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South Africa

Posted November. 18, 2006 04:17,   


11 hours and 10 minutes. This is the time that it takes for a South African plane to arrive at Johannesburg from Hong Kong. It is a long way to Africa, which is not an easy place to travel to. However, this fact stimulates more curiosity. South Africa will be experiencing its summer soon, making it a perfect winter vacation place for Koreans.

Although a long flight, the fortunate thing is that it is a night flight. The plane lands in Johannesburg by the time you start to wake up. There is a sight that should not be missed and that is the skyscraper forest in the finance district that brightly reflects the morning sunshine. There is no other place that portrays the world’s “gold and diamond market” city as well.

South Africa stretches 2000km from the continent’s south to north, and 1500km from the east Indian Ocean to inland. Cape Town is the country’s most beautiful and livable port city.

It has a Mediterranean climate, unlike the inland areas which have a semi-desert climate, and its winds are similar to that of the California coast. Therefore, during Apartheid (a race segregation policy ended in 1994) when the absolute minority whites ruled the majority blacks, this place was paradise for whites.

Cape Town’s tourist attractions are the Waterfront and Mt. Table. During the Age of Exploration which started after Bartolomeu Dias’s discovery of Cape of Good Hope (1948) and Vasco da Gama’s carving out the sea route to India (1498), Cape Town was a supplementary port where every ship that departed from Europe replenished before crossing the Indian Ocean. This historic port situated in Table Bay is more wonderful than San Francisco’s Pier 39 and is more lovable that Sydney’s Darling Harbor.

Mt. Table is like the roof of Cape Town. It guards Cape Town’s Table Bay from behind. Its name came from its form. Some say that its flat summit resembles a birthday cake. Its mountaintop can be reached by a cable car called ropeway. The ocean scene from the top is world class.

Robin Island, a flat island resembling a golf course’s island green, can be seen in front of the Waterfront. It is a prison island where former president Nelson Mandela was imprisoned during Apartheid.

Misunderstandings and truth about Cape of Good Hope-

A misunderstood fact is that Cape of Good Hope is the southernmost part of Africa.

The continent’s southernmost point is Cape Agulhas, 200km to the east of the Cape of Good Hope.

Once you go to the Cape of Good Hope, you will find no summit, but a rock cliff projecting out towards the sea. This is Cape Point (Africa continent’s southwesternmost part), the end point of the Cape of Good Hope. Every traveler to Cape Town without exception travels around this on a one day trip. There are a lot of places to stop by on the way like a coastal village that teems with thousands of penguins, a rock island where thousands of seals nap, a scenic coastal road and a seafood lunch at a coastal cliff restaurant.

The Cape of Good Hope is situated at the end of Cape Peninsula. Over great mountains, there is Cape Peninsula National Park, where you can see baboons and ostriches strolling along the grassland. The region of Cape of Good Hope is quite large. Coastal cliffs can be seen from the Indian Ocean side, and mountains come down to the coast on the Atlantic side. Cape Point, where a small lighthouse is placed, is a rock cliff and is the official separating point of the Indian Ocean and Atlantic Ocean. This is emphasized by the “two-ocean air can” that is sold as a souvenir. There are mileposts that indicate north and south latitudes along with place names in English and African. This is a perfect photo opportunity. There is another lighthouse on the summit that can be reached by stairs or a cable car.