We arrived in pretty cloudy conditions, and Table Mountain was nowhere to be seen! We found our way to our Guest House, Avatara, in Green Point - my travelling companion used to live in CT, so we used a local bus, but turns out his sense of direction is not much use! After a bit of a lengthy walk, we arrived, and the guest house, and Cher the owner, were lovely. The room we had was a good size, the bathroom, though was a little small. The beds were super comfy, and the area felt totally safe. We were able to walk everywhere, and at night there were security guards all around the area. One evening I walked around on my own, and felt totally safe.
I spent the majority of my first day ambling around the V and A Waterfront. The morning was miserable and rainy, so we went to the Aquarium. I especially liked the Sappi River Meander, and seeing the penguins larking about! It was a nice way to spend a couple of very rainy hours. I then managed to lose over an hour strolling around the Waterfront Craft Market. I loved everything in there, and spent ages talking to the artists, and did buy a few things to bring home. We stopped for coffee, taking advantage of a break in the rain, and sat outside listening to a few guys singing and selling their CD’s! We had a good wander round the mall, and generally wasting time, which was really nice. I have to admit, I was finding it hard to cope with the pace of city life after 5 days with the elephants and lions…too much noise and too many people. Lesson learned!
The weather started to clear by late afternoon, and I finally got my first good view of the Mountain, which was pretty impressive! We did think about trying to go up there and then, remembering the advice on here about going up as soon as you can see the top, but it was still too windy for the cable car to run.
After a short rest and a shower at the guest house, we walked out to Mouille Point, via the Biodiverstiy Garden, which was neat. We stood and watched the sunset, taking in the scenery, and watching the waves crash against the sea wall….there were loads of early evening joggers who would stand at the wall in the hope they’d get drenched by the sea to cool themselves down…they were not disappointed! We continued our walk and ended up having dinner at the Newport Deli. They did a great plate of hummus with pitta which I had as a starter, and an amazing plate of pasta with fresh pesto. I finished it off with a beautiful carrot cake and a great cup of coffee! I would have liked to have gone on and spent the night discovering the night life, but I appear to have been travelling with the world’s biggest party pooper! Lesson learned for my next trip! I have every confidence after this trip that I would be fine travelling alone.
The next day I had to pick up the hire car. I have to say, after all the discussion on here, I was nervous! Driving abroad is the only thing that makes me nervous when travelling! That said, it was fine! I used First Car Rental, picking up the car from Long Street, which I was able to walk to from Green Point. The guys there were very helpful. I had made my booking online from the UK, and was relieved to see everything was in order when I arrived. I went for a small car, which was really easy to drive, and within a few minutes, even driving around the city, I felt fine! I didn’t manage to drive too far, though, as I was due out on the 11am trip to Robben Island, which I was doing alone.
I had booked the ticket the day before, without any problem, and boarded the boat fairly quickly. The boat seemed full, so I was glad to have popped into the ticket office the day before. The crossing was quick, if a little bumpy, but I enjoyed that! We had a 45 minute ride around the island on a coach. The guide we had explain things to us was good fun, and very informative. We then went inside the prison, where we were shown around by a former prisoner. He was also quite informative, but the group we were shown around in was quite large, and at times, this made it difficult to hear him, as we were too far away from him. Despite that, it was interesting to have a look around. I was surprised to hear there were still people living on the Island, and that there was even a school running there!
On arrival back on the mainland, I met my friend and a friend of his had bumped into for coffee and lunch, before grabbing the opportunity to head up Table Mountain!!
The day had really turned into a beautiful day, with perfectly clear blue skies. I successfully made the drive up to the cable car station, and was lucky enough to park pretty much at the top of the hill, with a super friendly guy promising me my parking was spot on, and he’d take good care of the car for me! I got to really appreciate the car parking guys! They were always friendly, happy to have a chat, and when the guy who worked at the bottom of the street my guest house was working at night, he’d always make sure I’d get back to my door safely, even though I was not using the car!
Anyway, the queue for the cable car was really short, and we were on our way up within 10 minutes. The cable car is quick, and the floor rotates as you go up, so you get a good look around. The views from the top are simply amazing. We were really lucky with the weather, and we could see for miles! The mountain range is so much bigger than I expected. The sun was shining, casting some beautiful reflections off the sea, and it while I had been warned about how cold it could get up there, I never expected it to be so windy! We spent about an hour up there, before giving into the wind, and coming back down, but it was well worth it! That evening was spent having dinner with friends of a friend.
The following day we headed out for the drive to Cape Point. The driving was really easy, but the weather had closed in again, and the clouds were very low. We made a few stops during the drive, Hout Bay was fun, we stopped to watch a couple of seals playing in the harbour, and I continue to be impressed by how clear and clean the water and beaches are, and I am sure, when the weather is clear, the views from Chapman Peak are awesome. The drive along the coast road was breath taking, even with poor weather, and we stopped often just to look! There are loads of little lay-by’s to stop safely in, some with picnic areas. We also made a stop at the Ostrich Farm, before heading to Cape Point.
We caught the funicular up to the top, before walking up to the base of an old light house, then as far to the current working lighthouse as we could. It was easy to make the walk down, but walking back up made me realise I need to exercise more! But it was well worth it, and I finally got to see my first group of Dassies…funny things! We headed down to the car park and restaurant to grab a late lunch before moving on to the Cape of Good Hope. (As I was buying a snack, bumped into someone I had met when staying at nThambo! Such a tiny world…it turned out we had been following them all day, making the same stops as them!) As we arrived at the Cape of Good Hope, the heavens opened and the rain fell really heavily. I managed to grab a quick photo, before taking refuge in the car to watch the Ostriches wandering around! A final few stops at Simonstown, (which was pretty quiet due to it now being late on Sunday afternoon, but good for a coffee stop!), and Muizenburg to check out the massively long beach and the colourful beach huts. As the sun was setting we watched a few surfers ending their day, accompanied by a seal, playing in the waves with them! Our final stop was in Boulders, to see the Penguins - we didn’t pay to go in, the parking guy there told us about the wooden boardwalk that goes alongside, which we tried, and had some really close encounters with the penguin, and there were a fair few young there too. We eventually arrived back at the guest house totally exhausted, but what a great day! Cape Town was brilliant, and while there are loads of things I wish had done, especially in terms of eating out and nightlife, it just means I have something to come back for!
One more report to come - Hermanus and Stellenbosch! I PROMISE it will be shorter!