Hakuna matata… hakuna matata….!
So this is the song that I’ve been humming for the past few weeks now. Last year December, I went to South Africa for two weeks…. yassss… and there goes a bigggg tick on my bucket list… hence I am going to blabber in this post about SA.
Disclaimer: The opinions below are strictly personal, formed based on my experiences, observations and of course some eavesdropped conversations
To begin with, I wasn’t too convinced at first about visiting SA coz of a few preconceived notions:
- I don’t want to get mugged and shot
- I am a vegetarian and can’t go hungry for two weeks
- There won’t be enough stuff to grab my attention for two weeks
- It’ll be soooo hot
While the above list is not exhaustive, it still captures the gist of my aversions to visiting the place. I’m glad that I had so many presumptions about the place as that itself made my experience amazing because at almost every step I was either proved wrong or saw a brand new side to the thought. Also, the trip gave me a lot of my firsts (some of which are mentioned here). I did my first safari, first sky dive, first road trip, first accident in a foreign land (ha, but it wasn’t half as funny at the time), first lions walk, first stay in a beach villa and a farm land, first whale watching, first swim with the African penguins, first berry picking, almost the first bungee and so many more. So obviously this trip will forever be special to me. While all my previous trips have been to exotic locales in France, Europe, UK and Asia I can safely say that if you’ve not been to SA then you’re missing on a whole new world of experience.
My stay started in Johannesburg. I was there for two days and I must say I was in for a shock. While the place apparently is the 2nd best in the world in terms of quality of drinking water, it is 3rd highest in crime rate. That only got reinstated when I saw the city go shut at 6:00 in the evening. Coming from a metro in India that literally never ever sleeps, I was aghast. I was putting up in a beautiful airbnb but didn’t know where to look for food at 8:00 pm. Sad. Nonetheless the city is beautiful in the day light. Will have to ask the muggers about the night time delights.
I then went for a three day safari in Kruger and have the memories of my life from there. Right from the accommodation to the safari to the FOOD, I was the happiest puppy there could ever be. I highlight food, one because I didn’t remotely expect veg food and two coz that’s the first thing I was told by a co-safarer ( yeah I made that word up) a solo tripper from Italy, when I asked him how his safari experience was… at the time I simply smirked! Only to later be slammed by the chef with some of the best veg dishes that I’ll ever eat in my life. These dishes became all the more delicious as they were coming from a person who’s never been to India and has never tasted the cuisine. Kudos to her!!
I left with a heavy heart from Kruger only to be happy again in Cape Town… the buzziest city in SA (hahahahaha). It was indeed busy, for people who are accustomed to seeing all of two people on the street at any given time. Not to me who sits in a three hour traffic jam everyday with 2 lakh other agonised souls. Huh.. Cape Town was like my soul searching getaway. The city has the best beaches, landscapes, picture perfect student towns and wine lands. Not to mention some of most beautiful drives in the world. And while the sun shined bright all day, evenings were usually cold (again coming from someone who has winters at 25 degree Celsius, so pardon me if this hurts). I did the garden route and Chapman’s peak drive and couldn’t have asked for anything more. I will take a lecture on them maybe some other day….
The last leg of my trip were my stays along the garden route. Two of my most memorable stays ever:
George Town and Mossel bay showed me what I was missing out in the mind-numbing life-sucking life of the metro. People enjoyed their lives in a way that I can neither fathom nor fully appreciate. Both these places, while being poles apart, gave me the very African feel that I was looking for all along. If I ever manage to escape this mayhem called life, this is where you can find me…
- Cuddled up, gazing at the night sky in between catching glimpses of the millions of fireflies and waking up to the mowing cows (which I think I befriended by the end of my stay).
- Sleeping with the sound of the waves filling my heart and soul and waking up to the prettiest sunrise ever….
Some more winelands
Chapman’s peak drive
Having written the longest post so far, I think I now adequately qualify to be the tourism ambassador of South Africa. Until then, hope you enjoy reading this post as much as I enjoyed writing it…