Red List, Sh*t List

It seems like good old South Africa is finally off the Red list shit list and the global community can once again visit South Africa and enjoy the most beautiful country in the world, well, I personally think it is but I am biased, but aren’t well all? And anyway, you are going to have to be pretty special to beat Cape Town.

South Africa as a country has suffered enormously since March 2020. Tourism is one of the biggest employers in the country (along with mining) and the global lockdown has devastated the economy and peoples individual livelihoods. South Africa just does not have the welfare state capable of underwriting the population on furlough schemes. It has also been bad news for South Africa’s wildlife. Safari’s and the income they generate not only create jobs, they fund the protection of Rhino’s and Elephants that are under threat because a minority of human dickheads think that Rhino horn and ivory are useful (well they are to the animals but not to you chum)

The really great thing about South Africa is that it has everything. Cape Town is magical, anyone who has been there will tell you that, she also has the best Safari’s, all the wildlife, Table Mountain, great food and friendly, welcoming people.

With luck, South Africa will get back on her feet, I have to believe she will, the country has come through and survived worse in the past.  Flights are very cheap at the moment hotels can be snapped up at great rates. I suggest staying at the Waterfront area or Camps Bay if you’re planning on visiting and Hotels are better if you’re planning on coming and going at all hours so you don’t have to worry about waking other people up (guesthouses can be tricky in that respect)

Cape Convoy has survived by the skin of its nuts but that’s only because it’s just a website now, I no longer own my Quantum minibus but we still have brilliant, kind, hardworking guides ready to rock and roll and do an outstanding job. If you are booking a holiday to Cape Town or South Africa in general, regardless if you book with Cape Convoy or not, please do consider hiring a guide. It helps enormously and goes a long way towards healing the damage done by the red list lockdown.

Peace

Rob

https://convoytours.com/garden.html

11 day hotel quarantine in London – Review

On Tuesday 7th September I arrived at London’s Heathrow airport at 07.00 am after departing Cape Town the previous day at 07.00 am and it was a slog. To begin with I had to fly to Johannesburg to be be able to catch the 13.00 flight to London via Doha with Qatar airways. Because of Covid, I was informed that I have to be at the airport 4 hours before so I had a lot of time before the flight. Luckily I had forgotten to complete a passenger locator form so there was still time for panic as I called my wife and asked her to complete it for me and mail it. This form confirms that you are departing a red list country as planned and confirms your arrival in the UK. I had had my Covid test and had booked the Quarantine hotel (you do this by phone if you don’t have the 1750 GBP on the hip to pay for it) and the Government allowed me to pay in 10 monthly installments.

Form taken care of, I boarded and headed to Doha, the plane was empty and I had 3 seats to myself. Changing planes at Doha onto a packed flight to London I had the crappy middle seat and was sandwiched between a 6 foot Nigerian and a 6 foot Indian, however.. I really enjoyed that flight. We all became BFF’s and swapped details and chatted a fair bit. The flight was smooth and before you know it, I was back in the motherland

Then it starts. I won’t bore you with the details but it took me 5 hours to get from the plane to my hotel opposite the airport. It makes no difference that I am British, every person coming from a Red List country is treated like a social leper, super spreading, contaminated bastard and it’s brutal, oh and a baggage handler told me my fucking bag was still in South Africa. Surprisingly I was fairly calm about that because there wasn’t a lot I could do about it although I was keen to get to the hotel to call Qatar and see what they could do. I very nice young man who was responsible for getting the lepers of the bus and and into their respective quarantine hotels allowed me to use his phone and Qatar informed me that they had the bag and that it had just been sent to the wrong terminal.

Now I am am in room 526 of the Marriot Courtyard hotel, it’s Saturday and I am beginning to find a routine to the day before my release next Friday. It is just like being in a luxury prison. You get 2 20mins exercise breaks a day that you can take anytime. I take mine at around 15.00 and 21.30 and the food is good. I have made a video explaining more so give it a watch if you are travelling from red list country soon. I had no choice as I am due to start university on October 4th but as I say in the video, it you can avoid it, I would.

Peace

Your Pal

Rob

Why Tsitsikamma is so great

The Garden Route is arguably the most beautiful part of South Africa and that is saying something! If asked to choose the best part of the Garden Route I would be hard pressed to make a decision. Every day and every part is unique and different and has it’s own charm and beauty. I have always really enjoyed visiting Tsitsikamma though, set in the mountains it is such a nice contrast to the rest of the route and it is incredibly peaceful out there and I always sleep like a baby (meaning I cry all night and wet the bed!) It is also by the coast on the warmer Indian ocean and there is a surprising amount of very cool things to do out there, so here is few options for you to consider for your visit.

1.The Tsitsikamma National Park

The beach is fantastic and you can swim in the warmer waters of the Indian ocean. There are several tour operators here offering boat trips and kloofing excursions and Southern Right Whales can be spotted during Whale season.

Tropical Sand Beach Behind Trees. Shot On The Otter Trail In.. Stock Photo,  Picture And Royalty Free Image. Image 38901912.
The Beach
Tsitsikamma National Park Day Tour | Knysna, South Africa Activities -  Lonely Planet

You can also take a hike to the suspension bridge and for me, this is a highlight. It is around about 90 min round trip and is breathtaking. We get to the national park nice and early so we can avoid the crowds. It gets busy but not when you’re with me. We avoid all that and have the place to ourselves

2. Bloukrans Bridge

Bloukrans Bridge Bungy: The Dream Of Every Adventure Seeker
The worlds highest bungee bridge

Not only is Bloukrans Bridge a masterpiece of engineering, it is also the home of the worlds highest bungee at 216 meters and you can jump it if you want! Even if that is not your cup of tea, the bridge is a great place to visit and a lovely spot to stop for a drink and something to eat

3. The Big Tree

Tsitsikamma Big Tree
Big enough for ya?

It’s a tree, it’s big and it’s a 1000 years old mate! I am sure you have bigger and older trees in your neck of the woods but the walk through the forest to find this one is well worth it

3. Zip Lining & Storms River Village

Garden Route National Park: Tsitsikamma Zipline Canopy Tour
Slide Away

Zip lining is a gentler activity if bungee jumping does not grab you, it’s a lot of fun for all ages and storms river village has lots of cute shops and places to eat tucked away in the forest. With Convoy Tours you can do as much or as little as you like. If you are planning on booking a Garden Route Tour then booking with us is the sensible thing to do, we are really good at it! check the website http://www.convoytours.co.za for more info.

Until next time

Peace

Your Pal

Rob

Garden Route Glory – The glory of the ride!

Good times and bad times are like the weather, ultimately they are fleeting and they pass. The Impermanence of all things can be sad, I mean everything has to come to an end, children grow up, holidays that we look forward to come and go, so do relationships. But am grateful for that because it works both ways. Crappy times also pass, I broke my wrist years ago and it stung like a bastard but I don’t remember the pain now. Life, for many of us in 2020 has not been great, some people have really suffered. Those who have lost loved ones, jobs, businesses. Those who are lonely, it’s tough, life is tough. As David Brent says, life is a struggle with beautiful surprises

But it passes, I have written on this blog before that Cape Convoy is just myself and a website now, so what? that is what is was 13 years ago when I started running tours. life is swings and roundabouts. I read that the vaccine is on it’s way. If that is the case then sooner rather than later South Africa will reopen and when it does, I will be ready. I am offering huge discounts on private Garden Route tours for folks that book early, 40 % discounts, until September 2021

Cape Convoy Tours, why you should book! Come join me

I am massively excited to start running the tours again, I love being a guide, I love South Africa and I love the Garden Route. So I am sending this out to the universe, if you’re looking for a Garden Route tour and looking for a guide to take you then hire me. It will be the best tour you will ever take. That’s my commitment to you!

Here are some links for the tours, when you book the Garden Route I include a free, private Cape Peninsula tour to the Cape of Good Hope via the Penguins. It doesn’t get any better than that chum!

4 Day 3 Night Garden Route tour with a FREE Cape Peninsula tour https://www.convoytours.co.za/garden.html

The Full Day Cape Peninsula Tour

https://www.convoytours.co.za/capepoint.html

We gotta go!

This too shall pass. The future of tourism

On October 1st South Africa reopened for international tourists, with the exception of countries deemed to be high risk. On September 30th the list was released by the government and almost every country in the world was on it, so it was the illusion of progress more than anything else but at least it’s a step in the right direction.

Tourism globally have been hit hard, if major airlines like Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia are in trouble then small tour companies and businesses like Cape Convoy are doomed, like the last Polar bear, on the last ice cap, waiting for it to melt

Or are they?

There are 2 sides to this. On one hand it’s very sad to see everything you have worked hard for and worked towards get stripped away to nothing. I don’t have any buses or tour guides anymore, the money has run out and after 6 months of lockdown, my lights have been turned off by a situation bigger than me and beyond my control. Strangely, it is because of those reasons that I feel reasonably calm. Perhaps the feeling of being in control was always an illusion and all Covid 19 has done has brought home the hard, uncomfortable truth that anything can be taken from you at anytime, without any warning. People who are sick understand this, becoming unwell is never part of any plans we may have, nor is losing a loved one or a million other things that life can throw at you

So Cape Convoy is now just me and a website. I have gone full circle, back to where I started. Just like Ace in the movie Casino! And you know, it’s not that bad! The thing about life is that it goes on, Cape Convoy goes on. I am personally in the position where there is nothing more than can be taken from me (professionally speaking) and I am OK, it’s really not that bad. It could be called rock bottom but as JK Rowling said, rock bottom is a solid foundation to build from, I think of Kipling, in his magnificent poem ‘If’

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;   
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

I still love being a guide, I still love Cape Town and I am going to hit the ground running again in 2021, if Cape Convoy makes it or not, I don’t know (although I suspect it will) but I know I will always be able to give great tours!

What does the future of Tourism globally hold? no idea mate although I do feel I am on the right continent. Africa’s star is rising and there is so so much here. I can’t think of any reason why people would ever want to stop visiting

This global change that is happening and that we maybe lucky, or unlucky enough to be living through will pass eventually. It is bigger than us. We must surrender to it, accept it and become one with it because we have no choice. At least that’s the way I see it

Stiff upper lip