Alastair and I had planned a South African vacation for earlier in the year, but I contracted malaria right before we were due to leave which forced us to postpone the trip. After arriving back in London from our whirlwind tour of Ethiopia, we quickly boarded another plane the next day bound for South Africa. In a few short weeks we went from West Africa to East Africa to South Africa. We felt like we were all over the continent! Thankfully, my first trimester nausea had begun to wane by the time we reached Cape Town.
Cape Town is a dynamic city that Alastair and I were very excited to visit. The landscape is unbelievably stunning from all angles. The mountains cast a striking view behind you, as the beautiful blue of the great open ocean stretches out in front of you. The coast offers so many bays, each with their own style, but we settled on Hout Bay as our place to stay. Our Bed & Breakfast was high up on a hill facing the bay. We couldn’t have asked for a nicer place to stay. The B&B was so pleasant and Hout Bay was out of the hustle and bustle of Cape Town Central. It was relaxing and quiet with a view we could hardly believe.
One of the best things we did while in Cape Town was visit the Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden. The vast property had walkways weaving through the grounds with diverse plant-life and a beautiful backdrop.
There was a newly installed tree canopy walk, where you could feel as if you were really walking through the tops of the trees, which was my favorite part.
And, Alastair enjoyed chasing the guineafowl :)
With all of the geographical features in Cape Town, few are as recognizable as Table Mountain. This flat-top mountain (that actually does look like a table) seems to loom in view wherever you go. After visiting Kirstenbosch, Alastair and I rode a cable car to the top.
We hiked around the top and took in Cape Town from all sides.
Another day we traveled further down the cape to the Cape of Good Hope in Table Mountain National Park. It was a bit of a drive from Hout Bay, but we were able to take the scenic Chapman’s Peak Drive which winds along the coast offering spectacular scenery.
Alastair kept wanting to stop to check out the waves and surf spots :) (the above picture shows the infamous Dungeons breaking around that peak in the distance, and the below picture is at Outer Kom, near Boneyards)
The Cape of Good Hope is often mistaken for the southern most tip of Africa, but the Indian and Atlantic Ocean currents actually collide a bit further east. Either way, it was extremely windy. The park was huge and had many hiking/walking trails, so we explored all over.
We spent one afternoon surfing in Muizenburg. Surfing is a huge past time for Western Cape locals and tourists alike. The False Bay side of the cape offers the warmer waters of the Indian Ocean, while some still brave the frigid temperatures of the Atlantic side. We opted for the False Bay side for our afternoon session. Alastair is a seasoned surfer but I’ve had only a few attempts on a surf board so I was pretty bad. Alastair gave me a few pointers, but I spent most of the time wiping out as little kids flew past me catching wave after wave, which was demoralizing. Though I never really got up to catch a full wave, we still had a lot of fun. I think I just need a little more practice ;)
Our Cape Town adventures didn’t end there. There were so many other things we had the opportunity to do during our trip, such as explore the World of Birds, stroll the beaches, navigate the ever-so-cool Hout Bay Market, shop at the massive Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, and visit the penguins at Boulders Beach.
In addition to all of our adventures, we were also treated to some really delicious food and wine (only sips for me). The restaurant scene is booming in this vibrant city and we took advantage as much as we could.
After five pleasant days, we eventually said our goodbye to the lovely Cape Town. It was a fantastic place to visit, but our South African tour was only halfway over…onward to Kruger National Park.