When I imagine a perfect getaway, I envision a place with breathtaking mountain views or perhaps beautiful beaches with the relaxing sounds of crashing waves. The incredible city of Cape Town has both and I was excited to have the opportunity to visit for a week. During my visit, I was able to get a taste of the culture, wildlife, natural beauty and tasty cuisine of the region. I hope this inspires you to travel to Cape Town in the future.
The V&A Waterfront is definitely the tourist haven of Cape Town. There is a huge mall with many luxury stores and souvenir shops. Additionally, there are many upscale restaurants but there is the option of the V&A Food Market which offers more affordable delicious food on-the-go options.
My travel companions and I took a ride on the Ferris Wheel to get a panoramic view of the city. It offered a nice view of the waterfront but nothing compared to the views we would see at my next destination.
Table Mountain is a can’t miss destination and is one of the Natural New 7 Wonders of the World according to the World Heritage Site. Many people hike up to the mountain’s summit but we elected to take the cable car up to the top.
The cable car tickets can be purchased online in advance or in person. Tickets cost about $20.50 for a roundtrip ride up to and down from the top. We wanted to watch the sunset from Table Mountain so we arrived at around 4:00 PM and had time to take some pictures and enjoy the sunset which was around 5:30 PM.
Safari!!! You can’t travel to South Africa and not go on a safari. One of my travel companions found a great Safari tour at Inverdoorn Game Reserve which is about 3 hours outside of Cape Town. Our amazing tour guide, Garrett, picked us up from our AirBnB and drove us out to the reserve with a quick stop for breakfast.
Once we arrived at the reserve we had a three-hour game drive which was extremely successful. We were able to encounter elephants, lions, giraffes, ostriches, leopards, rhinos, zebras and many more wild animals. Inverdoorn Game Reserve rescues threatened animals and provides rehabilitation for a return to the wild. Once our game drive was over, we return to the lodge where we had a delicious buffet lunch.
Our day began with a tour of Robben Island where Nelson Mandela and others who fought against Apartheid were jailed. Robben Island is about a 30-minute ferry ride from Cape Town. The tour of the prison on Robben Island was a sobering reminder of the dark history of Apartheid in South Africa. Seeing the conditions of the prison and resilience of the prisoners to continue to fight the good fight while behind bars.
Once we returned to the mainland, we then went to the District Six Museum which showcases the plight of the residents of the District Six neighborhood who were removed from their homes during Apartheid. The District Six neighborhood remains desolate to this day.
We then took a short walk to the Iziko Slave Lodge. This museum chronicles the history of the Dutch Slave Trade in Cape Town. Slaves in Cape Town were brought from not only East and West Africa, but also from Malaysia and India contributing to the diversity of Cape Town today. Unfortunately, visitors are not allowed to take pictures inside of the Iziko Slave Lodge so I don’t have any to share but I highly recommend that you visit to see it for yourself.
The day ended with a quick stop in the Bo-Kaap neighborhood which is known for its colorful houses. This neighborhood is more than just pretty houses, many of the residents are descendants of former slaves and during Apartheid, the neighborhood was designated as a Muslim-only area. This diverse community is very open and welcoming considering people constantly stop in front of their homes to take pictures. Though, we did meet one feisty resident who told us about how she dealt with people who overstepped their bounds to get a great picture on her property. So, if you visit Bo-Kaap, please be respectful of the residents and their space.
Vineyard Tour!!! We elected to book a tour with The Wine Flies which offers a guided tour of five vineyards in Stellenbosch with tastings at each vineyard. I will write a blog post about my day in Stellenbosch because it was tremendous and it deserves its own blog post. Just know that if you are a lover of wine, you must visit Stellenbosch and experience the quality of a South African wine.
African Penguins! We took a drive south of Cape Town to Boulder Beach. This was a truly stunning beach. Huge boulders were sprinkled around the beach hiding cute little penguins. The African penguins are protected in this environment and their community has been able to grow and flourish. They did not seem bothered by the paparazzi and were very friendly.
We continued south about 20 minutes from Boulder Beach to Cape Point, the most south-western point of Africa. The landscape is breathtakingly beautiful. The Indian Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean also converge at this point.
You can hike to the actually south-western most point but we elected to take the tram up the mountain to the lighthouse which offered a great view of the point.
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden is a gorgeous garden that sits at the eastern foot of Table Mountain, in fact, many people choose to hike up Table Mountain from Kirstenbosch.
When you walk into the garden, you feel as if you are entering the Garden of Eden. The lush greenery is mesmerizing and transports you into a natural oasis.
The expansive garden has many exhibits, but in my opinion, the must-see is the tree-top canopy walkway.
On our last day in Cape Town, we took a cab out to the Old Biscuit Mill to check out the Neighborgoods Market which offers awesome food and handmade goods.The Neighborgoods Market is only open on Saturday mornings but it is worth the making an effort to visit if you happen to be in Cape Town on a Saturday. The food is amazing and the vibe is so cool. After grabbing a bite, we were able to just chill and listen to live music.
As I have said in previous posts, things don’t always go as planned when you travel. I had planned to also hike up Lion’s Head mountain at sunrise and visit Muizenberg beach but I couldn’t do everything. I plan to return to Cape Town one day and I definitely have a list of things that I would like to experience when I return.
Cape Town is a destination that has it all, gorgeous mountain views with scenic hikes and nature juxtaposed with luxurious beaches. Though the journey there from the states is long, it is well worth it to see this eclectic, diverse city with breathtaking natural beauty.
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