South Africa: The Rainbow Nation

South Africa: The Rainbow Nation
It’s a long flight, whichever way you spin it. Even though I remind myself of the old adage that it’s about the journey as much as the destination, I think that philosophy doesn’t apply here. Yet as I read my travel guide from the constricted comfort of my airplane seat, I get progressively excited about the upcoming two-week tour of South Africa. This destination has always been on top of my wish list, and part of its allure has to do with the remote location. Add into the mix wild animals in their native habitat, landscapes typically only seen in National Geographic, and trusty BMWs, and you have the perfect recipe for an adventurous motorcycle tour combined with cultural, as well as culinary, delights.

The maiden voyage of Blue Rim Tours (RoadRUNNER’s newly named organized tours division) to the southern tip of the dark continent brings together seasoned alums and a few folks new to international motorcycle vacationing. Oscar, our tour guide and route master, is the man with the plan, and Connie, his wife, drives the support van carrying our luggage, cold refreshments, and snacks. I’m in the back riding sweep.

Our Arrival

South Africa is known as “The Rainbow Nation,” and it officially recognizes 11 languages. We hear mostly English and Afrikaans, a Dutch derivative. Surprisingly, Cape Town has a very high population of Caucasians. When I inquire about the seeming lack of diversity, the locals tell me that the closer I am to water, the more likely this is to be the case (even though nearly 80 percent of the country’s population is Africans).

Our group is antsy to swing our legs over a BMW and hit the road, but to get acclimated to the time zone, the heat (we escaped one of the worst winters in the U.S. and Canada), and most importantly the traffic on the left, we board the double-decker Red Bus for a sightseeing tour. We visit all the notable stops in Cape Town, including the famous Victoria & Alfred (V&A) Waterfront, the glitzy suburb of Camps Bay, and end at Groot Constantia, one of the oldest wine estates in the country, for a tour and tasting. What a befitting welcome to our dream destination.