It was the lovely spring season and I was sitting in my office looking out the window of my 43rd floor building and Dubai just looked amazing. The view was so stunning and I was thinking to myself “When was the last time I saw something so stunning?” and it hit me. Oh Gosh, October is soon coming and it was time for us 5 friends to meet up for our annual get together. I had 4 other friends who were very close to me from childhood and over the last 7 years, we’ve all made it a point to meet up at some point of the planet in any means and have an annual gathering and enjoy the best of what friendship can offer.
Me and my wife lived in Dubai, while my other friend Lumina who’s a Media Planner, worked in London UK, the Satish who was an Engineer worked for ESAB and was based in Madagascar for the last 5 months. Rohan lived in Malaysia as a Doctor and Rajiv lived and enjoyed having in restaurant business in Manhattan. Nothing had been planned so far on where we were meeting and suddenly I had a thought in my mind, why can’t we meet at the most southern tip of Africa. The Cape of Good Hope has always had my fascination stuck to it and I thought this would be a best chance to make up for this annual gathering and I pulled out the Africa map to get started on the travel plans.
After sharing the idea with my wife, the next day I went out on Skype and pulled in the gang to share in the idea of where we are meeting this year. The plan was a hit on success and everyone loved the idea of all of us joining at the Cape of Good Hope for the get together this year. The next plan of the journey was how each of us was going to get there. For me and Nithya, flight would be the best choice, to fly from Dubai to Durban and then take a domestic flight to Port Elizabeth and then hire a car or a bike to Agulhas which is the most southern tip of the African sub-continent.
Meanwhile Lumi decided to fly to Johannesburg and take a bus down to Durban and then get onwards to Agulhas. Satish was in Madagascar and decided it’s better to take the cruise and head out to Port Elizabeth and take a hire vehicle from there, whereas Rohan told me he’ll fly down to Durban and take a train to Port Elizabeth. Looked like the plan was taking shape little by little and all I needed was a proper itinerary to get going with this plan.
In the coming week, we all planned out and booked up our tickets and the necessary transport required for the journey, and one of the best things which came in handy was how we planned our itinerary using Yatra.com, its India’s biggest online travel agency and works in line with their famous tag-line “Creating Happy Travelers”. Yatra has helped a lot of travelers in booking their flight, train, bus tickets, hotel booking and everything which comes within travelling. With a list of 90,000 hotels in their list, its one of the easiest and best ways to get going on where you want to go. Apart from being one of the front runners in the online travel industry, they are also recipients of some of the famous awards like “Most Trusted Brand of India”, and also received the “CNBC – Consumer Travel Awards” this year for their exceptional services with regards to the travel industry.
All this being said, I gave Yatra.com’s reference to all of my friends who need help with their booking and soon we were on the list of getting up in the air for our lovely trip off to South Africa. With everyone saying a final bye before gearing up to meet in Agulhas, me and Nithya left to Dubai’s international airport to catch our Emirates flight to Durban. It was a long flight and we made ourselves ready with some lovely entertainment to keep our self entertained in the long flight. While we were off, Lumia and Rohan both were on their way to the airport with Lumia checking into Heathrow for her Virigin Atlantic and Rohan checking into South African Airways counter to take off from JFK. Satish informed us that his boat will only take 7hours to reach Port Elizabeth and that he will start only by evening.
In a moment Rohan called in saying he landed in Durban and was taking the next train to P.E and will be soon meeting Satish at the port. I gave the guys a hello and kept on with our drive. At around 9pm in the night, we drove into Agulhas town where we had booked a lovely 4 bedroom apartment, thanks to yatra for the enjoyable booking. After a few hours, we heard knocks on the door one by one. Satish had taken a lovely Harley Davidson bike for rent from Port Elizabeth and later it was a Hummer parking in front of our apartment with Rohan getting out; for the entire American he is, he loved the American muscle always. At 9am, next morning I and Nithya reached Durban International Airport and had a very pleasant welcome at South African soil. We were overwhelmed to see the friendly people and the lovely culture of South African nationals. We moved on to the exit of the airport while I was searching for the rent a car counter where I had booked a car.
When Nithya saw the car, she jumped up crazy, because I had booked a mustang GT and it was a favorite for both of us. We hopped on into our car and were off to one of the most beautiful drives across South Africa. On the other hand Lumi landed in Johannesb
urg and called in to tell that she landed safe and told us that she’d be taking the bus that is heading to Port Elizabeth, I wished her a good travel and we continued to our destination. We drove through the Cape Wine lands where majority of South Africa’s famous wines come from. Satish on the other hand was already on the boat heading to Port Elizabeth, since he was always the explorer types; he loved the bikes and boats more than anything else. On the way we had a short trip to Zuzuland where we had the chance to meet the tribes and we also had a Zulu Boma lunch which was a typical tribal dish made especially from a variety of the local meat available.
At around 11pm, Lumina finally arrived looking quite exhausted with that entire tiring journey all the way from Johannesburg. We all had a lovely glass of South African wine and cooked on to some interesting dishes, yapped away to glory on all the lovely life stories and then slowly cuddled of to sleep in our separate beds with all the thoughts of a lovely day we’re all going to have the next day.
The next day we had a early breakfast and were off trekking on the famous Table mountains of the South Africa. It was such a scenic sight with the oceans on one side and the beautiful green plains on the other. We took the cable car all the way up and had the chance to some breath taking views of the ocean as well as the city below. Later one of the locals told us to go and try our luck on the Ostrich riding, at first it sounded like crazy, but later when Rohan took a hold of it, it was one of the funniest things to watch for. I pity the Ostrich though 😦
Later that day, I Satish and Rohan took our surf boards and tried our luck with some surfing; and it turned out to be some of the best times of our lives. South Africa is very famous for surfing and the wind is really strong and its best suited for these kinds of beach activities, however the threat of sharks in the vicinity made the coast guards very concerned and once in a while, they used to use the siren to ask us to not go further into the sea. The next day we took our jeep and headed to the Agulhas National Park to document some African wildlife and were very thrilled to see the African Elephants in real close proximity. Wildlife was something I was always passionate about and to see them this close in their own habitat was really fascinating for me and all my friends. A whole day had passed, we made tents and cooked out some basic food and later in the evening, we enjoyed the wine sitting amidst the bonfire and spoke about these years’ lovely moments.
Since this was our last night in South Africa, we all took up the wine glasses high up in the air and toasted for yet another amazing gathering in another amazing country across the globe. South Africa was a lovely getaway and everywhere you turn it surprises you with its amazing environment, its wildlife and its people. The scenic beauty which it has something blessed and I would always encourage tourists to have a look at the Cape of Good Hope, because of its immense importance in history as well as for the geographic importance of being the last tip point of the African continent, and beyond Africa the next land mass would only be Antarctica. I spread a word to all of my friends that this trip was one of the happiest ones ever because of all the locations we travelled from and the ways we ended up reaching Agulhas varying from car, train, bus and boat. Thanks to Yatra for wonderful information in travel booking, if not we wouldn’t have been able to enjoy all this lovely luxury here far away from our homes.
We took one more toast to Yatra and yapped away to glory for the remaining of the night, dancing and partying and once in a while smiling above to the amazing sky filled with the glitziest of stars.
The next day, we finished packing our bags and headed out in our own different ways. Rohan, Lumi and Satish took off in the hummer to Port Elizabeth where Satish headed to Madagascar and they will head forward to Johannesburg while I and Nithya headed off in our mustang to Durban International Airport leaving behind wonderful memories of an amazing trip we had in this amazing country of South Africa. I guess after all happiness is not in the destination, it’s all about the travel.
Our Yatra’s will continue 🙂
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
P.S : The above article was written in view for Yatra.com for their blog on “Creating Happy Travellers” under the category of Lifestyle> Travel.
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