My final stop on my solo South African adventure was Cape Town and this time round I was spending two days here, which would give me just enough time to scratch the surface of this beautiful city. I had already fallen for its charm so was excited to get out an explore some more. We ended up leaving Wilderness an hour and half late which is not what you want at the best of times, let alone before an 8 hour drive. Thankfully we made up some time on the journey however I still didn’t get to my hostel until 10pm by which point I was ready for bed.
Saturday I was up early, heading out for a day trip across the Cape Peninsula with the Baz Bus. After driving around most of the backpackers in Cape Town we set out with Mike, our guide, and Freddie, our driver, along the coast to our first stop: Hout Bay. This little town is predominately a fishing town but the tourists are drawn in by the views, the beach and the colony of seals that live near by. A short boat trip out into the Atlantic took us to seal island and hundreds of seals basking in the sun and performing for the visitors. I tried to take a picture of them playing in the water but they were just too quick for me.
Next we headed across the mountain pass, Chapman’s Peak Drive, to Boulder’s Beach to meet the famous African Penguins. Timing was just right as it’s breeding season meaning loads of little brown, fluffy baby penguins. They were so cute and I could have spent hours watching them waddle around.
Before lunch we headed towards the Cape of Good Hope and into the Cape Peninsula Nature Reserve. Freddie and Mike made sure we were fully up to speed on the baboon situation before sending us out on a 5km bike ride through the national park which, considering it was about 33 degrees, was not quite as nice as it sounds! Saying that, despite the heat, it was a much better way to see the park than on the back of a bus.
Once we had all stuffed ourselves at lunch it was time to head to Cape Point, the most South-western point of Africa. The lighthouse on top of the mountain gives stunning views across the cape and the mountains and was definitely worth the walk up.
The final stop of the day was an optional walk across the mountain from Cape Point to the Cape of Good Hope, named by the first sailors who sailed round Africa, with all the hiking I’ve been doing lately I’m expecting super toned legs!
Sunday was my last day in Cape Town so in order to see as much as possible I opted to be the ultimate tourist and use the big red hop on hop off city bus to get around and see the city. Felt like this would be the cheapest and easiest way to see as much as possible. As the weather was great, and was forecast rain that afternoon, I headed for Table Mountain first. Time (and my level of fitness) was against me so I used the cable car to get up and down rather than hiking. The cable car rotates giving you a great view of the mountain and the city as you rise 1,085m above sea level. I spent about half an hour wandering around the top of the mountain trying not to get blown away while taking yet more pictures of the view. Not sure I will remember which view is which by the time I get back!
Back on the bus it was time to head back into city and my next stop. The bus takes you back along the coast road and had the weather been better I would have hopped off and enjoyed the white sandy beaches that line the way back to the city. My next destination was the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, a hubbub of shops, restaurants and activities. It was based on the development of Sydney Harbour and is definitely a popular spot with tourists and locals alike. I could have easily spent hours wandering through all the shops and sampling the food at the food market but sadly there wasn’t the time or the money.
I changed routes after the V&A waterfront and jumped aboard a blue Route bus which would take me back out to Hout Bay and the Bay Harbour market. This Route took me the opposite way out of the city towards the base of Table Mountain and the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, another place I would have loved to stopped if I had more time. We then drove through expensive suburbs towards the wine region before heading down towards Hout Bay and passing one of the townships nearby. Hopping off the bus it was a 10 minute walk to the market which is in an old warehouse near the fishing harbour. The market was full of souvenir stalls, food stalls, bars and live music. I could easily see myself spending a whole weekend there with friends if I lived locally. Souvenirs in hand it was time to head back to the city, which was along the same coast road as before but thankfully with different commentary on the bus.
That evening was the start of my tour, so after switching hostels, I headed down to the welcome meeting to meet the people I would be spending the next 6 weeks with. There’s 22 of us plus our driver, Bombastic, and our guide/cook, Darlington. Turns out some people are hoping off at the end of Namibia and others at Vic Falls but there is a little group of us heading all the way up to Kenya with more people joining as we go along. After the meeting we all headed out for our first family meal, where I kept up my tradition of trying new things and had ostrich steak, which got me very excited for the next few weeks and our time together.