African Memories

We’ve arrived in Perth safe and sound. The weather is beautiful and we are enjoying a few nights in an apartment-style hotel (thanks Mum and Dad!!) while we plan the next few months of our adventure.

But what about the last few days in Africa? Jeffrey’s Bay is the South African surfing mecca, and true to form I had to try it. Ever since my sister’s first trip to Hawaii, I have been bombarded by stories of her surfing success — I aimed to equal it! I failed miserably (it is much harder than it looks!) but I did manage to stand on my own for a few glorious seconds.

After leaving Jeffrey’s Bay, we entered Lesotho where there was no internet, let alone a telephone (the campground we stayed at uses radios to keep in contact with the outside world). Lesotho is nicknamed “the Kingdom in the Sky” and for good reason. All around us spread amazing mountain views. We spent one night bush camping on the edge of a cliff and woke up the next morning being buffeted by strong winds. Sarah and I managed to keep our tent in one place, but some people weren’t so lucky! After securing (and in some cases, rescuing) the remaining tents, we hustled toward Malealea Lodge. The weather was sunny and beautiful, although there were some threatening clouds looming in the distance. The owner of the lodge encouraged us to go pony trekking that day, before the bad weather set in. Three of us (Katie, Leahanne and myself) took his advice and set off on a 6-hour trek through the Lesotho hills and mountains. Bad idea. Only half and hour into the ride and the rain came down in a fury. Closely following the rain? Hail stones the size of golf balls. It felt like we were under attack! The ponies, bless them, plodded on dutifully through the rain, somehow managing to keep their footing down the steep – and now very slick – hillsides as we descended into gorges and back up again.

By the end of it we were drenched but smiling. The views were still incredible, with the rain clouds casting an eerie grey mist over the landscapes. We managed to get our sunny tour of Lesotho the next day, when we hiked to a waterfall.
I’ve posted a taster of the photographs here, but the full pics are up on flickr (link is on the side of the page):
Pony Trekking in Lesotho

Pony Trekking, Lesotho

Hiking Lesotho

Hiking in Lesotho


R.I.P. Mr Gorman

Before this entry, I would like to pay my respects to my favourite English teacher in high school, Mr. Gorman, who passed away from cancer on November 29th. He was the teacher who encouraged my development in creative writing, and I wouldn’t have had the courage to pursue writing without him. He taught me Writer’s Craft, Grade 11 and Grade 12 English and played a huge role in my high school career. If I were in Ottawa, I would be sitting in the front row of his memorial service, but since I cannot, I am sending my goodwill out to his family and to his extended Immaculata family who will be so sad during this time.

Today I am leaving South Africa and starting on the next portion of my journey. My flight leaves at 19:55 tonight, on its long long way to Perth. The next part of my adventure will see me and Sarah by ourselves, travelling Australia and New Zealand and South East Asia without the security of a truck and a tour leader — and can we say, we cannot wait. This has been such a great learning experience, and the best way to start our gap years. I plan on writing a recap on the plane ride over, so expect a longer entry over the next couple of days.

Lesotho was beautiful, and I’m glad I got the chance to visit while I was here. I’m sure if I had done SA myself, I would have missed out Lesotho in favour of the Wild Coast, but it would have been a mistake. We pony-trekked in the pouring rain and hail stones the size of golf balls, we hiked in the glorious sunshine amidst the “Kingdom in the Sky”. And the Drakensberg Mountains were stunning, with waterfalls and streams around every bend. It was idyllic, really. And now we are in Joburg, and unfortunately we haven’t had the chance to explore at all. We arrived late last night and leave in the afternoon today. I even have to give Soweto a miss, and I regret it… but it’s just another excuse to come back to this country some time in the future.

To all the Oasis people I am leaving… I will miss you so much! There have been moments on this truck I will never be able to share with anyone except you guys, and that will bind us forever. Even though we all live in such disparate locations, you are all welcome in Canada whenever you choose to visit. You have all my love.