Sorry I haven’t posted anything in a while. I’ve been so busy travelling and my project has got very intense recently.
Easter Holiday Travels
I had one and a half weeks worth of travel over Easter and I visited Coffee Bay, Durban and I went to a music festival.
The week before I set off on my official holidays, Jess’ parents were visiting her in South Africa and they very kindly took Georgia and I to Coffee Bay for the weekend. We did the 9km hike to Hole in the Wall again and this time it was much easier. We’ve been to Coffee Bay about seven times now and it’s very much becoming my second home in South Africa. It’s such a beautiful place and a perfect place to chill out from the crazy pre-schoolers.
Over Easter I travelled to Durban and went to a music festival which was absolutely amazing. We rented a car which we picked up on the 8th April. We set off on our 5 hour journey from Mthatha to Umzumbe (an hour away from Durban) and all was going well. We had the festival music on to get us ready for Splashy Fen. However, a few hours later the sky turned black and soon the rain poured down on us. The thunder and lightening picked up and so we made the choice to stay in the nearest place we could find. We ended up staying in 3 star hotel which was a complete difference to the cheap hostels we were used to staying in. However, the view in the morning made it all worth it.
We then drove to our original destination of Umzumbe. The crazy treehouse backpackers that had the most vicious sea waves I’ve ever seen but an incredible pool that was perfect to chill out after the previous days adventure. We then spent the night in the backpackers and exploring the place.
Umzumbe beach with the sea salt pool
The next day we headed to Oribi Gorge where we did the Wild Slide. It was basically a zip line across the gorge but instead of going from one side to the other you got pulled back up to where you came from. The views were absolutely amazing from the zip line but what was scary is that you couldn’t see how far down the drop was until you were already over the edge and by then it was too late to turn back!
We then drove to Durban to visit another Project Trust’s project. It was so nice to see what other people had been up to for the past 8 months and we had a lovely sunset walk across the beach to enjoy a meal next to the sea. I only spent a few days in Durban but I had a great time. We went to uShaka Marine World which is a massive park on the sea front that has a water park, aquarium, high ropes course and loads of other interesting places. We went to the water park and it was so much fun. There were rubber dingies that could fit up to 8 people in them! The next day, we moved backpackers to meet the other volunteers and it was so nice to see everyone again. I met a lot of the 8 month volunteers there and they were all so friendly. A few of us headed to Gateway to go shopping as it was our last day in Durban so souvenirs called – fingers crossed I’ll have enough luggage space and weight available for everything I’ve bought on the way home!
The next couple of days were spent at Splashy Fen music festival and they were honestly the best three days of my life. The artists were exactly my sort of genre and atmosphere was so friendly. There were five different stages all playing different types of music but I spent most of time at the River stage where the main music was pop/alternative. The Acoustic stage is self explanatory and there was the main stage that acts like Temper Trap and South African super star Jeremy Loops played. Since returning back to project I’ve bought music from The Kickstands, Jackal & the Wind, Opposite the Other, Roland Albertson and Rubber Duc (incase anyone is interested). Rubber Duc are also playing at Mdumbi Festival which is spoken about later in this post. Splashy Fen was located in Underberg (the mountains) so you look up and all you can see is mountains all around. It was absolutely beautiful and I hope I can go back one day.
Port St Johns and My Birthday
My birthday was conveniently on a Friday which meant I got to spend the whole weekend away. We decided to return to Port St Johns as we hadn’t been there since November for Jess’ birthday and since Georgia arrived in January she was yet to see the paradise of PSJ. We visited the beach, the gap, blowhole and airstrip on Saturday. This was probably my favourite weekend away. The gap was this cliff that you had to climb down to get to. Jess and I were brave enough to go down whilst Georgia stayed at the top and took some photos. Once you reached the bottom of the climb there was another hill with a ladder to climb to get up. I ventured on my own to see the blowhole which is a tunnel in the sea and at high tide the water goes through the tunnel and shoots up.
For sunset we went to PSJ airstrip which is 342m high cliff and the views were amazing. We got to sit right on the edge which was one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever done. One wrong foot and you’ll fall straight to your death. There was a car that had fallen off the edge which got pointed out to me.
The weekend after my birthday was the best PO Box visit I’ve ever had. I received 5 birthday cards and one lovely parcel from my mum which was just incredible. She’d wrapped little presents in wrapping paper and it felt like I was at home, opening the presents with Jess and Georgia who have become my family. Thank you to everyone that’s sent me a card or letter. You have no idea how much they mean to me and every time I get one they make me smile. I’ve stuck every single letter and envelope on my walls and since September my collection has just grown and grown.
Life at my project has got very intense recently. I’m currently in the middle of creating a year lesson timetable which is so much work. This has really helped me to understand how organised and prepared I’ll need to be as a real teacher in the UK but once I’ve made the timetable I’ll know exactly what resources I’ll need to buy and prepare.
In pre-school the kids are little angels when they want to be but the trick is to keep them busy. We’ve been doing some baking in pre-school as each week there is a theme and so we spent one week studying St George. The kids made English flags, role played the story, learnt about English kings and queens, learnt about Durham and on Friday the kids and I made scones together. Another week’s theme was birds and so we made chocolate nests.
A month ago we took a trip to the farm with pre-school and classroom. There was 50 kids to 8 adults – quite a handful! The kids really enjoyed the trip and every time they say an animal they knew they would shout out “cow”, “sheep” or “chicken”!
Last weekend we went to Mumbi festival, which is one of our local coastal backpackers. I saw the band Rubber Duc for the second time in South Africa (I saw them at Splashy as well) and so it feels like I have an on-going relationship with them. There were five of us going to the festival as Jess’ cousin and friend were travelling around South Africa so they decided to join us for the weekend. When we arrived we put up our tents and headed down to see the stage. There were loads of other acts performing and one of the unique things about this festival was that there were only 500 people there and all the artists where staying at the backpackers so it was very chilled out – not like I was seeing One Direction which high levels of security. The next day we headed to Mdumbi’s beautiful beach, went swimming and had a very chilled day.
Thank you so much for reading about my time in South Africa. I hope this has given you a useful insight into what I’ve been up to but sorry it’s taken so long to upload.