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TALES FROM A MEMORABLE SOUTH AFRICAN ODYSSEY

BY SALIL SADANANDAN

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Of all the African countries I have been to, South Africa is perhaps the most special because it has so much to offer. Prior to my trip in 2014, my family and I visited South Africa in 2010 too. That holiday was special for many reasons. At the beautiful Kruger National Park in South Africa, we were fortunate to spot four out of the Big Five animals – elephants, lions, leopards and buffalo. The live sightings visible at Kruger are things you would only otherwise see on the Discovery channel! Moreover, for an art and culture enthusiast like me, the country was a special treat. Their history, the struggle with apartheid and the story of Nelson Mandela is incredibly fascinating. We visited numerous museums and historical monuments on that holiday. Perhaps the biggest highlight of this trip though, was that we watched two games of the 2010 World Cup that was happening at the time. I cannot even begin to describe the feeling of being in a football stadium during the World Cup. The energy and warmth from the crowd was infectious, and who can forget those vuvuzelas! In fact, we even stayed at the same hotel that hosted the Uruguay national team, and I had the opportunity to meet their star striker Diego Forlan. One misconception about South Africa that was totally busted was the lack of safety. We never had a single unpleasant experience, and the people were warm and hospitable. It was a fantastic holiday. Some of our memorable experiences were planned, and some were just serendipitous.

A FOODIE’S PARADISE
The food in South Africa is incredible, and seriously underrated. I don’t think you can match the food in South Africa with any other cuisine in the world. It’s a paradise for foodies, especially if you are a carnivore. Their game meat is outstanding, and by far the most delicious thing I tried was a preparation called ‘kudu’, made with South African antelope meat.

(As told to CHRISTINA MONIZ)

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