South Africa - From tigersharks to monkeys

The main reasons why I came here, was the Tiger Shark diving in Shelly Beach and visit the Kruger Nationalpark. The self driving with rental car was fun, even those nearly 3'000km was a bit much for such a short time.

The itinerary for this Africa trip was landing Johannesburg, flying to Mozambique for whale shark diving. Flying back to Johannesburg, driving through Lesotho down to Shelly Beach for Tigershark diving. Continue to Swaziland. Continue to Kruger National Park. Driving back to Johannesburg and back home.

25.4.2014 - Johannesburg to Lesotho 
It is now one week since start of the trip. Came with rental car from Johannesburg driving south into Lesotho, out of Lesotho and continued southwards to Shelly Beach, where I am now. Resume: So far I can say, Johannesburg CBD is a little hell. It was really uncomfortable and a bit scary. On traffic light, people block the way, come to your car, knock on the window, shout  “White sh**, I kill you, open the window”, or there are fake traffic controller who try to stop you and want you to lead into a hidden corner. People drive aggressive and don’t give way. Honk you out, give immediately light signal when driving a bit too slow and and and. Basically all houses have barbwire electro fences and walls around.

With rental car from Johannesburg into Lesotho and to Shelly Beach. Nearly 1100km in a row was a lot to drive in an unfamiliar area.

Some photos I took on the way driving out of Johannesburg. I liked the Soweto Towers and the rural areas out of Johannesburg.
Soweto Towers. Used as Bungee Jumping Platform.

Outside of Johannesburg, around Soweto.

27.4.2014 - Im here for the Tiger Sharks
Now staying in the south east coast of South Africa. In a place called Shelly Beach. Close to Durban and here for diving with Tiger Sharks.. Yesterday was a long driving way. 1100km from Johannesburg. It was so long, cause I wanted drive into Lesotho, a own landlocked country within South Africa. And Im glad I did that. Nice scenery and nice ride through a mountain-like-area.

The beach house accomodation in Shelly Beach.

The motorboat that takes us divers out into the ocean south west of South Africa. 

Today I was diving for first time here, and it was alright. Wasn’t prepared for the conditions in that super rough sea. Strong current and cold water and not so good visibility. Plus it was a deep dive, means going down to 35 meteres and squeeze out every minute. Definitely not a beginners dive as it is quite dangerous. Once caught by this strong current so deep below, its over. Within 5 minutes it drifts away the diver away1km under water in any direction. Finding the lost diver would become an emergency call for sea rescue.

Thats a tiger shark and it can grow up to 5 meter.

This is just a sandtiger shark, they are way smaller than the real tiger shark. The reason why most people go to this place down here south east of South Africa, is to see tiger sharks. 

But however, at least there were sandtiger sharks. This cave is 35 meters deep with strong current.

We were able to only spend about two minutes so deep down here, before going slowly up again.

The second dive was a baited tigershark dive, means we threw dead bloody fish into the water and waited for the sharks. Goal was to attract tiger sharks, but they didn’t show up and so we waited over 80 minutes in the cold water and waited for the sharks…! That’s why im so tired right now.
Tomorrow again the same...haha!

In the afternoon it was time to relax from the rough dives. The place Margate is a short ride from Shelly Beach and has everything a tourist needs to recover and fill stomach. 

It’s a very nice but touristic area and interesting that 90 percent of tourists were white, whereas the local people are 90 percent black

In front of the coast of east South Africa.

28.4.2014 - Another try at Shelly Beach
Time to ride out into the rough ocean again. Had to get up again at 6am. The ride&dive with the small motorboat, without any roof for sun protection took about three hours. Never was on sea with such a rough condition. A third of the diving group had to threw up.. me included..even I took pills against sea sickness! Spending two hour riding the harsh waves on this small boat and then spending 80 minutes 10 meters under the surface in cold water and without big movements, for waiting and observing sharks, was definately not the most comfortable dive experience that I have done, but it was an nice experience :).

Dives here are baited shark dives. That means they put some fish inside a plastic ball which is hanging around 10 meters below the surface. 

This is what they put inside the plastic ball for baiting the tiger sharks :)

After a few minutes any kind of sharsk arrive. But the reason why coming here to dive is for tiger sharks, which just didnt wanna show up.

No, these are no sharks :)!

There is no guarantee to see any kind of shark in nature. Its all up to luck what kind turns up.

29.4.2014 - Durban
After leaving Shelly Beach this morning, the next destination was a stop over in Durban. The beach front in Durban was nice and with a friendly attitude out of a tourists point of view. However, walking just one side road away from the beach front, people start become more and more dodgy.

A quick ride from Shelly Beach to Durban.

Durban beachfront.

30.4.2014 - Driving through Swaziland

After Durban it was time to continue driving into Swaziland, through Swaziland, and then up towards Kruger National Park. All together it took another 700km, but I made a stopover in Swaziland.

Riding through Swaziland on rental car was nice with great views.

1.5.2014 - Inside Kruger Nationalpark
Day of entering Kruger National Park with rental car. Started early in the morning from a lodge right outside the Crocodile Bridge entrance gate. From here its possible to see over the river into the National Park. Driving through the park the whole day was without any hassle, all the way up towards the Olifant Camp inside the NP.

This animal stood suddendly very close to the car. I didnt know that they can become dangerous when being alone and likely would attack even cars, if they block their way (which was the case)... :).. but unfortunately nothng happened.

Leaving the Olifants Camp as early as possible in the morning was the plan, but so it was the plan of many others too and it ended up being in traffic jam inside the Olifants Camp already :). But after the gate opened, the cars soon all disappeared in any directions. Drove all the way down from Olifants towards Pretoriuskop Camp, where there are some nice small round bungalows, the last stop over before driving out of Kruger, back to Johannesburg.

Nearly 200km full of cool wild animal sightings.

4.5.2014 - Back to Johannesburg
Sitting now in the airport and wait for departure back home. Yesterday I left the Kruger Nationalpark in the morning and drove directly back towards Johannesburg.
Glad having the car returned after all the driving without any incidend or scratch. 

Yesterday I nearly got arrested in Johannesburg. After having dinner in a restaurant in the CBD of Johannesburg, I drove back to the hotel and there was a police checkpoint, where they stopped me and I should show the drivers license. As I knew Johannesburg is a dangerous area and I shoudn't keep any values on me, especially as a white person, I left everything that has value at the hotel. Also the drivers license. The police officer said I have to pay a fine, but I even didn’t have so much money with me. I showed him everything I have and there were about 300 Rand which is 30 USD. I told him he can have it and so he took it. After that he wanted to know where im from and so on. We talked about it and he asked if he comes to Switzerland one day, if I can show him around. I said of course… haha! After talking another 10 minutes, I told him “Alfred, friends don’t steal money from each other and pointed to the 300 Rand”… then he struggled but gave me the money back…haha! This was the first time I had to bribe a police officer :)

View from top of shopping mall "Carlton Centre" onto Johannesburg CBD.

View from Carlton Centre. From above here, the CBD doesnt look so bad.

Such buildings are some of the worst places of Johannesburg. Most of these buildings in this area called “Hillbrow” are actually hijacked by criminals. They do their dirty business in there and all over Hillbrow streets and as a mafia they rent the appartments to the poor people there. 

Hillbrow area.

Its still normal in Johannesburg, that these buildings are hijacked by criminals. They rent the apartments to poor people for doing dirty business in return.

Hillbrow Tower.

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