South Africa has been on my bucket-list forever! I heard that PTPI Denmark was heading that way, spring of 2018. They got me as a traveler straight away. I paid the fees and started to plan for an amazing time. As December rolled around, I was invited down to Denmark for a de-brief with the other members going on this trip: 11 Danes & me! (Rolf)
When I arrived in Demark it was a wonderful reunion. I had met many of the Danish team, on my trip to New Zeeland in 2015, and some on a trip to Peru & Bolivia in 2016, and others on the trip to Japan in 2017. There were only two people that were new to me – always good to grow your network.
I drove back over the bridge, that connects Sweden and Denmark, to continue my planning. I purchased South African Rand, the local currency, different plugs that I would need for South Africa, and many other things that I might need. 16 February finally came around and it was time to go.
First stop, was to meet the rest of the group down in Billund, Denmark. From Denmark we took off for London for our connecting flight, then a long 11.5-hour flight to Cape Town. The flight time passed rather quickly, and I was happy about this. We spent five days in Cape Town; the legislative capitol of South Africa. Every day overlooking the amazing Table Mountain – an official new seventh wonder of Nature.
We visited Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned – (a UNESCO World Heritage site), the Cape of Good Hope, saw the African Penguins at Boulder Beach, visited the Langa Township & District six, and got to understand more about Apartheid.
We Homestayed with SA families & heard their stories. We visited an all-black-winery in Stellenbosch, learned more about South Africa through Spirit of Africa´s Managing Director, Keira Powers. Our visit continued through the Botriver River Hotel, that dates back to 1890, we stayed at the most amazing Lodge in Oudtshoorn while searching for the “big five” overlooking the Swartberg mountains to the north, and the Outeniqua Mountains to the south, saw the beautiful Congo Caves, met with Ostriches. We again homestayed with South African families in Sedgefield, a place that was more New Zeeland than SA, swam in the Indian Ocean (yes, I got swept away by the riptides!), visited Matsithandane; an NGO project that helps less fortunate families and children in Sedgefield area. We provided a little help towards continuing their great work, and served our hosts a wonderful Danish meal. The whole time, we were very well supported by a knowledgeable local guide and experienced driver.
Finally, after 19 days it was time to make the journey home. Back in Sweden it was -2 C , and snowing!
We were a small group of just 12. And, I am so glad that PTPI Denmark has already starting to plan for another trip to SA in 2020. I was amazed by South Africa on this trip – blown away by it’s beauty. I am definitely coming back!
At least three of us, from this group, have already signed up for a trip to Argentina & Brazil this September.