Easter Weekend was a perfect time to go to Cape Town because we had full 5 days off of work. Or we thought it would be perfect…ticket prices from Johannesburg skyrocketed and it was almost impossible to find accommodation. People from across South Africa and the rest of the world flooded CT because of holidays and Two Oceans Marathon, a popular running event taking place once a year around this time. The moody weather didn’t help either cancelling out trip to Robben Island the first day, not mentioning the rain which spoiled a few other plans along the way.
But enough about the negatives. The city is so beautiful that nothing could have possibly ruined our experience. I’ve heard so many amazing things about Cape Town that it made it hard to go there without high expectations. Yet, I was still surprised and amazed…the beaches, white sand, blue water, the mountains, the food, the cosmopolitan vibe, the waterfront, the people…I can go on and on. You get the idea. I fell in love with the city.
I compiled a list of must see & do things that I recommend for those who are traveling to Cape Town:
Beaches: Camps Bay & Clifton 2nd (the last one is perfect for when it’s windy)
Cape Point – most Southern Tip of Africa
Cape of Good Hope – where two Oceans meet
Boulder’s Beach – swim with the penguins
Robben Island – where Mandela was held (ex prisoners guide you through the Island)
Hike the Lion’s Head!! Or if you’re lazy take the cable car to Table Mountain
Winelands: Franschhoek & Stellenbosch – for wine lovers
V&A Waterfront – stunning and lively harbour (read “touristy”) with shopping, restaurants and bars
Sea Point – take a walk along the ocean
Biscuit Mill – really fun, fresh food market where you can buy homemade and handmade products (only Sundays)
South Africa has, hands down, some of the best food I’ve ever tried. And it’s not about their traditional cuisine but literally everything from salads, sandwiches, steaks (duh!), duck and even pizza! Here are some places I highly recommend:
The Potluck & The Test Kitchen (book way in advance)
Being in South Africa wouldn’t be complete without going on a safari. SA has a few parks where you can spot the “big five” in wilderness. The major one, Kruger Park, was more or less 5 hour drive from Johannesburg, a bit too much of a drive for a weekend only, so we settled on Pilanesberg, only 2 hours away. When we got to our safari loge, the friendly staff warmly greeted us and announced that we arrived just in time for the first game drive. All our group got a designated ranger for the whole time of our stay, so we were able to negotiate 6am drives instead of 5am :D.
Initially, three to four hour rides seemed quite long, but every time trying to spot new animals was as exciting as the first time. Unfortunately, we did not encounter two out of big five – the cheetah and water buffalo. Since there are only a few of them in the park, we had a very little chance. On the other hand, we were very lucky with spotting rhinos, several times during the trip, which nowadays is quite rare due to inhumane and barbaric poaching. Over a thousand rhinos were killed last year in South Africa alone, just because of conviction that rhino’s horn aids with impotence…No prove for that exists. Sick.
The whole safari experience was amazing. The Ivory Tree Game Lodge, which I highly recommend, the rides, our designated ranger and safari sunrises. The culmination of the day in the peaceful game reserve was nothing other than taking an outdoor shower under the perfectly starry sky…