south africa 7: durban—sun, sea, sand, and the indian connection


Self portrait—Artist: Me; Location: Golden Mile.

Sun, Sea and Sand and a bit more

Durban is South Africans’ choice domestic holiday destination. It is the most African city in the country. It is also the most Indian city in Africa. Not many foreign tourists come here. Another one of those slips. Continue reading

south africa 6: kwazulu-natal adventure—from sani pass to its game reserves

sanipass1

The thrill of Sani Pass

Aah, that adrenalin rush! That sense of adventure in exploring unchartered, gruelling terrains and then coming back to tell the tale. For many travelling to South Africa, and to me, it simply means the Sani Pass.

Once a rough mule trail, Sani Pass is now a notoriously dangerous mountain road to Lesotho via the Drakensberg Mountains which can only be traversed by a 4X4. Lying between the border controls of South Africa and Lesotho, the 8-kilometre-long gravel road through no-man’s land starts at 1,968 metres above sea level and ends near the summit at 2,873 metres. The journey is marked with steep ascents, hairpin bends appropriately named “suicide bend” and “big wind corner”, loose gravel, and beautiful views. Some walk this road. For the adventurous, the thrill is in the 4X4 drive. Continue reading

south africa 5: kwazulu-natal history—from rorke’s drift to kamberg to shakaland

isandlwana1
At the historic Anglo-Zulu battlefields in northern KwaZulu-Natal. What you see behind me, to the right, are sand storms in action. 

Day 1: Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift: Where heroes were made

An endless expanse of dusty plains and stunted thorn trees sprawls for miles in front of me. We’ve been driving for five hours now. I’m on my way to Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift and am told it is just beyond the last mound that shimmers in the horizon.

It is incredible that these barren expanses in the middle of nowhere, absolutely nowhere, were once the scenes of key battles fought during the Boer-Zulu, Anglo-Zulu and Anglo-Boer wars.

The few travellers who trickle up north to make this journey tend to be British, military buffs, or those tracing their family tree. But you don’t have to be any of them really. Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift are a celebration of the human spirit during war, of courage against all odds. In the former, the valour was that of the Zulus. In Rorke’s Drift, the heroes were the British. Continue reading

south africa 4: kaap staad aka cape town, the most beautiful city in the world


Looking down from Signal Hill: The Green Point Stadium built for FIFA is on the right and on the horizon, towards the left, is Robben Island.

Cape Town: A world travel destination

Ask anyone who has been to Cape Town what they thought of the city and you will receive a smitten response. Even if it is their umpteenth visit, or third as in my case, its stunning scenic setting, glorious beaches, and rich history does not fail to captivate and make one a bit more besotted. 🙂

The “to do” list is simple and straightforward. The cable-car ride up Table Mountain; an afternoon at Kirstenboch, the most beautiful botanical garden in Africa; a ferry ride to Robben Island to see Nelson Mandela’s prison cell where he spent 18 of his 27 sentenced years; and dinner at the V&A Waterfront as dusk falls and the sky turns into a glorious Turner work of art. But there is more. So much more! Continue reading

south africa 3: cape peninsula, the company of nature and wine

capepoint1

Day 1: The company of nature in Cape Peninsula

There is a rugged poignant beauty to the Cape Peninsula, what with its indigenous fynbos draped over age-old sandstone rocks, colossal crashing waves, and foraging seabirds. I had put aside a whole day to explore the Cape of Good Hope and Boulders, which together with Table Mountain, comprise Table Mountain National Park. A whole day in glorious, unsullied nature! By far, it was one of my best travel decisions in life. Continue reading

south africa 2: the scenic garden route

plettenbergbay1

Day 1: Tsitsikamma and Plettenberg Bay

To travel through South Africa and not do the Garden Route is blasphemy! Or so would every travel book and site claim and the fact is each one of them is right. Don’t, however, expect pretty little gardens to constitute the route, for that is the last thing you’ll come across. It is nature’s and god’s gardens. Towering mountains, sparkling rivers, tranquil lakes and estuaries, sun-kissed beaches, and indigenous forests line the southern coastline between Port Elizabeth and Cape TownContinue reading