Hiking: Solo vs. Groups

Daniela Baker is a social media advocate at CreditDonkey, where travelers can compare airline credit card deals to prepare for next summer.  As someone who’s been bitten by the travel bug at an early age, she hopes this post will help other fellow travel enthusiasts and backpackers.

“I find it wholesome to be alone the greater part of the time.  To be in company, even with the best, is soon wearisome and dissipating.  I love to be alone.” – Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854

For many people, the idea of solitude is enough to make them entirely uneasy.  Not for nothing is solitary confinement considered a punishment.  Hiking in solitude must seem to these people the activity of the mentally unstable!  Hiking solo versus hiking in a group is no choice at all to so many people, however if approached in an intelligent manner, the choice can open up different worlds of hiking enjoyment.

I learned my hiking and enjoyment of the outdoors as a teenager.  Our parents might not always have been happy with the way I applied their lessons, however.  My friends, all between the ages of 15 and 18, decided early on that we didn’t have much place in the forming of younger scouts.  After one unfortunate incident involving matches, Coleman lighter fuel, and several sleeping bags, our parents agreed.  On campouts and hikes, we were allowed to do pretty much as we pleased.

This independent spirit followed me to college and beyond.  If I felt the need to go hiking and there was no one available to accompany me, I simply grabbed my boots and went by myself.  Conversely, if there were a group forming for a trek up one of the mountains that are nearby to almost everywhere on the East Coast, I joined that, too.  As time went on and the miles added up, I began to prefer solo hiking in most cases.  I found I came more and more to embrace Thoreau’s sentiments.

Hiking alone carries one overriding challenge: the fact that you are alone.  This is often seen as solo hiking’s greatest drawback, but it can also be solo hiking’s greatest benefit.  Nature can be very rewarding as an escape from everyday life.  The rewards can be somewhat muted if you’re sharing them with several people, some of whose enjoyment of nature takes on a different pace, a different noise level, and a different speed than your own.  Also, it is worthwhile for a backpacker to carry a cinch up backpack with them in these situations. It just makes things a bit easier.

Granted, if you get lost, there is no one to help you find your way.  If you get injured, there is no one to help rescue you.  Unless you take precautions to counter these types of potential problems, you’re putting yourself, as well as the people who may have to come and get you, at risk.  Be honest with yourself: “it will never happen to me” is almost the surest way to ensure that fate will strike you down at the first opportunity.

I’m doubtful whether anyone who has seriously considered hiking alone wouldn’t have already considered these points, and wouldn’t have a modicum of experience to mitigate them.  It goes without saying (although I’ll say it anyway) that any solo hiking trip requires both experience and planning.

There is a trade-off here: safety in numbers, as it were, versus being your own boss.  Hopefully, you will find a happy medium, or at the very least hiking companions who share both your views and your pace.  There is a place for hiking solo and for hiking in a group, as I’ve said before.  Embrace the situation, use common sense, and hopefully the times you find yourself weary and dissipated (with apologies to Thoreau) will be few.

3 Coastal Routes along the European Mediterranean

The allure of the Mediterranean keeps calling. Summer may be drawing to a close, but knowing that you can explore charming beach villages in Spain, Italy and Portugal, with views that truly take your breath away, make road tripping along Europe’s Mediterranean coast that much more fulfilling. Research the right car hire companies, familiarise yourself with road rules, pack your clothes, shoes and embarrassing ipod playlists, and prepare to be inspired by the beauty of the Med along these coastal routes. The Amalfi Coast offers Italian class by the sea, southern Spain provides the sunniest of trips with a rustic feel and Portugal’s Cascais is the answer to coastal perfection. European countries have done major overhauls of their roadways, bridges and highways which has made driving in Europe remarkably safe and a viable way to sight see. On top of all of that, you can find great hotel deals on Easytobook.com to make your Europe trips that much more affordable!

Driving the Amalfi Coast, Italy

Driving along the Amalfi Coast is a truly rewarding way to appreciate the beauty of the coast and sheer brilliance of the engineers who built the connecting roads 500 feet above the glistening sea. The Mediterranean is showcased in its most natural form, and the coast was given the highest honour as a world heritage site. Imagine beautiful coastal towns, perfectly built into hillsides, with decadent villas, restaurants and shops overlooking the turquoise waters. The beaches themselves are dazzling and the mountainous terrain serves as the perfect backdrop to the Amalfi Coast. Drive through the villages of Salerno, Ravello, Amalfi, Valle dei Mulini, Praiano and Positano. Positano<.em> is one of the more well -known, and although pricey, tourists flock to celebrate its coastal opulence and to relive movie moments such as ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’, which was filmed in Positano.

Portuguese Coast

Portugal, the country of beautiful people, prego-roll-culture and mesmerising beaches, is the perfect place to explore by car. Escape the cramped tourist towns such as Algarve and rather drive along the coastal fishing town of Cascais. Located 30kms from Lisbon, this town is easily accessible by car. The beach sand is crystal white, and the villas and hotels are equally elaborate and beautiful as are the local beach goers. However Cascais has still managed to retain its character. The waterfront is a still an important meeting place for local fisherman and multi-coloured boats still decorate the harbour. From Cascais take a drive to the historic town of Sintra where you can explore ancient architectural wonders dating back to Roman times such as Palácio da Vila, and Palácio de Queluz.

Savour the South Coast of Spain

The southern coast of Spain is the perfect blend between traditional coastal port charm and holiday makers seeking sun and picturesque scenery. Driving along the Southern Coast is a foodies dream, offering the freshest of seafood that is delightful for the palate. The beaches are spectacular and the architecture showcases the true Spanish Gothic theme at its finest. Begin at Costa Del Sol and savour the lifestyles of the rich and famous at Peurto Banos. Continue to Gibraltar and marvel at the famed Rock of Gibraltar and then drive towards the fascinating town of Grenada – you can get a feel of small town Spanish lifestyle at its finest – siestas and parma ham are daily favourites. No road trip of southern Spain is complete without driving through the famous pueblo blancos (white villages). The town of Vejer , having managed to escape the tourist take-over, is a wonderful hilltop white village that has retained all its rustic charm and obvious beauty.

Road tripping along coastal highways is a rewarding way to experience culture, local feasts and stunning scenery. Holidays of this kind require preparation and it is important to know the rules of the road, as they differ across Europe, and also to ensure that you take out comprehensive cover for Europe. The allure of a road trip is that you are your own tour guide; your trip can be as simple or as luxurious as you choose and there is always a chance that you will come across little small-town delights on your journey.

Packing for a Gap Year in Three Easy Steps

You booked your round the world tickets and thought the hard part was over. Think again… there’s still the packing to be done after all.

A year is a long time and thinking about how to fit your entire life into a tiny little rucksack is daunting. Where do you even begin? Luckily, we’ve compiled a few tips to help you through:

1. DON’T PANIC!

Is your reaction to packing – “pack everything! How much can I cram in? What’s your largest backpack size?” Don’t worry, you’re not alone. It even has a technical term – it’s called ‘panicking’. Don’t do it.

Sit down, breathe, and relax. Start a diary….

This may seem like an odd suggestion, but if you note down everything you use in the space of 7 days then you will have a clear, logical picture, of what you can and can’t live without.

Another great tip, which really helps you understand ‘how much is too much’, is to lay everything you want to take out on your bed. Then, halve it – that’s probably how much you should be packing. You’ll thank me when you’re running for the bus with two stone on your shoulders, instead of four.

2. Location, location, location…

You can’t live without Eczema cream, but you’re also going to Australia – and can probably just pick some up while you’re there. If you’re going to Ghana though, it might become more of a problem.

Researching your destination is an essential part of travel. Hopefully you won’t have just stuck a pin in a map and prayed for the best – you will have read about it first. Spontaneity is great, but when it comes to packing, it always helps to plan meticulously. Make sure you pack those really important medical things you won’t be able to get easily abroad, like the contraceptive pill.

It’s really important to research airport restrictions too. Please don’t try to take Ribena to Australia -customs will have a fit. The same with muddy shoes. Instead, if you’re packing something that you aren’t sure about, always declare it.

Style vs Substance

Usually the answer to this question would be ‘substance’. It’s only when you’ve spent the entire day walking around with your home on your back, that the true beauty of practical, comfy shoes, is realized.

But don’t underestimate the power of your favorite piece of clothing either. Having a few special stylish items will really lift your spirits when you’re tired, dirty and you’ve been wearing the same t-shirt for a month.

However, straighteners will never have a rightful place in a backpack. I don’t care how frizzy your hair is. After 30 days you will literally have forgotten what your own face looks like, let alone anything else (which is much more pleasant than it sounds!).

And remember, in the words of Douglas Adams… never, EVER, go anywhere without a towel!


Amy Heritage writes about gapyear travel for mapthegap.co.uk. She is based in London and has travelled in Europe, Australia, America and China, as well as living and working for a year in New Zealand.

Magic Bus New Zealand

There are all kinds of ways to travel around New Zealand. You can explore the different car rental options and drive yourself around (it’s a relatively small country, like the UK). There are companies that drive small numbers of travellers around. There are notice boards on and offline where travellers sell second, third, or even seventh hand vans they have bought specifically to drive around the island. Or you can take a tour. There are a number of tours available but there are two major companies that run bus tours. These are the Kiwi Experience and the Magic Bus. The Kiwi Experience is aimed at young gap-year travellers. On board, you will find many eighteen year olds who have just finished school and students on holiday. The Magic Bus, on the other hand caters for those who are taking a break from the world of work or had some time off. They tend to be around thirty but it really is a mix of ages. The Magic Bus is perhaps the best option if you’re travelling alone, as it gives you the opportunity to meet a range of different people.

There are several routes Magic Bus tours take. You can do the North Island on its own or the South Island on its own or combine the two.

If you are only doing one island, a lot of people chose the south. That isn’t to say the North doesn’t have a lot to offer. The North Island has the thermal parks: large areas of volcanic activity which manifest as pools of bubbling mud and lakes which are green, yellow or blue with striking red-orange colours beneath the surface and steam rising above them. There are geysers – mounds of earth from which large jets of water shoot out sporadically. Much of it feels like the Land Before Time or Jurassic Park.  There is also a rather pervasive odour all over the areas main town, Rotorua. This is due to the sulphur beneath the ground’s surface that creates an egg-like smell.

The North Island also has Lake Taupo, which is important to the Maori people as well as being New Zealand’s largest lake. There are all kinds of adventure sports activities you can take part in here.

But the South Island is where most of the adventure sports fans find their fun. Taking the Magic Bus here is great because you pass through New Zealand’s adventure and party capital, Queenstown. Queenstown, as well as being part of the set of Lord of the Rings (along with a lot of other places in New Zealand) is famous for its sky diving, bungee jumping, rock climbing and rapid riding fun. And for the less daring, has some fun dry slope tobogganing opportunities too. At night the bars fill with locals and travellers and it’s a great opportunity to add to the friends you’ve already made on the bus. The South Island is also famous for its impressive Franz Joseph and Fox glaciers, which even the novice can climb. It is also the gateway to the beautiful Milford Sound.

 

BIO

Sophie Collard (@QunoSpotter) writes about fascinating places to visit and people she’s met while on her travels. She’s travelled in the UK, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia and loves the sense of distance and changing landscapes.

So long, I’m solo!

Recently I was sitting on my couch daydreaming about not sitting on my couch when my much better half bounded into the room with news.  She had found some of the cheapest airline tickets I’ve seen in awhile and had bought some.  Always up for an adventure I asked, “Great.  Where are we going?”  Her response?  “We are going nowhere… I am going to England.”

Normally this would bother me, I love England and lived there for awhile.  However, my intrepid lady was mere months away from securing a job that would cut down on her travel time significantly and she’d never travelled alone.  It’s something that everyone should do at some point, I assure you.

Worried?  Scared?  Nervous?  Don’t be.  Really, I promise.  It doesn’t matter if you’re an experienced traveler whose passport runneth over or if you’re a rookie setting out on your first solo trek to who-knows-where.

Plan to Not Plan

This is kind of a two way street and is very much a guideline and not a rule.  You have to be comfortable, but at the same time, traveling is about experiencing the new.  So, plan to not plan.  What’s that mean?  At the very least, book your first night’s lodging before you get there.  This way you’ll have a jumping off point before you figure out where you’re heading next.  Personally, I like to book a room every few days on the trip in a new location.  I can hit the ground running and just toss my bags somewhere and then figure out how I want to meander and explore to the next destination.  Maybe I stay longer in one, or find somewhere else, but at least I know that in two days time I have a guaranteed room if I want it.  If not?  Just cancel and move on!

Apologize to Your Mother and Talk to Strangers

Moms the world over always warn their kids to “never talk to strangers.”  Generally, this is pretty sound advice.  While traveling solo the line gets a bit blurred.  If you’re a woman travelling alone trust your instincts.  Getting a weird vibe from the creepy guy in the corner?  Thinking of walking home from a bar late at night on streets you’re unfamiliar with?  Stop and think about that for a second.  Talking to strangers is all about picking your battles.  Communicate with other solo travelers and elders.  Smile at and laugh with the locals.  Maybe you’ll end up being invited over for dinner or pick up a fun group to travel with.

Buy the Book

Many fantastic travel books highlight places that are great for people traveling solo.  Little cafes, meeting places for local tours and just general information that can make your experience a bit more warm and welcoming.  Do yourself a favor and pick one up.  At the very least, you’ll have something to read on the plane.

Now stop over thinking it and get out there on your own.  Just remember to bring your loving boyfriend back something nice.

Perfect Backpacking Holiday

The world is a huge place and therefore, if you want to see as much as possible, taking a backpackers holiday is ideal. Rather than being fixed in one location for the duration of your vacation, enjoying a backpackers retreat will allow you the flexibility to go exactly where you want. And, as long as you do the necessary prep work before you leave, a backpacking holiday can give you one of the most perfect getaways you’ll ever experience.

There are a vast range of top destinations to visit, and there is no end to where you’ll be able to explore. Some of the best places for backpacking holidays are the Americas, Australia, Thailand, Europe and India, with each location offering its own unique attractions and iconic landmarks to see. It is therefore essential that before you leave on your holiday you do some preparation in terms of discovering where you’re going. This can save vital time when you’re in a country, allowing you to head directly to the popular spots, save money, and make the most out of your time away whether it’s a few short weeks or several months.

One of the most significant things you should organize is how you intend on travelling around. Once you’ve booked your flights, which can be bought as open flexible travel so that you can move around at your own free will, you’ll need to establish how to move around within a country. Whilst public transport is always an option, a great way to travel, especially if you’re holidaying with friends, is to take advantage of cheap car rentals. If you’re planning on moving around a lot then simply hiring a car can actually work out as inexpensive as taking multiple train and bus journeys. In addition it’ll offer you a little luxury as you won’t have to heave your bags around and will be able to enjoy you own space without having to deal with passengers you don’t know.

Once you know how you’ll travel around it is important to plan a few places to go. There is something to be said for simply arriving in a country and heading out on a whim, however, this can often lead to a lot of time being wasted. You can maximize your stay by picking out a few key areas to visit such as major tourist attractions and landmarks. On your travels between these sights you can then explore other areas, allowing you the freedom of enjoying a backpacker’s holiday. This way you won’t return home feeling that you’ve missed anything out, and will be able to share stories and pictures of some of the world’s greatest sights in addition to your own unique adventures.

If it’s done in the correct way a backpacker’s holiday can truly be one of the best adventures you will ever experience. You can go where you what, when you want, and get a completely different view of a location than if you were staying in a resort in one place. And by carefully planning your journey beforehand you can reduce the possible issues that might occur whilst you’re away.

Tantalizing Tanzania

Tanzania is surely one of the most breathtaking countries in East Africa. Home to the historic state of Zanzibar, the towering Mount Kilimanjaro and so many more beautiful sites and experiences, Tanzania is not to be missed on any trip to the continent.

After a considerable amount of advice and recommendations, I decided to start my trip in Zanzibar. Where better to start than Zanzibar city itself? Situated on the west coast of Unguja (the main island of the Zanzibar Archipelago), the city offers something to suit every taste and interest. For a dose of historic architecture, The Stone Town is the place to see. The House of Wonders is probably one of most well-known landmarks. It was built in 1883 as a Sultan’s residence and is simply spectacular. The Old Fort, a heavy stone fortress is also well worth a visit. Live dance and music shows are held daily in the internal courtyard. After a day of sightseeing in sweltering heat, it was time for something to eat. The Forodhani Gardens, fronting The House of Wonders is the place to go after sunset for great food. Expect everything from grilled seafood to typical Zanzibari recipes. Pilau Meat with coconut milk and rice was my particular favourite.

With a belly full of rich and exotic food, it was time to burn off the calories. What better way to do this than trekking Mount Kilimanjaro? The climb is not an easy one. High winds and altitude sickness can put many people off. But the views are simply stunning and well worth the trek. The Rongai and Marangu paths are the best camping routes for beginners. If you would rather gaze at the impressive mountain from a safe distance, the plains of Moshi town are ideal. Expect to see some giraffes casually wondering about too.

If it’s luxury you are after, staying in Tanzania completely satisfies this need. Lake Manyara Tree Lodge, quietly tucked away by a beautiful lake and mahogany forest is the perfect base to enjoy the Tanzania Royal Safari. Expect seven days of seeing all kinds of game and the stunning plains of Kilimanjaro. There are plenty of luxury safari packages out there to suit every budget and taste. Unfortunately, my wee budget could not stretch this far, but not to worry. The Zanzibar Palace Hotel in the Stone Town was my base of choice. With authentic architecture, friendly staff and yummy breakfasts, you couldn’t really go wrong. The Zanzibar Serena Inn is another great location in the centre of the Stone Town. With its historical features still intact, there is a real atmosphere to the place.

To be truthful, Tanzania completely exceeded my expectations. When people think of a great safari, perhaps Kenya or South Africa spring to mind. Or if people want a bustling, cosmopolitan city, maybe Cape Town would be top of their list? The truth is, Tanzania offers both of these things and so much more. Whether you are trekking Kilimanjaro, sightseeing in Zanzibar City or just looking at some spectacular game, it’s hard to know where to start.

For more info please see My Destination Tanzania

Getting Away to the Cape Verde Islands

By Travel Writer Bradley Fink

When planning getaways, many tend to overlook the islands of Cape Verde. Butthis archipelago is one of the world’s most spectacular island chains.Magnificently scenic, exotic and diverse, Cape Verde is a great escapefrom the hordes of Paris and London.And what’s more, withbudgetbungalows,mid-rangehotels, and a growing number of resorts, there are great Cape Verde places to stay throughout these peaceful islands.

Located 570 kilometresoff the coast of Senegal, Cape Verde is an easy flight from Lisbon or the UK. Several flights arrive each week from London, Birmingham and Manchester. Most of these will take you to the Island of Santiago, which is the largest and most populated island of this little chain.If you like romantic landscapes, then you’ll love the vistas here, with sandy beaches, beautiful blue seas, and high volcanic cliffs.While the capital city of Praia has some restaurants and hotels, the interior of the island is a realm of natural wonder. National parks abound with mountain peaks and fertile valleys, where hiking is the best way to enjoy the high terrain. On the shores of Santiago, you’ll find fishing, diving, wind-surfing, sailing, and a number of other sports.

The other islands offer differentthings to see and do. For instance, Santa Antao is known for hiking, while Sal is known for its water sports and holiday resorts.  On any island you can find some top-notch ocean fishing, either from the shore, or by hiring a local fishing boat. But if you really want to escape, then make your way toSao Vicente, which is often thought to be the most enchanting of these islands.In Mindelo, which is home to most of Sao Vicente’s population, you’ll find a rich tradition of music, culture,restaurants and nightlife. The city has a vibrant buzz of pubs and entertainment, as well as several festivals that many come to see. In August there is a beach music festival during the full moon, and in February the city comes alivefor the annualcarnival.

Toeat in Mindelo, make your way to the food stalls of the QuiosquePraca Nova, where for 2 euros you can have a traditional local snack. Cachupa, a slow cooked stew, is famous in Cape Verde, and many people consider it to be the country’s national fare. This is made with corn, beans, and fish ormeat, which may be chicken, goat,or beef. Another delicious treat is the Portuguese dish calledFeijoada, which is also a stew of beans and meat, which is usually pork or beef.

Travelling in Cape Verde is a fairly simple task. There are ferries with connections to all nine of the inhabited islands.You may expect delays, however, as seas can become rough, but it’s a fast and easyway ofhopping in between the isles. There are also international airports on Sal, Boa Vista, and Sao Vincente, which are cheap and easy ways to make the trip from shore to shore.

For more info, please take a look at Cape Verde My Destination

Enjoying Johannesburg

Johannesburg, South Africa’s largest city is undoubtedly one the country’s many gems. While the city’s crime-riddled past may be of concern to some tourists (including myself), my experience of the city was anything but dangerous. So, here are just some of the things you can safely enjoy in Johannesburg….

Johannesburg places to stay are stylish and sophisticated. The Peech Hotel in Melrose is one of the city’s renowned, boutique hotels and offers contemporary, African cuisine in their modern restaurant as well as spacious and luxurious rooms. However, if like me you want to be right in the hub of the city, look no further than the Reef Hotel. While it may not measure up to the overstated Peech Hotel, it’s comfy, clean and convenient. What more could I want?

If it’s a good shop that you’re after, why not stay away from the typical shopping malls and head to one of the many markets? Bruma Lake Flea Market is one of the biggest markets in South Africa and you’ll find almost anything here. Textiles, clothes, jewellery, wood, furniture, there is something for everyone. It’s acceptable to try your hand at a bit of haggling too. Let’s just say my bargaining powers need a wee bit of practice… The East Rand Flea Market is another must for market lovers. Situated in Boksburg just outside of the city, the market is particularly famous for its abundance of artwork, particularly street wire art.

So, I couldn’t really go to South Africa without going on safari could I? To escape the hustle and bustle of Johannesburg for a couple of days fly out to Kruger National Park. As one of the top national parks in the world, it would be criminal not to pay a visit. With a safari to suit every taste and budget, Kruger has something for everyone. I set off on the ‘Great Trek North’ and witnessed all of the big game as well as rare, local species. There was also a tense moment with a hungry lion, but let’s not get in to that…

Upon my return from the wild I decided to dip into a little history and culture. Soweto, one of Johannesburg’s largest districts provides the best insight into the country’s past. If you can bare a museum, the Hector Pietersen Museum in Orlando West is well worth a visit. The museum gives a fascinating insight into the apartheid regime and is located two blocks away from where Hector Pietersen (a casualty of the 1976 Soweto uprising) was killed. Soweto is also home to a more recent addition to the country’s history- Soccer City, home of the 2010 Fifa World Cup. Why not go and see some local football or just marvel at the impressive stadium?

Shopping, luxury hotels, lions and football. Johannesburg and the surrounding area really left me spoilt for choice. I’m just happy I got out of Kruger alive!

For more great info and insight into Jo’burg please take a look at Johannesburg My Destination

South Africa Begins with Cape Town

By Travel Writer Bradley Fink

Of all the countries I have travelled, South Africa is definitely one of the best backpacking destinations. The country is full of hostels, lodges, and cheap accommodations, from the Jungle Monkey at Port St. Johns, to the Coffee Shack in the beautiful and secluded Coffee Bay. The best way to see South Africa is along the Garden Route, which runs up the coast via the N2 Highway. On the way you’ll pass capes, villages, and flourishing scenery, including the continent’s most spectacular beaches. To make the journey, there is no better place to start than Cape Town.

Cape Town is a city with a bit of everything. It has beaches, mountains, gardens, nightlife, culture and history. The landscape is incredible when you see it from above, which can be viewed from the dramatic plateau of famous Table Mountain. To get to the summit, you can either make the steep, two-hour hike, or take the cable car for 170 Rand (approximately $25 USD). If you do go up, bring water, sunscreen, a hat and a jacket with you, as the weather at the top can be unpredictable.

For shopping and entertainment, make your way down Table Mountain, to the V&A Waterfront which sits on Cape Town’s harbour. This is a popular spot with visitors as well as residents. The Waterfront features an aquarium, a marine museum, various harbour tours, and helicopter rides to the Cape Peninsula. From the harbour you can also tour notorious Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was a political prisoner for nearly 30 years. If you manage to work up an appetite, the Waterfront also boasts some excellent Cape Town restaurants.

To see some local flora and fauna, stop in at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. These are mentioned among the best botanical gardens in the world. The grounds feature plants from every region of South Africa, including rare species, medicinal plants, and a giant baobab tree. The gardens cover 36 hectares on a 528 hectare estate, which is home to a wide variety of wildlife. If you want to spend the day, you can bring a picnic lunch, or have a meal at one of the property’s several restaurants.

Cape Town is also popular for its outdoor water sports, such as surfing, diving, and deep sea fishing. If you plan to scuba dive, you may need to get a permit, as the waters around the Cape Peninsula are a Marine Protected Area. These waters, however, are known for sharks, which you may not want to swim with. Instead you can try the diving at Two Oceans Aquarium, which lets you test your scuba skills in a 2.2 million litre tank. The tank is filled with many types of ocean wildlife, including fish, sting rays, ragged tooth sharks, and a lonesome loggerhead turtle. 30 minutes in this massive tank runs as much as 400 Rand (approximately $60 USD), or 325 Rand for those who bring their own scuba gear.