How does one even begin to describe South Africa? This vast country was my dream and it was realised at a time when I needed a breather from work, which made the trip even more magical.
We began our eight-day journey in Cape Town at the beginning of October, a fine season for a holiday in the gorgeous city as it transitioned from spring to summer. We rumbled along the streets of Cape Town on a big commercial bus, peered at the sights through big glass windows, and listened to our affable guide John (who looks a bit like Santa Claus) sing to us the history and stories of Cape Town.
My favourite time spent in the city was at the top of Cape Point. Flanked by the Atlantic and Indian oceans, the views up there are such a luxury — we even spotted a whale casually cruising along the surface of the Atlantic ocean! My dad and I were absolutely transfixed at the sight of the majestic mammal and watched it for a long time, even though everyone else got bored of it really quickly.
Before dinner on our last night in Cape Town, John brought us on a little walk around Bo-Kaap, the Malay Quarter. Its explosion of colours is an interesting juxtaposition to the muted tones of the city’s humble suburbs and landscape.
The highlight of our walk was when we had to cross a road and John was making sure that we all got to the other side safely — a car was speeding along and John waved and shouted at the driver to slow down. When he didn’t, John started ranting about the dangers of irresponsible driving. He apologised later for his outburst, but he didn’t need to do that at all, for we were all so grateful to him for always looking out for us, a bunch of strangers.
As much as I would have liked to get to know Cape Town on a more personal level, it was nearly impossible to do that on a full tour. Keeping to schedules, having to stick to the group most of the time — these are things that I am not accustomed to. I wanted to have conversations with Capetonians and learn about their lives; I wanted to turn a corner and stumble upon places hidden out of tourists’ sights. This trip was merely the tip of the iceberg, and next time I will be back to experience it all.
After three days in Cape Town, it was time to bid adieu to the city that has captured my heart. On the way to the airport for our flight to Johannesburg, John reminded us that for every eight new tourists to South Africa, two jobs are created — one permanent and one temporary. And with that, he thanked us for choosing to visit his beautiful country. Thank you Cape Town, for the wondrous visit.