Published: November 10th 2008November 9th 2008
Coming in for our landing - Table Mountain stands above Cape Town
Yesterday we were up early to pack up and leave camp. We had about an hour safari drive before leaving the park. But it was so quiet. And we were so tired. I could barely keep my eyes open. A few impala. A few kudu. Two zebra were the last animals I saw. And then a long ride back to Johannesburg, made longer by flat tires and crazy rain storms.
This morning, I was again up early. Happy to be moving on from my hostel and from Joburg. My flight was only 2 hours and kind of rough at times, but fine. It was dreary and overcast in Joburg and we flew over thick clouds most of the way. But then we reached Cape Town with clear sunny skies and 24 degrees celsius!
My hostel here is fantastic. Really clean, really comfy, lots of amenities, friendly and helpful staff. Awesome. So I got checked in, then was at a bit of a loss about what to do with my day. I have lots lined up for the upcoming days, but nothing for today. Just wander around maybe? I asked for a map at reception, got talking a bit and
then suddenly I was off on tour!
The city has a hop-on, hop-off sightseeing bus that loops around the city. You get a headset for commentary. And one of the stops is only a block from my hostel. So off I went . . .
First stop, Table Mountain. I took the cable car to the top. Spent an hour strolling the trails. Sat and had a snack in the shade overlooking the view of the Twelve Apostles. Called home on my cell while overlooking the city and Table Bay.
I first learned of Table Mountain last year when looking through some of Jody’s photos. He had one of a sunset on a mountain and it was stunning. Table Mountain, he told me. Since then, I wanted to see it. I’d been told of all of these safety warnings and I’d become wary of going. But at reception and on the bus and in the tourist booklets, they all said go. Once again, I’m impressed by the maintenance and care. In fact, it’s such a well-oiled machine up there, it’s like Niagara Falls! I was so happy up there. You can’t not be. It’s gorgeous.
Table Mountain, I hopped back on the bus and headed to Camps Bay Beach. It’s a white sand, palm lined beach. The street is lined with restaurants and cafes. The backdrop is the Twelve Apostles of Table Mountain. It’s quite incredible and I can see why it’s an in-demand section of the city to live in. I could live there.
I spent some time walking along the beach and could’ve enjoyed a full day there. But I really wasn’t dressed for the beach, so I was rather uncomfortable. So after some walking around, I moved on. It’s okay. I’ve got lots more beaches in my trip ahead of me.
The bus continued along the cape, past Clifton Beaches and through expensive neigbourhoods. We could see across Table Bay to Robben Island and we passed the stadium being built for the 2010 World Cup.
The tour ended at the Victoria & Albert Waterfront. Like most port cities it seems, the port had once been busting and integral to the city, but then it all crumbled away (here, due to the opening of the Suez Canal and international criticism of the apartheid government). But it’s going through a re-birth.
And it is really amazing. The Waterfront had a massive shopping centre, tons of restaurants, an outdoor stage - and they’re building more! It felt so much like Queens Quay in Toronto, but about 20 times bigger.
I first spent time wandering the craft market. Markets are always my joy and weakness! Then I had dinner at a place called Willoughby & Co. - known for fresh seafood and good wine. I’ve been eating pasta at the hostel, bread on safari and the odd sandwich while out and about. This dinner was incredible: fried tofu, shrimp dumplings and I got sushi (fittingly called “Rainbow Nation” rolls) with shrimp, salmon and avocado. Such good food!!
Walking around the waterfront after dinner, I felt so happy. I really really like Cape Town. I’m excited for my time here.
There are more photos below