I’ve officially returned to my home-for-now in beautiful Ahipara, New Zealand after spending eight weeks abroad. Before I get into the heavy details, lets start out with a quick recap of my life for the past few months.
It was a jam-packed eight weeks- the first of which was spent in Sydney with my parents – I got to play tour guide and show off the city I love so much. I did a very good job as both of them (on numerous occasions) mentioned that they could easily live there. Once they left, I was left to my own devices and stayed with Annie from Wayward Traveller for a handful of nights. During these few days I had the pleasure of finally meeting Cailin from Travel Yourself and Beverley from Pack Your Passport in real life – and these girls are just as much (if not MORE) fun in person as their online personas are! As a last minute surprise, my darling soul sister, Stephanie, surprised me by showing up in Sydney on my last night before heading off to start my African adventure.
My long journey from Sydney to Cape Town involved three flights and many hours waiting around in airports in between. I flew with Singapore Airlines from Sydney to Singapore, spent eight hours in Singapore (even making it out into the city to find myself a nice meal), flew with Singapore Airlines from Singapore to Johannesburg, spent six hours in Johannesburg and finally flew with South African Airways from Johannesburg to Cape Town. Upon my arrival to Cape Town I was warmly welcomed by Jess from Nomad Adventure Tours- their amazing social media guru- who was beyond hospitable and came to pick me up from my hostel and took me out for sushi and mojitos! YUM! The next 5 days were spent exploring Cape Town and the rest of the peninsula – at first with a lovely young traveler from Toronto named Liz and then after a few days I was joined by my mom’s best friend, Sue, who would be accompanying me on the tour with Nomad Adventure Tours from Cape Town to Victoria Falls. In those five days I climbed to the top of Lion’s Head at sunset, explored the Waterfront, rode in Cape Town mini buses alongside locals, and checked out Cape Point and Cape of Good Hope – where the Atlantic and Indian oceans meet.
As I previously mentioned I was very kindly asked by the amazing people at Nomad Adventure Tours (Hi Jess and Reshma!) to take part on any one of their tours – as per my full disclosure policy, I was given a discount on my tour, however, the opinions of the company and my time with them are purely my own – and the many posts to come about my time on tour will, of course, adhere to that policy. I spent an amazing 20 days with Nomad touring through South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe, which was such an incredible experience. I met so many wonderful people from all over the world and had the opportunity to do some amazing things and knock off items from my bucket list.
I then trekked 9 hours into the middle of Zimbabwe, to Gweru (the fourth largest city) where I volunteered at Antelope Park – a private game park, which is home to ALERT (African Lion and Environmental Research Trust) which focuses on lion conservation. The following two weeks were absolutely life changing. I discovered that I have a massive passion for animals – especially lions and I will try to be an advocate for the plight of the African lion. I worked alongside these beautiful creatures, walking them, playing with them, feeding them, and cleaning up their enclosures – every bit of the experience was beyond awesome. In addition to working with lions on a daily basis, there were 30+ horses and 4 elephants that I was given the opportunity to work with. Of course, I fell in love with stable duties and took any opportunity that I wasn’t with the lions to hang out with the horses – I even learned how to play polocrosse. Well… not WELL, but I got the gist of it.
My two weeks at Antelope Park flew by and before I knew it I was starting my long 5 day trek back to Ahipara, New Zealand. A two-hour car ride, 6 flights, an 8hr bus ride, 1 full day in Cape Town, 1 night in Sydney, 1 night in Auckland later I was finally back at my flat on the Foreshore.
Since being back I have gotten a job at a local horse stables – which is obviously right up my alley – and it pretty much takes up all my energy – hence the new posts have been few and far between. I’ve also shifted houses twice in the last 3 weeks – once to stay with a friend for two weeks, before I got keys to my new flat, and now I’m settled into my brand spankin new flat. As for The Mellyboo Project, I promise that I will get all the fun detailed posts about Africa up and coming very shortly – stay tuned.