Chapter 4

Written by: Sumanda Maritz

Dear Sis,

After Paris I decided to visit another wine city, so I flew to Cape Town, South Africa. It has a calm that seemed alive and definitely infectious. I spent hours on the Red Bus tour that takes you from one wine estate to the other. The busses are on a circular route that passes every half hour. If you wanted to stay longer at one estate you got off the bus and took the next one that came along. The standard of wine was better than I ever imagined.

Then I took the two hour flight to OR Tambo. I had a look at Gauteng, the business mecca of this country. Imagine New York cut down to ten stories and sprawled over ten times the area. That is what most of Gauteng looked like, but without the public transportation infrastructure. From the airport in the East to the western end in Roodepoort, you drive through some of the most congested highways and roads imaginable. Public transport here meant rickety over-capacity taxi busses that ignored all traffic rules and fuelled tempers on the road. Everyone was in a hurry all the time.

But then you take the road from Randburg to Hartbeespoort Dam and within half an hour you are in the middle of the countryside. The Cradle of Humankind felt ancient, but the best was the night I spent at Lesedi Village. In this hotel you stay in the original manner of four of the indigenous cultures. You won’t believe me, but I actually ate one of those Mopani worms! I will not elaborate on what it tasted like. That you have to experience for yourself, I double-dare you.

Sandra, I wish you could have been with me when I went to the Kruger National Park. I believe you would have loved the park ranger I met with his huge bull mastiff called “Dog”. He was kind enough to show me all the things I would have missed had I been by myself. In summer it is more than just hot, it is sizzling. The dense bushveld makes it almost impossible to see animals without someone to show you where they are. I did see an elephant matriarch defend her herd as they crossed the dirt road in front of us. How do I describe the immensity of this animal? Except for its much bigger size, there is an independent will to them that you don’t see in the Indian elephants we both knew so well. I didn’t see any lions, but I heard them at night. You felt that call before your ears could hear it. And man that was scary.

Funny enough, the locals are more afraid of the buffalo than any of the other big five animals. I wonder why? There is still so much I would like to tell you, but for now I must go. My flight has been called and I still have to post this.

Your brother,

Wilson

Comments

Wow, Sumanda, you have captured a picture of South Africa that is so vivid, i can see it.

'Imagine New York cut down to ten stories and sprawled over ten times the area. That is what most of Gauteng looked like.' Wonderful description.

Have to add it to my list of places to go!!! Haha
Yes, I agree with Roseyn. You have captured South Africa, the matriarch elephant was awe inspiring. The Mopani worms sounded delicious ): I wonder if you could have described what they tasted like and looked like. Great chapter and great insight into S. Africa. Wonderful!
Ah, but to describe the taste I would have had to have eaten one. Not yet, sorry :)
I do know they're big and slightly hairy, approximately 5cm long and almost 1cm in diameter :)