A visit to the Alpaca Loom in Paarl

Home of the much fluffier hornless cousin of the unicorn
If you're South African and unable to fulfil your dream of seeing South America right now because of COVID-19-related travel restrictions, the Alpaca Loom Coffee Shop and Weaving Studio in Paarl may be the next best thing! Okay, they don't have Machu Picchu, a Rio Carnival or any Bolivian salt flats for those forced-perspective photos that everyone takes, but they have alpacas! And alpacas are awesome! 
As international travel is not really currently an option, the lower lockdown restrictions mean that there's nothing stopping those of us with wanderlust from exploring our own backyards. While technically I visited the farm just before lockdown, located close to Cape Town, with plenty to see and do outdoors, the Alpaca loom makes for a great well-ventilated social-distancing day trip. 
I really thought we had enough wildlife in South Africa and didn't understand why we would bother to import more. After my experienc…

A Guide to Surviving Lockdown for the Travel-Obsessed

Well, I think we can all agree that 2020 has been a bit of a jerk! Due to COVID-19, all your travel plans for the foreseeable future have probably gone to hell (and unfortunately, I don’t mean the one in the Cayman Islands). If you’re obsessed with travel (and lucky enough to not have more serious concerns during this time), here’s a guide to surviving your own 'itchy feet' during the lockdown. Below are some tips on how you can turn your involuntary staycation into an exotic adventure, just by doing a lot of the things you would do if you were travelling now anyway.

Even though you're in lockdown: 

The Ghost Ships of the Coronapocalypse

What has become of the cruise ships and their crew in the wake of the sudden shutdown of the cruise line industry?
As much as the entire travel industry has ground to a halt since the outbreak of COVID-19, the cruise line industry seems to have been dealt possibly the heaviest blow. After the outbreak on the Diamond Princess ship in Japan where 712 people were infected, followed by a much smaller outbreak on the Grand Princess off the coast of California, all major cruise lines based in the USA (and therefore all major cruise lines) suspended all their cruises with little notice. Any cruises scheduled to start on or after 14 March were cancelled. While some cruise lines tried unsuccessfully to continue with international cruises, to the best of my knowledge, the entire industry is no longer operational.

It has been three weeks since that historic decision. Since then there has been a lot of press over two issues: 

The one was the cruise lines’ requests for government bailouts. This spark…

A Complete Guide to Surfing in Muizenberg, Cape Town

While South Africa is famous for its surf beaches, the good ones (like the renowned Jeffrey's Bay) tend to be in the Eastern Cape. The east coast near Kwazulu Natal offers some decent surfing conditions too, with the added bonus of a year-round warm tropical climate. The Western Cape on the southwest point of South Africa has neither warm water (you will have to wear a wet suit and the water will still give your feet an ice-cream headache) nor perfect conditions, but it is definitely up there in the top three places to surf in South Africa! The sharks in these waters also tend to be the 'Great White' variety BUT, other than that, if you're into surfing - or you're a complete novice and you feel like giving it a bash - and you happen to be in Cape Town anyway, Muizenberg Beach is DEFINITELY the place to go. 

Truthfully, with a sandbank and gentle waves, Muizenberg in Cape Town is considered one of the best places in the world to learn how to surf. And if you already …

Slipknot, the Golden Girls and Flat Earth Theorists: A guide to the Strangest Theme Cruises of 2020

There was a time when cruises were associated with the elderly, most likely because they were expensive and people could only afford to go on them when they retired. Then the likes of Royal Caribbean, Carnival and NCL made cruising less expensive, more relaxed and transformed it into a middle-class family vacation. So, now they’re associated with kids clubs, unruly brats, their parents and the elderly. And while that image is still evolving (like with the launch of Richard Branson’s super trendy adults-only Virgin Voyages this year), what many people don’t know is that cruise ships have also long been a safe-haven or a temporary retreat for many of society’s misfits and special interest enthusiasts. A range of charter and group cruises have been drawing a variety of unusual cruisers for decades, from the most die-hard fans of mainstream pop culture to alternative subculture freaks. 
So, while you may think that cruising is ‘not for you’, I am 100% certain that whatever you’re into, the…

Welcome to the Sharonicles

The Sharonicles is a travel humour blog by a South African travel writer. With six years of experience as a cruise ship crew member, her travels on ships and on land have taken her to 57 countries on five different continents.  She photographs a plastic flamingo called 'Rodrigo' on her adventures because it seemed like a good idea ten years ago and it’s probably too late to turn back now. She also likes unicorns, carbs and referring to herself in third-person.

Here she shares advice, opinions and anecdotes revealing the funny side of travel from her experiences. 

Browse by category

Practical travel tips and destination guides 
for anyone visiting any of the places I have been.

My thoughts on travel mascots, photographing 
your butt in exotic locations and the addictive 
nature of cruise ship employment, 
among other things.

True stories about trying to find trolls in 
Norway, toilets in Denmark 
and getting flashed in Cuba, to name a few.

Tips for cruisers and crew 
members, as well as anecdotes from a variety 
of experiences at sea.



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