RachelCushing's Travel Journals


  • From Georgia, United States
  • Currently in Stellenbosch, South Africa

Chasing my lions

I have always wanted to be a traveler. Everything about the nomadic, exciting, adventurous, and unsure lifestyle just calls to me. Having only been out of the country once before that aspiration has thus far been, well, just that; an aspiration. But now I have been given the amazing opportunity to spend five months in Stellenbosch, South Africa and come one step closer to being that traveler. This journal is the catalogue of my various adventures in and around South Africa.

The Daily Grind

South Africa Stellenbosch, South Africa  |  Nov 04, 2012
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 The skeleton of my typical weekday is much like my typical week days back in the States. It is, of course, the setting and small differences in the details which make my daily routine here in South Africa so unique. 

The skeleton of my typical weekday is much like my typical week days back in the States: sleep, wake-up, shower, eat, class, eat, class, home, work, eat, sleep. It is, of course, the setting and small differences in the details which make my daily routine here in South Africa so unique. Here, I wake up in my two bedroom flat, make my usual breakfast of yogurt, museli (granola), and a banana. I turn on my water heater and make a cup of instant coffee. One of the only things you will hear me complain about regarding South Africa is the coffee. Here, everyone drinks instant coffee and none of the flats come with coffee makers to do otherwise. After I have my coffee while reading the US, South African, and International news online, I jump in the shower, get dressed, and bike to class.

Most days I only have two classes which are separated by a two hour lunch break that I usually spend in the student center called the Neelsie with my class mates. My two favorite restaurant’s are called Nectar and Buzz. They both have a variety of fantastic fresh food but I usually opt for the wraps and salads. On the particularly sunny days my friends and I buy our food at one of these lunch spots and then take it outside to the large grassy area situated at the heart of campus to enjoy our meal in the beautiful African sun and breeze. After my second class it is usually about 5pm (classes here are typically 3 hours long) so I head home to get ready for my various evening plans. Most of my dinners here are spent with friends. Either cooking together at one of our flats or biking to one of the adorable eateries in downtown Stellenbosch to enjoy some restaurant quality grub and a nice glass of wine. Most weekdays we spend the rest of the evening doing homework or hanging out around the res.

The main exceptions to this mantra are Wednesday’s and Friday’s which, around Stellenbosch, are treated as Saturdays in terms of nightlife. On these particular nights my friends and I typically start the night at a local watering hole called Bohemia. Known for its chill ambiance, interesting people, and amazing banana/ham/pineapple pizza, this place is one of the most popular pubs in Stellies. After pizza and a few drinks we usually move to one of the more upbeat clubs in the town. A few of our favorites, all within walking/biking distance, are Nubar, Tollies, and Catwalk. They each have their own vibe but all promise great music and a packed dance floor. One of the only downfalls of the Stellenbosch nightlife is the universal closing hour of 2AM. The one club which defies this rule is called Springboks. Half pub (with bar games and lots of sitting space) and half dance club, most of the students end up here around 2:30AM which always leads to a very fun end to the night. From Springboks it is a short 10 min walk back to the res.

Now that classes are over and exams have been taken, my schedule looks a bit different. I will admit, without class and schoolwork, the aforementioned Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday activates occur a bit more now. However, there are also more trips to the Saturday morning market, the various beaches around the Cape, and the many scenic hiking spots around the Stellenbosch area. My friends and I also enjoy making weekend trips to Cape Town where we stay at a fantastic hostel on Longstreet called Penthouse on Long. Known for being the center of nightlife in Cape Town, this location is made even more ideal by the hostel’s rooftop bar and its guarantee of meeting interesting people from all around the work.

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