After a gorgeous day on the sugar cane and beautiful beach strewn island of Mauritius we headed for South Africa- with Rev Desmond Tutu on board as our interesting and somewhat controversial keynote speaker.
Our first port was to be Durban with the many high rise blocks of flats along the coast line that I remember from visits many years previosly. However the entire city seemed alive with new buildings of luxury homes, hotels and of course to crown them all the impressive stadium (almost) complete for the World Cup.
However, by request from several of our group, we headed for the huge Gateway shopping mall where several of our group wanted to shop for painted ostrich eggs and other African artifacts – great gifts for those disembarking in Ft.Lauderdale, New York and Southampton but not too easy for those of us with flights home!
I had also promised to buy lunch for some of our group – their request – after months of fabulous cuisine on QM2 – was for KFC, which we found!
I just managed to resist buying a Versace gown (even with the 50% discount) and settled instead for a casual dress by a young Durban designer. I only mention the above to show what a diverse shopping experience we enjoyed and how sophisticated Durban has become!
Two days later we sailed into South Africa’s pride and joy – Cape Town. The famed Table Mountain was still dressed for breakfast draped with its morning tablecloth (puffy white clouds just falling over the top) she was also set for dinner when we pulled out the following evening!
Many people took the opportunity to enjoy 2-day safaris and visits along the gorgeous garden route. 700 of us (full world cruisers) also enjoyed the World Cruise dinner at a beautiful winery (although we felt the drive of an hour was rather too long) The following day I was met by a friend who used to work on QE2 – he is now manager of the luxury Blue Train – if you need a contact – I have it!
He kindly flew down from Jo’berg, rented a car and drove me along the magnificient coast road past the 12 apostles on a perfect day. We enjoyed a great lunch close to the water. On the way back we were also able to view yet another magnificent stadium where I understand the first match of the World Cup will be held.
Then an unexpected surprise – although on our itinery, we had been warned the chance of us being able to anchor and tender ashore in St. Helena was somewhat remonte. King Neptune took care of us!
We arrived to calm seas, blue skies and friendly islanders on the remote south Atlantic island (british stronghold?) Of St. Helena. Only 4000 inhabitants (and declining) – which with passengers and crew we nearly doubled!
This was the final home and resting place of Napoleon. We viewed his home and tomb. However it was the island scenery that really impressed – lush green rolling hills reminding me of home – the Sussex Downs on the south coast of england! A really delightful little known island which I encourage everyone to visit – charming!
Now on to Barbados and ft. Lauderdale before ending this World cruise in New York 15th April.
We can hardly wait to rejoin our many friends next year on the new Queen Elizabeth Inaugural world cruise. If you can’t manage it all come for a segment! PLEASE don’t delay as many categories are already wait-listed.