitted, we then went to the waterfront to get some food. Where a street magician entertained us with his magic while this was happening his accomplice a flying rat - most commonly known as a seagull - swooped down and one by one took one of our fries. I must admit seeing those magic tricks up close is so much different, I kept trying not be fooled, but damn he was good. 

I definitely want to make plans to head back and hike the the other routes to table mountain and into kirstenbosch the botanical gardens of Cape Town.

Friday, 3 January 2014

Cape Town 2013 - Part 2 - Stellenbosch and Franschhoek

After the long train ride and crazy commotion to fetch the car we finally arrived at my uncles place, a poorly maintained house filled relics from a long lost age, the age of which can be measures by thickness of the dust that it has accumulated on them. The house conditions were such that you really didn't want to stay there, always a good motivation to get out of the house. Needless to say we left everyday early morning and arrived back late afternoon.

So the first thing we did was explore Stellenbosch University since many have always called the best looking university, in fact the person that helped me get into climbing did his bachelors there. And to be honest the town itself revolves around the university since we went during holidays the area was pretty desolate. But the old architecture and variety there of, not to mention openness and lush environment does certainly make the area very scenic, and wonderful to explore. 

The proximity of the buildings the area around it seems to create this atmosphere of a nice integrated community, that is until you reach the engineering department, where all of a sudden its like entering a different country, modernised and industrialised, it just looks like its trying to be different and excluded. As if engineers needed more of that.

After that we went straight to Franschhoek just as the clouds were leaving. As a result I realised just how hot that sun can get in Cape Town, tourist shirt tan line hot that is. So Franschhoek is a tiny little place about the size of a small street filled with properties and sidewalk restaurants littered by tourists, but the place it self it spotless. At the end of the street is the Hugeunot Monument, entry costs R5, and to the left of it is a museum that will tell you all about the history of the place. Entrace fee or the museum was about R10. 

If you're ever in the cape area Franschhoek is most certainly a very beautiful place to visit and spend a day. And help the community by visiting the monument and restaurants.

Hugeunot Monument
Hugeunot Monument
Afterwards we returns to our uncles forgotten cabin in the suburbs. Until the next day

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Cape Town 2013 - Part 1 - The Journey down

So on closing the chapter of studying and entering the new one of working, which every hates apparently. I found the initial transition quite daunting with no idea what to expect, the problem is always can you handle the unknown and most people are afraid they can't. But if one is to grow then one should get comfortable doing things that makes you uncomfortable. 

Thus on the 2nd on January I hopped on a train to cape town, after I had hopped on to the Gau-Train heading to the train station. The train station it self looked a bit worn out and shabby but the number of people there was quite staggering. The dimly lit boarding station was paved with concrete and had copious amounts of bubble gum bonded with it, and not as a result of a genius plan to reinforce it. A fence 3m tall spanning the whole platform prevented the entertainment from idiots with death wishes from stepping onto the rails. I would have taken photos but doing so would likely result in me no longer in possession of the camera or phone.

Given the poorly maintained boarding station my expectations of the train it self was not exactly high. Luckily the train(the Shosholoza Meyl) itself was it could good condition, aside from the few scribbles on the walls. The journey was said to take 27 Hours, so obviously I packed a few books to read(I know some of you are surprised that I can read given the poor grammar of my content, but those error are there to keep your wits about).

Me reading Robert Rankin's - The arbitrary title that's too long for me to remember
I also made use of the restaurant on the train which was quite good, for a restaurant on a train, had clean bed sheets and pillows to sleep on, for which you do have to pay R50. And mingled with our neighbours.
Meet the neighbors 

As the train made its way to Cape Town stopping every few hours at another station, we saw some interesting sights as well as lots of bland unsightly sights. Such as this mysterious tower which I believe to be host creatures who are plotting to take over earth, or just a mine shaft but that would be dull.

Night time on the train is quite different the whole atmosphere changes, and everything becomes eerie, walking from cabin to cabin is mysterious, the stations stops become more scenic and the noises the train make become more noticeable, which is a wonder I slept like a rock given the sound volumes it pumps out, I could hear the train in my dreams.

When we arrived at Cape Town we were met with a neatly kept train station that made us feel like we were in another first class country, like Sweden. Equipped with only our luggage we set off to find the car hire company. We could have been equipped with more stuff, like you know, a map or a gps, but where would the fun in that be! Instead we looked like a bunch of hitch hikers running around like we've just committed a murder and was looking for a place to hide.

When we finally got to the car hire outlet, and old saying of Cape Town rang true, "In Cape Town everything oozes along" meaning they are in no hurry AT ALL to help. It took us about an hour to actually get a car, a Hyundai i10, I actually liked the car, we headed of for our uncles home where we would be lodging for our trip.

To be drawn out longer...

Friday, 27 December 2013

Sani Pass

Well I want to at least try an keep some form of chronological order to the events, so with that said here is the trip to sani pass I did April 2012.

Well Sani Pass is located between the Lesotho and South African border and consist of a elevation climb of about 1300m, with steep mountain ridges that feature shear drops of over 500m.

The drive up can take a few hours depending on how bad the road is, as there is a tendency for it to be washed away(like which happened with us). It also gets really cold when you reach the top like really cold. Once you reach the top you're greeted with a sign like the following.

Then you have to go to customs, at least you should since I don't think they actually check nor care with you smuggle in anything. You just walk in they stamp you walk out, that's it. And to the left of customs there is a small establishment, or should I say the highest pub in Africa. Just a note a double the pub is by far not very cheap, if I remember correctly I paid R80 for a double whiskey, I was told this is due to them having to import all the alcohol from South-Africa and because of this the only beer you're only allowed to buy is local to support them.  

While there we stayed in a dorm room type chalet about 1.5km from the pub, with 4 rooms and a living room that features a fireplace, the communal toilets, showers and cooking place was located at the end, and there was no gender separation so there was 3 showers 3 toilets open to all sexes. 

The nights at Sani gets damn cold, leaving the poorly insulated dorm rooms results in a sudden realisations that one should not leave the dorm room. Anyway walking through the frigid cold to the pub and entering the well insulted pub is one of the best feelings. Being duped into a secret meal not so much

Monday, 23 December 2013

The Beginning

I guess in someway I should explain things - although bear with me if this does occasionally sound like the ravings of a mad man - I'm not entirely new to exploring and will try and talk about my most recent experiences, but things took a drastic turn of the better when at the start of the year 2013.

During my studies at the University of Pretoria I joined the dance club for some extra activities, since kinda doing nothing is somewhat depressing, as if you lack purpose and having purpose changes the way to world looks. Every time after dance class when I head to my car, I would look over the a group a rock climbers scaling the wall on the sports campus. I always wanted to try that but never had the time - at least that what I kept telling myself - So one day I just walked over stood there and looked at everyone climbing. 

As I was standing there a guy walked over asked if I wanted to climb, I just responded with "Uhmm ye OK", before I knew it was strapped in and told to go ahead and climb. Looked simple enough just go straight up, after climbing three routes my forearms were so pumps I couldn't grip the steering wheel on my junker, but I had a rush it felt good, it felt exhilarating, I joined the club called the MCSA(Mountain Club South Africa - Maggalies Section). I thought that was it to climbing, just climb these training walls, well no turns out they're called training walls for a reason.

Soon before I knew it I was going places I've never heard of climbing stuff, every weekend was a different adventure, and not all of it climbing, climbing was just a reason to go. Later I heard most people in the club also go scuba diving, so guess what 2014 im going to get my PADI and start diving as well. But beyond the adventuring was the friends that I made a bunch of the foreigners with a thick accent.

And today I was suppose to be in Swaziland, but things don't always go according to plan and you know what thats ok, there will be other opportunities. So with that said this blog will feature a lot of climbing but I wont limit it to that.