My wife and I recently returned to Atlanta, US after spending 14 day back home in South Africa. I grew up in Hermanus which is about an hours drive from Cape Town, well more like an hour and a half these days since they put average speed check cameras up all over the damn place. Still hopeful for no surprise bills from rental company but that is a rant for another day 🙂
My last visit to South Africa was back in 2014 which consisted of 2 weeks safari, with the whole family in the Kruger National Park. If you ever get the chance to go on a safari in Africa then do it! It is one of the best experiences you will ever have. For our next safari we would like to go experience the annual Serengeti migration in Tanzania.
It has been 5 years since my last visit to my home town Hermanus as well as Cape Town and man has things changed!
I couple of observations:
- Things got really expensive
- Property and commercial real estate boom took place in both Hermanus and Cape Town with house prices skyrocketing.
- Traffic got worse in Hermanus, but Cape Town went to a whole new level of insanity and we almost found it impossible to find parking in the whole city.
- We joined some of my friends for a night out in Cape Town and experience First Thursdays which was amazing and great to see the redevelopment and revitalization of the downtown area. If you’re ever in town check out my friend’s gin bar, tucked behind a chocolate cafe!
- In my days you had maybe 3 places you went downtown and definitely you were not walking around in the streets like we did. Enjoyed the experience and the cultural diversity Cape Town has to offer.
- Lastly Hermanus is not the quiet retirement village we grew up in and things sure have changed but I can still get old nostalgic feeling by visiting Gansbaai, Kleinmond or Betty’s Bay.
South Africa is a great country, and this little bubble we call Hermanus is just a small piece of the beauty it has to offer, but unfortunately the gap between rich and poor seems to grow with even the middle class struggling to keep up with high costs of food, rental, health insurance, electricity, internet, this list goes on…
It is great to see homes being build for the poor and trying to enrich their lives by moving them out of their shacks in the townships but even this is marred by shoddy work and unfulfilled promises like building 3 roomed homes without a bathroom and only providing a shared community toilet outhouse! Can any of you imagine that? Living in America you are privileged and unless you have visited countries like Africa, South America and South East Asia I don’t think you can grasp the level of poor that those people have to endure.
Every little bit counts and the dollar goes a long way!
- With so many charities out there I am not going to provide any of my favorites but rather let you decide for yourself where to donate your hard earned money. I use GlobalGiving for donations to South Africa.
As a hobby photographer, here are some of the photos I took on my trip. I will be uploading some of my favorites to Flickr in the upcoming days.
Surprise “wedding” party by my friends and family 🙂
Pictures of Hermanus:
Hemel-en-Aarde wine valley: 10 minutes drive from Hermanus
Friends and the best wine makers in the valley and I am going to go as far as to say in South Africa!
Penguins at Stony Point: 30 minutes from Hermanus
Pictures of Cape Town:
Panthera Cat sanctuary:
Great White Shark Cage diving with my friends’ family business:
And then there is the amazing food!