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View of Table Mountain and Cape Town from above

Sophie in South Africa

By Gap 360

Last updated: 4th July 2013

Gap 360's Sophie recently arrived in South Africa. Read on to her about her experience.

Hiya guys! Two weeks ago I left Asia and flew my way over to the stunning South Africa...

Ever know the feeling when you've been invited to a party, you don't want to go (but you feel like you have to), then you do go and you have the best time of your life?!?! This is exactly how I felt about South Africa. After 11 months on the road travelling for Gap 360, I was missing my home comforts: a washing machine, a bed, a wardrobe, my mum! But like the party that you think might be rubbish, South Africa actually turned out to be the most amazing, breathtaking and memorable part of my 11-month trip, and if you have any doubts about travelling, then this is the country that will silence those doubts and make you an advocate for the backpacker lifestyle!

I initially arrived in Cape Town at dusk, just in time to see the stunning Table Mountain cast its shadow over the city and all the lights of the streets and buildings light up like fairy lights. I arrived at my hostel an excited mess and immediately fell in love with the South African humour that greeted me from beyond the reception desk!

The next morning (after losing my phone for 8 hours and discovering it in my pillow case) I was finally off and I was struck by how beautiful the city is. There are mountains everywhere! All rocky and rustic, they scream imperfection that makes up perfection. After a few drinks down the beautiful V&A waterfront, where you are basically in an area like The Hamptons, but everything is super cheap (I had a 2 course lunch menu, with two glasses of champagne at the poshest restaurant and it came to a tenner!), I headed back to my hostel, well aware that a single girl shouldn't be travelling alone here after dark!

The next day, I visited the prison where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for 18 years, Robben Island, and learnt about the awful Apartheid Movement and those at the heartbeat of fighting it. After visiting Cambodia previously, and learning the shocking campaign of the Khlmer Rouge, which ended in 1973, and then taking in the attrociticies forced upon black people of the Aparthied movement, it makes you realise that while travelling, although you are having fun and experiencing new things, your mind is forever learning, be it history, culture, or picking up a new skill, such as surfing!

At 4pm, I headed back to my hostel, where I was picked up by the lovely Ahmed, who was responsible for delivering me safe and sound to my next Gap 360 project: working in a South African Township school

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