Mahindra Adventure Challenge : XUV 5OO takes on Cape Town
The Third World isn’t what it used to be. There was a time when the term stood for everything rotten – underdevelopment, economic misery, nations in the dump. History has shown us that the downtrodden do rise and the underestimated are the ones who really lead with all their might. This is the time of the underdogs. Quite ironic that a country that is part of the landmass that very clearly is the cradle of human life still falls under the Third World sticker though.
They’ve had their fair share of problems and racism based on colour of the skin was a prejudice that South Africa could do without the memory of. Apartheid has cost the southern most country on the African continent many years of progress and it is only now that all the communities have started mingling, but the moment we set foot outside the confines of the air terminal in Cape Town we knew that things were not as bad as they are portrayed to the outside world.
Our travel advisory had all sorts of warnings that would generally deter anyone from going through with the journey itself – warnings about venturing out post dark mainly, for fear of getting mugged. But let’s face it, there are quite a few places in India as well that you’re asking for trouble if you set foot in there at odd hours. It’s funny really because what the travel advisories should really be talking about is how tourists will get mesmerised by the beauty of the South African countryside and the warmth of its people.
What they should be raving on and on about is the diversity of its wildlife and the immaculate fashion in which it is being preserved. Personal safety should just be everyone’s prerogative in our times – no matter whether you’re in California, Calicut or Cape Town! It is really the geographical location of the city of Cape Town that bestows it with so much scenic admiration from the Gods that you’re more likely to be caught out by that than by a mug in hiding. Move just a few kilometres in either of the four directions and you’ll find yourself either in the mountains, in deep forest, in wineries or bang on the coast and you’ve got a choice there too – you could either enjoy the cooler waters of the Atlantic Ocean or move further east to bask in the warmth of the Indian Ocean.
With so many choices on hand we first head to the mountains and through some awesome countryside to Fransschoek set within the foothills of a mix of high and low peaks. But enroute, and since we are all petolheads more than anything else, we made a what was supposed to be a quick stop at the Fransschoek Motor Museum.
The quick stop stretched on for hours in the confines of four barns at the back of the main building because tucked in them were some of the world’s most exotic examples of classic and sports cars. From the Model T to the McLaren F1, from Maseratis to Ferraris this place has it all and if you’re up to it you’ve got the liberty of going wine tasting as well – this is after all a winery!