View from our 8th floor hotel room at Con Cuong, Vietnam.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Vinh, Vietnam.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Ninh Binh, Vietnam.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Our Tilley Hats!

We are experts on Tilley hats.

Well, maybe not experts, but we sure do have a lot of experience with the two hats that we own! We have accumulated a lot of hours wearing our Tilley hats, so now we think we are fully qualified to tell you about them.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Heading into the wild!

The Wild Coast, that is.

This section of South Africa isn't really "wild" although it is one of the least inhabited, as well as an area where many locals live traditional lives. It's also supposed to have some gorgeous scenery, and we're looking forward to taking some great photos for you!

Only downside is you might not see them for a while!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Driving Day

Yesterday was a driving day. Hard to believe that we've been in South Africa for almost four weeks. When we look at the map though, we really don't seem like we've made much progress! And so we needed to do some driving.

Because of Ruth's accident with her hand on Sunday, we never made it down to Port Elizabeth's beach area. We wanted to have a quick look though.

Monday, January 27, 2014

A visit to a South African hospital

This is not how we planned on spending our Sunday!

We were actually kind of taking our time yesterday morning, and Ruth had made some delicious gluten free pancakes for us all. I was in the process of writing yesterday's blog post, and our couchsurfing hosts Kurt and Leizel were getting their kids ready to go to a birthday party. Ruth was in the kitchen, tidying up.

Then we heard Ruth calling. "Kevin! I've cut myself. And it's bad!"

Knysna Self Catering Holiday Flat

We stayed a couple of nights at a self catering holiday flat in the Knysna, Garden Route tourist area. It was a nice place, and we wanted to tell you about it!

It's a private rental, so you don't have to pay any administration fees or anything like that. And for what you get, it's a very reasonable price.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Apartheid's Leftover Problems

We've been in South Africa now for over three weeks and we wanted to tell you about some of the things we've seen and heard regarding race, which still plays a huge part in South African society.  Of course the news of Nelson Mandela's death on December 5th brought South Africa into the forefront of the world's media again, and so we were very curious as to how life since the end of official Apartheid has been for all races who call South Africa their home.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Glow in the dark waves

Port Elizabeth currently has a "red tide".

A red tide is a strange phenomenon caused by the rapid growth of a microscopic form of plankton. During daylight hours, the water close to shore has a reddish brown shade to it, but at night when the waves come in, the white caps glow in the dark. And they glow blue!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Would you bungee jump off this??

Yesterday we drove from Knysna to Port Elizabeth. We have to start increasing our driving distances because time is flying by too quickly! It was only 260 kms (161 miles) but there was a lot to see along the way so the drive took us almost all day.

Plus, it was almost 10:00am before we hit the road.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Beautiful views around picturesque Knysna

But before we set off for the day, our couchsurfing host Didi had suggested that we go for an inexpensive breakfast at a spot overlooking the harbor. Great idea! So she drove us down to the Knysna Falcon Creek Spur restaurant.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Who wants to go Paragliding??

Well after seeing people do it yesterday, we want to go paragliding!

We did the 115 km (71 mile) drive from Reebok to Knysna yesterday, but we took a little detour to go for a hike. Along the way, we stopped to watch the paragliders and to see the "Map of Africa".

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Mossel Bay

We wandered around the resort town of Mossel Bay yesterday. Not really a great deal to do there, but they have a museum that's worthwhile. Besides what is probably the worlds largest display of seashells, there's also a full size working replica of the first Portuguese ship that sailed to this part of Africa.

Monday, January 20, 2014

How to Ride an Ostrich!

Yesterday was totally hilarious, and we have the video below to prove it. Never thought we would ever hold an ostrich in our hands, let alone ride one! What an experience. Too funny.

We were invited to visit the Highgate Ostrich Show Farm near Oudtshoorn, South Africa. The farm is located only an hour's drive off the popular "Garden Route", and it's definitely worth the detour.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Some things are simply too strange to try and explain!

Very strange story to tell you today.

Yesterday they were calling for an overcast day, although the temperature was a comfortable 23C (73F). We decided to drive to a beach parking area close to the town of Mossel Bay and walk into Mossel Bay from there.

But I made a wrong turn.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Our First Airbnb Experience

So yesterday, we had to drive from the pretty beach community of Arniston to the mostly residential community of Reebok.

Oh, but before we get to that, we had to go visit a cave. A sea cave!

Friday, January 17, 2014

The southern tip of Africa!

The southern tip of Africa is at the community of Cape Agulhas. It's also the official dividing point between the warm waters of the Indian Ocean and the cool waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

Yesterday, we drove from Hermanus to to the seaside community of Arniston, with a stop at Cape Agulhas. We didn't have any plan as to where we were spending the night. But we figured something would come together. And it did!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Hiking around Hermanus

We've been staying in the town of Hermanus, on the western part of South Africa's south shore. It's a pretty seaside community with a lot of beach homes and vacation rentals. There's a golf course, and quite a few expensive looking homes.

To get a good view of the area, our couchsurfing hosts Celeste and Greg directed us to the mountains behind the town where the Fernkloof Nature Reserve has a series of free hiking trails.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Cage Diving with the Great White Sharks!

Okay, here it is. Everything you wanted to know about cage diving with the sharks in the cold Atlantic waters off the coast of South Africa.

Although this activity sounds dangerous and scary, it's really not that bad. To be perfectly honest, it was more of a learning experience than an "adventure" activity. Having said that, there were definitely moments where you felt the adrenaline flowing into your bloodstream!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Our first South Africa road trip!

Technically, our second. But the short 70 km (44 mile) drive from Cape Town to Leoni's beach house doesn't count!

So yesterday, we had to drive from Leoni's beach house on the western shore, all the way to the town of Hermanus which is on the southern shore. The most direct route would have been to go back through Cape Town.

But we wanted to take the scenic route!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Relaxing by the seaside

We spent the weekend relaxing. Sure, we did some walking on the beach and around the complex here at Jakkalsfontein Nature Reserve, but for the most part we just relaxed and stared at the waves coming in!

It's not really a "nature reserve"...we would almost call it a nature resort!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Ten Reasons You Should Visit Namibia

We spent the months of November and December 2013 exploring the country of Namibia. Over the course of almost eight weeks, we drove approximately 10,000 kms (6,200 miles) all over the country. We experienced the many different cultures and saw so many natural wonders.

But one of the things that we didn't see was North American tourists.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

We didn't expect this!

We had made arrangements with a couchsurfer who offered us a place to stay at a "nature reserve". It's located about 70 kms (44 miles) north of Cape Town, on the Atlantic Ocean.

It's actually in the opposite direction of what we were planning, but it was described to us as being a bit remote and "not ideal for some couchsurfers but possibly heaven for some", so we figured it would be worth the detour.

But we weren't quite sure what to expect.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Penguins are so funny to watch!

Yesterday morning, we went to pick up our wheels!

There are a lot of car rental options in South Africa. So besides your well known big brand companies, there are also a range of smaller companies renting older vehicles. We don't need anything new and fancy, just basic reliable transportation. But, we needed it for almost 8 weeks.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Stunning hike up Lion's Head Mountain overlooking Cape Town

It is honestly hard to believe that this type of hiking exists pretty much right in the center of Cape Town. Of course it's one of the things that makes Cape Town a world class city. You've got the mountains, the beach, and the sea.

And when they all come together, it's gorgeous!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Best of the Gondwana Collection!

In December, we were fortunate to be able to spend at least a night or two at each of twelve of the Gondwana Collection of specialty lodges in Namibia. Each one has something a little different to offer, so we thought it would be fun to do a "best of" post based on our experiences at the lodges.

Here we included!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

We've joined the 21st century!

We bought a cell phone, with a South Africa SIM card!

We owned a cell phone in North America. Kept it in the motorhome in case of emergency. Never used it. And of course it was "locked" to a Canadian network. I know, you can go through the process of unlocking them, but we just never figured it was worth the effort.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Hiking around Cape Town

It was a little overcast yesterday, and they were calling for showers in the morning. But it was supposed to clear throughout the day, so around 10:00am, we headed out on a hike.

Our couchsurfing host Mark had given us directions for a nice 7 km (4.4 mile) trail that we could reach on foot from the house. It would lead us from the Rhodes Memorial to the Kirstenbosch Gardens.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Cape Town's Minstrel Parade

The Minstrel Parade in Cape Town is an annual celebration that is almost 200 years old. It typically takes place on January 2nd, but they now change it to the next Saturday after January 2nd. So this year's festival was yesterday!

So, why January 2nd? Well, dating back to the early 19th century, it was the only day that the slaves were allowed a day off because their white owners were typically sleeping off their own New Year's festivities.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

On our own in Cape Town

Yesterday, we decided to take the train into downtown on our own. Mark had shown us the route to the station which is only about 10 minutes away on foot.

So we went through the procedure of locking the house up and turning on the "armed response" alarm system. Don't know if you've heard or not, but the larger cities of South Africa have a bit of a crime problem.

Friday, January 3, 2014

First Impressions of Cape Town

When we got off the bus yesterday at around 2:00pm, our couchsurfing host Mark was there to greet us. He had said that his house wasn't that far from the downtown terminal and he's on holiday so it wasn't a problem to come and pick us up.

Drove us back to his place, and we got settled. We're in a suburb called Rosebank. Nice, older, middle class neighborhood.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Arrived in Cape Town, South Africa!

Well, I bet there's not many of you who have already been in two countries this year!

Just a short note to say we've arrive in Cape Town, safe and sound.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

December Expenses

We had a fairly subdued New Year's Eve just hanging out at the backpacker place that we're staying at. Six other people here, and we had a little dinner party and a couple of drinks and rang in the new year at midnight, then off to bed shortly after that.

We've got a long travel day to Cape Town today, so we're not sure when you'll hear from us again!

When we posted our November expenses, we asked if you'd like us to continue to post our expenses and the answer was mostly "yes". So here you are...