Going to Cape Town?
Who said Africa is not beautiful!? They obviously have never been to the captivating city of Cape Town, Western Cape if so. This city has some of the most amazing views and scenery! I arrived in Cape from about a 2 hour domestic flight from Johannesburg as the sun was going down, which made my drive into the city pretty cool. As I drove to my boutique I reserved in the Sea Point area, I got a chance to see the nightly skyline as I drove past downtown on the way. Kind of reminded me of Miami a little bit as far as the coastal look, maybe mixed with a lil Los Angeles. Also felt like I was in a racing arcade game with the whole driving on the other side and all the curves and hills. But anyway, I was able to book in a decent area for my stay…when reading reviews ahead of time, some people made it seem as though it was a war zone and people would car jack or rob you in day light when you came to Cape Town…although I’m sure there are dangerous locations and activity going on, (as in most places around the world) I’ll say that most people exaggerate, and you will be surely fine while visiting Cape Town. I didn’t experience any threats or dangerous situations during my week stay and I pretty much went all over that city.
My first full day in Cape, I decided to sign up for the Cape Peninsula Tour. (You can find several of these tours on Google or at your hotel/boutique). This tour had a guide who came and picked a group of us up in a van from our hotels and eventually took us on our tour around. He would stop at different parts so we could take pictures and get out, but since the time frame was slim, we didn’t get much time at every location. When it came time for lunch we went to some seafood place and man, I had the best fish ever in life! It was called Kingklip. I think it had more to do with the restaurant however, being that I ordered that fish again later that week and was disappointed smh. It was still good, just not as good as that place. (Harbourview Lodge is the name of the place with the good Kingklip fish). After lunch, we got a chance to go see some seals but wasn’t able to hit up Seal island as the currents were too rough. I still managed to take a boat ride around some parts of the Bay. The currents were definitely rough though, it had people doing the “two step” and “electric slide” with no music. Ha. After the boat ride, I took a picture with a seal on the boardwalk that some guy had on it so he could make tips and then we all got back in the van to continue our journey. We later ended up at the “Most South-Western Point of the African Continent” and also surrounded by penguins on the beach. The tour finale took us to the botanical garden and then back to our rooms as we wrapped up the day. Yes, it was a day tour and yes, I recommend you sign up for it on your first or second day in Cape Town. You won’t be disappointed in the views for sure.
My second day in Cape Town, I decided to take a tour through the Langa township and then over to Robben Island where Nelson Mandela served 18 of his 27 years in prison. I looked forward to this day which turned out to be better than expected. The tour guide I had for the Langa township went by the name of Klaas Godfrey, who was born and raised in Langa and represented the EFF (Economic Freedom Fighters) in the last election. We first stopped by an elementary school, which was the highlight of my day, and got to watch in and interact with a Kindergarten class. (The raw energy in that class was electric!) Next we walked the neighborhood and spoke with a few people along the way. Seeing how people live in those conditions will make you reevaluate yourself and start being more appreciative in life. After I ended my tour in Langa I went over to the V&A Waterfront, had lunch at the food court inside the mall, then waited for the ship to take us to Robben Island. I once took a similar tour to Alcatraz in San Francisco and was kind of expecting the same boat ride…boy was I wrong! This ride was cold, bumpy, and took forever to get to the island! I believe it took us at least 45 minutes, I’m not sure why but yea it was super long, I almost took a nap. Upon arrival, we were all split up onto several buses and escorted over to the prison to do the Mandela and political fighters tour. There was an ex-inmate from the 80’s who was imprisoned for being apart of the anti-apartheid movement that showed us around. Respect to that man by the way! He showed us where Nelson Mandela spent his time in the garden and also his cell that he lived in. It was a surreal moment for myself to be able to experience something like that, so I highly recommend this tour to everyone that visits Cape Town!
Later that week while venturing around in my rental car, I stopped by the colorful section of town called Bo-Kaap, also known as the Malay Quarter. This was an area where Muslims were forced to live during Apartheid. After it ended, the government awarded each family the deed to their home and allowed them to paint it a different color to show individuality. Certainly a must see as the colors and layout will make you pull out your camera for sure. Not too far from Bo-Kaap is Long Street, which is the major street downtown with all the bars and restaurants. They say it can be dangerous at night on this street but I walked it alone several times and never felt threaten. Again, just be vigilant as always and you should be fine. The other location you’ll want to check out in Cape Town is the V&A Waterfront. Here you will find a big ferris wheel with restaurants, galleries, shops, and events going on. I visited this section quite often during the day as well as night.
For those of you who are adventurous, you might want to check out the weather ahead of time and see if you’re able to hike up Table Mountain or Lion’s Head. Cape Town has some odd weather, one minute it will be sunny and calm, a few hours later it will be cold and windy, then later a thunderstorm. I believe it ranged from the 30’s to 70’s when I was there the last week of October. I wasn’t able to go up either mountain because of it being extremely windy on the days I tried. I should have planned a little better for that. I was hoping to at least ride the tram up to the top but it was closed indefinitely as well due to high winds. So yea, check the weather and plan accordingly. All in all, Cape Town is a city I would recommend anyone to visit. I prefer Johannesburg over Cape because of the culture, but Cape Town’s scenic views easily tops Joburg if you’re into landscape.