My husband and I decided to go on an impromptu trip to South Africa after a cousin recommended it. Five days of planning and booking, and we were off to Johannesburg! After taking it easy the first day, we visited the Gandhi Square just off Rissik Street, where the Mahatma used to have his legal office.
His statue was erected in the square in October 2003. We paid our respects and headed to the Johannesburg botanical gardens. Established in 1964 as a large rose garden, it subsequently expanded over the years to cover an area of around 125 hectares. It’s calm and peaceful, quite contrary to where we were headed.
The next day we were off to Sun City. It’s a luxury resort and casino situated in the north west province of South Africa. An entertaining place for everyone, it offers a variety of activities such as quad biking, archery, jet ski, motor boats and parasailing. We chose to go for the banana ride since it was new to us.
Apart from these, there’s Sun City’s premier water theme park — the Valley of the Waves. It looks like a picture-postcard tropical island, complete with a sandy beach and turquoise waves generated by a powerful wave machine.
There is a water slide for every comfort level — from easy-going along a gentle stream to semi-submerged waterslides and the truly hair-raising 30m (98ft) sheer drop! There’s also the maze of the lost city, which is an artificially created illusion of an ancient archaeological discovery, but we skipped that since we were running short of time.
After soaking up much sun and sin, we headed to Mossel Bay in George city. We stayed at The Point Hotel, which is one of the best places there since it is situated on the shore and gives a breathtaking view of the Indian Ocean.
Cango caves are a wonderful place to experience the fusion of fantasy with natural beauty in the world’s finest stalactite caves. Next up, was the ostrich farm, located in Oudtshoorn, where we learnt quite some things about the beautiful bird and its habitat.
In the evening we went for the most awaited part of our trip, the sky dive! We were thrilled to experience the free fall from a hight of 10,000 feet. Initially, I was a bit reluctant, but then I wanted to experience it at least once in my life and I knew this was the correct time.
South African or Cape fur seals; bungee jumping in Kynsna; Cango caves
The air was freezing cold and my hands were numb. When the time came to take a leap, the air pressure was so strong, I thought it would tear my jaws apart. Floating in the sky, I could see the borders of South Africa. What a beautiful experience it was!
In keeping with the adventurous streak, we went to Knysna next and took a halt at the world’s highest bungee bridge — Bloukran’s Face Adrenaline. The decision to jump off the bridge was totally spontaneous. It’s one of the most adventurous things I’ve done.
After all that adrenaline pumping, we made our way to the city tour of the most scenic place, Knysna. Nestled between the Quteniqua mountains and Indian Ocean, it’s a small town in the heart of South Africa’s beautiful garden route just east of Cape Town. We also visited the famous Tsitsikamma National Park, a protected area on the Garden Route. It is a coastal reserve well known for its indigenous forests, dramatic coastline, and the Otter Trail.
We also had a close encounter with sharks and crocodiles at the Cango wildlife ranch. It was an electrifying experience to see the sharks so closely in ice cold water. Not everyday do you get such a chance to look at these beautiful creatures so closely.
Coming to Cape Town, the premier tourist attraction, there was the Table Mountain. We got there with the help of a cable car. The exhilarating assent of Table Mountain provides breathtaking views of the city, its beaches and the other mountains. The panorama stretches from Table Bay to False Bay and around the mountain to the Hout Bay valley. On our way back, we visited the Seal Island where you can find a great number of Cape fur seals.
Later we made our way to the Cape Point and Cape of Good Hope which is the South Western point of the African continent. It’s truly an incredible place. The spectacular beauty of the point where the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean meet is astonishing. Later, we took a small city tour visiting the houses of the parliament, the castle, Signal Hill, Sea Point, water front, Malay quarters and downtown business district.
The museums gave a great insight into the lives of the leaders and discoverers, their culture and style of living. I’m pretty sure we missed dozens of other places worth seeing, but we made the best out of what time permitted us. In short, I would say, if you are looking for a complete package of fun, adventure, scenery, beaches, nightlife, cultural heritage and warm and welcoming people, it’s time for South Africa!
The writer, owner of a fashion studio, is an avid traveler
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