For Love & Elephants

For Love & Elephants

I just recently arrived back from an amazing trip to Cape Town,  South Africa. Why did I go there you ask? Well primarily to visit my best friend Chloe, who had been studying abroad there for the past year. She had offered for me to visit, and I felt like I couldn’t possibly pass up such a wonderful opportunity. I also missed her like crazy, and to be reunited in such a beautiful place seemed almost too good to be true! Also I am a huge elephant lover and this trip gave me the chance to interact with these beautiful creatures up close.

After an exhausting 15 hour flight to Johnannesburg (where a a not so nice man took 300 rand from me), followed by another 2 hour flight… I finally arrived in Cape Town! Chloe and I had a movie like reunion and ran into others arms; it almost felt like we had never been apart.

When I had arrived on the plane it was night time, but as we went out and explored the following day I was absolutely astounded by the beautiful scenery. Especially the mountains that seemed to rise up from almost nowhere into the bright blue sky. We had traveled to an area outside of Cape Town called Stellenbosch where Chloe attended University. This area was considered wine country so we took a trip to a lovely winery where we sampled some finely crafted beverages.

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Also while in Stellenbosch Chloe showed me around the University which had some lovely hiking trails where we got in a bit of exercise. We checked out another winery where they had a wine and chocolate tasting. (I personally enjoyed the chocolate more than the wine.)IMG_0934

After spending a couple of days in the wine country we decided to make our way back into Cape Town to check out the city. She took me to a place called the Old Biscuit Mill which was a cool little shopping area that had a nice farmer’s market with lots of delicious food. I even found a stall that sold yummy vegan treats. Afterwards, we went to the waterfront area of the city, checked out all of the cool boats, and eventually found a roof top area where we could look out over the harbor. We also walked along the promenade area of Cape town which borders on the ocean, and checked out a nice cafe along the way.IMG_1060

The next day Chloe’s other good friend Ebba was arriving for a visit as well. We met her at the Air bnb we were renting and decided to go out for sushi. I immediately liked Ebba ( I had never met her before) and we quickly became close friends. After relaxing for a bit that afternoon, we went to a nice beach restaurant called Caprice where we did some dancing and walked out on the beach.IMG_1131

The following days were a blur of excitement and adventure! We explored the colorful area of Bo-Kaap, the top of Table Mountain which is a must see in Cape Town, hiked our way up Lions head in the dark, and also checked out the beautiful gardens of Kirstenbosch. Then we also began a road trip to the area of Plettenberg bay where we stopped to see the elephants along the way!IMG_1254IMG_1398

Seeing the elephants was literally a dream come true. I have admired these creatures for many years, read many books about their lives,donated to various elephant causes,  and have even explored different volunteer opportunities to work with them hands on. Although I did not get to spend a great deal of time with them while there, I was able to feed them, and even give one a hug and kiss. These gentle giants truly radiate a peacefulness that is felt so strongly in their presence. We also got to see them interacting with one another, and you could feel the bonds of love and family between the animals. It is certainly an experience I will always hold near and dear in my heart. I hope to get to spend more time with them in the future, and offer my help in any way I am able. IMG_1524IMG_1550

After leaving the elephants we spent some time in the coastal town of Plettenberg Bay, where we spent time on the beach doing some yoga and then grabbing a bite to eat. We then headed back to the city the following day. We checked out some of the night life in the city, and spent time with some of the new friends we had made during our time there.

The next day we sent Ebba on her way to Namibia where she was participating in an internship. It was sad to see her go, but I was so happy and grateful to have made a such an awesome new friend. We made plans to have more adventures in the future.

It was now coming down to the end of my time in South Africa as well. I decided to spend my last day exploring an area called Boulder’s beach. There you can actually walk out on a beach and spend time with penguins! (Which are actually my second favorite animal after elephants.) Chloe and I spent a good amount of time just sitting on the boulders of the beach (hence the name) talking about life, and what an amazing time we had together. I remarked that I always had some of best conversations looking over the great expanse of the ocean. There is something so humbling about seeing how small you are next to it, but also so inspiring that it is a part of you as well.IMG_1748IMG_1896

I made my way back to the states the next day. It was a hard place to leave… there is so much beauty and love that can be found there. I left feeling that I had not only reconnected with someone I loved, but  found an even deeper connection as well. There is something so special about sharing an experience like that with someone. It ties you together forever, not only to each other, but to the place itself.

I left a piece of my heart in Africa… with the people, and of course the elephants too. 🙂

 

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