We stayed at a friend’s home which overlooked the bay of Simonstown, one of many picturesque bays in the region. The restored buildings of the main street contrast sharply with those in the local townships.
We took the chance to eat as much local produce as possible, including ostrich meat and prawns which were a bargain at the local seafront restaurant.
We also made a one day trip round the wine country, visiting the vineyards around the old towns of Stellenbosch and Franshoek, where wine has been produced for centuries, almost as long as in France.
We were privileged to visit some local residents’ homes and see the diversity of artistic influences, including Chinese, Georgian, Zulu and Xhosa.
However, there are many not so privileged, and the huge gap between rich and poor left us feeling uncomfortable. We heard that the problem of Aids is so serious (one study estimates that 1 in 10 of S. Africans over 2 yrs old are living with HIV) that Africans especially are dying younger and in greater numbers (average life expectancy is falling fast, and is already less than 50 yrs). Even with a per capita GDP 70% higher than that of China, it made me think how lucky we all are.