Many people say “don’t go with expectations” when you go abroad. Which is true… to an extent. You can go abroad with planned adventures and excursions in mind, without letting yourself down if things don’t turn out the way you wanted them. I have made a pretty big friend group since I have been here, and we have already been traveling multiple times.
My first weekend getaway adventure was to Kwantu Game Reserve and then Grahamstown. The safari at the game reserve was incredible and got to see so many different animals: lions, zebras, buffalo, antelope, rhinos, a hippopotamus, elephants, and more. After the safari we went to Grahamstown where the twelve of us rented a house for one night. We cooked a big meal and stayed up telling stories and playing cards. The next day we got up and left for a nearby skydiving business. Most of the group went and had an absolute blast. This was our first weekend out and took a while to plan and get organized with twelve people, but we managed.
Our next adventure was a smaller group (five people) and a day trip. We drove 45 minutes away to Jeffery’s Bay. This place is known for surfing but we decided to do something else – horseback riding! The ride was absolutely beautiful – three hours with part of it on the beach. Horseback riding on the beach in South Africa… does it get any better? On the ride we met two volunteers, one from England and one from Belgium. We had lunch with them after the ride and then headed back to Port Elizabeth.
My most recent adventure was my favorite. A group of eleven of us went to Plettenberg Bay, two and a half hours away. We stayed at a hostel (backpacker’s lodge) in a room with six bunk beds and a gorgeous view. We arrived Friday early afternoon and left Sunday late afternoon. Friday we relaxed and met our other friends who rented a house nearby. We cooked dinner and stayed up talking and listening to music. Saturday morning we got up early and went to a nature reserve close by for a nice hike. During our hike we stopped at the beach to swim and the water was amazing – so clear and so warm. After the hike we went to go eat and go back to the hostel for showers. Unfortunately there was a thunderstorm and didn’t have power or running water for the rest of our stay, but I always say “it’s all a part of the experience!” After we went out to eat at a local cuisine and ate some good South African styled food. That night we stayed in and played cards under flashlights and candles. The next morning we got up early again and went to a place to go canyoning… it was so much fun! We put on wetsuits and harnesses and took a hike in the mountains with waterfalls and abseiling.
Go on as many adventures as you can. Make a list of what is really important for you to do and a list of what is not so important. Be budget conscious, look for deals and discounts (usually for students or big groups). If something doesn’t go your way, go with the flow. Stay off your phone and be present for the adventure.