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Person at a view point in Cape Town, South Africa

The Final Countdown

By Jenny McLarney

Last updated: 22nd October 2011

Lost phone, bruised arms…and penniless. Where could I be? Cape Town? Port Elizabeth? Oh no I’m still very much in Kent. Yes with only two days to go South Eastern rail service claimed yet another of my phones. Well I wasn’t so keen on it anyway, who needs a device that helps you contact other people? Especially when you’re going away to a foreign country on your own; tins and strings are definitely the way forward.

Bruised arms on the other hand can be easily explained:  travel vaccinations. But fear not the casual seven (yes seven!) delightful injections were pretty harmless. In fact they were more of a pain to organise than painful in themselves. The whole rigmarole of registering, booking a telephone appointment with the nurse in order to book an actual appointment…seemed rather drawn out to me. But then I hear malaria can be a real drag, so better safe than sorry.

Penniless…well ok maybe a slight exaggeration but being a rather pasty, ghost of a lady the sunscreen section in Boots took a hit. Anyone needing any factor 30 sun protection in Tunbridge Wells is out of luck. Insect repellent is also under control, sprays, roll-ons, wrist bands, if it’s got more than 50% DEET content I’ve got it…after all the devil is in the DEETAIL (oh dear). Got so much of the stuff I’ll be surprised if any people come within an inch of me let alone mozzies. Yes ladies and gents I’m going to be a smelly, sticky Brit, excellent.

So this smelly, sticky Brit will be arriving in Cape Town on Monday morning.  After resting I’ll be meeting fellow travellers at my hostel for a welcome BBQ. Throughout the next week I’ll be getting acquainted with this stunning city, taking in the sites and wine (both in great quantity I hope). I will also be heading into the city to help out on some of the volunteering projects in the area. In the second week I will be in the company of daa da daa da dadadadada… Jaws! Yes I’ll be in the hands of the ocean’s scariest predator for five days as I help out at a conservation project off Dyer Island.  I will then pop back to Cape Town for a few days before catching a bus down the Garden Route, stopping off at Knysna and Storms River. Where I may be tempted by the world’s biggest bungee jump…possibly…we’ll see. After being picked up from Jeffrey’s Bay I’ll be taken to a wildlife sanctuary for week four before I embark on the Big Five Conservation project in week five. Finally I’ll be flown to Phalaborwa in the Kruger National Park where I’ll stay at a Monkey Rehab centre, which I’ve been told is literally the nuts.

So there you have it: six weeks of something utterly different, fascinating and exciting. Scared? Perhaps, but I’m sure if I get into any trouble I can blind them with my paper white skin, spray them with insect repellent and lasso them with my tins and string. Sorted.

Adios amigos, I’ll see you on the other side.

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