Post by Alex Wilensky from the University of Southern California
These last few weeks have been a whirlwind of adventure—I just came back from Fall Break! Mid-semester break is an awesome opportunity to explore Africa; I spent my time travelling throughout Mozambique and Cape Town with friends Katt and Corinne.
Our first stop was the capital of Mozambique: Maputo. Mozambique, on the Southeast edge of Africa, has only recently come out of civil war after its independence from Portugal and it was fascinating to see how that had influenced the city. While walking through Maputo and looking at different buildings, I felt as though I was in South America, yet the fashion was quite similar to Botswana. My favorite experience in Maputo was visiting one of the marketplaces. Immediately after entering we acquired an unofficial tour guide who helped us navigate the maze that was craft stands, tables upon tables of fresh fruits, nuts and chillis, and various tuckshops.
We then drove up to Tofo, a small town on the coast of Mozambique. After pitching our tent, only a one-minute walk from the beach, I went straight to the water! As a native Californian living in a land-locked country for the past two months, I have definitely missed the ocean. In the mornings we would wake up early to do meditation on the beach and watch whales breaching and lob tailing. I spent virtually all of my time in the water—whether I was swimming, collecting shells, visiting tidal pools or going on a boat ride along the coast.
We then travelled into South Africa to Cape Town. Cape Town is the second largest city in South Africa and is reminiscent of San Francisco with its long hilly streets, eclectic architecture and hip cafes and bars. Cape Town is known as a multicultural city and my favorite part of exploring that was through food! During our stay we ate Chinese, Japanese, French, Thai, English, Ethiopian and Turkish food—alongside plenty of cappuccinos from various coffee shops. The city is also known for its breathtaking view of the bay. This view was made even more impressive by a trip, via cable car, up Table Mountain. Table Mountain overlooks the city of Cape Town, and we had a blast traipsing around the mountaintop and we accidentally got stuck in a cloud!
We also travelled, via train, down the Peninsula towards the southern tip of Africa. We stopped off at Simon’s Town, a quaint beach town, and wandered towards Boulder’s Beach. Boulder’s Beach is famous for a penguin colony that has made its home there, and we spent the afternoon eating ice-cream and hanging out with penguins!
Fall Break was an unreal experience, and while I was sad to be leaving the ocean and incredible food, I feel blessed to have been able to explore some of the immensely diverse regions and cultures within Southern Africa.