South Africa. Nomad Edition.

Introduction

More than 2 months have passed since my return from SA, and now I have managed to make out the notes about the month-long trip. If you are interested in my first experience as a digital nomad - welcome to the post. If you want a short lt;dr about SA - the is a conclusion at the end of the post.


Before SA

Although there is no quarantine for foreigners entering South Africa, I decided to put in 2 weeks of remote work before 2 weeks of vacation and spend a whole month there.

The first thing you should pay attention to when preparing for a trip to South Africa is the long transfer. Departing from Moscow, you are provided with at least 16 hours of flight with all related “features”. A reader, an iPad with serials (we watched “The Squid Game”), a power bank, and headphones will help not give up and get tired. If you’re not a six-foot man, do not forget to pick seats with “extra legroom”: you can stretch out, and the 9-hour flight from Qatar to Cape Town, full of suffering, will magically turn into an almost healthy 9-hour sleep.

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"Sleep on the plane" (by) Marina Saar.

Camps Bay

After these 20 hours of flight, borders, passport, and covid control, South Africa awaits you: image image image

For a two-week working remote, Marina and I decided to stay in Camps Bay - the quietest area of Capetown. And they say that in the most picturesque. The opportunity to admire Table Mountain, Lion’s Head, and the ocean simultaneously, sitting on your veranda, does not fall out every day and positively affects your mindset. image

Camps Bay itself seemed pretty small - you can get around the entire town in an hour. However, we found it a charming one thanks to the ever-changing landscape, Miami-style palm-lined beach, and various restaurants on this very beach. Moreover, thanks to the mix of cultures from Asia, Africa, and Europe, finding a restaurant to your taste is not a problem here.

Muizenberg

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Another place we managed to visit is Muizenberg. The main discovery was the heat during the visit. Although this Muizenberg is located only on the other side of Table Mountain and an hour’s drive from Camps Bay, the temperature feels very different.

Constant wind and waves provide Muizenberg with a stream of fans for surfers, kiters, and other water and air activities. In addition to white sandy beaches, Muizenberg is also suitable for hiking trails along the coastline: listen to the ocean and watch the waves.




However, apart from a surf cafe and a few Victorian buildings, we did not find any other activities. So if you are interested in more cultural-friendly life - get ready to take a car to the nearest cities.

Lions Head

Another interesting stop is Lions Head: image

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In short (come on, this is a mountain):

  • the view is exciting: sit on the local top of the world and look at all sides, mountains, oceans, cities - just amazing
  • the climb is extreme sometimes, so it is better to schedule a couple of hours for it, and do not forget water and a cap!
  • to go at 2 o’clock in the afternoon - I highly do not recommend it - we tried
  • do you have to go up? Undoubtedly!

Table Mountain

Continuing the theme of mountains, it was impossible not to climb Table Mountain - the symbol of Cape Town. Unique look:

https://renderstuff.com/tools/360-panorama-web-viewer-sharing/?image=https://i.ibb.co/ThkQQfK/sa-tm.jpg

The main “feature” is the weather change speed: the next day after the span shot, Table Mountain disappeared behind numerous clouds, with zero visibility when walking.

Cape of Good Hope

In addition to the mountains, South Africa is also famous for the Cape of Good Hope (or Cape of Storms for the Olds). Long story short, it is better to see once than to read a thousand times.




Nearby living creatures:

  • ostriches
  • penguins,
  • and fur seals.


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Safari

If we go to South Africa, it’s impossible to miss a safari.

After all, where else will you just be guarded by a lion at the entrance? image

Or a cheetah? image

Or when else can you see all the representatives of the local fauna in natural conditions? image image image image image image

As a result, safari is:

  • lots of free space for animals
  • you can really watch the animals for a long time and not just stare at them through the glass
  • and sometimes you can not find anyone at all in half an hour :)
  • you can listen to all sorts of stories about animals or more surprising stories about poachers and how problems with poaching are solved in Africa
  • in addition, you can see how the rehabilitation programs for animals returned to their natural habitat through such reserves are carried out.

Compared to the “typical zoo”, a safari is an entirely new (and IMHO much more proper) way of studying animals.

South Africa also has small local reserves for schoolchildren to introduce them to different animals (not the big five).

PS. And we passed the lion, yes. image

Hermanus

Rumor has it that you can watch whales in Hermanus. However… this time, the weather was not on our side. But we found mountain hamsters: image

Wine Tour

One of the distinguishing features of South Africa is also developed winemaking. Once a Cape colony of the Dutch East India Company, French winemakers began to make wine here quite “early”. Moreover, South Africa has a unique sun, mountains, and sea wind combination. As a result, wine has its own history here, and there are many family wineries. In addition, Bastille Day is still celebrated in some towns. So if you are in South Africa, be sure to take a wine tour on TripAdvisor. It’s worth it.

Capetown

Cape Town… I would like to leave the description of sensations from Cape Town somehow in the end. On the one hand, Capetown is lovely:

  • mountains, ocean, parks, and botanical gardens image
  • seals image
  • promenade, cuisines/restaurants for every taste
  • progressive calls for vaccination image

On the other hand, it is:

  • live wire on the fences at each house
  • Long street “with everything you need 24/7” (just google it)
  • slum house right in the city center
  • the almost complete lack of lighting in the city at night and recommendations “not to walk around the unlit city” from Airbnb hosts

As a result, Cape Town left me with a double impression. Behind the seemingly serene and calm tourist areas and the promenade, there is an actual “Cape”, with real and not yet fully resolved problems.

After SA

Since we were lucky enough to get tickets back precisely one day after the border closures of many countries related to the new COVID-19 outbreak, some additions:

  • find Airbnb in South Africa - easy
  • find new tickets through Ethiopia - medium
  • fly to Russia and, like normal people, go into self-isolation - no way …

About Russia. Upon arrival, the entire flight was gathered at passport control (yes, to be closer to each other). They announced the invalidity of the PCR from South Africa (these were made by us less than 48 hours ago) and put everyone in one queue to deliver the Russian PCR. In short, pointless and ruthless (sorry, but something tells me that the general collection of a flight in one room only increases the chance of catching COVID).

And to extend the story of returning to Russia, a week later, Rospotrebnadzor came to us and put us in an official 2-week quarantine, with all the bureaucratic papers and a photo in an embrace: the protocol requires that the signed document, the face of the representative Rospotrebnadzor and your face … without a mask. As it turned out later, subsequent flights were simply sent to Sergeyev Posad for compulsory quarantine, where people were already catching COVID in the Russian Federation. WTF?

PS. Soon this post may be supplemented by another, a much cooler story about Cape Town and another Russian service.

South Africa

So, the South Africa.

What is good in South Africa/Cape?

  • mountains, ocean, views, fauna - everything is really very beautiful
  • food: berries, fruits, meat, fish - everything is fresh, tasty, and inexpensive
  • wine

What’s wrong with South Africa?

  • people in Capetown… take their time (compared to Moscow)
  • you can’t swim in the ocean, it’s cold (it’s a trap)
  • crime rate (or sense of security) … upsetting, seriously upsetting
  • a sense of inter-ethnic tension
  • a high percentage of skin cancer in the white population (one of the highest in the world)

What is the result?

  • visit South Africa for 2-3 weeks to travel and see everything - I highly recommend
  • if you like to surf, Muizenberg maybe your favorite place
  • to move there on IT-remote … rather no than yes, it’s too early.

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The End.

Sergey Kolesnikov
Sergey Kolesnikov
Decision Making in the Wild

Decision Making in the Wild

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