CAPE TOWN- A WORLD TRAVEL DESTINATION- PART-1
OUYTHOUSoiiNNsuth Africa, India and an old sea route
South Africa India and an old sea-route
Who was the first European that landed in India?’
‘Vasco De Gamma from Portuguese’
‘Which route did he take?’
‘The sea-route from Portugal rounding the Cape of Good-Hope’
‘Why did he come to India?’
‘To promote trade between India and …’
Was it for that, he pioneered that route risking his life and of his fellow sailors in the rough seas of Atlantic and Indian? I was remembering my history classes in a remote Kerala village school, many years ago, when I was a fifth grader, where our teachers used to impart knowledge about things perhaps they did not know much or perhaps in the way the writers, publishes and the politicians wanted
A map of Cape Peninsula
to purport them?
I was standing at the peak of the Cape Point, a cape adjacent to the Cape of Good Hope.
The sea below more than 1000 meters was rough and the wind howled in fierce animosity. The attraction at the top of the mountain was an old lighthouse. Prefabricated in London more than three hundred years ago, it was brought over there, a script embedded on a metal disk inside it read.
It looked like a shrine, by age and the solemn-ness that lurked in and around it interrupted only by the howling wind. The wild shrubs that filled the rest of the mountaintop spilled an exotic cent into the air.
Travelers from all around the world, moved in and around it in awe apparently lapping up the history its monuments displayed or not displayed. I noticed the gentleness on their fingers and faces when they touched on those monuments, a metal plaque or a wall inscription, out of excitement.
Sitting inside it, somebody once controlled the sea traffic between the two halves of the world and the destiny of the people in them dawned onto me as a fleeting thought. At one spot, inside the lighthouse stood a spiked metal pole with each spike indicating the direction and distance to the most important cities in the world.
India and South Africa were the two key links in the proliferation of European colonialism. Traffic along the Cape route was once heavy. Ships stuffed with India’s natural and human resources moved forth to the various European colonies and back with the finished products. The place value of South Africa at the initial stage in the colonial equation was to offer transit facilities to those long traveling sailors. Later when South Africa’s natural resources were discovered it became an excellent enterprise zone.
By the later part of the 1900s when colonies turned democracies and technologies were developed the colonial sea-route between East and West rounding the Cape of Good Hope diminished and was abandoned. The whole area is now a national heritage and human dwelling is nowhere in the vicinity.
Blue Rock cable water, a funtastic ski resort with mountains and wine
At the feet of the Cape Point that forms the Southern tip of the African continent and of the South African nation, meet the two prolific oceans: the steely cold Atlantic and the warm bubbly Indian. Cape Maclear and Cape Point are two other adjacent capes at their meeting region.
Beyond the feet of the Cape Point, traveling by vehicle is prohibited except for the trams run by the State Tourism Department. To climb up to the roof of the sharply escalating mountain on foot is like a pilgrimage without rituals. Among them were children, youth, old, male and female. Along the side of the neatly paved walking route are varieties of natural vegetation that form parts of the 7750 hector Table Mountain National Park surrounding the Cape Mountain.
We went there as a family. The excitement about the city never ended. It goes on….