As we are seriously preparing to leave my homeland, South Africa, and more specifically my special Cape Town, I feel like I want to share my glorious city with everyone, so welcome to my Insiders Guide to Cape Town. Yes, MY city. From the incredible Table Mountain to the beaches, the wine farms, the city life, everything, its truly a part of my soul.
We had Captain Mike’s daughter, Nadja, and her partner, Delio, fly out from the UK to visit a month or so ago. It was wonderful to see the city and surrounds through their eyes. I have added some personal pics of them enjoying the Mother City, please click on the blue links to see lots more on Cape Town itself. Have you ever been a tourist in your own city? Done all the “touristy” things we sometimes look down our noses at? Try it, its such fun!
So, where to start when in Cape Town?
Well, the obvious place is Table Mountain. You can’t miss it from any angle as it looms 3500 ft above the city.
The mountain was voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2011. Table Mountain also has the richest yet smallest floral kingdom on earth. With its distinctive flat top – a 3km level plateau – this was once the bottom of a valley way back in the day. Majestic.
We suggested that Nadja and Delio hop on to the cable car which is a spectacular 5 minute trip to the top with a 360 degree view of the city, mountain and beaches, (you can even see the world famous Robben Island) then perhaps walk down to the historical Kirstenbosch Gardens on the “back” side of the mountain. This is certainly one of the greatest botanical gardens of the world, the grandeur of the setting on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain is unrivalled.
There is a unique “treetop” walk you just have to do.The display entered by the Kirstenbosch Gardens at the recent Chelsea Flower Show in the UK, was awarded a gold medal , their 37th gold medal ! I spent many , many happy hours wandering around those gardens in my youth as we did not live too far away. Plus they do wonderful summer concerts , no better place to listen to the best local artists while the sun sets behind the slopes of Table Mountain.
An easy way to get around is on the red, open, double-decker busses that move around the Peninsula on a regular basis. They really are value for money, stop off at all the “must see” sights and you can avoid the hassles of finding parking everywhere.
Of course one has to take a trip around Cape Point, where the Indian and the Atlantic oceans supposedly meet (they actually don’t “meet ” there but at Cape Agulhas, the southernmost tip of Africa, 250 km away). Then a “must” to see (which is en route) is Boulders Beach with its colony of wild penguins waddling around and splashing away. Nature at its best (for me of course being nuts about the ocean.). Hard to believe that in 1982 there were just 2 breeding pairs of penguins there, today there are over 3000! Water is crystal clear and nice temperature, lovely place to relax and have a swim.
Of course I will not leave without one last trip to our world class wine farms! There are so many, but we do have our favourites. Spier for the wild life they look after there, cheetahs, falcons, etc always interesting,. Boschendal for the incredible picnic baskets, Simonsig or Fairview for cheeses, the list goes on and on. Astounding wines. Will need to hire a driver for that day!
There is so much to see and do before we go, we will have to plan it carefully. I need to take one last drive along the cliff hugging, winding road from Chapmans Peak to Hout Bay , stop off to have a cocktail in Camps Bay and visit the world famous blue flag Clifton beaches, there are 4 of them.
There is the Bo-Kaap district just above the city with its colourful houses, Long street for nightlife, Bree street for all its quaint shops, art galleries and restaurants, the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront with its endless shopping and the Royal Cape yacht club where we will clear out from. A last drive from Bettys Bay to Gordons Bay…so many places I need to see and memorise so that I can filter through my “mind memories” whilst on those long night watches at sea.
The beaches, the mountains, forests, wine estates, west coast fishing villages, a bustling city, glorious food and very friendly locals – come and visit my country and MY city, you will not be disappointed. Please feel free to drop me a mail if you want to ask questions or need some more inside information from a local, will be happy to guide you!