After a long flight to Cape Town via Jo’burg my husband and I arrived in Cape Town around 23:00pm where we then had to embark on the trip to the hotel in a mini van which was pretty scary even though the roads were quiet.
One of our first stops in Cape Town was the V&A waterfront this is a rejuvenated docklands area with beautiful chic bars, restaurants and plenty of designer shops. This is where people come to be seen and is a cool place to come where you can munch on good food and listen to jazz players that play in the courtyards. Once we were refreshed we made our way back into central Cape Town via Government avenue where we some how managed to we get chased by massive , courageous and extremely over fed park squirrels!!
The next place visited was Robben Island. This is an island which is home to a maximum security prison which has housed thousands of political prisoners over the last 400 years. The most famous inmate was none other than Nelson Mandela. We started by having a bus tour of the island where we were shown the main sites. This was followed by a guided tour of the prison grounds by a former prisoner which also included a look at Mandela’s former cell. The prison was an interesting place we were given plenty of information and a good insight into the political persecution of many people not only during the apartheid years but also during the periods of colonial rule.
The next day we did a township tour. For those who don’t know a township in South Africa is where a large proportion of the black community live. Even though the apartheid era has finished, in Cape Town, and other major towns and cities you will still find townships on the outskirts of town. Townships are extremely populated and more often than not the accommodation are shacks made out of anything that the owner can get their hands on. We decided to do this tour so that we could get a better understanding of how the black communities live now in South Africa and to gain a view of the things that happened during the Apartheid era. Firstly we drove through a vacant area that everyone knows as ”District 6″. This is basically a whole suburb that was flattened during the apartheid period and people were forced to abandon their houses and businesses and simply get out of the area. All the buildings were then knocked down. It felt like we were going through an old war zone. We then went to a museum which showed a more personal account of the tragedies that happened here. Part of the township tour included visits to different local businesses and up and young entrepreneurs just trying get somewhere is life. There was the man who was making flowers out of cans and tins. Vicky’s B&B where a lady is providing the first accommodation in a township area, Rosie’s soup kitchen this wonderful lady supplies several hundred local children with food 7 days a week, funded by the church and other donations and then finally we went to a local beer hall. Once the township tour had finished we made our way back to the hotel and we came away with a better understanding of modern day life in Cape Town but at the same time you can not imagine the extreme poverty, dense constructed and dangerous housing until you actually see it for yourselves.
The following day in the afternoon we caught the cable car to the famous Table Top Mountain. Once we reached the top we were able to see some unbelievable views of Cape Town. You can see the whole of the central town area, across the posh suburbs of the Clifton district and down along the vast western coast line. We decided to walk down the mountain which took us about 1.5 hours to complete but as tiring on the legs it was well worth it.
Because of huge size of South Africa we decided to hire a car for the period that we were there. We got an amazing deal with Hertz which was a bit of a shock !!. Our first adventure was a drive around the city of Cape Town so that we could easily visit the sea side district of Clifton. Clifton has 4 beaches and really has to be seen to be believed. The area had a very LA feel and you kind of forgot that you were in South Africa. There were college boys playing beach volleyball, and locals bathed on their lawn filled gardens of their beach front properties. When I say beach front these buildings are in the sand right on the foreshore. We then headed along the Atlantic coastline taking the scenic route so that we could see the likes of Chapman’s peak before making our way into Table Mountain national park and the Cape of Good Hope nature reserve. Whilst on the road we passed through a baboon population feeding on the side of the road thank god we didn’t hit anything. Once inside the reserve we headed to Cape Point look out and also the Cape of Good hope. We then went towards Hermanus which is a small town famous for whale watching unfortunately we were out of whale season!
After spending the night at Hermanus the next stop for us was Mossel Bay. Mossel Bay is a fishing town it has a lovely harbour with plenty of fishing boats and seafood restaurants. In Mossel Bay we visited the Bartholomeu Dias Maritime museum which houses a replica of the Dias the Portugese vessel which was used in 1488 on the voyage of discovery.
Our next stop was Stellenbosch which was a beautiful town and just a 40 minute drive from Cape Town. There are hundreds of wineries in the surrounding areas and one of the ones we visited was the Le Pommier winery. This was a boutique winery that sells only from the cellar door and has won many world awards. We did a tasting tour and got to taste some great wines. After that we made our way back to Cape Town where we enjoyed our last few days at the beaches before heading home.
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