3 days in cape town south africa

Cape town, like many other places i've been, has AMAZING scenery. On top of that, it has the cutest sea animals, and awesome food. Yes, all the makings of a perfect holiday!
It took be sometime to get these pictures and videos edited, but this trip is so deeply etched in my mind, it feels as if it was just yesterday that I came off the airplane.

Cape Town was the first stop of my family's South African trip. The fact that I went with my family made it a whole lot more memorable.
Most people do a really short pitstop in Cape town, that when I first saw my itinerary (we were on a group tour), I was reluctant to spend 3 and a half days in Cape Town. After arriving at cape town I was so glad that was the plan.

Sure it is no safari, but, I loved Cape town. It's weather, scenery, lifestyle, people, activities. There was so much to see and so much to do. Also, going in the summer time meant that the weather was PERFECT. Warm sunshine, 15-20°C, no rain, with a cool occasional breeze!

amazing scenery in cape town south africa
things to do in cape town south africa
summer time in cape town south africa
images of table mountain cape town south africa scenery and attractions
images of ostritch farm, plants and nature in cape town south africa

We began our trip heading up Table Mountain. In the first 20 minutes of being in Cape Town, I WAS MESMERISED. Other places we went with just as impressive of a view was Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope.

I've been to Santorini, another city that has stunning views of the ocean. But something about this crazy beautiful views in Cape town took my breath away.
The mountains, the ocean, the waves all merged into one picture perfect postcard view. (Dare i say, more perfect than Greece!)

markets in cape town south africa
street stalls and souvenirs in cape town south africa

Walking along the streets of cape town was just as much of a treat to the eyes. We got to see so many family run stalls, lovely fabric, paintings, artwork, souvenirs.
I'm not a person who collects such souvenirs, but when I see such cute souvenirs, I imagine I'm this rich woman, with a big home,  and a ton of travel collectables. There were definitely some things I mentally added to my non-existent "travel home" as decoration.

things to do and places to visit 3 days in cape town south africa

Visiting a wine cellar before having a wine tasting session in cape town! Watch the vlog below for more details!

things to do, bout tour, seal island and cape point animals in cape town south africa
scenery at table mountain, cape point, cape of good hope incape town south africa
cape point, table mountain, cape of good hope images in cape town south africa
top destinations in cape town south africa
seals in seal island and boulders beach cape town south africa
things to do seal island, animals, safari cape town south africa
summer time in cape town south africa what to do, things to see, animals, seals, seal island penguins boulders beach
seals lazing around in cape town south africa

Seal Island and Boulders Beach.
Two of the most popular spots for animal sightings. I felt so much joy watching these seals bobbing around and swimming in the water or laying out on the rock, just chilling & enjoying some good ol' sunshine.

Watching penguins interact was another cool experience. The tour guide I was with was pointed out which were the baby penguins, teenager penguins and adult penguins. Perks of going on a tour! My tour guide also shared how penguins mate for life. The epitome of monogamy. Once they find a life partner, they're set. And apparently, if their spouse dies, they'd take their own life too. Tragic. But this is more than till death do us part.

My only encounters with animals comes from seeing them in the zoo, and we all know those animals are never as happy as when the ones that are out in the wild.

seeing penguins at cape town south africa where to see animals, how to get to boulders beach, boulders beach, beach attractons
boulders beach in cape town south africa penguin rescue
cape town south africa boulders beach, seal island, penguins, what to do in south africa, attractions
animals, penguins and seals boulders beach cape town south africa
images of boulders beach, where to go in cape town south africa, attraction and things to do, beaches, beach
south african penguins, top destinations, attractions, cape town south africa boulders beach

Another amazing thing we got to do as part of our tour was to go on a helicopter ride. An experience i've NEVER done considering most of my trips consisted of backpacking around Europe and being very budget conscious.
Helicopter ride. Aerial view. Do i need to say more? If you've never been on a helicopter ride, this is it. This would be the highlight, the MUST-DO, of the trip.
* Someone told me that the helicopter ride he took in New Zealand was way more impressive, to which I had an internal eye roll. Urgh. these people who have so much in life that they fail to appreciate little things... (i kid, but really this was the highlight for me!)

aerial view, helicopter ride, table mountain in cape town south africa
helicopter ride at NAC in cape town south africa

To be honest, I don't think I did anything out of the ordinary or visited any place exceptionally off-the-beaten path on this trip. But I must say, the boat ride to seal island, the wine tasting, the beautiful scenery, the helicopter ride, these are experiences i've never really had in my other trips. Even though the places I went are coined as classic tourist spots, I felt like it was worth visiting. Granted, i was never caught in a crowd, so that probably added to the great experience.

People constantly mention how they want to travel "like the locals" or go on about the whole "Traveller not tourist" concept, but there are times (like this) when tourist spots are NOT to be missed. Especially if you don't have the time to stay for long in each place. There is a reason why tourist spots are tourist spots. Because to some extent, they are worth visiting.

scenery at cape of good hope top destinations in cape town south africa

I've been lucky enough to visit many amazing places around the world, Japan, Korea, Norway, France, and now, SOUTH AFRICA. People ask me if i still get excited when I see amazing scenery, and when I get to experience new things. The excitement will eventually die down right? Wrong.

I think traveling isn't about comparing what you've seen. Or having the new best experience. It is the concept of seeing a new place, a new lifestyle, a new part of the world that excites me. It does not have to be spectacular, but every experience is definitely special in its own way. I may not want to re-visit certain places, but I never ever regret experiencing it.

Unlike my mentality towards some of the cities i've been to, if I am given the chance to visit South Africa again, i'm definitely going back to Cape Town.

3 day in Cape Town, South Africa

2 May 2017 Cape Town, South Africa

african lion, south africa safari

From lions, to rhinos, giraffes and cute little baby animals, the South Africa safari has everything!!

In December, I went on a tour with Chan Brothers Travel, and they brought us to a private game lodge outside of Johannesburg called Mabula Lodge. We stayed there for a night, and did 2 game drives in total, one in early in the day and one in the evening. The game drives are usually early in the morning or right before sunset because that is when the animals are the most active and they are out chilling, grazing, etc.

Safari is one crazy interesting experience, but its not as animal filled and lion king like as it seems. Here's the truth.

sunrise at the south africa safari
kudu and animals in the south africa safari

coming up close to animals in the wild south africa safari

Seeing Animals

Being able to see as much as you want on a safari game drive depends on so many factors, here are some truths to the whole experience.

1 // It depends on your luck
The park is MASSIVE. And you never know where the animals are.
Going on the evening drive, we saw way more animals than in the morning drive the next day. Also, there are tons of Kudus, Elands, Monkeys, Warthogs, Wildebeests and Zebras you can spot - as they move in herds, but when it comes to the Big 5s (elephants, rhinos, lions, leopards, and buffalo) it really depends on your luck.

The 2nd morning, we drove for about an hour without seeing any animals, it felt like we were driving for ages and then, we spotted a lion!
We got up so close to a male lion just lying in the middle of the road, whilst another vehicle, saw 3 female lions but they were far away in the bushes.

south africa safari baby warthogs and big 5 animals up close
south africa safari animals, coming close to the big 5, the truth behind safari

These baby animals are BEYOND CUTE! Seeing the animals graze and run freely is one of the most refreshing experiences i've had!

the truth and full safari experience south africa safari

2 // You Can't Interfere with the Animals
I get the questions "Can you touch them?" quite a lot. I never expected to be able to touch wild animals, so, no. You don't touch the animals in the wild. They are WILD. The vehicles aren't suppose to go too near to them either (you might scare the animals). The whole environment is maintained such that this animals are able to live, hunt, and graze freely without the interference of human forces. It's their world and we're just visiting.

3 // The Rangers MEMORISE the Park and Communicate With Each Other
There were a total of 6-7 vehicles driving around the park, and there aren't any signs/directions at all. If a big 5 was sighted, the ranger would inform other rangers and leave so as to give others could see the animals (not a case where you have 5 cars around an animal). The park ranger I was with saw an elephant, turned off the engine, let us take pictures, before informing the others and then driving away to direct them to where the last sighting was.
Unfortunately, one of the rangers spotted a leopard but somehow scared it away, and so the rest of us lost that opportunity to see an african leopard.

Watch an elephant walk towards us this video! 

giraffe and big 5 animals in south africa safari the truth behind south africa safari experience
the truth behind south africa safari the full experience.

4 // It depends on how skilled your ranger is
Our ranger could spot the rhinos from the other end of the plain and she drove to a spot so we could and get an extremely close up view of the rhinos without disturbing them! When she first said "look over there, rhinos!" I was just like "wait what?! where??" It takes so much skill to spot the animals through the trees and shrubs - which makes sense because thats how they camouflage.
Having a skilled ranger depends on your luck (point 1) but the native africans and older rangers are usually the ones with more experience!

the truth behind seeing animals at the south africa safari
south africa safari seeing rhinos hippos and the big 5 up close
the full south africa safari the truth and the full experience!

Even though its not animals left, right, and centre everywhere you go, the safari drives were so much fun, i'd do them again and again. If anyone is considering a trip to South Africa, GO ON A SAFARI DRIVE!
The drives can at times be slightly disappointing, especially when you don't see much for over an hour.  But, when you get to see a glimpse of a lion, rhino or any animal up close, ah, IT IS SO SO SO WORTH IT. My mum loved the experience so much, she said she wanted to be a south african safari ranger, she was hilarious!

South African Safari - The FULL Experience!

26 March 2017 South Africa

visiting the red rock canyon and vegas in nevada

When people think Vegas, they think of glitzy hotels and the glamorous Las Vegas strip. Cool performances, gambling, champagne, getting hitched randomly after all that champagne, you get the drift.
Even though I wanted to experience and see Vegas, I'm not into clubbing (don't do well in crowds), neither do I have cash to splash out in the casinos. So, instead of spending full days in Vegas, we took the mornings to explore nature sights around vegas, caught a few sunsets, and then headed back during the night to enjoy the pretty lights in Las Vegas city.

red rock canyon view nevada
road trip where to visit in nevada

The Red Rock Canyon was one of our first day trip destinations. The Grand Canyon was a place I wanted to visit but it was just too far a drive out.

Red Rock Canyon was only a 2-3 hour drive from where we stayed and visiting early in the morning meant that we got to explore the area without having to deal with lots of tourists. Although, i'm not sure if such large nature areas ever get crowded...

I loved that I got to see cacti growing naturally and how they add a spark of life to the otherwise completely red and brown landscape. These cacti is not the type of plant we don't get to see in tropical Singapore, which made the plant lover in me way happy!

where to visit, parks in nevada, where to explore in nevada
red rock canyon, visiting nature sights in nevada

Check out my youtube video of my time in Vegas and exploring around Nevada!

landscape of death valley nevada
image of death valley landscape attractions in nevada

Being able to catch the sunset at Zabriskie Point and kicking it in the sand at the Death Valley was also another great experience.

The undulating landscape of the Death Valley is just impressive. It makes me wonder how sand ended up forming in that way, and if it actually ever stays the same with the winds blowing all the time. It's cool to know that this landscape could be ever changing!

palm place hotel nevada view from the room
what to see at valley of fire state park nevada
view and landscape photography at valley of fire state park
valley of fire state park nevada USA
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visiting valley of fire state park nevada USA

The last nature sight we went to was the Valley of Fire State Park. I think bag parks like Yosemite and other national parks get so much love from Americans and tourists, but people often overlook smaller state parks.

The Valley of Fire State Park is such a beautiful plot with routes one could drive through to explore. Different parts of the park had different rock formations and my favourite was called the Beehive. It is made of red rocks with massive perforations making them look like huge beehives. Perfect of interesting photography shots!

how to road trip in nevada USA
sunset at death valley nevada USA
sunset at valley of fire state park death valley red rock canyon nature in nevada USA

My time in Vegas wasn't typical. No doubt, I did get to watch a Cirque Du Soleil performance, visit a casino, walk down the las vegas strip, admired the night lights, stayed in a lovely hotel and eat at an amazing restaurant. But, what stood out most during my time there was the little day trips I took to these nature sights, and chasing sunsets around Nevada.

These trips out of the main city area just reminded me that all we need is to take a little step out of our typical path, and our entire view could change.
A Life lesson, and traveling lesson all in one!

Chasing Sunsets Around Vegas, Nevada

15 March 2017 Las Vegas, NV, USA

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