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Bon Vivant: An American Intern’s Experiences in South Africa

Written by Guest Author · 3 min read >

Siobhan Mariquit is a young American working as a Business Analyst Intern at Eventerprise’s Cape Town hub. One of the perks of participating in an international internship programme is that Siobhan can explore South Africa, and get to tick a few items off her bucket list.

Told ya I’d be back with a Bon pun!

For those of you who don’t know, bon vivant means “a person who devotes themselves to a luxurious lifestyle.” Well, this is my version of luxury! Seeing animals I’ve always imagined seeing, hiking national parks I never knew I wanted to hike, and spending time with friends I couldn’t imagine meeting otherwise!

I haven’t written an update on the adventures I’ve gone on so far, so I figured I would now. Last weekend, I had the opportunity to go on the Peninsula Tour. If it isn’t obvious, the Peninsula Tour is a tour of the peninsula (wild, right?). First, we started off the day by touring Seal Island in Hout bay. Again, if it isn’t obvious, Seal Island is an island inhabited by seals. Not only did I get to see and touch a seal for the first time, I also had the chance to kiss one! If you’re interested in seeing that, reference back to my Facebook… If you’re not friends with me on Facebook you’re missing out so go be my friend!

After the seals, we drove south to Chapmans Peak Drive which is a beautiful overlook where we were able to gaze out into the Atlantic Ocean and take a few pictures. Never before have I seen such a massive body of water. Being from New York, I’ve seen the Atlantic Ocean numerous times at the Jersey Shore but this was such a different experience. There weren’t any boats or other man-made objects disrupting the view or babies screaming in the background. The lookout was so peaceful and naturally beautiful, I could have spent a whole day just looking out into the mass of water.

The next stop on the trip was Boulder Penguin Colony (yes, PENGUINS!). Although I didn’t get to kiss or touch these animals, I saw them and definitely checked a box off of my bucket list. I was able to get a few photos of penguins kissing and huddling together which exemplifies how intimate their relationship as animals is. As you can see below, African penguins look like your average penguins in pictures but it is a whole different experience seeing them living life in their natural habitat. If you ever have the opportunity to see animals like penguins in person, definitely take advantage of it. Their mannerisms are very interesting to people-watch… or should I say penguin-watch!

Finally, we took a drive to the Cape of Good Hope. The Cape of Good Hope is the tip of the peninsula, or the most Southwestern point in South Africa. First, we hiked up a hill to a lighthouse to look over amazing views and cliffs. To get a closer look, I took a hike on a trail near the coastline, peering over the cliffs to see white-sand beaches and tons of washed up seaweed. Like the penguins, seaweed roots do not look the same in person as they do in pictures. Those things are massive!

The weekend after the Peninsula Tour, I had the opportunity to go on a weekend tour of the Garden Route. On this trip, our group canoed at Eden Adventures, hiked around Tsitsikamma National Park and its suspension bridges, and climbed through rocks at the Cango Caves. I would definitely recommend doing the Adventure Tour at Cango Cave on the off chance you’re ever there… We got to climb through tiny holes between rocks, sometimes having to arm crawl and slide down rocks on our tummies!

In the middle of all of those physical activities, I was able to meet and hold trunks with some Elephants at The Elephant Sanctuary! Find pictures below! I don’t really have words to explain how cool that experience was. It was that amazing. Elephants are huge animals, but are big teddy bears at heart. There is a myth that when elephants look at humans, their brains release the same hormone that human brains release when we look at puppies! The main thing that you should get out of that is that most elephants will love looking at people, and those who don’t are weird.

Finally, I met some ostriches at the Cango Ostrich Farm on our way back to Cape Town. All I can say is ostriches are very interesting animals. Their brains are smaller than their eyeballs, so they have difficulty remembering anything making it impossible to train these animals. I’m going to post a cool video of an ostrich on my Facebook, so if you haven’t friended me already, here’s a reminder to do so!

All in all, the last three weeks here in Cape Town have been amazing. It already feels like I’ve been here for months and am in my freshman year of college all over again… In terms of meeting people, not going out of course! Catch ya next time!