"...my closing statement went around the lines of if you translate the title of the movie Die Hard from German into English it translates back into “Die Slowly”! You would think that was a slam-dunk for a closing statement and would make any Matlock or Good Wife fan proud."
Roaming Newton returns to South Africa to show the Bavarians his backyard!
The great debate continues…
I have been in Bavaria for some months now, with the whimsy of winter over and the splash of summer knocking on the door, I find myself watching Top Gun dubbed in German - it was not so long ago I remember how by total chance I found Harrison Ford speaking in this foreign language whilst rescuing Sean Connery in an Indiana Jones adventure.
Funny to think that it was around that time I was roped into a conversation, actually argument of “whose country is better than whose”- yes it was childish and my closing statement went around the lines of if you translate the title of the movie Die Hard from German into English it translates back into “Die Slowly”! You would think that was a slam-dunk for a closing statement and would make any Matlock or Good Wife fan proud.
However Bavarian Beer is strong so naturally that argument led to a trip back to South Africa with a group of Germans in tow trying to show them what was what and how my country was better than theirs…
Step one: Welcome to Johannesburg!
Proving to a bunch of Germans that South Africa is an awesome place to visit takes some doing but because Cape Town has now become a surrogate German state of sorts, things seemed a bit more positive than a Bavarian beer hangover which I was still recovering from. Johannesburg is a city of wealth, the New York of Africa - fast -paced and a city that truly has never slept. It however does not have a beach and there certainly isn’t much of a walking atmosphere to boot. So I had to unleash the aces early on, first up the Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve in Magaliesburg and then to the Cradle of Humankind! Now throw in a trip to Soweto - in particular the Hector Pieterson memorial plus a few trips to the popular Johannesburg malls and part on the 'convincing' was sorted. Wildlife, ancestry, tears, shopping…the list could have gone on but then I needed to take them to the next stop...Cape Town.
Step two: Welcome to Germany…I mean Kapstadt…sorry I mean Cape Town!
With little or no local languages been heard at the V&A Waterfront, I pushed for a trip to the neighbouring town of Stellenbosch. There I found the magic of Delaire Graff Estate, a fabulous wine estate which brought the same sort of whimsy feeling I had during that Bavarian winter. A guided tour of the estate and some much needed wine tasting to quench a well deserved thirst made for a great stay. Next we ventured to Franschhoek (another affluent wine town) for a quick bite and a gentle walk around the small holding that was pleasant and full of culture, it was the perfect digestive after the earlier wine tasting.
There are many places to stay and visit in Cape Town but if you are looking for a quiet-off the track location on the beach-try Beach Villa Guest House in Melkbosstrand. Located by the beachfront there is nothing better than opening your door to an oceanic backyard. With all the usual Cape Town tours in check, I kept the Germans happy with trips to the (reknowned) V&A Waterfront, Table Mountain and Cape Point.
At this stage I knew I had to keep pulling out the draw cards, just as Bruce Willis never gave up in “Die Slowly”…my 'step three' was going to be epic: The Garden Route!
First stop Oudtshoorn, unique and home to the world’s largest Ostrich population (I am not entirely sure how correct this is but there are a lot of these birds around!), a heartbeat from the Cango Caves, the place to stay is Zwartberg View Mountain Lodge. Putting the Ostrich exposure behind me, our next stop would be Plettenberg Bay which is perfectly placed on the Garden Route.
Plettenberg Bay is best described as luxury by the beach and staying at Milkwood Manor with their famous in-house restaurant Lemon Grass is the only way to go. With surrounding beaches and adventure spots there is a lot on offer there. Central, Robberg and Keurbooms beaches provide draw cards for fishermen and the surfing crowd. There is also the world’s highest bungee for the daring types! If you get a chance just outside of Plettenberg is Nature’s Valley which is also a serene environment to visit!
Leaving Plettenberg in the direction of Port Elizabeth one has to stop off at the Addo National Elephant Park, it provides the twist in the tale of an African adventure with a full quota of the big five plus more!
At this stage of the trip the German contingent had had their South African intake to the max but a last stop in Durban was the only way to conclude a South African adventure.
Step 4: Welcome to Durban…never leave the beach!
Blessed with awesome tropical weather the beaches in Durban are a must. The water is as warm as it gets and the close proximity of good hospitality just makes for a relaxing experience.
With a smile running from ear to ear, the Germans gazed at me with a look of awe (well I think it was awe!), I was bracing myself for a glorious admission that my country is better only to be greeted with…”Next stop a Bavarian Summer…” I guess the argument continues and the summer must go on, until next time!