Fish Are Friends

After almost 2 months, I feel well integrated into my life here in South Africa. I cheered on the springboks in the rugby world cup, I’ve learned how to use a brain and I have now had the chance to do a number of short trips.

The first of these getaways consisted of me meeting Kate at her internship in Kynsna and heading to Sedgefield for 2 nights spent beachfront.

Mossel Bay, pre sharks.

Being only an hour from Mossel Bay, we decided that we couldn’t pass up the chance to get in a cage and come face to face with the ocean’s largest predators.

Ready to look fear in the eye.

I was surprised how excited I actually was to step into the cage. Being in the first group to get in the water, the sharks were curious and lively. We saw numerous great whites graze past us and had a real-life jaws moment when one swam straight for us, teeth glaring.

duh  nuh.. duh nuh.. duh nuh

Disclaimer: we survived with all extremities intact.

Tsitsikamma mountains

Other highlights from my time here in Plett include spending my birthday in Tsitikamma; hiking the storms river mouth and joining in an African drumming circle, visiting the Bramon Wine Estate and frolicking around in Natures Valley.

Nature’s Valley

Stay tuned,


Welcome to Plett

After 2 layovers, a day spent in London and roughly 23 hours of air travel, I walked off the plane and onto the runway in George. With the distant views of sea and mountains, the fatigue momentarily disappeared as I was overcome with excitement.

13 hr layover? no problem
13 hr layover? no problem
sunrise in the clouds
sunrise in the clouds

I’m doing my internship at the African Array Lodge in Plettenberg Bay. A coastal town with a plethora of activities for adrenaline junkies and nature lovers alike. The lodge itself is perched on a hill, overlooking the ocean to the East and forest and valley to the West. The lodge is beautiful and has a warm, homey feel; attracting travellers from across the globe. I’ve had the pleasure of working with two girls from Belgium and France, and meeting guests from Israel, the Netherlands, Germany, South Africa, the UK and the USA.

Highlights of my first few weeks include hiking the nearby Robberg Peninsula, visiting Monkeyland (a sanctuary for monkeys) and spotting dolphins on the beach in town.

hiking Robberg
hiking Robberg
Robberg Penninsula
Robberg Penninsula

Stay tuned, more adventures to come.


My South African Life #CapeTown2014 by Dominique Jacobs


Chapter 1: “The Big Welcome-Family Reunion”
Hello all! It’s your girl Dominique here again, so you left me at Pearson airport about to leave for Amsterdam and after a long, incredibly grueling journey, (we left on Fri Dec. 27th) and we finally arrived in Cape Town on Sun Dec 29th-yes it took almost two days to get there. The best part about the trip was the first leg; the flight to Amsterdam! My sister and I met a really cool (very good-looking) guy from Finland who kept us thoroughly entertained the whole time. We had a blast together; chatting, watching movies and causing such a ruckus with our laughter that we were told that “that people were complaining and to keep it down” by the flight attendants … but it was such fun! We stopped in for at Amsterdam airport for two hours and had time for breakfast…well…a liquid breakfast, don’t judge: It was 2am Toronto time and with an 8 hour flight under our belt and facing another 13 hour one, it was well deserved!

amsterdam breakfast

On landing at Cape Town International airport we had the distinct need to freshen up, because we just knew that there would be a HUGE crowd up our arrival…and we weren’t wrong! This is just a handful of our cousins that came to meet us; we were also greeted by our aunties and our Dad-who had flown down ahead. They had painted a sign; if you look closely it has Table Mountain on it (Cape Town’s most famous land mark) and hand drawn a South Africa flag…how cute is this?!

airport welcome

airport 2

When we got back to our aunties’ house there was a massive reception meal, it was just after midnight on Sunday morning but the buzz of excitement in the air was palpable and contagious! Everyone couldn’t have been happier to see us. Thank goodness we freshened up! After 18 years of not seeing them, and meeting some for the first time, the initial impression was pretty important.

first night table

First night in CT

Here we are enjoying a delicious bite after the long flight. We were totally exhausted but had such fun reconnecting with everyone for a few hours. The very next day they had a BIG Family reunion planned! And that was something to see…60 or so members of the family all together to ‘Welcome us Home’, we felt like celebrities…jet-lagged and all.

So in the morning we awoke to a fury of activity and the next thing we knew there was a massive BBQ with most of our family from our Dad’s side…what a fun day! We were completely overwhelmed simply by the sheer numbers of family that we have, as we have grown up in North America with only our immediate 3 (after my mom died)…so it was quite the experience. This photo is of some of the cousins, (as not all of them jumped in) my sister and dad (in the white hat). We were all so happy!

family reunion

Needless to say, the party continued well into the night… “Welcome to Cape Town, cheers!!!”and what a ‘Welcome’ is was…

welcome to Cape Town




My South African Life #CapeTown2014 by Dominique Jacobs

Disclaimer: Hi everyone, it’s your girl Dominique in Cape Town, South Africa! I first of all need to apologise for this huge delay on my blog posts, as it has been very, very challenging getting a WiFi signal, and when I do and start posting my blog …the internet crashes! This has been happening for the past 6 weeks that I have been here, and all anybody ever tells me is: “well, this is Africa” and then they shrug and walk away…lol…I guess that says it all. Thank you for your patience as I endeavor to bring you my story from the southern-most country in Africa.


Prelude:”Going Home”
It all begins at Toronto Pearson airport on December 27th, 2013… true!…It began months, actually, years before. I have been missing…aching to get back to my roots, my family, my ‘Motherland’, it is as if something is missing in my soul and has been missing for far, far too long.
OK, so maybe I should start at the beginning; I was born in Cape Town, South Africa to Neville and Elvira Jacobs. Both of my parents were born and raised in Cape Town, and when I was 3 years old, my little sister Claire was born. We had a wonderful young life, all of our cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents surrounding us with love and support during these early years in South Africa. We had a community of people that we could count on and: They are family. We had a beautiful life, I remember gardens with gardeners, and we had a big house with maids and a cook. I would chat with them all as a child; that’s how I became fluent in Afrikaans one of the 9 national languages and spoken (either as the first or second language) by my people the ‘Cape Coloured’, or mixed race people of the Western Cape(who are all bi-lingual –may I add).

Now to make a long story short, when I was 5 years old, (my sister was 2years) my parents decided that we would leave the country for the US; this decision was made due to two important reasons #1: the fact that at that time my father was a member of the ANC (African National Congress), and in those years of apartheid the ANC was considered to be a terrorist organization. He faced jail time, police brutality and torture, while fighting for democracy in a minority government… yeah, I know guys, it’s kinda heavy… so let’s move on to #2,this reason is right up our alley: Education. My dad wanted to complete his PHD studies, which he had started in the early 70’s in St. Louis, Missouri USA. So we made the move…ended up here in Canada, and years later, in 1995 my mother passed away from cancer, and we came home to bury her…as per her last wishes… and that was the last time I was in Cape Town, South Africa. That was 18 years ago.

You need to know my back ground to understand the depths to my story…I understand this is not the easiest read, but it is the truth; and also the reason why I so desperately needed to come back to Cape Town, South Africa. So I applied to GEO for the SA internship, specifically for Cape Town, and I am unbelievably grateful to have landed this opportunity, and I cannot wait to reconnect with my family! It’s been 18 years since I’ve seen my family, new members have been born and raised, the babies from last time are all young adults now, and my crew (the cousins closest to me) have all since been married and have kids of their own. It’s been 18 years since I’ve laid eyes on my mother’s grave and spoken to anyone in her family. It’s been 18 years afterall, since I’ve been home.

This picture is of me and my dad in Wynberg Park, before we left Cape Town, South Africa. I was a cute baby, eh?
001 (2)

This trip is a really big deal for me…I don’t know if this post even expresses the depth of my emotion being able to “go home” after so long. So I must give a HUGE thank you to Pearl, Yana the GEO department; and Centennial College for affording me this
incredible opportunity! Thank you ALL so very much, this means the world to me.

As I am getting ready to depart, I am thinking about my goals (as my motivations are quite clear if you read the above); I would hope to achieve a lasting professional relationship with the organization I will be placed in (as I hope to return to SA in 2-3 years as opposed to the dreadful long years that is has been), a glowing letter of reference due to work well done at my International placement that will propel me into a new level of my career, and perhaps a job offer in the future? My expectations are massive!
But mostly, I just can’t wait to see and embrace all of my family, watch the two oceans (Indian and Atlantic) crash into each other again, and smell that salty, fresh sea air. I can’t wait to feel the sand between my toes and the ocean waves washing away the years of longing. I am not afraid. I am ready.
AND; So here we are now…on Saturday, Dec 27th, my sister and I, at Toronto Pearson International, super excited and on our way to board the plane for the first leg of our long, long journey, we start with an 8 hour flight…#AmsterdamBound!
we out! Pearson