“The only solution was education, offering the chance of experiencing at first hand the land and traditions of their forebears and proving that one can and should coexist with the wild, in harmony … that one can, and should, learn how to utilize Nature without spoiling it, in” – Kuki Gallman, I dreamed of Africa.
As a child I yearned to travel to South Africa – a forbidden destination due to apartheid. It was my first passport, issued by the Indian Government in the 1980s. A massive black imprinted stamp glaring back at me with defiance, “Not valid for travel to the Republic of South Africa.” The forbidden fruit was all the more appealing. I promised myself I would go one day and I did! In 2014 I was gifted an amazing trip to South Africa by the South African Board of Tourism. A magnificent 50th birthday gift, arranged by my late parents. South Africa is a country blessed with magnificent beaches straddled by two oceans, a carpet of stars illuminating the dark skies, serrated lush mountains – a country rich in history and dynamic!
Cape Town is witness to numerous significant historical events re-shaping South Africa such as the arrival of the Dutch settlers in 1652, the British invasion during the Napoleonic Wars and the revolt of the Groot Trek. It was in 1990 when Nelson Mandela made his first historic walk to freedom. Four years later, Desmond Tutu described the new South Africa as “The Rainbow People of God,” the birth of the “Rainbow Nation.” Today, South African wines meld the Old with the New World; found in the Western Cape, where the cool wind aids in the retention of the bright acidity, keeping it fresh and food friendly.
Visiting South African and understanding her history was an integral part of my visit. Had there been no influx of immigrants and the tumultuous apartheid era, South Africa would not be who she is as a nation in the world of travel. The highlight of any trip to South Africa is a visit to Robben Island. The island gives a feel of sheer beauty but at the same time, a feel of dread – where one can be forgotten. Visiting a prison on the island coupled with a close encounter with an ex-prisoner, brings to life the horrors faced by many who fought valiantly against this vile regime. Visit Soweto and meet with locals for a more in-depth understanding of life today in South Africa. One will realize how South Africans are a proud people who see a future full of promise.
South African vistas are spectacular, from the semi-barren deserts to the Drakensberg range and the gigantic Blyde River Canyon. The fauna and flora of Cape Town is stunning, ascending the slopes of Table Mountain, where a coastal road leads to two panoramic drives – Cape Point and Hermanus. The vineyards add to the mystic and beauty of the South African Winelands, ancient forests along the Garden Route – so much beauty in one country!
South Africa has incredible safari experiences, offering the Big Five – lions, leopards, wild dogs, wilderbeast, buffalos, elephants, rhinos, birds and much more. It is not about just sighting wildlife but realizing the serious ramifications of poaching and steps being taken to prevent the extinction of these wild beasts. How about a personal encounter with a great white shark, seals or whales?
Why South Africa?
One nation replete with multi-cultures, wines, cuisines, music, wildlife, mountains, outdoor adventure – there is much to see and experience. South Africa is a country not to be missed on ones travel bucket list. South Africa is a nation for all travelers that will sneak its way into your heart, holding you hostage for multiple visits. One visit is never enough! I plan to re-visit South Africa. Would you like to join me? There will be food, meeting local people, wine, plenty of laughter and a lot of history. Contact me and I shall transport you into a fun filled adventurous journey that will leave you breathless.
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