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South Africa

During Otto’s visits, South Africa became a democracy

date of entry 09/08/1989
mileage 24,667

capital Pretoria

area 1.219.912 km²

population 51.770.560

GDP 408 Bill. US-Dollar

Otto visited the country at Africa’s southern tip eleven times in all on his 25-year tour. Over this period South Africa underwent a historic transformation. During the first visit in 1989 racial segregation was still in force. In 1995, during the third stay, Nelson Mandela had just been sworn in as the country’s first black president. The last visit took place in 2013, the year of the anti-apartheid fighter’s death.
  • In 1995 Otto passed the Union Buildings, the seat of the South African government. The year before Nelson Mandela had become the first black man to assume the presidency here.
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  • Table Mountain is the symbol of Cape Town. South Africa’s oldest city is also called the "Mother City" by locals. The Holtorfs paid a visit to the city with Otto several times.
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  • The mist which regularly descends over the flat Table Mountain is dubbed the "tablecloth" by Capetonians
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  • The surfing stronghold Cape Town is famous for its beaches
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  • Visits to Table Mountain or the neighbouring Lion's Head and Signal Hill were good opportunities for the Holtorfs to leave the bright city lights behind. Although in this city of millions you are virtually never alone.
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  • A visit to the Cape of Good Hope was, of course, a must
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  • On their travels through South Africa Gunther and Christine Holtorf saw a country with many faces. There were arid deserts where they camped under shady rocks ...
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  • ... mountain landscapes where Otto could utilise his cross-country mobility ...
    7  of  22
  • ... as well as flowering orchards and vineyards
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  • A carpet of flowers in Namaqualand in the North Cape province. The dry province ranges from Groenriviermond in the south to the Orange River in the north. After fertile spring rain the area metamorphoses in August and September into a gorgeous carpet of flowers and into the most attractive photo motif northerly from Cape Town.
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  • In the East of South Africa Otto met 1989 another globetrotter. The Toyota with the steering wheel on the right side and the Japanese registration was a rare sight. It was the only car with an Japanese number plate Otto met outside of Japan.
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  • A herd of zebras even crossed the road ...
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  • ... as did these ostriches. These birds are bred in their thousands around the small town of Oudtshoorn.
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  • Sometimes there was no road at all. So Otto had to find different ways of continuing the journey.
    13  of  22
  • The famous railway bridge over the Kaaimans River near Wilderness is not something Otto could cross, of course. Until a few years ago the "Outeniqua Choo Tjoe", South Africa’s last steam train, belched clouds of steam into the air over this river.
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  • Another highlight in South Africa is the wildlife. Baboons are infamous for plundering the picnic baskets of passing holidaymakers.
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  • Beware of birds as well in this regard
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  • Cheetahs, on the other hand, spend most of their time sprawling in the sun. The Holtorfs were fortunate enough to observe these shy animals at very close range.
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  • This lizard brings some colour to its drab backdrop
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  • Cape Agulhas marks the southernmost tip of the African continent
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  • This is where the blue Atlantic and the green Indian Ocean meet
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  • Between 1989 and 1995 the Holtorfs visited South Africa several times. During this period the country moved away from apartheid and towards democracy. In the 1980s Gunther Holtorf was one of few whites to visit the then black ghetto of Soweto near Johannesburg.
    21  of  22
  • Video: South Africa – land of poverty, wealth and wild animals

Otto was here before ...


date of entry 14 August 1989
mileage 25,840


date of entry 21 August 1989
mileage 27,442