My time at Indaba wraps up with a breakfast to celebrate South African Air’s 75th anniversary (also the hosts of last night’s great train trip). Then it’s off to the airport to try out an SAA domestic flight to Cape Town. The two-hour trip is like a step-back to the more genteel days of U.S. air travel. I get to keep my shoes, and my jacket, on during security. My water bottle isn’t confiscated. And, most excitingly for me, it’s lunchtime, in coach, and there’s a hot meal!
Neil Strickland of The Travel Group; Gregg Truman, VP of marketing for South African Airways; Marc Cavaliere, EVP of North America for South African Airways; and Todd M. Neuman, VP Sales of North America for South African Airways
In Cape Town, my destination is the new One & Only resort, which has been a hot topic of conversation at Indaba (Have you seen it? Has anyone been there?). Open only for five weeks, but already a magnet for celebrities (Sharon Stone, John Travlota, and Matt Damon among others), the Sol Kerzner hotel has the equivalent of a new car smell: everything is so pristine I wonder if I’m the first person to use my super-luxe room (I’m not).
On a man-made island in the middle of the V&A Waterfront, there’s a real sense of place here: you can see Table Mountain from the minute you enter the lobby, and custom-created African art fills the walls and rooms. After refueling at the continent’s first Nobu (where local kingclip is on the menu), I’m ready to explore the waterfront the next morning.
Mariette du Toit-Helmbold, CEO of Cape Town Tourism; Bicole Woody, PR and communications manager for Cape Town Tourism; and Neil Strickland of The Travel Group
The O&O is adjacent to the Two Oceans Aquarium (you can see penguins when you walk out of the hotel!) and across from the crafts shed. I fill up on views of the mountains, buy up a suitcase worth of beaded crafts (my weakness), and then it’s time to head back to the airport for a return flight to the States.
I can’t wait until my next trip to Africa to try out some of the great destinations I saw at Indaba: perhaps the fascinating Skeleton Coast and Caprivi Strip of Namibia; or South Africa for World Cup 2010; or maybe even a safari circuit of Zimbabwe now that the U.S. has lifted travel sanctions. There’s an old saying on the continent, “Out of Africa, always something new,” and I couldn’t agree more.