Thursday, June 24, 2010

Cape Town - the last day on tour

Packing up the tents and cooking equipment took forever today. For the first time Jacques and JP didn't hurry us up. We were all a little sad realising that today was the last day and tonight we would all be sleeping in different places. As a result the drive down was quite subdued, that was until we saw the unmistakable Table Mountain far across the bay.
Our last official group activity was a tour of Langa Township. We were picked up by the local guide and driven to the Township where we had a walking tour through all the different types of housing. It was a strange and uncomfortable feeling being in the township. For us we felt like we were intruding into the lives of people that call this area home. If it hadn't been a part of the trip we probably wouldn't have done it. On the positive side it was very interesting and humbling to see the different standards of living and how some of the newer government housing incentives seemed to be working, if only for a few lucky people.A row of bathrooms
A new football stadium in the background
At the end of the walking component, we went to a Shebeen. Typically this is a place where men congregate, but the brewer is usually female. Exceptions are made for tourists. We all had a wary sip of the local brew and decided to leave the rest of the pail for the localsOur tour leader proving that it is drinkable.
What was left in the pail after we had tried it!
The children of the township were generally very friendly but we were soon to learn that they really only want your drink bottle. There is an initiative where money is given for recycling and tourists always have water bottles!

The highlight of the tour was definitely lunch. We were taken to a local Braii restaurant which was packed. It seems to be where all the tours come for lunch as amongst the crowd there was magically a spare table for 20. The locals were also arriving in huge numbers and bringing with them eskies of their own drinks. It looked like they were planning to stay for the entire afternoon. The hardest part was leaving as the crowd had spilled over into the street and a few kids were challenging each other with soccer tricks. The atmosphere here was definitely more uplifting to that in the township proper.
A couple of kids putting on a show
Now our African trip is officially finished!! We were dropped at The Backpack and free to go our own way. We had booked into this hostel before leaving London and quite a few of the others were able to get beds on the day. A little tip, if you can wait, the price is significantly cheaper if you book within 2days of arrival. A couple of people cancelled and rebooked all in 5min to save 50%. Our room was hotel standard and we considered cancelling the real hotel that we had booked for our final couple of days in Cape Town.

Many of the South African people that Claire worked with in London had advised us that if Table Mountain was clear then take the first opportunity to go up there. It seems that the cloud that gives it the table cloth can hang around for days. All the group took advantage of the the clear afternoon and seeing as we didn't have enough time to make the hike we used the cable car. The view was stunning and after the confronting sights of the morning it was a great way to relax. The day was finished with a group dinner that Jacques and JP came to as well.Looking back up the coast away from Cape Town
This is how we usually see Steve
Keeping the Kwando tradition
If we had walked up this is where we would have arrived.
One final group picture

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