Andy J
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Climb a mountain at Sunrise? Visit a new continent? Been there, done that, got the T-shirt

Andy J
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13 May 2014

Up until last month there were three continents I'd not visited before. Africa, South America and Antartica. Well that's now down to two after I visited South Africa with my fiance Lauren last month on the holiday of a life time visiting our friend Kerry.

South Africa is a stunning country made even better by the outrageously good weather we enjoyed while we were there - it was 35 C at points in what's their equivalent with Autumn.

We started the trip in Cape Town where we did all the usual tourist activities - Robben Island, regular trips to the beach, a couple of vineyards, Cape Point and, of course, Table Mountain which gave me an opportunity to tick off another of my 30 before 30 challenges of climbing a mountain at sunrise where we were joined by Monique, a South African, who had hiked up Table Mountain before albeit a few years ago.

Reaching the summit was actually a real achievement as we took the Kloof Corner Ridge route by mistake - allegedly the most difficult route to the top - and this involved us doing some proper climbing and some serious amounts of climbing against the backdrop of some fairly serious drops. Despite taking us the wrong route, Monique was an awesome guide and Lauren did brilliantly to conquer her fear of climbing and make it to the top.

Next up was a brief stop off in Johannesburg where we stayed with Kerry's mum where we came face-to-face with her ENORMOUS Great Danes.

Jo'burg itself was a really strange place. For starters it's massive meaning you have to drive to go anywhere and I mean literally anywhere. Everyone lives in gated communities with no shops and no restaurants and you have to drive to a mall if in a safe part of town if you want to go and eat, drink or buy something. Walking anywhere is a complete no no and your considered completely mad if you suggest it. The contrast between rich and poor is also enormous and despite the abolition of apartheid is still split largely along racial lines.

All that said, I did have the most amazing steak on my night in Jo'burg which I'll also remember for being the place where I watched Arsenal sneak past Wigan to reach the FA Cup Final.

From Jo'burg it was on up to Kruger National Park for a three day safari (or Game drive as they call them in SA). I think this had to be the highlight of my trip and we were fortunate enough to see pretty much every animal possible including lions and a leopard.

After Kruger we spend two days exploring the stunning surrounds of the Blyde River canyon - the third largest canyon in the world - and there was so much to see and do that we really needed more time to do it justice.

All in all it was a fantastic trip and I would definitely go back. Kerry was an incredible host and South Africa a fascinating country. Everything is so cheap once you're out there and I don't think I've eaten better in my life. As challenges go, this won't go down as one of my more difficult ones and in fact the difficutly was motivating myself to get on the plane home!

I've now completed seven challenges which means I've still got a long, long way to go to successfully complete the challenge and I will need all the help that I can get. 

Three ways you can help:

1. Follow me on twitter and encourage others to do so to help me reach 30,000 followers

2. Make a donation to my 30 before 30 challenge to help me reach my £30,000 total

3. Sign up to do the London Bikeathon with me and help raise money for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research


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