A Travellerspoint blog

Day 7

South Africa

overcast 63 °F
View Russ and Beth go on safari on Weimerrv's travel map.

Today we deviated from our published itinerary and the experience we got to share because of that deviation was priceless to Beth and I. Our day started with packing our bags and heading towards Stellenbosch, a famous wine region in SA. We made our first unscheduled stop at the Fairview Estate winery where we enjoyed a selection of 6 wines each paired with a different cheese. We thoroughly enjoyed the tasting and the resident goats that had their own little castle. We proceeded to Drakonstein prison- this is the last prison that held Nelson Mandela before he was finally released. We were taking pictures of the statue and flag and chatting when a Mercedes Benz rolled in and a very nicely dressed woman got out, a BMW rolled in and a man got out and started chatting with our tour guide David. It turned out that the government was getting the house that held Mandela returned to the state when Mandela walked out of the prison. The opening day for tours was coming up in January but the nicely dressed woman was married to a government official (from another country) and the man with the BMW was going to her a tour. Well David convinced the tour guide to allow our group to join in on the tour - what fantastic luck! The tour guide - Manfred - was very passionate about his subject. He had worked at the prison and had met and worked with Mr. Mandela. The tour was very moving and he gave us the whole history from The Eight’s conviction and sentencing to the eventual release of Mr. Mandela and then a bit about his life after becoming a President, the symbolism surrounding their country’s flag and the country’s subsequent struggles. Beth and I were moved to tears several times during the tour and lecture. I was struck by one of Mandela’s sayings - “I either win or I learn - I never lose”. Nelson Mandela’s humanity is a shining light for all to see.

After leaving the prison (we each got to go out the Freedom Gate which was the gate Mandela exited when he left prison for the last time). We went next to the university town of a Stellenbosch. During our short time in town we visited a beautiful a Dutch Reformed Church and had a lovely chat with two volunteer guides. They had a beautiful organ -please see the pictures. After the town tour we went to our hotel which is also wine estate. We had a nice wine tasting and a great dinner with wine at each of the 3 courses. Another wonderful day in South Africa! The serendipitous addition gave us an experience we will never forget.

serendipitous addition to our tour will be hard to beat.

Posted by Weimerrv 11:12 Archived in South Africa

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There are no words to express how special our Nelson Mandela experience was9 today. Manfred is very passionate about the subject and so very gifted in speaking about it. When he was done he went outside and I followed outside where I found him wiping tears from his eyes. The picture of the me with Manfred was taken right after that. Two quotes that stuck with me today... “be the legacy” and “we are all part of one race-the human race”.

by bweimer

And so much wine today....I was wined out.????

by bweimer

The serendipitous oportunities with small group travel is one of the best perks...

by pat comfort

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