This blog post also appears on the Academia Superior de Idiomas’ blog
I woke up feeling like we were about to fly of the mountain. The driver was going around 80 kmph going round really steep bends that were 7000ft high in the mountains. I pulled back my curtain to see where we were but we were in the clouds and visibility was low. That scared me even more because I knew the driver couldn’t see either and we were on a double decker bus which literally felt like it was about to fall sideways. We were on a 10 hour overnight bus ride to Chachapoyas. We had heard stories of how exhausting the treks we had planned to do were so we all knew we should try and get some sleep but my heart was pounding for the next two hours.
We reached our cute little Hostal Ñuñurco, just 4 blocks from the centre of town which was nestled in the majestic mountains. We began our 2 and a half hour drive to Kuelap, it was nerve-racking at times because of the narrow winding roads on the mountain edge and the inability to see oncoming traffic around the corners, but we made it.
Kuelap is a fortress 3000 metres above sea level which contains the ruins of more then 400 Chachapoya structures, some were homes and others were mass graves. The fortress walls also served as cemeteries where more then a 100 bodies were buried. Other pits contained animal and human bones which are thought to be sacrifices. One structure was an ancient compass…I know this because I sat on it thinking it was a pile of rocks and was immediately told to get up.
The panoramic views were beautiful and it was still a pretty quiet site not overwhelmed by tourists. It is known as the Machu Pichu of the South and is still relatively untouched. As recently as 2010 70 bodies were excavated and while we were there an investigation was going on into a new body which was discovered.
On the way back we stopped at a lady’s house who was cooking us lunch, we had the option to sample the local delicacy…guinea pig, I opted out as it looked like a rat on a plate but others in the group enjoyed it.
We went out that night to an artsy little bar called La Reina and slept for a few hours before our trek to Gocta, the 5th tallest waterfall in the world. I had never horse ridden before but as it was an option I thought it would be fun. I wasn’t really prepared for the lack of handles, the steep slopes and uphill climbs, nor the horse intrepidly walking along the cliff edge but I suppose it added to the fun. One member of our group got a crazy horse, she decided to get off and not a minute too late as he literally went buck-wild charging towards us neighing and bucking. I talked to my horse Pisco the whole way after that, telling him to be a good boy and to try not to throw me off his back and it worked because I made it back in one piece.
The waterfall was breathtaking, it really was beautiful and worth the 6km trail there.
If you’re in Peru, I would highly recommend a trip to Chachapoyas, I wish we had stayed longer to enjoy the town more. There’s a really cute restaurant called Terra Mia which had amazing waffle breakfasts and delicious freshly made sandwiches which we took for our hike. You can try the best Pollo a la Brasa (rotisserie chicken) for just 5 soles (£1) including fries, a salad and a juice located in the hostel Rumi Huasi. Their service was really fast which is unheard of in Peru and was perfect before we got our bus home.
Until the next adventure,
I’m back in Jo’burg from a four day trip to Cape Town, it was amazing! We were supposed to be there for three days but we extended it because we didn’t wanna leave (me and my bro). Theres so much to see and the City is rich with views scattered all over like jewels waiting to be found. Downtown is a different world to the coastline. On our first day we explored downtown, it felt unsafe and beggars follow you around relentlessly and every street corner is riddled with drug dealers and “dodgy” looking people lol. After that day we decided it would be wise not to wear or carry any unnecessary valuables and for the first time in my life I was without a handbag haha all I carried was my camera, lipgloss and some money in my pockets. Locals told us its fine to roam around but not after dark and to never look lost or scared (which is pretty hard when your following a map) We climbed aboard a local minibus which was 6 rand (50p) in comparison to 100 rand (£8) and we were told it was safe…I didnt feel safe at allll..the guy who we paid to let us on had ripped clothes and a passenger told him he stinks (which he did) and got off and then the bus driver seemed completely high he was singing and dancing to every song that came on the radio shouting at people on the streets and I have no idea what he was saying to me most of the time I just nodded and smiled while I clung to my suitcase and prayed that we would get off soon haha so after that we just got taxis everywhere. Without our valuables it felt a lot safer obviously the beggars dont target you if they see you dont have a bag.
We stumbled on a shoot for a cadburys ad in the middle of town where a giant purple hippo/cow pinata was floating in the middle of the street, two girls hit it and the most chocolate I have ever seen came out. We wernt allowed any though, only white people as they were the only people allowed in the frame so all the other indian/african/chinese people had to watch haha it was like the most racist thing I’ve ever experienced but I understood it was to do with marketing and South Africa is very backwards in that way due to there history. One black guy tried to run for the chocolate when the others did because he was just passing by and thought it was for everyone and I actually have a video of the white director yanking him back shouting at him and telling him it was for white people only not a free for all, we left after that…im thinking of sending it to cadburys and explaining that nearly 70% of the worlds cocoa is from west africa and grown by black people and that not just white people buy there chocolate and if they are gonna shoot ads in a black community they should be more tactile, also shouldnt employ racist people.
So day two, we went on the hop on hop off tour bus which went around the peninsula. We saw the amazing coastline where every beach was different to its neighbouring beach. The sea often lapped against the mountains and then the next beach would be against cliffs or boulders and then you would stumble upon a bay where the beautiful white sand was washed with turquoise water. I was trigger happy, I think in four days I took more than a thousand photos haha. We went to table mountain that day, we took a cable car to the peak and then walked around up there for about two hours just taking in the views. We were waiting for sunset which was amazing. It looked like the horizon was on fire and the sea was slowly extinguishing it as the sun sank. We dined on the waterfront which was buzzing with people, its a beautiful place to eat out and then theres a few pubs where you can go and enjoy amazing live music.
Day three was my favourite day, we booked a backpackers tour with Baz Bus along the whole peninsula to Cape Point. We stopped at Hout Bay where we had the option to go on a glassbottom boat to Seal Island, it was really nice and we watched the seals lazing around on the rocks. Our next stop was Simons Town to see the cutest penguins everrrr at Boulders Beach. It was sooo amazing and I wished I had my handbag I would have totally put one in there haha they were tiny and there little waddle was adorable.
The next stop was Cape Point national park, It had wild game roaming around, and we were told to look out for baboons but unfortunately we didnt see any. Only a deer like animal and wild ostrich. We stopped for a picnic and then the 6km uphill cycle to the Cape of Good Hope. It was so beautiful cycling along the coast and although the hill was a struggle it was so worth it when we got to the top. Going down was so much fun, as we glided down the mountain the fresh sea breeze was beautiful and the views below. Then we climbed to the summit of the Cape of Good Hope by foot, it was amazing at the top. I could have sat there all day but we had to get to Cape point where some say the Atlantic Ocean and Indian ocean meet but others believe its at Cape Agulhas, the southern most point of Africa.
We went out clubbing that night along Long Street, clubs are pretty dead on week days, more like bars and they were very casual. We went to Dubliners and Fiction and met quite a few people, a mix of tourists and locals who all told us that we should stay the weekend to party as this wasnt a good reflection on the nightlife of the Cape. They had bands performimg in a lot of the bars and they were all really amazing! I would recommend Rafikis its a really cool bar/restaurant with amazing pizza in Kloof.
Day four, Unfortuantely Robben Island was fully booked (book 3 or 4 days in advance) we were told to go and see some vineyards before we leave as they are very popular in Cape town so we went to see the oldest existing one in Constantia where all the diplomats and rich and famous live. It was beautiful and the scenery was epic. We did another bus tour and then had our final dinner on the bustling waterfront and then headed to a club called Cubanas which was really nice and chilled out.
I would highly recommend Cape Town, its one of the most amazing places I’ve seen with a rich history and amazing scenery. Theres plenty of things to do and I think to really enjoy it all you need a minimum of five days.
- Cape Point & Cape of Good Hope – Cape Town, South Africa (travelpod.com)
- Cape Town (jessieandstephen.wordpress.com)
- Cape Point and Penguins (seawhatisee.wordpress.com)
- !Cape Point Sideboard (standardfurniturepointsideboardstoragecsale.wordpress.com)
- Cape Town – again!! (suletta.com)
- Spotlight On : Cape Town (fly.co.za)
One of the coolest things I’ve ever done was to go on the Blue Safari when I was in Zanzibar. We drove for an hour or so to get to the place where the boat leaves from. When we got there we were greeted by rocks crawling with these snake/lizard things there were 100’s of them living in these rocks along with other creatures:
Because it was low tide we had to walk through the shallow water for ages to get to our boat and on the way I came across a sea urchin in a rock pool:
The boat takes you to a sand bank in the middle of the sea which is a natural island that exists only for a few hours while the current causes the sand to pile up. We went snorkeling there and it was just the most amazing thing. I remember just going off on my own for like an hour and exploring this whole world that we couldn’t see. IT WAS AMAZING! The colours of the fish and coral, I wish I had an underwater camera but those scenes are still clear in my mind. The deeper I went the more amazing it was, I swam through these rocks about 10m below the surface and there were thousands of these purple, blue and yellow fish. Then I found this huge open shell and i remembered the underwater level on Mario lol so i poked it with a piece of dead coral and it snapped shut just like in the game (you have to get coins out from them in the game) It was really cool!
Then we made our way to an island where we would have lunch, all fresh fruit from the island and seafood that I had just been swimming with. On the way we saw whales and dolphins, it was just so beautiful there were sooo many altogether and I wanted to jump in with them but the tour guide said I wasn’t allowed 😦 So we got to the island and again we had to walk pretty far because of the low tide.
I felt like I was in a dream because it was so serene and I could hear this amazing music, when I got closer I saw there was a band playing music to welcome us all to the island. My parents are east African and I went there with my whole family for a wedding so we knew a lot of the Swahili songs so we started singing and dancing with them and trying to shake our booties like them but …we couldn’t haha.
After lunch we relaxed on the beach, you could see this magnificent natural structure;
it was just an amazing day and all my family were there like 30 of us no exaggeration so it was soo much fun, felt like a day in paradise 🙂
If you ever go to Zanzibar make sure you do the Blue Safari!
Kisses, Z x