Cape Town, South Africa

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When we arrived in Cape Town, the first thing I noticed was the temperature. Wow, was it humid. It was extremely uncomfortable, I felt like I couldn’t breathe. It was around thirty degrees Celsius but the humidity was around ninety percent. I did get used to it after an hour or so though. As soon as we out of the airport we got on a coach and made our way to the hotel. We stayed at the Southsun Waterfront, which was really quite beautiful. It had an amazing foyer with marble flooring and a bar that sat directly opposite the entrance.  After a shower and a change of clothes, we made our way down to the waterfront. The waterfront was pretty much Cape Towns major tourist point.

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Map of the waterfront.

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This is the huge Ferris Wheel in the centre of the waterfront. It stands just outside the mall.

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Getting into the Christmas spirit.

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View of Table Mountain from the mall balcony.

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I took this picture from the balcony of the mall. I wanted to take some shots of people as they enjoyed their holiday. I’m not sure who these people are, but I assume they’re a couple.

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Dutch Clocktower.

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Seals!

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Cape Town.

The next day we went to the coastal town of Hermanus, which is extremely famous for the Southern Right Whale population. We got the opportunity to do some whale watching as we had some free time. As soon as we arrived we spotted one, however it was really far away. I was quite upset because this is the one thing I looked forward too the most on the whole trip. What an amazing experience it would be to see these huge creatures up close. I was actually under the impression we would be going on a boat to see them, but this wasn’t the case as it was too expensive. After attempting to photograph the mile away whale, we went to a museum to try and learn a bit about the whales. The museum itself was quite small, but they had this huge whale sculpture in the yard. After the museum, we decided to get some food and get back to the whale watching at a later time. We found a nice restaurant, ate lunch and had a look around the town. I decided to leave the group a little early and get back to the whale watching. I’m extremely glad that I did because what I saw was unbelievable. I made my way down to a rock edge and sat down, and I didn’t have to wait long before a family of five whales got really close. They were huge! It was an incredible experience to see them this close, I could practically reach out and touch them. I was happy with what I saw, but as they got closer, they made their way out to deeper waters to dive. And then all of a sudden a baby whale comes leaping out of the ocean and crashing straight back down. Then the mother joined in. For about thirty minutes these two whales were competing with each other to see who could jump the highest and when I thought it couldn’t get any better, they waved!! They actually waved at us! And as we clapped, they both jumped out of the water together as kind of an exit. It was such an amazing experience. I would love to go back to Hermanus, in fact I think I will retire there.

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Baboons in the area.

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Beautiful view.

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Whale sculpture!

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Mile away whale.

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This is the rock I sat at.

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Nice weather.

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They’re closing in!

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There’s another!

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So close!

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Amazing!

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Much wow!

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Take a dive.

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This is when they jumped out at the same time. I really wish I framed this shot a bit better.

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Rolling over to wave.

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This was the most amazing thing I have ever seen. This huge creature of the sea was interacting with us and communicating with us.

Not long after the whale show, we had to leave. We had to leave to go to some garden, which I wan’t to pleased about to start with. However, when we got there, it was stunning. It was right up in the mountains so it was quite misty, but the atmosphere was quite beautiful. I noticed the silence first. It was so quiet. The only thing I could hear was my own breathing. The best part about the garden however was the view of the mountains. They resembled live a V shaped valley and the fog was cascading down them like a waterfall. I took some photos of some flowers and wildlife too.

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Pond.

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Not sure what the flowers are called, but look at those colours!

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Mountains.

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Froggy.

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Close ups!

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More close ups!

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Mountains. You can’t really see the fog dripping from the mountain on the photograph.

The day was over, but what an amazing day it was. It’s a little early in this post to say, but that was by far my favourite. It was such an amazing experience and if you haven’t been to Hermanus to see the whales, I highly recommend you book a ticket right now, get on a plane and fly there. It will blow you away.

The next day we went to the Castle of Good hope and toured the grounds. We saw quite a lot in the castle to be honest. We saw the changing of the guards, changing of the ducks, a torture chamber and some nice views of Cape Town. After the castle we went to a natural history museum. The museum was quite good, though I do like museums, especially natural history. The most interesting thing was the fossils, as they had a lot of real prehistoric fossils on display, they also had an observatory, which was closed at the time we arrived. That was quite disappointing. We then visited the neighbourhood of Bo Kaap in Cape Town. Bo Kaap is a Muslim populated area, but the difference and significance of this neighbourhood was the houses. Every house was painted a different colour, and is the most colourful neighbourhood in all of South Africa. The Muslims paint their houses a different colour every year during a festival.

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I like this image. This was a man enjoying his morning coffee as he watched the ducks on the castle grounds.

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The guards liked to show off.

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Nice view of the city. The weather wasn’t great though.

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Inside the castle. The seats are there for the tourists to watch the Military Tattoo and the changing of the guards.

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The museum was quite dark and poorly lit for photography, however the stuffed animals made quite an impression.

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Bo Kaap.

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Colourful Kaap.

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I think this is quite a powerful image. Even though Cape Town is quite beautiful and very westernised in terms of culture. It is still a third world country and it is quite hard to remember that when you’re admiring the views.

The next day for me was the worst day of the trip. It was heartbreaking. We visited a township called Langa. We toured the area and saw the where the people lived. I wanted to take more photographs of Langa, but I was shooting it. We walked around the streets and saw the awful conditions in which the Afrikaans lived. A woman was even kind enough to let us tour her house. The house was really old and had a gas stove, an old wooden door that was rotted and some of the windows were broken. She also had a lot of children. It was quite upsetting to see these innocent people who had been oppressed so much in the past, that it still takes a toll on them today. We then visited a school. The first thing I noticed about the school was that it was surrounded by a barbed wire fence. It looked more like a prison or a concentration camp than a children’s school. when we entered the building, there was only one classroom with maybe 30-40 children inside. They were singing nursery rhymes, but then I found out why the school had barbed wire fencing. Two weeks prior to our arrival in South Africa, two children aged five were brutally raped and murdered by five fully grown men. Their bodies were cast out with the garbage. The children sang a song I will remember for the rest of my life.

“This is my body,

From head to toe.

Do not touch my body.”

It’s a horrible world when children have to learn about the severe dangers of rape and murder through a nursery rhyme. It seemed so normal to them, but it was heartbreaking to see that. We decided as a group that we would sing a nursery rhyme to them as they did such a good job at singing to us. So we sang and they sang with us. The kids were fascinated by our cameras and by us. They kept climbing us like climbing frames and asking for photo’s to be taken. We spent quite a while playing with the children in the township and it is an experience that will stay with me and continue to break my heart forever.

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Little girl loves the camera.

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Best friends.

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It’s awful to see something like this.

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Another camera lover.

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“This is my body.”

The next day we did something I wasn’t really in to, wine tasting. I am however glad I went because I captured my best image on this day trip. The vineyard was called the Blaauwkipen Wine Centre, which makes and imports wine all over the world. Including the UK. In fact you will find their wine in major supermarkets such as Tesco or Asda. We tasted a few wines, well I didn’t. I just secretly poured all of mine into the spit bucket. I’ve never been a wine drinker, I actually hate the stuff.

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Wine Centre.

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There were these beautiful willows that arched over this old car and I took a picture, I didn’t think I would get a result like this though. I love the way the light bounced of the car and is blocked by the trees. I love how this could be interpreted as something bad, like a rapist hiding and waiting. When really, it was just the car of an employee.

In the afternoon we visited Robben Island. Robben Island is home to the Robben Island Maximum Security Prison. The prison where Nelson Mandela spent eighteen years of his life. It took around forty five minutes for the boat to take us there. As soon as we arrived we got on a coach that took us around the island before entering the prison. We saw the light house, school and the church. After our tour we made our way to the prison. The prison tour for me wasn’t what I expected. at all. I wanted to tour the whole prison, but we only saw a few rooms. Our tour guide was actually an ex-prisoner who was imprisoned for terrorism. He told us about the oppression between the whites, colours and blacks. The white and coloured people were treated not as prisoners, but as citizens of South Africa, whereas the blacks were treated as animals. We also got a chance to see the cell where Nelson Mandela, South African hero, spend eighteen years of his life.

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On the boat we saw this huge tanker.

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Our boats name.

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View of Cape Town from the Island.

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Our ex-prisoner tour guide.

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This board he is holding showed just how bad the oppression was. In the winter the whites and coloured inmates wore long sleeved shirts and shoes. However the black inmates wore short sleeved shirts and had no shoes. The blacks also had no windows, and with the snowfall and rain, it made living conditions extremely difficult for them. Some people even died.

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Prison gates.

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Nelson Mandela’s cell.

The next day we toured a few places around the Western Cape. The first place we visited was District Six. District six was the home to 60,000 Afrikaans until they were forcibly removed by the apartheid in the 1970’s. We toured the wasteland on the coach and then went to a museum where they had the street signs on display. The signs were stolen by a man when the apartheid removed it’s inhabitance and destroyed the area. They street signs were then returned to the people when the museum opened. They now sit on display as a reminder of the home these people once had. We also visited Cape Point. Cape Point is the southern most point of South Africa and is also where the Indian and Atlantic oceans meet. Cape Point was one hell of a walk. We spent a few hours there. We had lunch and played with the wild life. There were loads of these black birds that seemed to be fearless. One flew into my head. After lunch I decided to walk up to Cape Point for the view. It was beautiful. It was a clear day too so you could see pretty far out to see. We then took a boat out the the infamous Seal Island. I was hoping to see some great white sharks, but there was no such luck. I am a huge fan of seals so it was still pretty good. There was so many too! They all sat on this rock bathing in the sun. The last place we visited was a penguin sanctuary, it’s the home of nearly 10,000 South African penguins. I didn’t see that many as the time was hunting time. I did however see a male penguin dancing for a female. The female chased him, attacked him and he fell over and urinated all over himself. It was quite brutal in terms of rejection.

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Street signs.

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And again.

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Amazing view.

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So beautiful.

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Cape point!

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Light house!

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Indian and Atlantic meeting.

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Seal Island.

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Mesmerised by seagulls.

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Penguin!

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So many!

The final thing we did was visit Table Mountain. We were supposed to go up earlier in the week but couldn’t due to the weather. We go to the mountain and got in straight away. We got on the cable car as fast as we got there. The cable car was a little unsettling as it rotated as it climbed further up the mountain. When we got the the top, it was kind of like a garden. It was pretty big too. Not as big as it looks from below, but still pretty impressive. The view however, was incredible. we could see the whole of Cape Town and beyond from the top.

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Cape Town!

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Beyond.

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Spectacular view of the mountains.

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Cape Town again!

It was sad to leave at the same time as being a relief. I as missing home and my own bed quite badly. My experience in South Africa is something I will carry with me forever. It is amazing to see a culture who has nothing be so happy. A westernised world yet a third world country. I will revisit South Africa one day. I want to see more of it and spend more time admiring their culture. I absolutely loved every second of my experience here and I cannot wait to come back.

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