It’s not often that you get a chance to convert your work into an exploratory holiday. Fortunately, advertising professionals Vishwaprasad Raju and T.V. Prasad were able to transition their visit to Cape Town, South Africa – for a print campaign and television commercial shoot – into a holiday. You & I joins the two colleagues as they recount the time they explored scenic routes, encountered a variety of exotic animals, indulged in the local cuisines, and brushed up on the city’s fascinating history.
Cape Town was an obvious choice for us when we conceived a campaign that demanded gorgeous outdoor spaces, splendid vineyards, stunning backdrops, wild reserves and that Africa-Europe-and-a-dash-of-Asia vibe as well. There were times during our trip that we ended up choosing one too many locations, and Cape Town did spoil us for choice.
During the recce and the shoot, spread over four days, we covered most of the city’s must-dos: an immersive visit to the Bo-Kaap, where the multi-coloured houses shout at you, take you in and feed you some amazing Malay cuisine; Company’s Garden with wide open green spaces; the indomitable Table Mountain, which comes with a blanket of clouds draped over it on a good day; and the charismatic Camps Bay, where some foot-tapping Bollywood songs have been shot. We even got to try Braai – the South African method of barbecuing.
Following our shoot, we visited the Cape of Good Hope, where the two oceans fight for your attention. The Cape Peninsula is as spectacular as it gets, and it stretches from Cape Town to the Cape of Good Hope. Hemmed in by the Atlantic Ocean and False Bay, the Cape Peninsula is just picture-perfect. You can drive in and out in a day, taking in the superb scenery, quaint fishing towns, splendid beaches, and many chapters of nautical history.
As we left the city behind, we drove past Camps Bay, marvelling in the majestic views as they unfolded. We then found ourselves in a fit-for-a-car-TVC-location: the Chapman’s Peak drive along Hout Bay, where we saw cyclists pedalling their way while a slight drizzle added to the drama. We were of two minds: race past, or take as many pit stops as possible. In the end we did both. Nine kilometres in length, with over 100 curves, it has a great following. The breath-taking view of the great ocean road, with views of the two oceans and the Twelve Apostles, brings to mind the coasts of Australia. Instead of kangaroos we saw baboons, and for koalas – we had to settle for wild ostriches.
From there, we followed the magnificent coastline to Kommetjie, Misty Cliffs, and Scarborough, to arrive at the entrance of Table Mountain National Park. The place boasts a rich, varied, and utterly unique fauna and flora. The park is home to an array of fynbos shrubs, over 250 species of birds, bucks (missed by a whisker), baboons (spotted), and the Cape Mountain Zebra. The route to Cape Point was as rewarding as the journey.
A long-time beacon for sailors, Cape Point is still widely referred to as ‘The Cape’ by seafarers. In 1488, it was Portuguese seafarer Bartolomeu Dias who was the first to sail around the Cape and name it Cape of Storms. In 1497, another Portuguese explorer, Vasco da Gama, rounded the Cape on his way to India. In the 21st century, two travellers from India (which is us!) visited the place to marvel at the treacherous and challenging historic sea route from the safety of the Two Oceans restaurant. Here we snapped the mandatory we-were-there picture and allowed our minds to wander, as the crashing waves kissed the South African coast.
We then took the False Bay route while heading back and this didn’t disappoint either. The most adorable place – Boulders Beach, off Simon’s Town – was awaiting us. The only place where anyone could get up close to African penguins, also known as Jackass penguins owing to the braying sound they make. In 1983, a pair was spotted on Foxy Beach, Simon’s Town, and since then, thanks to the abundant food and breeding sites, the population grew manifold. The boardwalk makes it easy to see these waddling wonder birds go about their daily routine. We were mightily pleased at the conservation efforts and the scenic setting.
As advised by the driver, we pulled over at Kalk Bay and grabbed a quick snack at the atmospheric Olympia Café & Deli. We thanked our driver for introducing us to Olympia and their many taste bud tickling delights. As the trip concluded, we resolved that second time around we will make sure to set out on a safari to explore the forest reserves and rediscover this layered city, which is a design capital, an adventure hub and a cultural destination, all rolled into one! – Vishwaprasad Raju and T.V. Prasad