“Welcome to Mzansi,” my seatmate, a South African, judging by her heavy accent, says softly.
We have just landed in Cape Town, the city that will be my home for the next two days.
After freshening up, my newly made friends (we are a team drawn from Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa) saunter around our hotel, Radisson Red V& A Waterfront, soaking in its beautiful architecture.
The beats by Marimba bands and Djembe drummers stationed in different parts of the town invite us to dance to the African beats. I join in briefly then my colleague reminds me that we need to tour the V & A Waterfront mall.
We have one agenda: To experience Cape Town and do it differently. That is by using various applications.For the first time, I create on Google maps the places to visit while in the south and review the hosting hotel.
The next morning, I wake up at dawn ready for our first tour. We are going to Bo- Kaap.
We have a tour guide called Ken- a middle- aged man bursting with knowledge about this part of the city.He tells us that this is one of the oldest residential neighbourhood in Cape Town and has a mix of cape Dutch and cape Georgian styles.
He points us to Auwal mosque, the oldest in South Africa.
The colourful houses are amazing spots to take breathtakingly beautiful photos. Thankfully, we are a millennial generation and pictures are part of us. We take many of those, upload on Google photos and await it to organise and curate our memories.
A visit to Boo Kaap is not complete without visiting the Monkeybiz boutique. This is a not-for profit organisation that sells unique beads creations made by disadvantaged women in the neighbourhood. It seeks to empower them so you can make a purchase or leave a donation.
It is around 3pm and we are sitting at a restaurant waiting for lunch to be served. From this position, you get to have an amazing view of the Cape Town and peninsula. Salmon is served alongside mashed potatoes and it tastes delicious. For the first time in more than a decade, I get to eat cape gooseberries. We call them ‘ngam kam ‘in my vernacular language and sadly, I had never bothered to look out for the English name. However, I needed to tell a story about them to my friends from Nigeria. Google lens came in handy. I just took a photo of them and looked up for the name!
There is so much to see and do in Cape Town. We leave for the table mountain, a few kilometres away from the restaurant.
This drive brings me closer to fully grasping the natural splendour of the city. You get to see the backdrop of the craggy mountains and the coastal roads hug Atlantic to the cape point. In this part of the country, there is a lot of order. I promise it is mind blowing. I do not hear vehicles honking and the roads are congestion-free.
In about 20 minutes, we arrive at the slopes of Table Mountain. There is a long queue of people waiting to go up the mountain. There are two ways to get to the top – hike through Platteklip gorge or use the aerial cableway. We opt for the easy way out and within five minutes, we are a top the mountain.
The weather is mellow, so even it is 3560ft high, we do not carry any warm clothing with us.
Now, here is the thing about the iconic table mountain. While at the top, you cannot help but marvel at the magnificent backdrop of the bustling city below. I am amazed to see people of all ages. There is a baby in a stroller and a woman seemingly in her 70s.
The mountain is part of a world heritage site and you get to see fynbos, a unique yet endangered plant diversity. There is a café, curio shop and a Wi-Fi lounge. We did not depend on that, though. A few of us had WI-FI routers ensuring that we did not miss on the identity of the flora and fauna. With Google Translate, no word would miss us.
The ride to the top? That was gentle and quite slow. The cable car rotates ensuring that everyone gets a taste of the astonishing wonderful city. We take about 30 minutes at the top- taking photos, learning about the fauna and flora and getting sad that we only have one day left before we return to our home countries.
The time is now 10 pm. I turn to Google assistant and remind it to wake me up at 6 am the following morning. Our itinerary reads ‘wine tasting experience’. Outside, Djembe drummers lull me to sleep.