South Africa — Saving Grace
“A week-long exploration into the luxe queer side of the Rainbow Nation.”
Day 3, MalaMala to Cape Town
“Ladies and Gentlemen, there’s a rhino on the runway.” For a moment I thought I was in a George Carlin skit. But no, peering past the South African Airways express connection, there was in fact a Rhino trotting around the tarmac. There’s that moment again…wow!
I’ll be the first to admit I wasn’t ever that keen on doing a safari. I’ve bird-watched, but the monotony made me cuckoo. Earlier, however, as I waited for my transfer to the airstrip in the plush library, recalling fresh memories of cooing at Lion cubs along the riverbank, sipping a Jack Daniels “sundowner” in a field of Impala and Zebra, and stalking a Leopard with a spotlight while a massive Hyena stalked us, I realized I was actually sad to leave.
In fact, I definitely just ate my feelings at breakfast (wild antelope pies, smoked trout and local cheeses with spicy ginger preserves have been my downfall). Without getting too “circle of life” hokey, it’s hard not to be struck by the notion that this is where mankind started its evolutionary dominance. It’s also hard not to wish I had invested in a better camera. (Luckily the rangers did and post regularly at malamala.tv.)
But it’s time to put the city back in this slicker, and Cape Town calls. With the sedately spectacular 122-room Cape Grace as my base for the night, and a stunning sunset view of Devil’s Peak and Table Mountain out my room’s French windows, I arrive primed for action. My expat friends Earl and Kate, both employees of the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation (despite its advances South Africa still confronts some of the highest HIV rates in the world), are more than eager to oblige with an urban safari down Long Street, the city’s bustling main commercial/entertainment drag.