Cape Town, South Africa
The sun shimmers on the azure ocean waters at the V&A Waterfront. I feel like a Hollywood movie star, eating at a restaurant in the bay of this cosmopolitan city. It is a beautiful day, seagulls soar overhead, a cool breeze blows in off the sea and the mountain looms over us all, the very personification of everything that makes Cape Town one of the most memorable cities in the world. I watch as small pleasure boats and large cruisers crawling with tourists make their way into the harbour. It is clear from the look of wonder upon their faces that this is a city that will also stand out in their imagination and one to which they too will return time after time. My mouth waters as the waiter puts the plate of calamari rings in front of me. Can life possibly get any better than this?
Ponta Malongane, Mozambique
“Whale shark!” someone shouts and, without waiting for the skipper’s consent, the people around me jump into the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. This is only my fourth dive and I can hardly believe my luck. I hang over the sides of the motorboat and gasp as my heart skips a beat when the huge shadow passes underneath us, its distinctive yellow markings clearly visible in the lucid waters. I glance at the skipper, who nods, and without further ado I too plunge into the ocean for an unforgettable experience. But my luck has run out – the whale shark is not in the mood for playing today and swims away too fast for me to keep up with. I climb back into the boat and listen to the tales of those who did manage to get a closer look, disappointed, but at the same time grateful for a rare glimpse of this magnificent creature.
Waterval-Boven, South Africa
The steam train huffs and puffs and slowly but surely makes its way up the winding mountain track. It is hot inside the crowded compartment, the sun shining brightly outside tans my left arm a dark brown as I lean on the windowsill and admire the view. I open the window slightly, but the choking black smoke billows in and I quickly close it again. There! A glimpse of the joggers through the trees, too fast to try and recognise anyone. Are we behind my father and uncle, or have we passed them already? Better keep a close eye out for them, just in case they come into view. I catch myself on the brink of nodding off, the gentle rocking of the train and the warmth pleasantly conspiring to make me fall asleep. I jump as the train’s whistle shrilly announces that we’re about to enter a tunnel. No more nodding off, I reprimand myself while yawning lazily. I’ll just rest my eyes for a second longer…