By Sandra Plourde in Cape Town, South Africa.
Cape Town is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful cities in the world; it ranges right up there with the likes of Sydney, Vancouver and San Francisco. In my career I had the opportunity to visit all these places and more, yet Cape Town and its surroundings are in a league of their own.
Well into my second year in the mother city I still feel a lifting of heart and spirit when driving into Cape Town from my suburban home in Hout Bay. Coming over Kloof Nek the city is spread out in front of me, the cluster of skyscrapers glistening in the distance near the shore and above it the pristine exclusive homes of the so-called city bowl peek out from between lush green gardens and tall palm trees.
On a sunny day the blue sky against clean cut Table Mountain is of such a crisp, bold blue that it takes your breath away.
Driving the opposite direction over Kloof Nek is equally impressive and inspiring and always feels like the first time. As the deep blue of the Atlantic Ocean stretches in front of you against the backdrop of the craggy, dramatic Twelve Apostles mountain range you wonder why everybody doesn’t live in Cape Town.
Just when you think it cannot get better than this you reach the coastal road that leads you down the peninsula to Hout Bay, only 20 minutes from Cape Town.
Without exaggeration, this has to be one of the most spectacular, breathtaking drives in the world, the perfect spot for filming car commercials and a convertible-driving tourist’s dream.
In my new home of Hout Bay I can watch whales at foreplay from my bedroom window. I have sunbathed and swam with penguins and watched dolphins from my local beach.
Enough already I hear you say. I am not finished yet. Then there is are the wine lands on the city’s doorstep where picturesque hills, historic towns and charming vineyards are surpassed only by the quality and scope of South African wines. These wines are the perfect compliment to a meal of the freshest seafood, flavorful Karoo lamb, ostrich and other safari fare. Cape Town is also one of the gourmet capitals of the world with a plethora of world-class restaurants and award-winning chefs.
Welcome to paradise. With a twist.
To stay with the superlatives, South Africa probably also has one of the worst reputations in the world. When we first considered moving there, I read my way through South African crime statistics websites which were not for the faint hearted. Friends and family, both in awe and concerned, were amazed at my complete confidence in my husband’s observations and judgment during a fact-finding trip to Cape Town which formed the basis for our decision to move to that ‘end of the world’. A classic case of buying the cat in the bag. When saying our good-byes my family looked like they had just stepped off a white knuckle ride.
A year later, I find myself smiling at my initial fears and reactions, like undertaking my first solo car-ride to visit a friend outside the city, a journey which involved two motorways, a country-road and unknown suburbia.
Read the entire article on Manifest N9.
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