Friday, December 12, 2014

Honeymoon: Hermanus, Gansbaii, and the Winelands of South Africa

After 5 nights in Cape Town we were ready to move on to our next destination, Gansbaai. The drive to Gansbaii was just over 2 1/2 hours with great views of the coast along the way.  On the top of Christian's wish list for our honeymoon was a visit to Shark Alley, located off the coast of South Africa famous for it's great white shark population. Christian has always been fascinated by sharks, and I was excited  to help him tick this off his bucket list. 


 

But before making our way to the sharks, we decided on a stop at Hermanus. This is a famous town at the sea and is one of the only places you can whale watch from land. The sea was very rough the day we arrived so we were told not to expect much, but about 15 minutes after arriving we saw our first whale sighting. 
 
 The whales were a bit further out than normal due to the weather but we were still able to see a lot of action. 



 After a few hours of whale watching we headed to Gansbaii. We spent the night and were up early in prep for the big event- shark cage diving.

To be totally honest, I wasn't bothered by sharks. My husband on the other hand was a bit more worried that I was when we were in preparation for dive.
  

 After signing our lives away in waivers we were ready to head out to Dyer Island, where shark alley is located.

The shark team boat and our cage being loaded.

 Although it was hot, because the water was so rough we were given lovely ponchos to help with the spray from the sea. 

 
Then we arrived and they loaded up the bait and got us into our wetsuits. I was actually more frightened of the seagulls surrounding the boat than the sharks. 



We were told that sometimes boats go out for 4 hours and you don't even get to see a shadow of a shark. We learned throughout the trip that when you are relying on mother nature for entertainment you may have to wait awhile, but within about 20 minutes the 1st of 4 sharks we saw that day appeared.




 That's me giving a thumbs up! The water was cold but the wet suits were amazingly warm. 
 
 
 Shark cage diving is not what you expect it to be. First, the visability in the water was only 1 meter. This meant that you could only see the sharks right when they came up to the cage. But when those large beasts are right in front of you and their tail hits the cage and makes it shake, you really realise how thankful you are for that small bit of steal protecting you from them. We saw more from the boat than in the water, but I am definitely proud to say I survived the dive! 


After our day at sea we packed up the car again and headed to Stellenbosch. Located in the capital of the winelands Stellenbosch is famous for it's many wineries.We stayed in Stellenbosch but did a winery tour around the wine circle stopping at Boschendal in Franschoek first.


 The views were amazing and the wine was even better!

 


 Someone was proud of his German Riesling heritage! 








We ended up doing a wine and chocolate tasting under a giant oak tree at the vineyard.


Bottles of wine in this area are some of the best I have tasted and are about $5! Needless to say we got our drink on. 
 
 Chris and me in the vineyard




 After Boschendal we headed towards another vineyard called Mont Rochelle- owned by Richard Branson.

We then continued on back towards our hotel in Stellenbosch through the winelands.


The views did not dissapoint! 


 The wineland tour took just over 5 hours, but for people who really love wine you could easily spend 2-3 days checking out different wineries. We were just looking for a taste, and were happy with the time spent there. We knew our highlight of the trip was just around the corner- Kruger National Park. Stay tuned for the final honeymoon blog on our 3 day/night safari!
Until next time, we will see you on the internet. 

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