About 7 years ago, somebody asked me where am I from. Jokingly I replied that I am from South Africa and that person totally believed me. I was surprised that he doesn't show any signs of surprise or any kind of confusion. And I understood straight away that I might not know what I am suppossed to know about this beautiful country. Anyone from anywhere could fall under the characteristics of a local south african resident.
Named the "Rainbow Nation", South Africa hugs a multiethnic society with diverse cultures, religions and most importantly different languages, 9 of which have official status. In this southernmost country of the African continent, travellers and locals from around the world have a chance to witness the meeting point of one of the greatest Poseidon's soldairs : the Atlantic and the Indian oceans.
I've always heard great stories about Cape Town, which is the second most populous urban area in South Africa, after Johannesburg, and finally the curtains of its mystery had opened up to me. I was just simply mesmerised by the spectacular scenery of the unspoiled beauty that we have on this planet. The hypnotic blue of the ocean was dragging me into the unknown underworld while I was lifted up-high by the free spirit of the tired mountains.
At an early hour, we were already climbing up the stairs on the way to the Cape of Good Hope. A place from where you can see history writing itself down on the floating water. From the top of the hill I could only imagine how on the 12 of march in 1488, Bartolomeu Dias was guided by the house light of the Cape Point to find what he thought doesn't exist anymore...Hope.
Next to the proud light house I saw a man that was walking from one corner to the other. I don't know why I assumed that this guy in blue t-shirt and a black leather jacket was working there. So, I put the serious expression on and asked him about the dividing point between the Atlantic and Indian Ocean. I was a little confused because I expected to see a proper line that will split the cold Atlantic waters from the warm Indian waters, which apparently don't intercalate. It was supposed to be the highlight of my day. Instead I had the view of a very friendly whale acting under its own fountain in front of the happy tourists. The African guy then explained to me that he doesn't work here (ooopss ) and in fact the southernmost point from where I could see the magic happening is called Cape Agulhas, which is located about 150km to the east-southeast side of the Peninsula. The Agulhas current meets up with Benguela current and form a visible path.
The drive out from the Cape of Good Hope to the small village called Simon's Town, offers again a picturesque view of a land that rises steeply from the mountains. I've heard from our lovely tour guide that it is a great place to buy a property and settle down for the retirement days. Unless you are too afraid of the baboons who are brave enough to brake into people's houses looking for food. The South African parks department states in its publication Mountains in the Sea that the baboon population on the Cape is "critically endangered". Due to that reason, there a road signs to watch out for baboons. For a girl from Moldova (me), this sounds a little bit too exotic.
My heart stopped for a bit when we drove down to Chapman's Peak. It's a name of a mountain on the western side of the Cape Peninsula which was literally cut in a way that motorists could drive under a considerable portion of the mountain. It sounds scary right? It's not only me who feared the spectacular drive road. So did the authorities, and in 1990s they closed the road after a person died because of the rockfall. Now, the toll road is opened after being re-engineered to protect drivers like me and others from the dangerous mountain so we could all take advantage of the scenery view of the ocean.
If you have made it so far than you definitely need to say a quick hello to the penguins on the Boulders Beach, that will make you feel really jealous about their lifestyle. Just chilling all day, on white sandy beaches along the shore and having someone all day long to admire you and say how cute you are. That's what I'm talking about.
It is a good feeling to know that in this wild, beautiful and reckless world there are still places where history remains alive. Untouched spots that are sitting there quitely and patiently waiting for all of us to dicsover them. South Africa has an imense power to prove that the world is not such a bad place and maybe this is the purpose of travelling, to understand this on your own. The world we have is a wonderful place that keeps us all smilling and happy knowing that we all still have ...HOPE.
You can lose your patience, lose your pride and lose your mind, but whatever you do, don't ever lose hope.