We chose to visit Lombok because it sounded different to the more popular destinations in Indonesia. The idea of going somewhere unusual always appeals to us, especially when its away from the crowds. We had arrived in Senggigi Lombok via a boat from Bali. Having spent a few days in Holiday Resort Lombok relaxing and recuperating from our long trip from Europe we were ready to explore the Island. Not much exists in terms of information on circumnavigating Lombok so we looked at a map and worked out rough route as best could. Some places to stay and towns to visit could be planned, others we would have to decide on the fly. We had no idea of road conditions or how long it would take to cover distances. We did read about somebody driving around the Island in a day, leaving early and returning at night. How or why you would do this is crazy so please don’t try it. You’ll miss all the cool stuff!
It is said that Lombok resembles Bali from thirty years ago before it became so popular. After spending a week here, we couldn’t recommend it more. Here are some useful tips!
Getting to Lombok can be done in two ways. You can fly from Bali for relatively cheap (or possible your destination outside of Bali) to Lombok International airport and then take a taxi for there. Or you can take a boat, either private or public. We chose to take the boat as we went to the west of the island first. Depending where you depart from in Bali will determine the cost. We took a private boat from Sanur with Scoot Cruises, costing us 1.2 million IDR for both of us. These private boats are what are referred to as fast boats. Despite this, the trip across the channel still took about 3 hours and had a stop in Lembongan Island to drop off and collect passengers. The operation is efficient and there are a multitude of companies to chose from. Tickets can be pre-booked online (although paying online in Bali can be difficult) or simply bought at an office or through a tour operator.
You can’t go from Lombok to Bali and not stop in the famous Gili island! We learnt that all small islands in Lombok are called Gili’s but these are so well known that the name has become synonymous with these three islands. And yes, they also belong to Lombok, not Bali. The Gilis are – Gili Tranwangan with is reputation as a party island, Gili Meno as a couples retreat and Gili Air with its laid back atmosphere. Being very keen on diving and liking the idea of chilling we chose the latter.
Leaving London for our travels gave us the option of crossing over the pond for a long overdue stop in France. Whilst I’ve been gathering experience travelling throughout Europe I had yet to visit La Republique. France could easily been defined as the heart of Europe. With its size and prevalence in the continent, and its rich cultural standing, it is definitely a strong contender for the title ( especially now that the UK has put themselves out of contention ). But now the hard questions – where and what do you do in a country with so much to offer?
Of course you must first go to Paris! No? See the Eiffel Tower and visit the Louvre!? But not before eating a croissant on Champs-Elysées. Or not! In fact non of these things capture my imagination and we didn’t do any of them. That to me is not the France I wanted to see but rather something that forms an image of a Disney World for adults. Watching the Tour de France had painted a much different attraction that I wanted to see – the small towns, narrow roads and the abundant chateaux that dot the country side. Disney World could wait.
I realised I used the term ‘experience’ a lot in this post, but that is exactly what Afrika Burn is – a bombardment on your senses. Everything about it is an (unique) experience, including getting there. Settled in the middle of the Tankwa Karoo National Park, it’s about 4.5 hours drive from Cape Town, out of which 120 on a dirt road. For over 10 years both locals and foreigners have been gathering in the desert to partake in this eclectic arts festival. Born from its Bigger Brother in the States, Burning Man, Afrika Burn has always been announced as one of those must-experience events. So with our flight to Europe drawing closer we thought that we would do just that.
After a long European stay we arrived back home to South Africa. Immediately after landing in Cape Town we headed even further south, in fact as far south as you can possibly get – Cape Agulhas. Although most of the holiday makers head to magical Cape Town for the summer season ( peaking over December and January ) for us its better to be away from the hustle and bustle, traffic and well yes, tourists. The Western Cape province has so much to offer in terms of fantastic coastal holiday destinations. Beaches you don’t have to share, and tranquility in abundance. Not to mention a warmer ocean than you will find in Cape Town. For myself at least, the festive time of the year has always been symbolised by time at the coast. Board shorts, the ocean, good wine and braai ( South African slang for barbecue ).