Tag Archives: sharks

South Africa and Mauritius Itinerary

10 Dec

Are you interested in traveling to South Africa and Mauritius?  Well, check out my 2 week itinerary!

Day 1:  Depart for Cape Town.

Day 2:  Arrive in Cape Town.  Hotel:  An African Villa.  Transportation from airport provided by Discovery Tours.

Day 3:  Cape Point morning tour with Hylton Ross (penguins, Cape of Good Hope).  Lunch at V&A waterfront (in particular, the market).  City & Table Mountain afternoon tour with Hylton Ross of Cape Town including Table Mountain, Camps Bay, City Hall, a market, and Malay quarter.  Dinner at V&A Waterfront.



Day 4:  Great White Shark cage diving with Great White Shark Tours.  4:10am pick up.  Returned to Cape Town around 3pm.  Dinner near hotel – Sawadee (Thai food).


Day 5:  All day wine tour with lunch through Wine Flies.


Day 6:  All day Cape Town cultural and Robben Island tour through Hylton Ross.  Visited District Six Museum, Langa Township, and Robben Island.  Dinner at Raj in Camps Bay.


Day 7:  Depart Cape Town for Kapama Game Reserve.   Hotel:  Kapama Karula.  Afternoon game drive.


Day 8:  Morning elephant-backed safari.  Afternoon game drive.


Day 9:  Morning game drive.  4+ hours at the spa.  Afternoon game drive.


Day 10:  Morning game drive.  Afternoon depart for Johannesburg.  Hotel:  D’Oreale Grande Peermont.


Day 11:  Depart Johannesburg for Mauritius.  Hotel:  Sugar Beach Resort.


Day 12:  Beach day.


Day 13:  Beach day.


Day 14:  Catamaran – snorkeling, see dolphins, visit an island and lunch.


Day 15:  Beach day.


Day 16:  Depart Mauritius.  Return home.   7 hour layover in Johannesburg was spent exploring airport shops, lunch at City Lodge Hotel, and working out at Phela Live Wellness Centre.

Day 17:  Arrive home.

Courtney Mara’s 2013 Bucket List

31 Dec

My 2013 DC bucket list:

  • Go inside the National Cathedral
  • Bureau of Engraving & Printing
  • Go to the top of the clock tower at the Old Post Office Pavilion
  • National Geographic Museum
  • Air & Space Museum in Dulles, VA
  • National Observatory
  • US Capitol building tour
  • Explore 14th Street NW

My 2013 personal bucket list:

  • Get married (May 2013)
  • Have more DC dates with my fiance/husband
  • Spend more time with friends and family

My 2013 travel bucket list:

  • Jamaica (wedding): (1) jump off of a cliff (even if its a baby one) in Negril and (2) Margaritaville in Montego Bay
  • South Africa and Mozambique (honeymoon): (1) see a great white shark, (2) swim with a whale shark, (3) go with Matt on his first safari, (4) ride an elephant with Matt in Africa, and (5) go to Cape Town. 
  • Take a hot air balloon ride
  • Travel to at least one state that I have never been to (e.g., Hawaii, Alaska, Alabama, Vermont, etc.)

What is on your 2013 bucket list?

French Polynesia: Move Over Honeymooners – We’re Celebrating Our Engagement Moon

29 Aug

As you are aware, Matt and I became an engaged couple in the French Polynesia and, in particular, in Tahiti.  Now, not only can the Tahitian Islands claim the No. 3 spot in Modern Bride Magazine’s “World’s Best Honeymoon” survey, but they could easily start marketing themselves as the place to get engaged.

It is much easier and cheaper to take advantage of the Tahitian Islands than people think.  From time to time, you can find some great deals on Air Tahiti Nui’s website.  For example, our deal was for around $1200/pp we received flights from LAX –> Tahiti –> New Zealand –> LAX and, on top of the flights,  our deal even included 3 nights at the Radisson Resort in Tahiti.  We ended up extending our stay in Tahiti and purchased one extra night at the Radisson for the price of less than $100/pp.  You could do the trip even cheaper by purchasing one of Air Tahiti’s discounted flights to Tahiti and staying at an even cheaper hotel.  We wanted to keep our black sand beach.

Now I do realize that we are a bit spoiled in the fact that $1200+/pp is not a cheap trip for all people.   However, considering we were quoted over $2000/pp for one week in Ireland, considering we were able to visit three destinations (LA, the Tahitian Islands, and New Zealand), and considering this is one of those “once-in-a-lifetime trips,” the cost was well worth it.

Before I left for Tahiti, I had asked around about what we should do there.  I also checked out a couple of books from the library, but those were not so helpful.  The two recommended tours I was told to take are: 1) a boat tour around Moorea and 2) a jungle tour.   The first one is a definite.  Moorea has the dreamy beaches and crystal-clear water where you step into the water and can clearly see your feet.  Moorea is also where you can take feed stingrays and sharks, which is what we did with Hiro’s Tours (http://www.hirotours.com/).  We started our day early with a taxi ride to Tahiti’s port, a ferry to Moorea, and then another taxi to a hotel from which Hiro’s Tours’ boat launched from.  The boat took us around the island to see the mountains of Moorea, a ship wreck, and the different bays.  We were also able to take a look at those famous bungalows over the water.   After cruising around the island for a while, the boat stopped at a location from which we were to play with sting rays and stand in the water while sharks were fed right next to us.  Although no one had ever been bitten on Hiro’s Tours, I still did not feel completely comfortable swimming in water with 4-5 foot black tip sharks.  I sucked it up though and went into the water like a champ.  The boat assistants make you feel comfortable being in the water with the stingrays and sharks.  They will even bring the stingrays right up on you.   You are not able to be as friendly with the sharks, but boy did they get close.  At one point, one of the guys on the tour was surrounded by a group of them.  The sharks just left him alone.

The shark/stingray tour in Moorea is probably the best tour I have ever been on.  I will never forget this time when I swam with sharks.   The jungle tour, on the other hand, is not such a memorable tour.  The jungle tour guide picks you up, he drives you through the forest, you look at a lot of waterfalls, and you play with some leaves.  This tour can be skipped.  Granted it was pretty cool to play with leaves the size of me, but I would have also enjoyed playing in the water at our resort’s beach.

All in all, the Tahitian islands are a must see destination.  Tahiti can be skipped over, but Moorea, and I imagine Bora Bora, are the islands people dream of.