Our student blogger, Aimee, is studying abroad in South Africa this semester. She just spent her spring break touring the Garden Route with other AIFS students. Read about the highlights of her trip and follow the rest of her adventures here.
The past week and a half has been a complete whirlwind! We were on our spring break, which probably sounds funny to anyone back home who is coming into fall, but it’s finally starting to turn into summer here. As I see the temperatures drop back in Minnesota it will only get hotter here! (I may be laughing now, but I certainly won’t be when I have to return to the frozen tundra at the end of November).
Our spring break trip consisted of so many wild experiences that if I took the time to talk about everything none of you would read this entire post- not even my parents. Our program director, or “Mama H” as we call her, organized the entire trip for us. All 22 of us Americans packed into three vans and hit the Garden Route. The Garden Route is a stretch along the coast from the Western Cape to the Eastern Cape. The hostels, or backpackers as they call them, we stayed in were all awesome in their unique ways. At hostels, you meet such a wide spectrum of people! We met a 70 year-old man that had decided he wanted to backpack the African coast, and we met 20 year-old surfers that woke up each day with no plan but to surf; what a life! Either way, I fell in love with each backpacker’s beachside location, the bonfires they had at night, and the eclectic yet affable crowd.
I will talk about my first highlight: bungee jumping. I had my mind made up that I wasn’t going to do it until we arrived at Bloukrans Bridge and I saw the group before us jumping; it looked so beautiful: jumping into thin air like you’re diving into a pool and then soaring down into the canyon below. I had the sudden urge to do it, so I signed up two minutes before they were going to take our group out onto the bridge. I think my last minute decision helped, because I didn’t have time to think about it. Out on the bridge waiting to jump I was weirdly calm. It wasn’t until they called my name that I started crying like a baby! Either way, I took the leap and the next thing I knew there was a rush of wind in my face and I was dangling in the air above a river. Words can’t describe how amazing the feeling was! Everyone called their mothers afterward to tell them. Most mothers were angry and said things like, “Why would you do that?!” My mom? She was mad, but only because I had done it without her.
Of course, this blog post would not be complete if I didn’t mention the elephants, my second highlight. We went to two different animal reserves that had elephants. One was Knysna, a private sanctuary where we could feed the ellies. The second was ADDO, one of the South African National Parks where we actually did a real game drive. I’ll let you indulge in some pictures One my favorites is the baby one you can see to the right.