Panoramic photo taken on my first morning in South Africa :)
The kind of amazing vistas I was privy to on a road trip
on day six of my recent South Africa visit :b
Lest there be any doubt, of course Puppet Ponyo
was there for the ride and experience ;b
Back in the summer of 1986, I went to Africa -- specifically Kenya, the home country of a boarding school friend -- for the first time. In the decade after, I'd go on to re-visit that East African country, and also spend two years in Tanzania as well as set foot in Zimbabwe and Zambia. Since 1996, however, I had not been back on the African continent: that is, until a week and a half ago.
As with my first visit to Africa, I had the good fortune to be invited to accompany a friend on a visit back home. After many years of hard work, my regular drinking buddy here in Hong Kong had finished his Masters degree studies and was headed back to South Africa to receive his degree and spend time with various members of his family. And at Sake Bar Ginn one evening a couple of months ago, he asked if I'd like to go with him on this trip.
Before he had the time to change his mind, I quickly said "Yes, please!" The truth of the matter is that South Africa is one of those countries I've long wanted to visit -- not least because Nelson Mandela was/is one of my greatest heroes -- and my South African friend's home city of Cape Town just happens to be the number one part of the country that I wanted to spend time in.
Before the trip, my friend and I had a number of conversations as to what I wanted to do there, what he wanted to show me as well as were "must do"s as far as he was concerned, and what to expect while there -- bad and good. Post visit, I will say that I actually didn't get to see or do everything on my list but I also got to see and do a lot more than I had thought would be the case.
Put another way: I ended up going to some famous places but also a number of gems that are beloved by locals but (for some unknown reason or other) haven't been covered much -- if at all -- in tourist guides. And, as those of you who deign to check out the blog posts I'll be offering up in the next few weeks should soon realize, I really do consider my South African trip to be one of those trips of a lifetime that's chock-filled with the sort of sights and experiences that will stay long in my memory. :)