As a female in my early twenties travelling and new experiences to me, is a feeling that fills me with great interest and excitement. Therefor, the opportunity of going to Cape Town - South Africa earlier in the year was one I grasped. A number of people I have spoken to in the past have been reluctant to visit this particular destination due to its reputation of being a 'dangerous' city however my experiences were far from the western perception.
Arriving in Cape Town, we hired a car so we were able to travel independently for the week. One massive advantage it has as a country is the law to drive on the same side of the road as the UK. This, for a young driver made things a lot easier! Some of the scenic costal roads we drove on definitely made it worth it to part with the expense of the car hire fee. Another massive highlight of the trip was visiting the Western Cape region where there are several vineyards. Being escorted around the province by a local wine producer taught me a great amount about the process of developing the grapes in making fine wine and confirmed my ambition to one day work in the Public Relations sector for a vineyard or wine merchant.
Another great thing the country has to offer (for a student particularly) is the exchange rate! Compared to London prices, the drinks were around a third of the price and so it meant more things were within reach to do. Although at the time of purchase you are charged tax, you can claim it back with receipt's at the airport on the way home which can bring a suffering balance slowly up at the end of a trip.
Sitting in a sea front bar one night in the reputable area of Cape Town - Camps Bay, I got chatting to a girl of a similar age to me about growing up in the city. She made me aware that like most places in the world, you have to be street wise and aware of your surroundings. For instance, when walking around at night on your own in most areas, it would be unadvisable to wear an expensive or flashy piece of jewellery. Or perhaps to cross the road into street-lights if there was someone approaching you that looked potentially threatening. Although such elements as these may be off putting to some to choose Cape Town as a holiday destination, it really made me think that it wasn't that different to student area in Leeds I live in where you would similarly not behave in such a way. Furthermore the conversation that I had with her made me realise that some of the bad stuff that goes on in the city should one get into such a situation by affronting the obvious do's and don'ts, is one of its flaws to many amazing attributes as a holiday destination the city offers - and so I will look forward to visiting the country again should I be given the opportunity to do so.
By Julia Alderman