The smell of fumes is floating in the air while the sun is blaring down on the tin roofs of Johannesburg. Stuffy air is spreading in between the gorges of dark and grey concrete buildings next to dusty streets. My eyes are directed down the narrow streets filled with people, trash and traffic – only the locked door in front of me gives me a certain sense of security.
Chaos – something with which Europeans are not familiar with. But considering every detail very carefully, you realize what lays behind the chaos: an intoxicating place with magnificent people. The further we travelled through the country, the more welcome we felt. Hospitality is certainly one of the characteristics with which South Africans can be accredited.
Exploring endless scrublands, catching glimpses of wild animals, experiencing the Zulu culture: the rainbow nation does not present itself as expected between Cape Town and Johannesburg. We were surprised by the ordinary life in Johannesburg, the tumult in the side streets, the crowd and the smog above the city. Every moment was worth pulling out the cameras. Stocky African women balanced their goods on their head or carried their child wrapped in a colourful cloth on their back. A completely normal day for those who are used to it – a totally new impression for everyone else: honking, street vendors with their trays, schoolchildren in their uniforms. Between all the busses and ragged cars there were young men walking around collecting trash for cash. Only a few hundred kilometres away we obtained a completely different picture. The Kruger National Park demonstrates what you expected in the whole country: a breathtaking and unique nature-scene.
The crickets are chirping when Brian, our ranger, parks his Jeep in the dried-out riverbed. Around him is a setting straight out of the Jungle Book. A giraffe nibbles pleasurably on a tree. Further away, bulky hippos are bathing in the mud. We left the safari feeling amazed by all the new impressions and breath-taking pictures we snapped. After driving 1600 kilometres and 20 hours of passing rugged and steep cliffs, semi-deserts and small towns with colonial charm we arrived in Cape Town. The mix of cultures and the relaxed lifestyle makes the city a paradise for creative minds. Countless film productions and photo shootings are taking place in front of this unique backdrop.
As we drive along the Chapmans Peak, we are approaching the end of the world. The rocks drop steeply into the sea. Waves of the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean break and crash against the enormous rocks. You can feel a touch of salt on your lips that has been carried by the gust of strong sea winds.
Whoever has a personal style and wants to catch some hip impressions of South Africa should visit Woodstock. It is a former working-class district with a special atmosphere that makes it Cape Town’s counterpart to Bushwick, Belleville or Kreuzberg. The Old Biscuit Mill is located between a large number of galleries, young start-up offices and restaurants. Hipsters are swarming all over this square. Right here the South African hedonists are among themselves. Cape Town became the epitome of the creative scene.
There’s no other country that shows the differences between poverty and wealth this dramatically. We are chasing the truth and searching the spirit. Therefore, we travel into the heart of the country. Two weeks of stunning landscapes and unforgettable impressions. Two weeks packed with those moments worth traveling for.
Thanks to the team of iTravel, who organized this trip for us and a big thank you to my crew for those incredible two weeks.
Photo credit: Jonas Hofmann, Florian Kleinsteuber, Eva Englert, Marko Roth