Things to do near Cape Town

Are you planning a trip to South Africa soon, but are looking to do something slightly different than beaches and taking the cable car up Table Mountain?
This is the post for you! Below is a list of things to do near Cape Town.

The different places I have included, Stellenbosch, Paarl, and Wellington, are about a 50 minute drive from Cape Town. You can plan these day trips, or choose to stay a night out of the Mother City and in these charming places.  

Wellington 

  • If you are looking for a different way to see South African vineyards and olive farms, head down to Diemersfontein for a horseback ride into nature. A lovely lady will take you on a given morning to see the beauty this part of the Western Cape has to offer. Click here to visit the website. 

If horse back rides aren’t really your thang, Katrin also does walking tours into the vineyards. Bring your hiking boots! 

Preview of the horse ride. I met these two lovely ladies here, one of whom is in the photo. They turned out such interesting girls! This girl is an actress and has her first series coming out soon. Her friend owns Nude Wear, a swimwear company that supports body positivity (love it!), studies a triple major, and also acts. The people one meets!
  • One of my favourite passes in the Western Cape would be the Baines kloof. I love the drive through there, it’s absolutely stunning and I recommend simply to go and take a look. 

Paarl

  • Although the Spice Route is quite touristy already, it’s well worth a visit. Not just for the location or the food, but the beer tasting is fantastic. You can choose whether you want to taste 4, 7, or 9 (NINE) beers. It goes without saying the tasting glasses are not standard beer glasses, but they are big enough to get a proper taste πŸ˜‰ All in all, it’s a lovely way to spend your afternoon. Click here for more info.
  • Take a drive up the Du Toit’s kloof, bring some wine, beers, snacks and a sober driver, and enjoy a spectacular sunset at one of the car stops. A blanket would serve well, both to sit on and to stay warm. 
  • A must-do in my opinion is see and thereby support rescue lions and tigers at the Drakenstein Lion Park. You will have the opportunity to see many lions who have been rescued from circuses, canned hunting grounds, pet trade and other heartbreaking circumstances. You can even adopt a lion! 
    I think this organisation does great work and I fully support all places that help animals live a better life. 
Rare (not roar) white lions

Stellenbosch

If you have a slightly bigger budget than the average Joe, how about seeing Stellenbosch, Paarl, and Wellington from the air? Flown by no one other than my talented dad, if you find yourself in South Africa in the summer months he would love to take you for a beautiful round trip! Starting at the Stellenbosch Flying Club, you can enjoy a nice breakfast or lunch with roaring propellors around you, then take to the skies yourself! Contact me for more details so you can see this beautiful part of South Africa like few others. Feel special πŸ˜‰ 

Photo: Roberto van der Hoeven

 

If you have any questions or your own suggestions feel free to contact me or leave a comment πŸ™‚ 

A luxurious choice

I have made a happy, relieving decision recently. Personal decisions to calm your mind and to choose your personal path are so important for your personal wellbeing. For a while I had been struggling with this decision in my mind; making one choice generally means to sacrifice the good stuff the other choice would bring. Although this is really a luxurious choice, it’s not an easy one. 

See, I  moved to South Africa when I  was 12 years old. A very influential age – your teenage years are upon you and life revolves around development. In this age group much more than any other, I will argue. I lived in South Africa till the age of almost 19, when I left SA for (temporary) good. This immigration influenced my way of thinking about this world in a massive way. My place to settle down ranges from East to West, North to South. My β€˜the one’ could be anywhere on this planet, speaking any kind of language. But to be realistic, I will never live in all the countries this beautiful earth offers me. This means that I constantly question what I am missing out on, where next I will go or where next I will live a part of my life. I am very grateful for everything I am able to do, but at the same time it is quite a lonely existence. 

The man I love and I are not together, because we don’t know if we will ever be. My closest friends are spread over the globe, whom I can always call but hardly ever meet. A luxurious choice, I know. But nonetheless a hard one. My family is spread over 3 different countries, none of which I can be in at the same time, to see them all, at once. I love my family, I love my friends, so where do I choose to go? Even the answer to this question differs: choose yourself, choose your family, choose your friends. Depending on the person I talk to, and his or her culture and background. 

Life is beautiful, especially when one can make such luxurious choices. But wow, it is a difficult one. Confucius would tell me to choose my family. They are the reason I exist, and why my existence matters. Laozi would tell me to go with the flow, to evaluate each choice as it presents itself in terms of my life lived in contentment. 
Pretty much, the choice comes down to yourself. I often make choices based on my gut feeling, reasoning, but perhaps most importantly to me is that it is in accordance with how I want to live my life. In all honestly, life is so incredibly short for many of us. If you have to think about the bigger picture – what is the life you want to have lived when you are looking back on it? 

My actual decision

~~~~ coming back to my luxurious choice – I have decided to narrow down the countries in which my possible future lies. It might not even happen, I might end up somewhere 4000 km to the East. But at least for my mind and for my research, it makes things a lot more comfortable. They are:
– China
– Singapore
– Australia
– South Africa
– The Netherlands 

I might just see you there πŸ˜‰ 

Could you say no to this, though?

Jay Shetty

Initially I wasn’t going to write about those who have already made the big headlines. However, there are a few exceptions like Jay Shetty who I think contribute well to what the Bright Humans project is about, and whose message is similar to what I am trying to convey. After all, this world is full of awesome peeps who are trying to do things differently and shine a brighter light πŸ™‚ 

We sacrifice our health in order to make wealth, then we sacrifice our wealth in order to get back our health.
– Dalai Lama

Who is he?

You may have heard or seen of Jay Shetty. He is an inspirational speaker who has “studied the timeless philosophies and sciences of the east in great depth, focusing on seeing connections and messages for the modern world.” Jay shares his knowledge and experiences with self cultivation with us through his videos. 

I feature him because…

I came across a video of Jay Shetty in which he talks about the life so many people in these modern days live. The story I wrote about Augustus Henry (click on his name to read it πŸ˜‰ ) relates to it in so many ways, because this is what Augi is actively trying to avoid. Not in the sense that he is too good for an office job. No, it is because he sees there is more to his life and what so many of us are missing because we are caught up in this vicious circle. He is making this difference to his life NOW – and so can you. No matter how old you are!
To watch the video, click here!

The pheasant of the marshes gets a peck once in ten steps, a drink once in a hundred. Yet it does not want to be fed in a cage. In the marshes, its spirit is healthy, and consequently it forgets health. 
– Zhuangzi 庄子

For more information on this chapter, click here.

 

Zhuangzi Chapter III

The Fundamentals For Cultivation of Life

The pheasant of the marshes gets a peck once in ten steps, a drink once in a hundred. Yet it does not want to be fed in a cage. In the marshes, its spirit is healthy, and consequently it forgets health. 
– Zhuangzi, Fung Yu-Lan translation

“These show that those who cultivate life best are those who cultivate their spirit best. To cultivate the spirit best is to set it free. If the spirit is in good condition, so also is the life, even though the body be in bad condition, as was the case with the Master of the Right. If the spirit is in bad condition, so also is the life, even though the body is in good condition, as was the case with the pheasant in a cage. Freedom of the spirit is essential to the cultivation of life.” 

Excerpt from Chuang Tzu, Fung Yu-Lan’s translation. 

Performing girl at Amharic’s camp at the prison. One of Chris Samuel’s activities organised aimed at the youth. 

Shanghai fun!

When my dear friend Maud came to visit me in Shanghai, who had just been trekking through Australia and Fiji, I HAD to come up with a program that would blow her socks off quite as literally as her skydiving adventure. Did it do that eventually, I sure hope so but you might have to ask her for an objective answer πŸ˜‰ 

How to see Shanghai in two days. So technically, this phrase does not in any way suit traveling in my opinion. It really depends on what kind of traveller you are, and frankly, what activities interest you. If you like brunch, cocktails, lots and lots of walking, shopping, and (some) touristic spots, this is your blog post for your next journey to Shanghai πŸ™‚

She arrived at around 21:30 in my arms. It is possible to get a visa for Shanghai, Beijing and Shenzhen for 7 days, if you directly enter China and stay in one of these three cities. That means, if you have a stopover in Guangzhou or Harbin, this rule doesn’t count. We learned that the hard way. However, be sure to ALWAYS check these rules before travelling because they change overnight. We took the Maglev and then took the metro to my home. The Maglev is a train that reaches up to 430 km/h! Needless to say, you get where you need to be fast πŸ™‚

Day 1

We had a good night sleep, and the next day after putting on our eskimo suits braved out into the cold and headed straight for a fantastic brunch at the Pink Pig. Their food is healthy, filling, colourful, and delicious. The staff is very friendly, too. From there, we headed on to register Maud at the police station, because she was not staying in a hotel but with a friend. This rule also applies to accommodation in an Airbnb. A very simple and quick procedure, so no worries if you need to do this. After the police station, we took on our first adventure: the fake market.
One of those places China is known for. Made in China, like most things in the world, but then fake. I once saw a car driving that had ‘Rnage Roevr – Land Wind’ written on it.

Pudong

I just hope it didn’t have a tromo in the front instead of a motor. Aderzombie & Pitch, for example, can be found, and many other brands. Although I must say, it’s incredibly difficult to tell the difference these days between the real and the fake.
Clothes, shoes, electronics, glasses, and souvenirs can all be found here. Yes, you can barter, but please do so with respect. Remember you are talking to a human being who is trying to earn their money. Maud bought chopsticks, cards, tea, a teapot, and gloves there. I bought two hoodies. This particular fake market can be found at the Science & Technology Museum metro stop (line 2).

After we finished our shopping, I took Maud to the wrong street, but which eventually turned out to be rather interesting. Instead of Nanjing East road, I took her to Nanjing West road, which is well known for its length, absence of vehicles, and the sea of people. We walked along this road until our feet couldn’t bear it any longer and we sat down to have a coffee at the only available table in 3 cafes that were situated next to each other. A well deserved coffee break!

the Bund

When our feet had rested, I wanted to show my friend a good, Chinese meal: Hotpot. I took her to my favourite hotpot restaurant, Faigo (小辉ε“₯火锅). A must try if you visit Shanghai! Hotpot in general is very famous in China. After filling our bellies with mostly veggies, I took her to Xintiandi (ζ–°ε€©εœ°) for a drink. A perfect mulled wine on a cold evening. We spent much of the rest of the evening there, with the bill to prove it…

Day 2

We had brunch at Cafe des Stagiaires this time. A very French themed bistro, with tasty food and good coffee. We walked to the French Concession from here, an area in Shanghai where most of the expats can be found. The French once settled in Shanghai, and this area has French buildings, cafes, and many French people.
I wanted to show Maud the parks of which there are many in big cities. Especially on weekends, parks are a great introduction to Chinese culture. Families fly kites, the elderly do Tai Chi, play music, sing, and dance. We walked passed a big crowd dancing together, and it wasn’t before long when we got noticed and Maud was asked to dance. The man who took her hand was very enthusiastic, and had some good moves. I felt dizzy just watching, and later really was dizzy when I danced with him too. We went to Zhongshan Park (δΈ­ε±±ε…¬ε›­), and I really recommend visiting a park if you come to Shanghai. Bring a kite, a microphone, a chess board, or your dancing shoes and join in any activity! You will do yourself and the Chinese people a favour πŸ˜‰

For dinner, we had hotpot a second time. It’s a perfect meal for winter time. After dinner, I showed her the very famous skyline of Shanghai at the Bund. Everytime I see it, it mesmerises me. To think how quickly Shanghai has developed in some 30 years is unbelievable. Try to go here at night, and capture the ‘I <3 SH’ flashing by on the buildings.
Sadly, Maud had to leave the next day. Her trip was short but sweet! And I hope well worth it.

I miss you, girl! Keep up your good and hard work. See you soon <3

A quick summary of activities:

  • Brunch @ Pink Pig & Cafe Des Stagiaires
  • The Fake Market @ the Science & Technology Museum metro station
  • Walking @ Nanjing East Road
  • Drinks @ Xintiandi
  • Views @ The Bund
  • Hotpot @ Faigo
  • Walking @ Shanghai
  • Dance and learn about Chinese culture @ Zhongshan Park