Matt and I met in my first year of University at Exeter. We hit it off instantly, both sharing a passion for travelling, people, culture, music, photography and partying. As wonderlust has gripped us both since graduating I could not have been happier when Matt told me that he would be coming to stay with me in Cape Town for a week on his way to Australia. A week is an incredibly short amount of time to show off all of Cape Town’s fabulous attributes, but we gave it a bloody good shot. The moment his feet hit South African soil we were on the go, and we didn’t stop until he left. Enough from me, here is Matt’s story:
Landing in Africa was more than just exciting – it was totally new. Never had I been to the continent, and what a place to begin my experience of Africa: Cape Town. From the first drive through the city, on my way to Clifton Beach 4, I felt myself brimming with intrigue. My eyes took in all that they could: sprawling township, busy roads, clear blue skies, trees, the ocean, and of course Table Mountain.
A white European hears all sorts about South Africa, about crime, poverty, a history of deep and abhorrent racial division. In contrast to this I also knew of South Africa’s beauty, its developments and progression, of Mandela’s leadership and the hope that must abound in this country.
The week that was consisted of so much, not surprising given what I know Saxony! I could no doubt write an essay about her qualities, but I will mention only her ability to be constantly surrounded by interesting, amusing and vivacious people, coupled with an unbeatable knowledge of where to eat and where to drink coffee. A Delicious Caffe Latte at Skabenga’s in Noordhoek
Unsurprisingly, my week involved two very heavy nights of partying. TigerTiger provided me with far too many cocktails, but damn were they good! Stellenbosch quite simply demanded more of me than I could provide. I had a blast, I drank too much, I met plenty of people and was put up by a house of probably the most welcoming people I have ever had the privilege of meeting.
Moving away from the alcohol fuelled ‘university’ part of my visit, I revelled in the delicious foods of El Burros, Andy’s, Buluga, Brass Bell and of course the one and only Steers (say what you like Max, those burgers are great!). Max delivered one hell of a breakfast sarnie (well, two of them actually) and the joys of Billtong and Milk Tart won’t be forgotten any time soon.
However food (for once) must relinquish centre stage and accept that the highlights of my trip were those that delivered on aesthetics. Why travel if not to take in the beautiful surroundings, landscapes and scenery provided by each new place you visit? Our ascent of Table Mountain is without doubt my absolute highlight of the trip. If you have the chance, DO THIS. The views from the top were worth every damn, painful step up, every break required to retain normal breathing patterns, and even the typical drenching in sweat that I naturally experienced. As one of the seven natural wonders of the world, Table Mountain delivered 360 degree views of the beautiful Western Cape of South Africa.
Another highlight was the Ocean Drive on my last full day, past Llandudno and along the Atlantic Ocean. Sanna and Sax were the perfect driver and passenger combo – thanks girls! Finally the view and wine at Beau Constantia Vineyards delivered an unparalleled blend of relaxation and awe. Thanks to Bronwyn for that gem.
Finally, I must mention Emma, a really welcoming gal who I couldn’t thank more for not minding me snoring away in the living area of the flat – and James: such an affable chap! Saxony, you are and all time great host, and a real loss to the world of the B&B (perhaps you ought to follow in Mum and Dad’s shoes?!)
Thanks Africa, specifically South Africa and indeed in particular Cape Town. Thanks for an unforgettable week on my way to Melbourne and for showing me exactly how fantastic a country you are, with such diversity and character. I leave only with the very real threat that I will be back, and that I will miss you!