Nikita Vyas 29 April ’11
Located at the southern tip of Africa, lies a country of diversity, I am talking about the proud hosts of the 2010 FIFA World Cup; I am talking about South Africa.
On 1st April, my family and set off to Abu Dhabi International Airport so we could begin, what I would call a holiday of firsts. It would be my first time going to the vibrant continent of Africa therefore my first time to South Africa. I didn’t know what to expect and as it is in my nature to be anxious when visiting a new place, I was a bit scared. I had heard of such amazing things but at the same time I was warned about crime and theft. What a contradiction. Another first for me was flying more than seven hours, it just sounds exhausting and I felt like I was tied to the seat and there was plastic bag over my head. I am now an official plane hater.
We arrived in Cape Town the next morning. The fresh, mountain air was a treat as compared to the suffocating air of the plane. It was pleasurable to be able to see mountains opposite the airport and practically everywhere we went. We were taken to our hotel by a cunning tour guide; who took us on a very scenic route. Anyway…it was a change from home. We were taken to a temporary room for the night, I am glad it was temporary. Moving on, we decided to go to the much talked about V&A Waterfront, which was previously owned by Dubai. It was a buzzing, lively, tourist spot with shops, restaurants and attractions. The architecture around the Waterfront complemented Cape Town impeccably. Later on, we had dinner at Primi Piatti, another popular hangout.
The next day, we wanted to explore the area so we came across a market selling South African crafts but it didn’t interest me much. Whilst we were walking home, we went to Woolworths; a supermarket for the more particular shopper. When we returned to the hotel we moved our stuff into a sea facing room with access to the pool. It was much better equipped than the other rooms. Then we decided to be more adventurous and were determined to WALK to a place to capture the sunset; Signal Hill. We knew it was far but still, there is always a first time. We travelled through areas of uncountable mansions in all directions, even going up a hill. We were discouraged to walk further by some of the friendlier Capetonians. Strolling ahead, the area seemed so picture perfect, it was surreal. The areas we walked through are called; Bantry Bay, Clifford and Camps Bay-all for the super rich of Cape Town. Eventually we took a taxi up the hill and witnessed a beautiful sunset, which could have been appreciated more if it wasn’t so cold. I took some pictures to cherish but there was a downside. It was dark and there was not a single taxi in sight. I enjoyed the movie like scenario but my mother and sister didn’t. Ultimately and coincidently, while walking down the rescue people found us and dropped us off. Happily Ever After!
On day three, even though we agreed not to walk we did. Our feet took us to the Waterfront. We sat down at a cafe and food shop; Melissa’s, where we had tea and cakes but we couldn’t leave empty handed so we bought some edibles and left. Afterwards, in the afternoon, we decided to check out the Afternoon Tea at two prime hotels; One & Only and Table Bay, both disappointing. After that, we stayed loyal to Primi Piatti and had lunch/dinner there.
Day four, continuing comparisons with Dubai, we headed to Camps Bay beach. Unlike Dubai it had palm trees dotted around, perfect for picnics. It was calming and I had totally forgotten about school but was later constantly reminded by the 1984 printout in my bag. All of a sudden on an impulse we went to the iconic, prestigious Table Mountain. Unfortunately, only my mother and I went but it was worth it. I had never been on top of a mountain in my life. I felt kind of special in a way; it was a rare moment I will never forget. It is one of those things that is a must do. It is honestly indescribable. I felt like I was dreaming, I was shaking and it brought me so much happiness. We ended the day with a stroll along the promenade.
Day five, we went into the city. I felt like I was in London, with the historical buildings and the market. The market area wasn’t exciting. We paused, thinking about what to do. We encountered a map, from which my father got an idea of going to Mount Nelson Hotel aka The Pink Lady. (I didn’t see the connection other than the pink paint on the building). Before reaching the hotel we had to walk through Company’s Gardens, it was placed in the middle of different buildings of historical importance. In the middle was a statue of Sessel John Rhodes, the man who started the Apartheid. The garden had the name Company’s Gardens because of the British and other Europeans. We finally saw the white, heavenly pillars of the hotel. It was truly enchanting. We found ourselves a coffee table in the garden with four chairs and rested. It was still too early for tea so we just enjoyed the colourful flowers and the rest of the nature. We returned promptly at two-thirty. We experienced some problems which I wouldn’t like to mention but in the end I enjoyed the scones!
The week was almost ending, on the sixth day we took it easy and relaxed on the morning. The wind was too violent to go out. I caught up on some reading. In the afternoon, we walked to New Port Deli and had a glass of refreshing juice each which we weirdly paired with cake. We walked further and went to peak at the Radisson SAS; at the back of the hotel we were welcomed by a short stretch of concrete, similar to a pier. We walked and walked.
It was our last day and guess what? We walked more. We went to a few furniture shops but that was only after walking and not really knowing where we were going. We found a quaint, shopping sanctuary full of character, socialising and specialist stores. It’s called Cape Quarter. It was unique and had a tranquil setting with a courtyard in the middle. It was a place of convenience and trend. It had a carpet weaving shop, a charm bracelet shop, various other boutiques, cafes and a supermarket with everything you could wish for. I really liked it. Cape Quarter is place that one must visit. All we had to do was; go home and pack.
We left the next morning and it was bye bye Cape Town.