2003-04-19 / Columnists

Dorothy Dunne

News Events/Travel Editor/Host
WNYX - TV Morning News
12:00 noon on UHF Chs. 35 & 26 Monday - Friday
Dorothy Dunne News Events/Travel Editor/Host WNYX - TV Morning News

News Events/Travel Editor/Host
WNYX - TV Morning News

12:00 noon on UHF Chs. 35 & 26 Monday - Friday

Before we left "Jo-burg" we spent an evening out at restaurant row and dined at the liveliest spot in town, Moyo, that was, on a slow night, buzzing with people from all parts of the world... at their outside tables or on their four tiered levels where you could hear and enjoy the talented musical entertainment. Ah! the food was great. I had a delicious char broiled filet of Ostrich that melted in my mouth like butter. Ostrich, if you have never had it, is very similar to filet mignon only more tender and far lower in chlorestrol. It is very healthy for you. An expensive item on the menu, but well worth it. If you get a chance do try it. You will love it.

The next day in Seweto, a few towns away from Johannesburg, we visited the home of Nelson Mandela. Since we could not get too close to it because of tight security, my Director/Cameraman, James Chladek and I stopped to have a picture taken in front of his original home.

Seweto is not a glamorous town. It has various economic sections. More than 40% of the people are unemployed and affected with the aids virus. The people of South Africa have given homes (though some may be shanties) to the poor and are giving them hospital care as well as skilled education. One out of three babies born is HIV positive. The life expectancy is very short. However, the Corporations and more affluent people of South Africa have come to their aid. It was surprising to me to see how harmonious the black, colored and white people are living so well together. They are making it work. It teaches us all a lesson.

Ostriches can be dangerous birdsOstriches can be dangerous birds

On our daily tours, at one to a Game Forest, I petted the lion cubs and took shots of the giraffes, deer and springboks. On another day we visited the Cultural Center and met the natives of five tribes, visited their homes and observed their way of life. After our treks it was always a pleasure to get back to the hotel for high tea, a swim in the pool and later a marvelous gourmet meal.

I hated to leave Westcliff and it’s most wonderful staff, Laura, Trevor and Greg and, most of all, General Manager, Mark Holden for taking care of us in such a special, special way, but our flight to Cape Town was waiting and we were anxious to see Cape Town. We wondered if it could possibly live up to our expectations.

Our Mercedes Driver/Guide was waiting for us at the airport to transport us to the famous Mt. Nelson, THE hotel in Cape Town. More luxury and elegance awaited us.

We were warmly greeted and escorted to our very spacious and beautiful suites with canopied beds and a terrace overlooking the beautiful gardens. There are two pools as well as villas for families. The grounds are well manicured and full English breakfast is served in the Oasis inside or out on the terrace facing the pool. Smoked Norwegian salmon with sour cream and caviar along with fruit, cheese omelets or eggs cooked to your desire and anything else every morning. And, every morning was filled with sunshine and comfortable temperatures…Never too hot nor too cold. Perfect. Mt. Nelson. though you would never know it, is built at the bottom of Table Mt. in the heart of town and that does make it convenient to the Waterfront, the huge Mall and the ferry that takes you to where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for 17 years. This Island has a beautiful view and warm soft breezes. The prisons are kept freshly painted and the former prisoners are the guides. They were not treated well and Mandela was in solitary confinement for a number of years in a tiny space. That is all over now and what surprised me most is they do not harbor any animosity. The attitude is unbelievable. All is forgiven and lets go on with life and make it better with what they have left.

Of course, we "climbed" Table Mt. via Cable Car and marveled at the awesome views and size of the "Table op. Next to Table Mt. you find the 12 Apostles Mt. And beyond that Lion’s Head. The mountains throughout the surrounding areas of Cape Town are stunning, majestic marvels. Cape Town is very beautiful and, most certainly, a heavenly place to live.

Within two and a half hours drive of Mt. Nelson you can experience a day safari which I just loved. We drove around in an open land rover up and down the rugged terrain of acres and acres spotting Giraffe, Rhinos, Springbok, Zebra, Buffalo, Wildebeest and various other animals and got very close to them. Inverdoorn is a quaint Game Reserve that even has attractive cottage accommodations, pool, tennis, mountain biking, trout fishing, golf, breakfast, lunch and dinner and it is immaculate. Even the animals look clean and healthy as they roam around freely throughout the land.

Cape Town is also known for its beautiful vineyards and we stopped at some for tasting and knowledge of the process of wine making within the valleys of the mountains. There are some lovely towns and Universities and houses in these areas. You also find B&B accommodations if you wish to travel that way. A must is lunch at La Couronne Hotel, Restaurant and Winery where the view is unbelievably breathtaking and the food divine and reasonable because the exchange rate is 8 Rands to one dollar. That is why plastic surgery is one-third the price in NYC. I knew my trip to South Africa would not be complete until I visited the Ostrich Farm where I intended to ride an Ostrich. The Ostrich has a tiny brain and is not smart. It uses its eyes to compensate. It does have a lethal kick and, since they are very feisty I had to settle on just sitting on the Ostrich. Though you can see it in the TV show I wasn’t able to get a still shot for the paper. But, I did sit on the Ostrich and it wasn’t too bad. We also took in the Botanical Gardens and the Penguin Farm and, most of all, enjoyed the tranquility and quiet elegance of Mt. Nelson Hotel, the high tea with soft live music; the gourmet meals in their formal dining room prepared by renown Chef Stromboli who specially made crocodile for me that was really good. (I don’t know if I would like it if it was prepared by someone else, but this I did enjoy).We had live music every night at dinner among the very suitably dressed guests. Service was at your fingertips with every turn. Luxury and elegance personified and that is what the Hotel is all about.

South Africa is a paradise in its climate, monstrous mountains, lakes, valleys and pleasant friendly people. I love it! I could live there and I do encourage all of you to try to get to visit South Africa and stay at Orient-Express Hotels and really live it up to the hilt. YOU DESERVE IT!!! AN EXPERIENCE OF A LIFETIME!

I miss it already. And, I thank South African Airways and the Orient-Express hotels for making this fabulous trip possible.

Don’t forget as soon as this show is edited it will be aired on several channels posted in this column and you can see South Africa on "Dorothy Dunne Travels in Style to South Africa " part of the television series that has been seen for over 18 years.

When I arrived back in New York the man at customs looked at me and said. "The Wave" He is a new resident at Surfside and raved about it. The Surfside area is really picking up. Stores are being constructed next to Shoprite. New condos have just been built. The place is doing well. The little shopping area is so convenient for parking it is a pleasure to bring your car. Bit by bit Rockaway is coming up in the world. Check out the Surfside area and see the big improvements being made.

Kathy Pierce is home recuperating from a heart procedure and doing very well. If I know Kathy she will bounce back in no time. Speedy recovery. She can’t be too bad since she will be at Kennedy’s for Easter dinner.

Happy Holidays!

Check out travel specials on NYX-TV (Chs. 35) Mon. to Fri. E-mail dorothydunne@yahoo.com


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