Our trip to South Africa started just after our amazing Christmas Safari trip to Okavango Delta and Chobe National Park in Botswana. Combining these countries together is the most amazing journey we've ever had.
One thing is for sure, South Africa will never cease to amaze me. Our first stop was the Centre of Cape Town. This place is the most multicultural cities in the world located in the Northern end of Cape Peninsula. It is famous for its harbor, as well as its beautiful natural settings, unspoilt beaches and well known landmark like Table Mountain and Cape Point (Cape of Good Hope).
One thing I've learned was that South African have total of eleven official languages and most of the people speak more than one language. Most commonly used language is Zulu, followed by Xhosa, Afrikaans and English.
Our first hotel in Cape Town was called Villa Zest, situated in Greenpoint. This is a small luxurious boutique hotel with modern retro architecture overlooking the world renowned V&A Waterfront and Twelve Apostles Mountain. The settings of this place was gorgeous. We would definetely recommended staying here. I is situated in a very quiet street, up in the hill
side and its side by side beautiful residential houses. It is also a few minutes walk from downtown district center, to the bars, restaurants and clubs facing the palm-lined beaches.
We would recommend hiring a car in South Africa as the city is connected by fast freeways. You can either choose to drive from Cape town all the way to Port Elizabeth, passing beautiful sceneries along the coast of Hemanus, Mossel Bay and Jeffreys Bay or you can choose to fly from Cape Town to East London (which we did) and from East London, we drove backwards all the way to Port Elizabeth, Kysna and George town. It’s truly an amazing ride and it almost feels like we did the “Long way round” journey looking at it from a map prospective.
Before venturing out of Cape Town, some of the places worth visiting here is Camps Bay which is the most picturesque view with many cool cafes and restaurants along the beach side. I absolutely love this place! There are other places nearby called Bantry Bay, Llandudno and Cliffton Beaches. These places have the most expensive apartment blocks side by side.
We would definitely suggest visiting the
Table Mountain & Chapman’s Peak drive in Cape Town plus Stellenborch which is a wine district area located in the Western Cape, province of South Africa.
Along the way to Stellenborch, you will see scenic views and taste fantastic wines made from many vineyards located in this area. We unfortunately did not hire a driver for our wine tasting day out which would have been the best option. Instead we took the odds and made the most of it even though Ben had to sober up from time to time to drive us back home.
Having seen and done half of Cape Town in 2 days, our last mission was to see the tip of Africa, Cape of Good Hope. This can be a whole day affair, but on our way we visited a place called Fish Hoek Bay . This is a coastal town, with beautiful white sand beach, popular for wind surfer, hobie cat sailers, for retired people and other tourist alike who loves fishing, surfing and sailing.
As you drive further down to Cape of Good Hope, you will pass Simons Town in Afrikanns its "Simonstad". This is a delightful little villages, home to the
South African navy. I really love this town as it’s full of colorful shops, cafes and restaurants along the seaside, plus nice looking cottages and homes along the street.
Simons Town is also home to African boulder penguin colony; these adorable creatures are a must-see! The next stop after this will be Scarborough, which has amazing scenery and awesome sunsets, not to be missed.
Scarborough lies adjacent to Cape Point Nature Reserve, all the way to Cape of Goof Hope where our journey ends on the top of the mountain, with each a glass of wine to enjoy the breath-taking view of the coastlines of the Peninsula.
If you've got time in your hands, make sure to visit the lighthouse of Cape Point which is the most powerful beam of light on the South African coast.
The other place we stayed in is in V&A Waterfront, a hotspot place for tourist as well as locals. Here you will find lots of designer boutiques, plenty of hotels, restaurants, cafes along the harbor with lots of other attraction. This place is the gateway and a ferry away to Robben Island. For us it was another interesting day and we got
to take loads of pictures of people performing in the street.
After Cape Town, our next stop is a place called Hermanus. This place is worth visiting, especially if you're in to whale watching. This is a very quiet little town with not much going on, but it worked out perfect for us. From what I remembered there is only two or three pubs to choose from in this town and you'll be lucky to find one that is packed. We stayed one night On the Cliff Guesthouse, which is a nice looking house with panoramic sea view. Unfortunately we didn't spot any whale at this time.
From Hermanus (Western Cape) we drove 45 mins to Gansbaai known for its Great White Shark capital of the world and the best way to see them is to get inside the cage! We were lucky to spot 2 sharks on this trip as it was totally not the season for it, but was great seeing these creatures in close proximity.
Next stop was a flight from Cafe town to a place called East London (Eastern Cape). The hotel we stayed in was called Quarry Lake Inn. Quite basic and
I am sure other hotels can offer a lot more value for your money!
East London was off the beaten track and there were no tourist and not a lot to do. We were conscious of safety the whole time we stayed here and although we are glad to see it, we wouldn't recommend it to anybody.
Driving out of East London, we saw a New Years Eve party sign to Grahamstown so we decided to have an over night stay here to join the party. The biggest challenge was finding a guest house or hotel this festive season. So we basically knocked on every guest house in town for almost 4 hours until someone was kind enough to put us in for one night. The open ground to the New Years Eve concert place nested in the jungle , it hosted at least 3000-5000 people or more with different bands playing that night. It was definitely a great New Years Eve party.
From Grahamstown, we proceeded to Kenton on the Sea the next morning. This place is an amazing little town along the beach coast then to Bokness all the way to Port Elizabeth. Western Cape
starts from here on and places like Plettenberg Bay, Kysna, Wilderness
are the most beautiful and favorite towns I've ever seen in South Africa. Make sure you visit Wilderness to see the mountain shaped as "Map of Africa" and possibly try paragliding. Also Tsitsikamma National Park is very high on our list. You can camp overnight in this place, hike and explore this vast untouched land.
Sadly, we couldn’t continue our drive to the west side of Mossel Beach as our time had run out, so we decided to head back to Easter Cape of Port Elizabeth for an overnight stay to catch our flight to Hong Kong the next day.
Looking back at it all, I think we drove almost 2000 kms in total from around Cape town, then East to West side. Sometimes in torrential rain, in dark freeways, freaky neighborhoods, in mud, in rural areas, towns and coastlines. Along our journey we met many people from different background, saw the most beautiful jaw-dropping places on earth, swan in the crystal clear water along our way, had misfortunes with rental car engine failure that cost us more than 4 hours wait, flat tires in the middle
of nowhere, walked around with heart thumping in local villages and possibly saw a man gun down on the street with cops all over. After the end of our trip, its felt like we've been here for ages, but at the same time, we did not want it to end.
In my mind, South Africa’s first great impression from Cape Town will forever last with me. I especially love taking pictures of the kids we saw playing around a place called Wilderness. They were all so so adorable and sometimes when I think about them, I truly wish I could have given them more than just a smile, more than just an admiration and more than just a bar of chocolate!
Durban will definitely be in our list, the next time around.
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