Why South Africa makes you an alcoholic

Here in the UK, wine drinking is usually reserved to the evening (unless you’re a financial journalist at a boozy Friday lunch, of course), but in South Africa wine tastings are more of an afternoon affair. In fact, the first vineyard we went to was not even open past 4.30pm, except on Thursdays and Fridays, when it closes at 6pm.

Durbanville Hills Wine, which was to be my first mid-afternoon wine tasting experience in the land of the grape, is just 20 minutes drive from the centre of Cape Town, in a flat valley surrounded by acres and acres of greenery. Turning up without a reservation can be a little hit and miss, as it is so busy during the South African summer period (October-February), but we managed to find some comfy seats with a view of the luxurious vineyards.

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A look at Cape Town from Table Mountain

The hardest thing about being surrounded by gorgeous rocks is not being able to climb them. That was the only downside of my mini-trek up Table Mountain in Cape Town.

This 1,085m (3,558ft) massif dominates the skyline of Cape Town the way the Shard dominates London’s, but I find its natural beauty a little more exciting than the glass construction back home.

I was very lucky with this mountain. It is often covered in thick cloud at the top even on the clearest of days, which has been dubbed the ‘tablecloth’ by the locals, but on 28 December 2014, when I chose to ascend it, it remained clear for the whole day.

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A night out…the Durban way

A blog post is supposed to begin with the most memorable moment of an event you are describing…well, the most memorable moment of my night out in Durban was standing in the middle of a backyard garage at 3am with three not-so-sober blokes twice my size (whom I knew, at least!).

Eating a ‘Johnny’s’ at the end of a night out in Durban is a rite of passage, they told me. But what is a ‘Johnny’s’? That was kept a secret until this very moment, possibly because one could agree to eat this only after drinking a considerable amount of beer and cocktails.

That is how I came to be standing in the car park, staring at a large hand-written sign in the window displaying a menu, and wondering why there was only one thing available with variable amounts of cheese on it – ranging from “chip single cheese” for 27.50 South African rand (around £1.50) right through to “CHIP TWENTY X CHEESE” (twenty?! Twenty times cheese?!!!).

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About me: In search of adventure everywhere

This blog has taken many shapes already in the short time it has existed, but increasingly it is gravitating towards climbing-related topics, as I am a little obsessed with the sport.

I’ve spent most weekends this summer outdoors learning to climb on different types of rock and in different styles. So far, my climbing partner Valentina and I have covered North Wales, Sheffield, the Wye Valley, Southern sandstone and limestone in Frankenjura, and we also have a trip to Italy coming up, and climbing plans in warmer climes in the winter.

Recently, myself, Valentina and our friend Tamsin embarked on an ambitious project to create videos, vlogs and blogs about everything to do with climbing and our lifestyle as we learn and develop our new skills.

The project goes under the name Vertical Souls. We have a Facebook page and a YouTube channel, and this blog will act as the written outlet for our thoughts and experiences.

Please follow us, like our Facebook page, and give us all the support you can! We are very committed to making this project work long term.

Thank you, and happy adventuring 🙂