I had made the choice to extend my trip in South Africa past the end of my meetings to take a few days in Cape Town and then head to Krueger National Park for a safari.
I spent mornings and afternoons bumming around the city, finding things to keep me busy and spent evenings with friends eating insanely good food and laughing until the early hours of the next day.
On the second morning I woke up determined to climb Table Mountain. I took the bus to the departure point and picked the route at the lower gondola platform.
This is one of those things a person should research first.
I started walking up steps cut into the rocky hillside before turning a corner, finding myself faced with a sheer cliff. There were rungs cut into it and I started pulling myself up, ignoring the signs warning me not to attempt this alone.
What’s the worst that could happen?
The trail split a few times and I had to backtrack more than once before rounding a corner that gave me a breathtaking view of Camps Bay and the endless ocean. I continued to inch forward, hugging the cliffside in a few places. The trail finally widened as it entered a boulder choked gully, marked by the occasional painted footprint.
When I finally crested the top, drenched in sweat, there was a sign stating “This is not an easy way down”… maybe a warning at the bottom would have been worthwhile? Also, lies. That trail had several very fast, very easy ways down.
I had also made the decision to relaunch dating apps a week before I left for SA so I was spending time talking with people while I was away. And it was booooooring.
Except for one person, a wid I had met through one of the widow Facebook groups. She and I were chatting a lot and it was a great distraction from traveling alone.
I left early one morning for Krueger on a 737. It was a quick 1.5 hour flight that ended with us touching down on a clay tarmac that had public road crossings, only marked by a stop sign to stop cars from being run over by a jet.
From my seat I watched hawks soaring above the Savannah and saw a family of wild boars rush to escape the plane as we taxied, finally ending up at a terminal with mud walls and a thatch roof.
My driver was waiting for me with a sign “Mr Johnson Ben”. I jumped in and we drove about an hour to the park. A massive gate awaited us and as it opened and I couldn’t help but think of John Hammond “Welcome… to Krueger National Park”