Cape Town – Take me back

Cape Town is such a beautiful cosmopolitan city. I would love to spend more time there. I actually think you could spend two weeks in Cape Town and still not experience everything it has to offer.

We had 4 days in Cape Town (not long enough) and it was wonderful. Known as the “windy city” we were lucky enough to experience fantastic weather except for probably 2 hours on one of the days.

Staying in Sea Point, just out of the main CBD area was a great location. Out of the hustle and bustle of the big city but still close enough to all the action. Sea Point features a promenade along the ocean and it runs parallel with Beach Road.  We walked along here almost daily and one morning went for a run along the promenade and then did some laps at Milton swimming pool right on the ocean. It was surreal swimming and seeing the Lions Head each time I took a breath! An ideal location for triathlon training.

Sea Point.JPG

We utilised the Hop on Hop off Bus which was a great way to get around the city, learn a bit of history, and efficiently see some of the main highlights of Cape Town. Unfortunately on this day the Cable Car was not operating on Table Mountain due to high winds (which tends to occur quite regularly!).

We explored the V&A Waterfront which was lovely. Strolling the pedestrian pavements, wandering through the shopping centres and enjoying some fantastic food right on the water. We got some great photos of the view from the Cape Wheel with views spanning over to Robben Island, up to Table Mountain and beyond.

Located down at the V&A Waterfront is Nobel Square and the V&A Market on the Wharf. The Square is features life size statues of 4 Nobel Prize winners, including Nelson Mandela. It looks up to an amazing view of Table Mountain and is adjacent to the Market on the Wharf. Now this place is a foodie heaven! We visited the Market about 3-4 times during our stay and were never disappointed. The array of food on offer was amazing and SO Tasty!

On one of our days we drove around the coast line behind Table Mountain and then cut back in to the Steenberg Golf Estate to visit family. The coast line was stunning and we drove past Camps Bay (which has some AMAZING properties with incredible ocean views), saw the twelve apostles and continued along to Hout Bay where we stopped at Champan’s Peak for some great photos and also in the hope to see baboons. Unfortunately (or fortunately as they are so mischievous). You can get some amazing photos from there.

Continuing on from Chapman’s Peak we drove around to Steenburg Golf Estate but were early for our visit so continued on to Kirstenbosh Gardens. And of course – this is when it started to rain! Our only wet weather for our time in Cape Town. We managed to see some of the gorgeous gardens without getting too drenched, however it would have been lovely to spend more time here.

We couldn’t visit Cape Town without experiencing Robben Island. On our last afternoon, we headed for the V&A Waterfront to board a boat and experience the history of Robben Island and the incredible Nelson Mandela. Interestingly, the island used to be a leper colony, housed a mental institution, was a military base, a whaling station and more famously, was home to the prison that held political prisoners. People still live on Robben Island and there were school kids catching the ferry home for the day when we heading over.
Upon arriving at the island we were ushered onto the awaiting buses for a tour of the island. This was not what I was expecting and the bus consisted of rows of 3 seats and 2 seats. We were packed in! And this also meant that unless you were lucky enough to get a window seat – you couldn’t really see what was being talked about. The bus took us to a lime quarry where prisoners worked hard and also educated themselves ready for being on the outside. This is where all their secret planning was conducted. We drove past a Leper grave yard, the Kramat (shrine) of Tuan Guru (a Muslim leader), and the house where Robert Sobukwe lived in solitary confinement for nine (yes NINE) years! Whilst he was in a house – none of the guards spoke to him and he was not allowed to speak to them.
The tour concluded with a visit to the prison with the highlight, and the most emotional location being Nelson Mandela’s former cell. The prison tour guides are all former prisoners themselves, making the experience all the more surreal…hearing their first hand stories of hardship, the hatred they experienced and their fight for freedom.

Overall Cape Town is a stunning, active and sociable city. It features such beauty both natural and man made and is a great location to base yourself for further exploring. You can head off to some game reserves from here, start a lovely drive along the Garden Route towards Port Elizabeth, climb Table Mountain (if the weather permits!) and for all of the adrenalin junkies you can cage dive with Great White’s or event parasail off Signal Hill. This is one city that I would highly recommend to anyone, whether travelling as a family, couple, it’s even great  as a honeymoon destination as you can do as much or as little as you like!

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