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13th Dec 2012 12:00am | By Brian Murphy
Shark diving, ostrich riding, wild dog tracking, bungee jumping and more – join the TNT travel blog comp winner’s Saffa adventure
A free six-week holiday in one of the mostamazing countries in the world? Yes please!
As the winner of TNT’s travel blogging competition, I found myself in the enviable position of taking an all-expenses-paid trip to South Africa, sponsored by the South Africa Youth Travel Confederation. This meant an epic journey from Cape Town to Soweto, taking on such tasks as shark diving, bungee jumping and conservation projects.
My mission was simple: give everything a goand let you all know what it’s like. So here are some the highlights of what really was the trip of a lifetime.
I touch down in Cape Town with the sun shining and just the gentlest of breezes blowing. That means one thing – the notoriously weather sensitivecable car atop Table Mountain is up and running, so I waste no time in heading straight to this iconic world wonder. Once I’m at the peak off this iconic landmark, I take the Skeleton Gorge hiking route, which means scrambling over waterfalls, streams and giant ladders on my way to some spectacular views over the city.
DO IT YOURSELF: Park entrance £3.40; cable car £14.70.
The next adventure on my list is shark diving – I’ll be in a cage but I’m feeling a little queasy as my boat departs from Hermanus. Maybe it’s butterflies or perhaps I don’t quite have my sea legs yet, but I know this is a treat – the waters here, an hour’s drive from Cape Town, are famous for being among the world’s best for whale watching. So, when we arrive at Shark Alley – an area of sea between two densely populated seal colonies – I volunteer to enter the water first, eager to get off the rocky boat. I don a wet suit and climb into the cage. The water, carried by Antarctic currents, is freezing. I bob up and down while the crew throw lines of bait to the sharks and then duck underwater. There’s a Great White Shark only metres away and with the worst possible timing, my seasickness suddenly returns with a vengeance. The cage, latched firmly to the boat, rocks backwards and forwards in a sadistic motion. A puking disaster seems imminent and it’s only with sheer force of will that I make it back on to the boat before throwing up over the side. I sink to the ground and peer into the water, wondering, do sharks eat vomit? The answer it seems is no … but fish do. Yuck.
DO IT YOURSELF: Shark cage diving costs £100 with Marine Dynamics Shark Tours.
The shortlist selected by a government-appointed panel was announced by deputy prime minister Bill English at... Read more...