Post by Gabrielle Henderson from James Madison University
This past week was short break for the students of UB, and I, for one, was pretty darn excited for it. A group of 5 of us were going to travel from Gaborone, to Johannesburg, to Cape Town, then up to Windhoek, out to Swakopmund, back to Windhoek and the back to Gaborone. It was definitely a long week, but it was the trip of a lifetime.
The trip started out with a bus ride that was just way too long. My group used Intercape buses, and all in all it wasn’t bad, just long. After 27 hours of travel, we finally made it to Cape Town. Cape Town was like no other city I have seen in southern Africa; walking through the city was a strange feeling. The city is amazing; there is so much to do. We got to see a colony of African penguins; it is so close to the Cape of Good Hope, the food was delicious (we even had Mexican food, a particularly large craving of mine since arriving in Botswana), and some of us went even went shark diving.
But the highlight of the city for me was Table Mountain. Table Mountain sits in the middle of the city, and it is completely flat at the top. You can hike up to the top, but there is also a cable car you can take to the top (this was the option my group chose). The ride up is pretty short, but it is only the beginning of an amazing view. Once at the top, you get views of the entire city, of Robben Island, and of the amazingly blue water. The entire thing was breathtaking. You could spend hours just standing and looking out at the view. It was by far the best part of Cape Town.
The bus ride from Cape Town to Windhoek was 26 hours. It was a very long trip, but we eventually got there and spent the day around the city. The entire city is walk-able, and we saw most of what there was to see in one day.
That night, we left for Swakopmund. This is a beach town near the coast, which boasts a location right near the largest sand dunes in the world. The dunes are actually a desert, and they stretch on for miles. My group chose to go four wheeling on the dunes, and it was the best decision we made in this half of the trip. It was a blast! And for those of us who grew up playing Mario kart, it was pretty much just like Dry Dry Desert. It was awesome. I would recommend it to anyone.
Of course the week didn’t go off completely glitch free. There were missed buses, buses that left early, cab drivers who tried to rip us off, and of course times that just didn’t work. But, the amazing things we did definitely made up for the glitches. It was definitely the best week I’ve had since starting the program and I would do all (or at least most) of it again in a heartbeat.