Africa · South Africa

A surprise trip to Cape Town

After several long drives on the Baz Bus I decided I couldn’t face the 14 hour journey from Durban to Port Elizabeth and so decided to treat myself to a flight from Durban. It was too expensive to fly to PE and therefore I went straight onto Cape Town. Whilst I’d still have a fairly long drive up the Garden Route the next day, I gained an extra day in Cape Town and an extra half day on the Garden Route so I figured it was worth the cost. 

I landed in Cape Town about 11am and as soon as my transfer left the airport and headed into the city I could tell how much I was going to enjoy Cape Town, it just felt different to any of the cities I had been to so far and my transfer driver gave me a mini guided tour on the way to the hostel. The glorious weather was a factor as well I guess, 30 degrees and no wind!

After checking in and catching up on some admin I headed into the city for a free Walking Tour of Bo Kaap, the area with the colourful houses. The tour was an hour and half of learning about the history of the region, the slave trade that operated in Cape Town and included the first mosque ever built in South Africa. It was really interesting and I took far too many pictures of all the different coloured houses. 

I tried a Capetonian cake you get in this area, a koeksister which is essentially a doughnut soaked in syrup and covered with coconut. Not sure I’d rush to have one again but I have a rule to try local food so couldn’t say no. We were even lucky enough to witness some traditional musicians as we were heading out of the area. Our guide said he had never seen them playing there before so guess we were just really lucky with our timing. 

After the tour I headed back to the hostel to join up with the group headed to Lion’s Head for sunset. The hike started off pretty gentle but became more challenging and the path more rocky. As soon as I was having to climb over rocks in the boiling sun I quickly remembered just how unfit I am. As you get closer to the top there are sections that require more climbing and scrambling over rocks and sections with chains, ladders and handles in the rock face to make it easier to get up, not that is was all that easy. I was already dreading having to climb back down this section in the dark. About an hour later, puffing, panting, incredibly sweaty and very red in the face we made it to the top and the view over Cape Town made it so worth it. Simply breathtaking. The atmosphere at the top was great, with people drinking and chatting and making the most of the view. Everyone in our group regretted not bringing a drink up with us but I think given we still had to climb back down it was probably a good thing. I was a little surprised to see several dogs at the top, and whilst there is a slightly easier route that apparently doesn’t have the ladders and climbing sections I still struggle to see how a daschaund was meant to walk up there!

After watching the sunset we all headed en masses back down the mountain before it got to dark. The walk down was difficult at times as it was getting darker and darker but thankfully everyone was really patient and helpful. I guess we were all in the same boat. It seemed to take us much longer to walk back and by the time we reached the bottom I was definitely ready for a shower and a drink.

I was also starving and once we were all clean I headed out with some of the others for sushi at a restaurant that looked far too fancy for a group of backpackers. I don’t think I’ve ever had that much sushi for less than £10! 

Tomorrow is another driving day down the Garden Route to Storms River.


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