Tag Archives: Cape Town

How to Find the Secret Hidden Crystal Pools in South Africa

crystal_pools_southafrica

A backpacker I met in Cape Town filled me in on a neat secret…

Apparently, just outside of the city there is an area in Gordon’s Bay called the Steenbras River Gorge — a remarkably private reserve where only a limited number of people are allowed entry into every day. There, those people have access to a hike leading to five refreshingly natural pools alongside a mountainous, yet precarious trail also inhabited by naughty baboons.

Each pool you come across gets bigger and more extravagant than the last. They are called the Crystal Pools and it’s hidden somewhere in the Steenbras River Gorge. The pools are so crisp and clean, that they are perfect for taking a dip on a hot South African day.

crystal_pools_south_africa

Of all my years visiting South Africa, I never knew such a place existed!

Jesse, the backpacker who told me about this, his travel buddy Trevor, and I made it our mission to track down these pools. It definitely wasn’t the easiest thing. A pain in the ass actually. Much of the information we found online was inaccurate and outdated.

As a convenience, I’m here to help any of you to avoid the hassle if you find yourself interested in the Crystal Pools.

The Important Stuff

First, know this. The trek to the pools is a bit lengthy, not so straight-forward, and home to thieving wild baboons. Lots of them. But the rewards are worth the task.

So if you are up for the challenge, then this is how you should proceed:

Access to the Crystal Pools Hiking Trail is only possible from the months of November to April. The rest of the months are cold and rainy.

The only way to enter the reserve is to receive a permit via email reservation. There is absolutely no other way to get around this. Trust me, I’ve tried.

What you have to do is send an email to this address: steenbras.naturereserve@capetown.gov.za

In that email, you must state your name, your group size, contact number, and the date you wish to visit.

Depending on holidays and weekends, you should receive a reply from the Steenbras Nature Reserve office within a few days either granting you permission or stating that you need to reschedule another day because it’s already booked.

Try to book as far in advance as possible to ensure your reservation.

If your desired date is available, they will send you an email with rather complex instructions on how to pay for the minimal entrance fee of R65 (price as of Dec 2017).

Basically, to process an electronic payment:

Include the City of Cape Town Municipality as a beneficiary on your transfer and
include this number as the special reference number: 19210834.

The annoying thing about this is that the only way to pay is through a bank transfer or wire. As of this post, there is absolutely no other way. (I’ve tried that too.) You can do this from home at your bank or from an ABSA bank while in South Africa.

After wiring the money to their office, you must prove you did so by emailing them a copy of the proof of purchase or receipt. Once you do that, you should receive a confirmation PDF in a couple of days that you must print out, which is your permit to access the reserve.

You must wire the payment no longer than 48 hours before your visit, as it needs time to process.

(When I did this process, the office didn’t respond to me for over a week! Once they did, they claimed it was because of a power outage along with the bad news that the date I wanted was fully booked.  Later, however, when Jesse tried to reserve for that same date, they granted him permission. I have no idea why they said “no” to me and “yes” to him. Possibly other reservations were canceled or they are just as unorganized as the whole process to access the reserve.)

Whew! All this work just to get into a reserve! Now to the fun stuff!

The location of the Steenbras Nature Reserve appears on Google Maps. You may drive yourself there (there is parking available along the highway further along the R44, just past the bridge and on the right-hand side).

Or just take a taxi or a cheap Uber, like we did. Just remember, if you plan on leaving, make sure you have data service to hire another Uber or it’s quite a walk to find any sort of taxi.

crystal pools steenbras south africa

The red star indicates where the entrance to the reserve is.

The entrance to the reserve is on the end of this bridge.

IMG_1249-2

And it looks like this.

IMG_1166-2

Present your permit and then you’re free to go!

Now, remember those naughty, thieving baboons I mentioned earlier?

They are lunatics.

You’ll see warnings about them, reminding you to mind your belongings, and if they try to take anything from you, specifically food, just let them have it. They can become temperamental if engaged. They aren’t everywhere, but you are bound to see some prodding in the distance.

Speaking of food, be sure to pack a lunch and bring plenty of water (no alcohol is allowed in the premises). Any rubbish or trash you have must be brought back with you. There aren’t any trash containers along the trail. One of the reasons a limited number of people are allowed each day is to help preserve the natural area. So please be mindful and respectful.

Onward to the trail!

crystal pools south africa steenbras nature reserve

crystal pools steenbras south africa

The trek begins fairly straightforward–just follow the yellow shoe prints you will see along the way. Eventually, after about 45 minutes to an hour, you’ll reach the first pool.

IMG_1177-2

IMG_1180-2

The reflection from the pool’s surface.

If you want an easy day, then feel free to stop and take a dip here. If you want an adventure, then skip this one and press on. The pools get better the further you go.

crystal pools south africa steenbras nature reserve

crystal pools south africa steenbras nature reserve

After trekking for an hour or two later among boulders and puzzling pathways, we finally made it to the fifth pool, saving the other pools for the way back. We actually discovered a sixth pool, but it was way beyond our reach and didn’t look as inviting.

crystal pools south africa steenbras nature reserve

crystal pools south africa steenbras nature reserve

We did get to play there for a while, until a troop of baboons kinda kicked us out. One of them chased us back onto the path! Thankfully we already ate our lunch.
No worries. We still had the other pools to swim in.
On our way back, we got a little lost and took an alternate, slightly more dangerous route to get back on the path we took before. Suddenly, we heard a harrowing scream. It turned out to be a group of trekkers who were raided by a group of baboons while they took a swim in pool #4. Possibly the same troop who chased us out of pool #5? Maybe, but the boys and I got the heck outta there and decided to go to pool #3.
No baboons. The coast was clear.

crystal_pools_southafrica

 

crystal pools south africa steenbras nature reserve

crystal pools south africa steenbras nature reserve

The water? Cold, but revitalizing under the sun. It was dark and almost a copper color that created a mystifying effect under the water.

crystal pools south africa steenbras nature reserve

crystal pools south africa steenbras nature reserve

crystal pools south africa steenbras nature reserve

At the end of this particular pool was a series of small cascading waterfalls that you could climb all over and bask in. This place was so unreal!

crystal_pools_south_africa

You’ll notice that there are many places to cliff jump, some as high as 22 meters! It seems perfectly fine to jump from them, all in differentiating heights. So pick your poison! Just know that though these pools are clear, they are a deep black so there’s no telling what’s at the bottom. Feel around for boulders and protruding objects before you make the heroic leap!

crystal pools south africa steenbras nature reserve

crystal pools south africa steenbras nature reserve

The hiking trail to Crystal Pools was an all day thing for us. We arrived there around 9am and left around 6pm. It was terribly easy to get lost, so we made sure to have plenty of time to leave before the sunset.

crystal pools south africa steenbras nature reserve

The Crystal Pools did not disappoint!

If you have the time in Cape Town, I highly recommend you check out these pristine pools. It’s been rated as one of the best treks to do near Cape Town and for good reason! There weren’t many people around and it’s the perfect way to spend a sunny day in the Western Cape with you and your friends.

If you have any questions about the Crystal Pools, please feel free to ask me! I’ll probably be able to respond quicker than those sloths in the Steenbras offices.


For more posts like these and everything related to ADVENTURE TRAVEL, please subscribe by clicking the Follow button on this page and also follow along on Instagram and Facebook! I’d love to hear from you! 

A Backpacker’s Guide to Mzoli’s Meat in Cape Town

mzoli's meat south africa cape town gugulethu


Imagine this.

You’re in a scant South African township in the far outskirts of Cape Town. You and a few of your friends go there to attend a braai (bbq) in the middle of the township. Only this braai isn’t your typical braai. There, you eat boxes and bowls full of deliciously grilled and sauced up meat with your bare hands while deep South African house and marimba music jam out in the background to mobs of vibrant dancing and celebrating. The libations and springbok shots are aplenty. The music is pumping. The meat is plentiful. And the guests there are a mix of locals and international tourists from all around the world, together under one large red tent simply having a good time.

It’s called Mzoli’s and it’s happening somewhere special in Cape Town. And after personally experiencing it on a handful of joccasions, I have outlined for you the best guide to experiencing this the proper Mzoli way.

What is Mzoli’s? 

Some pronounce it as em-zoh-leez, fewer as miz-oh-lies, but I, along with most other people pronounce it as miz-oh-leez. 

A man named Mzoli Ngcawuzele began the tradition more than a decade ago in the township of Gugulethu in Cape Town, South Africa. Basically, it’s a South African BBQ (braai), but turned up quite a few notches. Mzoli’s restaurant is all about the people, the rhythmic South African house music, the drinks, and most importantly the “Tshisa Nyama” (braai meat)! It has become so popular throughout the years that international tourists in addition to Capetonian locals began popping up year after year to be a part of this unique experience.

When To Go

First and foremost, plan on going only on a Sunday.That is the day when Mzoli’s is most alive. I went there on a Wednesday once and it was absolutely dead. Sunday is the day to attend, year round. It’s still very possible to go during the day during the week but then you’ll be missing out on the true experience.

Mzoli’s Butchery is open every day from 9am to 6pm. However, the tent stays open later.

I usually get there around noon in order to make sure I have a table ready for my friends and I before it becomes packed with guests. It’s first come, first serve here. I normally leave no later than 6pm. Since you are a tourist in the middle of a township, it’s the safest idea to leave before it gets dark.

IMG_0772.jpg

Getting There

Getting to Mzoli’s is simple. It’s about a 30-minute drive from Cape Town.Simply take a taxi or better yet, an Uber. Taxi drivers are used to taking passenger’s there, as well as Ubers. When using the Uber app, Mzoli’s in Gugulethu pops up as a drop-off location on the map. I personally wouldn’t drive myself there. There isn’t anywhere suitable to park. Plus, it can be a tad dangerous leaving your car parked in the middle of a township.

Leaving Mzoli’s is another story. If you have data service, requesting an Uber is simple, but without service, you must simply find a taxi service. Taxis are usually located nearby the premises. Like I mentioned earlier, its best to leave the area well before it gets dark. Another option is to ask your previous taxi or Uber driver to pick you up from there at a certain time. You’d be surprised how willing they are to help.

Cost and Fees

The cost to enter Mzoli’s is 20 Rand (as of 2017).

You pay this fee in the meat shop directly next door to the main tent. The cashier will give you a receipt. Take this receipt to the security guy at the front of the tent entrance and he will stamp your hand for admittance. Now, you are free to come and go in and outside the tent as much as you please. Just show your stamp upon re-entry each time.

Mainly mixed drinks and shooters are served at the two small bars located inside the tent, but it is allowed to bring your own drinks from outside. There is a small bottle shop about three minutes walk just a block or two from the main tent. Ask someone nearby for easy directions (I also provides a map below), but know that they may want to escort you there and then ask for a tip at the end. It’s safe just to go on your own. Just mind your belongings.

I typically go to the bottle shop and buy a couple bottles of red along with packs of beer to save some money.

Now you need some ice to keep your beer or even your wine cold. Next door to the meat butchery is a convenience store. There you can buy bags of ice, along with other snacks and goodies if you wish. Ask for an extra bag to store your ice or even better yet, you can ask for a cardboard box from the aforementioned bottle shop. You may even see some locals on the corner selling cardboard boxes if you wish. It may be worth it in order to store your ice and booze comfortably.

I found the maps on Google pertaining to Mzoli’s to be a tad outdated, so I customized it to make it current:

Screen Shot 2018-02-06 at 4.53.34 PM.png

1= Actual location of Mzoli’s

2=Convenience store

3=Local bottle shop to pick up cheap booze in bulk. You cannot actually enter the store. Instead, tell the woman inside at the counter what you would like and she will fetch it for you.

 

Note: In between 1 and 2 is another small bar where you could pick up beer and wine which is just a touch more expensive.

Right outside of the Mzoli’s tent is a stand selling modified glass bottles customized into cool drinking chalices. There you can buy a glass for your wine. The prices start at R10 and go slightly up from there.

mzoli's meat south africa cape town gugulethu

Ordering Your Meat

Sorry vegetarians, meat is the only thing served here and it takes about 40 minutes to an hour to grill, if not a little longer depending on how busy it is. I found it more enjoyable to wait a little into the day, maybe around 3pm before going inside the meat shop to order the meat. Try not to forget! Then in about an hour, go back into the kitchen with your ticket to retrieve your bowl of your delicious barbecued meat!

mzoli's meat south africa cape town gugulethu

Take it back to your spot in the tent and chow down! No utensils are necessary. Eat with your hands!

mzoli's meat south africa cape town gugulethu

You have a variety of meats to choose from: sausages, chicken, steaks, ribs, and lamb fillets. Just point, mix and match if you want, and the butchers will weigh everything on a scale for pricing.

mzoli's meat south africa cape town gugulethu

Once you receive your container of raw meats and sauce…

IMG_0779

…take it to the back of the kitchen and deliver it to the hard-working grill masters. They’ll keep your order separate from the rest and prepare it especially for you. Keep the ticket they give you.

mzoli's meat south africa cape town gugulethu

If you’re really hungry, order a little more than you think because drinking and dancing all day in the tent works up an appetite and there is nowhere else around to get more food. Plus, grilling will shrink the meat a bit. I always managed to order just enough or not quite enough to satisfy my craving. If you order too much, then other patrons you meet will be happy to share. I’m not exact on how much you pay per kilo, but for a box full of meat, we paid R350 to split between four of us hungry dudes and it was the perfect amount.

mzoli's meat south africa cape town gugulethu

More Useful Advice

The area on the patio (the narrow section to the back not covered by the tent) is a great place to bunker down when the weather is nice. There is a small under-utilized bar and a few tables to stand, drink, eat, and mingle with other patrons. Mind the sneaky local kids who sometimes put their grabby hands through the uncovered holes in the gate.

mzoli's meat south africa cape town gugulethu

IMG_1029

–Avoid the man with the drum. My last few visits, there was always a local man walking in the tent carrying a bongo-style drum. He would then go up to groups of patrons, introduce himself, and tell a story about how he helps the community and then urges you to beat his drums. Then at the very end, he drops the bomb and persistently asks for money. I would just politely say “no thanks” right from the beginning. He claims the money would be used for the community, but my gut tells me otherwise.

Mind your belongings. I’ve never felt to be in any danger while at Mzoli’s but pickpockets are a thing there. On one visit, my friend felt a hand reach into his pocket, grabbing his phone. It happened so quickly that he wasn’t able to catch the culprit. However, out of the several times I’ve been, that was the only incident that occurred within my group while I was there.

There is a restroom facility inside the main tent. Don’t expect much. It gets the job done.

–The woman who sold bottles of wine from her home on the corner of Mzoli’s a few years ago is gone. Sad.

Get there early and stay there all day! Mingle with the locals and the tourists alike and have a fantastic time being a part of such a cool South African experience you can only find in Cape Town.

IMG_0783.jpg

Mzoli’s is always evolving, so if there is any information I should add on here or modify, please do let me know!


For more posts like these and everything related to ADVENTURE TRAVEL, please subscribe by clicking the Follow button on this page and also follow along on Instagram and Facebook! I’d love to hear from you.  🙂

Get To Know Table Mountain’s Vastly Underrated Neighbor, Lion’s Head Mountain

IMG_9182

Being a self-proclaimed “Capetonian” pro, I often tell people I meet that the hike up Lion’s Head is much more enjoyable than the routes up Table Mountain. And for many reasons.

Table Mountain is one of the new seven natural wonders of the world and deservingly so.  This 1,085m mountain with a relatively flat summit earned its name from the spillage of clouds that cover the top like a tablecloth. It truly is a world wonder.

But.

Directly neighboring Table Mountain is another smaller, more precious mountain called Lion’s Head which stands at about 669m, much shorter than it’s counterpart. Lion’s Head has a unique spiral shape leading up to the apex of the mountain which resembles the shape of a lion laying down. It took me awhile to see it.

Lion’s Head lives in the shadow of the ever prominent Table Mountain, but I actually prefer it over its more popular neighbor.

Unlike most routes leading up Table Mountain, the singular path spiraling up to Lion’s Head is completely out in the open. You literally circle up with the Atlantic Ocean, Cape Town, and Table Mountain always in view. To see the clouds blanketing Table in such a close encounter is simply stunning.

IMG_9194.jpg

To get to the base, or the start of the hike, simply take a taxi or a cheaper Uber there. That’s it. It’s impossible to get lost as there is only one route that leads up. No entry fees either. It’s completely free as of this post.

The hike itself is straightforward, but it’s the last twenty minutes or so that I would consider the fun part. You literally have to start using your hands to climb up steady boulders and crevices, along with ladders and chain-links to pull yourself up. You may hear people say that it was difficult, but these are the same tourists who would probably consider botanical gardens and art museums a crazy good time. The joy of climbing overwhelmed any difficulty I may have had. It takes about an hour to reach the top, depending on your pace. Though I guarantee you’ll be stopping a bunch to take photos, which is a must!

IMG_0610.jpg

IMG_0646.jpg

Myself along with a few other backpackers made the climb around 4pm, to give us enough time to relax at the top and enjoy a few beers for the sunset. No, there aren’t any beerstands there. Instead, I filled up a dry bag with ice and cans of South Africa’s best brews and carried it up. Easy as pie. Many people also brought snacks and food to the top. Just make sure you take everything you brought up, back down with you as there are no bins for rubbish,

IMG_9115.jpg

IMG_9113.jpg

While you are up there, every side of the top offers alluring panoramas and magazine-worthy shots. Feel free to explore everywhere!

IMG_9200.jpg

IMG_9120.jpg

 

IMG_9174.jpg

You MUST stay for the sunset! 

IMG_9201.jpg

IMG_0628.jpg

IMG_9197.jpg

But, don’t stay too long, especially without flashlights to guide your way back down. There is an alternate route to bypass all the climbing bits, that leads you back to the spiraling path downward, back to the start of the hike.

IMG_0654.jpg

The walk up to Lion’s Head didn’t take nearly as long as it did for Table Mountain, the route is more open, and is much easier on the legs when walking back down as opposed to the many rocky steps on Table. Although Table does have the cable car option.

Also with Table Mountain, sometimes you just never know when there’s an incoming cloud cover to totally block your view from everything. Like this…

IMG_8701


For more posts like these and everything related to ADVENTURE TRAVEL, please subscribe by clicking the Follow button on this page and also follow along on Instagram and Facebook! I’d love to hear from you.  🙂

 

 

Get To Know Table Mountain's Vastly Underrated Neighbor, Lion's Head Mountain

IMG_9182

Being a self-proclaimed “Capetonian” pro, I often tell people I meet that the hike up Lion’s Head is much more enjoyable than the routes up Table Mountain. And for many reasons.

Table Mountain is one of the new seven natural wonders of the world and deservingly so.  This 1,085m mountain with a relatively flat summit earned its name from the spillage of clouds that cover the top like a tablecloth. It truly is a world wonder.

But.

Directly neighboring Table Mountain is another smaller, more precious mountain called Lion’s Head which stands at about 669m, much shorter than it’s counterpart. Lion’s Head has a unique spiral shape leading up to the apex of the mountain which resembles the shape of a lion laying down. It took me awhile to see it.

Lion’s Head lives in the shadow of the ever prominent Table Mountain, but I actually prefer it over its more popular neighbor.

Unlike most routes leading up Table Mountain, the singular path spiraling up to Lion’s Head is completely out in the open. You literally circle up with the Atlantic Ocean, Cape Town, and Table Mountain always in view. To see the clouds blanketing Table in such a close encounter is simply stunning.

IMG_9194.jpg

To get to the base, or the start of the hike, simply take a taxi or a cheaper Uber there. That’s it. It’s impossible to get lost as there is only one route that leads up. No entry fees either. It’s completely free as of this post.

The hike itself is straightforward, but it’s the last twenty minutes or so that I would consider the fun part. You literally have to start using your hands to climb up steady boulders and crevices, along with ladders and chain-links to pull yourself up. You may hear people say that it was difficult, but these are the same tourists who would probably consider botanical gardens and art museums a crazy good time. The joy of climbing overwhelmed any difficulty I may have had. It takes about an hour to reach the top, depending on your pace. Though I guarantee you’ll be stopping a bunch to take photos, which is a must!

IMG_0610.jpg

IMG_0646.jpg

Myself along with a few other backpackers made the climb around 4pm, to give us enough time to relax at the top and enjoy a few beers for the sunset. No, there aren’t any beerstands there. Instead, I filled up a dry bag with ice and cans of South Africa’s best brews and carried it up. Easy as pie. Many people also brought snacks and food to the top. Just make sure you take everything you brought up, back down with you as there are no bins for rubbish,

IMG_9115.jpg

IMG_9113.jpg

While you are up there, every side of the top offers alluring panoramas and magazine-worthy shots. Feel free to explore everywhere!

IMG_9200.jpg

IMG_9120.jpg

 

IMG_9174.jpg

You MUST stay for the sunset! 

IMG_9201.jpg

IMG_0628.jpg

IMG_9197.jpg

But, don’t stay too long, especially without flashlights to guide your way back down. There is an alternate route to bypass all the climbing bits, that leads you back to the spiraling path downward, back to the start of the hike.

IMG_0654.jpg

The walk up to Lion’s Head didn’t take nearly as long as it did for Table Mountain, the route is more open, and is much easier on the legs when walking back down as opposed to the many rocky steps on Table. Although Table does have the cable car option.

Also with Table Mountain, sometimes you just never know when there’s an incoming cloud cover to totally block your view from everything. Like this…

IMG_8701


For more posts like these and everything related to ADVENTURE TRAVEL, please subscribe by clicking the Follow button on this page and also follow along on Instagram and Facebook! I’d love to hear from you.  🙂

 

 

Day 5: Reaching Out 2 The World

It’s the final day of the Reaching Out 2 The World trip. Today, Hotspots booked a tour for the kids at the Cape Town soccer stadium! It’s now well known for being one of the venues for the 2010 World Cup that took place here three years ago. All of the kids arrived to Zulu’s in the morning just like we’d asked except for Avele and Aphiwe. We got word that Avele was feeling ill and wouldn’t be able to make it. But where the heck was Aphiwe? We always warned the kids that if they were late then we will have no choice but to leave them behind but when it came down to actually doing that, we felt kinda bad. Chris called Aphiwe’s mom to find out where he was but she wasn’t very clear about anything. Isaac was kind enough to take us to Aphiwe’s home to see if he was there and thankfully we decided to do that! Aphiwe just overslept and was running late but jumped right into the van once we knocked at his door. Once we had everyone, we made way to Cape Town!

It takes anywhere from 35 minutes to an hour or so to get to Cape Town from Stellenbosch. Depends on the driver, the route, and the traffic. On the way to Cape Town, there is this amusement park with a giant roller-coaster beaming outwards. We always pass it by whenever we pass from Stellenbosch to Cape Town. I plan on taking some of the kids here when I get back from Morocco. 🙂 We pulled up to the bowl-shaped stadium and found that we arrived early and were some of the only people there. We took this opportunity to take some pretty awesome photos, right outside of the famous stadium. The kids love taking pictures of themselves and were more than happy to take part!

20131004-105327.jpg

20131004-105332.jpg

20131004-105338.jpg

20131004-105409.jpg

20131004-105415.jpg

After about a half-hour of goofing around, the tour finally started. We were virtually the only ones in the stadium minus a few Dutch girls who joined in on our tour. Our tour guide first took us to the main seating area of the stadium. Cape Town stadium can hold more than 65,000 patrons at once! Besides soccer matches, a lot of different concerts have taken place here. As a matter of fact, Rihanna is scheduled to perform here sometime within the next couple of weeks. There were two elongated beams emitting light onto the field that acted as “sunlight”. I always thought the stadium was just turf but it’s actual real live green grass. Most of the boys have never been here before and immediately wanted to take pictures with the field as their backdrop.

20131004-105730.jpg

20131004-105725.jpg

On our tour, we had access to V.I.P and other restricted areas, each with different views of the playing field. The guide told us that the stadium costed 40 million rand to build and they are completely debt-free, but there are tons of restrictions because of the zone the stadium was built in.

20131004-105911.jpg

We went through the halls in the corridor and into the main locker rooms soon after. I took a photo of the boys sitting on the benches in the locker room, but by the looks of this picture, I think they disliked guided tours as much as I do!

20131004-110037.jpg

We went down to the main floor of the stadium, the actual playing field. The guide told us to not go on the grass though. We went out the entrance to the field, the entrance where the players come out and are showered with cheers and cries from the fans. We thought it would be cool to film the boys coming onto the field, reminiscent of the soccer players. The Dutch girls clapped and cheered as they came through! The boys lined up on the edge of the grass, put their right hands over their chest and started singing the South African national anthem. We have all of this on video and it will probably be included in the montage we make when we get back home. This was an excellent way to end the tour. We exited out of the ground floor and went back to the van.

20131004-110723.jpg

The itinerary today was only for the Cape Town Stadium, but Hotspots gave us such a great and unexpected discount that we decided to use some of the money we saved to take the boys out to to their favorite restaurant, Spurs. I knew there was one at the Waterfront nearby, so we went there. The main attraction of Spurs for them isn’t just the delicious ribs, it’s also the video games they offer for children…12 years old or younger! Yup, all of these boys were teenagers now, except for Lupho. And all of them were kicked out of the gaming area, minus Mawande who can pass for a twelve year old! Aphiwe, surprisingly, wasn’t kicked out either. But no matter because we all had some great food coming to feast on!

20131004-110840.jpg

It was still early in the day, so we asked Isaac if he could drive us to Boulder’s Beach near Simons Town. Boulder’s Beach is famous because it’s home to many South African penguins.

20131004-110200.jpg

We thought this would be cool for the boys to visit, in addition to the awesome beaches and landscapes you can see in the area. Once we got there, we walked along wooden walkway near the beach and spotted a few penguins waddling about underneath the shrubs. I was always told to never try and touch the penguins because their beaks are pretty sharp and they will peck at you! That didn’t stop Ski from pretending to try!

20131004-110334.jpg

20131004-110350.jpg

At some points, there were blockades warning people not to cross over. Some of the boys crossed them anyways and wanted to take pictures. Part of me didn’t mind the boys breaking the rules because it’s sometimes fun to do. The other part of me didn’t want to pay the R500 fine for violating those rules so we had to have the boys get back quick before they were caught! We were able to chill for a bit here as we waited for Isaac to bring the van around and take us back to Kayamandi once and for all.

Well that does it for the Reaching Out 2 The World trip! It’s been five incredible days of nonstop fun, excitement, and exploring for the boys. A big special thanks goes to Hotspots2c Tours for helping Chris and I out in such a big way! You guys made this easy for us to put together! Another big thanks goes out to all of our contributors who donated. None of this would have been possible without all of your generous donations. Taking eight kids to see and experience more of their country than they ever did in their lives was something truly magical! Chris and I are working on giving each of the boys photo albums with pictures of their trip in it. We are in the process of getting those together, and will give it to them just before we leave this country in November. We are also hard at work in delivering all of the perks we promised everyone. Some of you have already received postcards and to those of you who haven’t yet, don’t worry, we have been sending the cards out in waves. Some cards haven’t been sent yet because we don’t want to overwhelm the kids with writing loads all at once. If you do receive one, be sure to let us know! The other perks like the Earthbird shirts, special souvenirs, books, and collages will be sent out once we get back to the States. Again, thanks to everyone who was a part of this!

The timing of this post couldn’t be any better. I have reached a milestone everyone! My next post will be my 100th post! Thats 100 different stories from around the globe I have shared with the world. I have a special post planned for my 100th…

and it will be dedicated to a very special dog. 🙂