It’s all about the team dynamics

Table Mountain panoramic

Success! I have managed to get my first family member to visit Africa. On the way back (well kind of!) from a trip to New Zealand, baby sis and hubby dropped by South Africa. With another friend jumping on a flight from London to join us, we were all chinking beers bottles our rather trendy Cape Town boutique hotel before we knew it.

Cape Town – in fact probably the whole of South Africa – is definitely best enjoyed in the sunshine. They are a nation of ‘outdoorsy’ folk so the downpour which ensued for our entire arrival night and well into the following day was not a good omen.

There was a slight dip in the “group dynamics” as it started to look like the ‘Leach ticklist of stuff to do’ might not attain quite as many ticks as planned.

Luckily the pre-planned schedule of activities wasn’t laminated (phew!) so with slightly fuzzy heads from a night on Long Street and a few phone calls by baby-sis, we jumped ship from Cape Town and headed for Cape Point…NOT the most southern tip in Africa but definitely the most tourist friendly most southern tip in Africa.

We must have been following the sun and within a couple of hours we had clear blue sky. The tick list started getting ticked…penguins on Boulders beach, Cape Point light house, whales breaching in Hermanus, wine tasting in Stellenbosch…by the time we rolled back into Cape Town the sun had even beaten us there.

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Abandoning the boys to their rather smelly fish-chum boat trip to dive with sharks, baby sis and I headed to Simon’s Town. Donning what can only be described as the least flattering of wet suits ever (with a thickness which worryingly seemed more suited to the chilly waters of the British Isles) we went scuba diving! It was a first for baby-sis and she took to it like a ‘fish to water’ (sorry!). A few beers later and the boys turned up to entertain us with stories galore of the Jaws-esk day they had had.

The sun decided to stay for the rest of the week so we hiked up Table Mountain and took the obligatory tourist trip to Robben Island. Safe to say a few beers were sunk, unbelievable seafood was eaten and many MANY photos were taken (mostly by Mr Leach!).

I remain Cape Town’s biggest fan…

Final point…for comedy value…the award for best holiday snap goes to….drum roll…baby sis (sorry Mr Leach)!

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3 peaks and more

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Running out of time to fit in my annual leave I decided to tag on a week ahead of my planned family ski holiday and pop down to South Africa. Back to Cape Town.

This time a rather generous friend had offered the loan of their rather beautiful flat, which is always nicer than being stuck in a souless hotel.

The South African’s are well known for their love of outdoor pursuits so ‘when in Rome’ as they say! There is an annual race in Cape Town called the 3 peaks…a race summitting the 3 mountains for Cape Town quel surprise…Devils Peak, Table Mountain and Lions Head.

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Sadly I wasnt around for the real deal but the whole thing sounded rather fun so I decided to create my own version!

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Now, they manage to fit it all in one day which involves a sunrise start time…I’m keen but not THAT keen…but not wanting to seem too feeble I decided to split it over 2 days but add in an extra ‘peak’…the 4th (much MUCH smaller) Signal hill.

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It was all good fun although full respect to the guys who do this in one day – after peak 2, Table Mountain, I was ready for a stiff drink and a good feed rather than being up for climbing peak 3!

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All in all the whole week was utterly fantastic. South Africa really is such an utterly brilliant place. Other highlights…an open air sunset concert in the botancial gardens,

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a rather boozy wine tour and a day of sandboarding!

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What a riot sandboarding is…you hike up the side of a sand dune, strap a plank to your feet and point your board down the dune….then off you go. At the bottom, unstrap your feet and start climbing again (no chair lifts here!)

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There were plenty of spectacular wipe outs and it’s just incredible the places you find sand literally days after ‘riding the dunes’