I have to admit that when my friend invited me to Cape Town for her wedding, I was filled with apprehensive excitement. South Africa had never been one of my bucket list travel destinations, but I was very pleasantly surprised. As we stepped off the plane at Cape Town airport we were greeted by a stunning sunset filled with the most magnificent purple, pink and orange colours. The back drop of course was the beautiful table mountain in all its glory. This was just the start of an amazing adventure discovering Cape Town!
Our accommodation continued to wow us as we were greeted by another amazing view of table mountain from our balcony (a balcony complete with a spa I must add!). Manhattan Lofts situated on Bree Street was the perfect location to stay as the surrounding streets were filled with numerous delicious restaurants and cute bars.
No trip to Cape Town is complete unless you have paid a visit to the top of Table Mountain. Situated 1086 meters (3563 ft) above sea level, this flat topped mountain is one of the prominent features of Cape Town. It provides visitors with stunning views from the top, but also a unique and striking backdrop for the city below.
On the day we decided to conquer this incredible mountain the cable car wasn’t running due to high winds. Luckily we were prepared to do the hike up and down. It took us approximately 4 hours to climb up and back down again stopping along the way to take pictures and enjoy the view from the top. It was a hard climb at times and there were some steep parts. There is also a cafe at the top where you can stop for a drink or snack.
The view from the top was indescribable! It made the climb worth it! The city sits below the mountain in a bowl shape with the ocean sprawling on the other side. If you don’t think that you would be able to make it to the top by foot, there is a cable car that runs up and down throughout the year. Just make sure you check the weather conditions before you go as they do shut for safety reasons if there is high winds.
After our hike the hunger pains were starting to kick in. We headed back to Bree Street where we found ‘Burger and Lobster’. And as the name suggests, the menu consisted of three items, a burger, a lobster roll or a whole lobster! The burger was amazing and was the perfect reward for a climb well done, because there’s nothing better than a burger and beer after some strenuous exercise!
For another stunning sunset and view, a visit to Camps Bay is a must. Located adjacent to Table Mountain and only 15 minutes from the city. Although we only went to Camps Bay to see the sunset, there is also a beautiful beach and many restaurants.
Stellenbosch is Cape Town’s wine region and if you love wine then you won’t want to miss it! About an hours drive from Cape Town it contains over 150 wineries and estates. And despite all our best efforts to get round them all, we only made it to about 5 of them! Even if you aren’t a big wine drinker it is still worth the trip for yet more amazing scenery.
Whilst in Stellenbosch we stopped at Boschendal for lunch. Founded in 1685 it is one of the oldest farms in South Africa. The Werf Restaurant boast stunning views of the gardens and farm where much of the food served at the restaurant is produced. The food was to a very high standard and reasonably priced. This estate is huge with 3 places to eat as well as picnics and wine tasting, it is very easy to spend all day here enjoying the atmosphere and beauty of it.
On our last day in Cape Town we decided to drive out of the city (approximately 50 minutes) and head to Boulders beach. Now if someone told me I was going to see penguins in South Africa then I would have laughed! But thats exactly what Boulders Beach is famous for, African Penguins!
After paying a small conservation fee (65 rand, approx. USD 5) we were able to wander down to the beach and watch hundreds of small (and very cute!) penguins frolicking in the water and relaxing on the rocks. Although there wasn’t anything else to do at Boulders beach, it was worth the drive just to see this rare animal in a unexpected habitat. In fact they are the only penguins on the continent!
After my initial trepidation at visiting Cape Town I quickly fell in love with it. The stunning views and scenery, delicious food, friendly people and beautiful atmosphere make it a must see place to visit. And I can now say that I am glad to have ticked it off my bucket list!
By We Are Travel Girls Contributor Nadia Hassan