Cape Town is a bustling city set at the base of the spectacular Table Mountain and perched on the Atlantic Ocean in South Africa.
Cape Town is a must see destination for any adventurous traveler looking to have fun and learn plenty of history.
My husband Sean and I were lucky to spend three days in Cape Town. While our time was short our to-do list was big. Highlights of the trip included:
- Taking the cable car to the top of Table Mountain to spend the afternoon wandering the plateau of the mountain, taking in breath-taking views of the city and surrounds.
- A tour of Robben Island where we got to see the jail cell that Nelson Mandela spent 18 years as a political prisoner.
- A scenic road trip from Cape Town to the Cape of Good Hope where we drove along Chapman’s Peak Drive, saw baboons, and visited penguins at Boulders Beach.
- Relaxing along the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, taking in the views, enjoying free entertainment, eating great food and indulging in local wine. As we live in London we were lucky that the Pound was strong against its weak Rand currency when we went, which meant dining out was very affordable. A pint of beer or glass of wine was the equivalent of just over £1!
The Cable Car to the top of Table Mountain is a quick trip directly up the cliff face. It was extremely windy at the base of the mountain the day we went; I was a bit worried that the top was going to be even worse.
Thankfully, I was wrong… When we got to the top it was completely calm and eerily silent. There was no sound from the bustling city below. The views were magnificent with Robben Island just off the coast in the Atlantic Ocean, Signal Hill beside us, and the football stadium standing out as the focal point of the city.
The tour to Robben Island was an intriguing experience and one of mixed emotions. It was sad to think that such oppression and racial divide existed in our lifetime with apartheid being abolished only in 1994.
The island is now a museum open to the public — many of the employees are ex-political prisoners.
We were given a tour by one of these ex-prisoners who told us about his time on Robben Island and took us through the cell where he spent many years imprisoned. He shared a story about the time the prisoners went on a hunger strike in order to get beds in their cells so they didn’t have to sleep on concrete floors.
We also visited Nelson Mandela’s prison cell where he spent 18 of his 27 years as a prisoner.
Driving around South Africa is not complicated – the roads are well maintained and well signed. Similar to the UK, they drive on the left side of the road.
The drive along the south west coast from Cape Town to the Cape of Good Hope was beautiful with many photo ops along the way. Once at the Cape of Good Hope we were rewarded with amazing views and a chance to spot sea life as we watched a pod of dolphins jumping off the coast.
The Cape of Good Hope is set within a large nature reserve and we were lucky enough to spot some African wildlife during our visit.
On the drive back to Cape Town, we stopped at Boulders Beach to visit an African Penguin colony. There are two African Penguin colonies in South Africa and one in Namibia.
We visited both colonies in South Africa at Boulders Beach and Stony Point in Betty’s Bay. Although I would recommend either one, Stony Point was a lot less touristy, which meant we were able to get closer to the penguins to take photos.
Fun fact: African Penguins are also known as “Jackass” Penguins as they make a similar sound to a donkey!
Cape Town has a reputation of being a dangerous city and while there is no disputing the statistics, our experience in Cape Town was completely trouble-free. Travelling can be inherently risky at times when visiting a foreign country, but you should always use common sense and take the necessary precautions.
While on our trips around Europe, we tend to walk everywhere, get lost, and explore areas off the tourist trail. In Cape Town we chose to stick mainly to the tourist hotspots and take taxis rather than walking. This may not have been necessary but it made us feel safe and didn’t take away from the experience in any way.
The flight from London to Cape Town was about 12 hours. While it was a long flight, it was a fairly easy trip as it was overnight. We slept a few hours on the plane so were ready to hit the ground running when we landed in the morning in Cape Town. No jet lag!
The trip is one we’ll never forget – so get packing and get ready to experience a different way of life!
For more information about Cape Town, visit www.capetown.travel.