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Cape Town: Dinner at Mama Africa

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By Irfan Ahmad
15 February 2010

The bed sheets felt fresh and crisp. The duvet was inviting. The heavenly bed seemed heavenly. After a 10 hour flight to Cape Town, sleep was what I craved. But a hungry stomach had other designs on my time. I went down to the Westin’s restaurant and ordered Tom Yom soup and a veggie pizza. The strange combination reflected the state I was in.
The next morning I was joined by two dozen others who had come from destinations as diverse as San Francisco, Mumbai, Geneva Bucharest and Kiev. We all headed to the conference room and took turns in trying to impress each other with slick Power Point presentations. When the day came to an end we headed for the cultural dose that had been planned for us – dinner at Mama Africa: a restaurant that offered an exotic wild game mixed grill.

The Westin Grand Cape Town is located close to the waterfront on Long Street and is adjacent to the glass and steel modern Cape Town Convention Centre. Walking away from the waterfront towards upper Long Street you go past some highrise office blocks and then enter an area which seems to be one of the most happening places in Cape Town. Restaurants and bars are interspersed with internet cafes and shops selling antiques and beads. Bookshops and clothing stores compete with the Pan African Market for tourist dollars.

But it was almost 7 pm and most of the shops we walked past were shuttered. The sun’s last rays were disappearing and traffic on Long Road was sparse.

A mere ten minutes walk from the swanky Westin Grand were a string of budget hostels. Long Street Backpackers, Two Ocean Backpackers and Backpackers on Castle were settling in for the evening with their catch of travelers on a shoestring. I wonder how many tourists Backpackers on Castle managed to attract with its billboard claiming that they offered hot showers, towels and fresh beddings. Towels and fresh beddings? Are there some establishments which offer beds with the slept in feel: smell the sweat of previous customers and use this towel that is eco-friendly and has never been washed! Alhamdolillah we were staying in a decent hotel!




Mama Africa is located on Long Street next to Nyoni’s Kraal restaurant and opposite Nando’s – the famous South African grilled, peri-peri chicken chain.


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