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And so I finally entered South Africa.
First stop on my itinerary was Pretoria, the capital, which I planned to use as a base to sort out tickets home, make a day trip to Johannesburg and stand at a bus stop whilst some nutter was holding numerous people hostage in the building behind me. Okay, I didn't go to Pretoria for the last one, but it did happen.
As if this wasn't bad enough the next day I went to Johannesburg to visit the highly impressive Apartheid Museum - recommended to anyone like me who is totally ignorant of the country's history - and almost got mugged by 3 people in the central marketplace in the middle of the afternoon. All the stall-keepers carried on as if nothing had happened and the 20 or so inept "Metro-Police" stood idly about 20m away totally oblivious.
With 2 eventful days in South Africa over I spent the 3rd day holed up in my backpacker guesthouse, too scared to venture into the streets again. I was fearful that I would be so badly attacked that any chance of one day playing football for the great nation that is India would vanish, leaving me to follow my second lesser dream of one day being a Biblical Prophet.
So I decided it was time to leave. Lesotho was a day away on the bus and so that's where I went to escape the insanity.
On re-entering South Africa a week later I spent one day relaxing in the peaceful Sani Pass at the foot of the Drakensburg Mountain Range before heading to Pietermaritzburg. I was lucky enough to meet one of the Indian workers at the train station there who showed me where Gandhi - what a guy - had been thrown from a 1st class train compartment. It was here, at this spot, that Gandhi set out on his non-violent path that eventually led to the independence of India. I would love to meet that train conductor and shake his hand.
An overnight bus across the country and I ended up in Oudtshoorn, the ostrich capital of the world. I feasted on ostrich omelets - each omelet containing the same amount of cholesterol as 36 normal eggs - and happily managed to ride an ostrich. With another dream complete I headed to my last city after almost a year of travelling, Cape Town.
Cape Town was beautiful and an ample place to finish off my trip. Robben Island, 12 miles from the mainland, was one of the highlights of the city and it was amazing to see where Nelson Mandela - another legend - spent 18 years in captivity. Table Mountain provided breath-taking views over the city and the hike down at sunset with an English lip-reading, deaf German was another inspiration that even in the face of shit odds people can still make a life for themselves.
My trip would not have been complete if I did not make it to the southern-most point of Africa, Cape Aghulas. So I rented a car, pumped up the music and drove 3 hours to get there, took a few pictures and then drove back to Cape Town. The next day I hooked up with 2 people I had met in Lesotho and together we drove down to Cape Point and The Cape of Good Hope, the southwestern-most points of Africa. Whilst hanging out with them was a good laugh, what really made my day was some Chinese guy coming up to me and saying that I was driving the same car as he had back in China and if he could take a picture with him inside it. Life's like that sometimes. Just when you think the day can't get any better some random Chinese guy, no doubt oblivious to what happened at Tiananmen Square, comes along and ups the tone even more.
With 2 days left in Cape Town I checked myself into a nice, pricey guesthouse on the outskirts of Cape Town, where I dined and drank well.
And so after 3 years on the road I sat in the infinity pool enjoying my last sunset over the freezing Atlantic Ocean thinking, I'm finally going home.