My dad and I started our trip in Cape Town. We arrived in the early afternoon, and got to see a bit of the Townships on the way to the Queen Victoria Hotel, which overlooks the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront. The Waterfront is a great mix of shops, bars, restaurants, and docks with everything from private sailboats to giant freighters. We caught some music acts; one was a traditional African group, the other a local band at a brewery.
Castle of Good Hope
For our first full day in Cape Town we borrowed bicycles from the hotel. We set off on an easy ride across town to the Castle of Good Hope. The castle has been well refurbished, and most areas are open to the public. We enjoyed climbing the walls, entering all the chambers, and generally exploring. Square pieces of plywood with feet painted on them designated “selfie” spots. After the Castle, we continued our ride up to the saddle between Table Mountain and Lion’s Head. This took us past City Hall and the botanical gardens. The last section of the hill was too steep so we dismounted and walked. We had a splendid view looking out over Cape Town. After our long climb, we enjoyed coasting down to the beaches of Clifton. We stopped at a local beach for snacks and a rest before continuing our leisurely peddle along the coastal road back to Cape Town, arriving back at the Waterfront in time for an afternoon cruise on the harbor. Between the breeze, the warm sun, the rocking of the catamaran, and my tired body, I nearly dozed off several times. I absolutely loved it. We had dinner at the brewery before calling an early night.
Our second day in Cape Town we rented a car to drive the Cape Peninsula. The Chapman’s Peak drive is unbelievably amazing! You start out driving down a regular coastal highway. Then you squeeze between a large rock and a steep mountain side, pop out the other side and BAM! Cliff city! Sheer drop offs on one side, cliffs and steep ravines leading up on the other. You aren’t so high that it is terrifying, just high enough to make it exhilarating. The best part is the tunnel section where the road is carved under the rock with the one side open to the ocean. The rest of the drive to Simonstown is a mixture of beautiful beaches, small towns and rocky hills. We hoped to take a sea kayaking tour out to the Boulder’s Beach penguin colony, but it was too windy. I was disappointed, but considering the cold water, ocean currents, and wind, it was probably for the best. Instead we drove to the beach and walked out on the boardwalk, where we had plenty of opportunities to watch the penguins frolic in the water. We had a picnic lunch at a spot overlooking False Bay. Then it was on to the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, where we saw turtles, an ostrich, and several ungulates, including a baby bontebok! The wind worked in our favor, swirling the clouds around the hilltops. It was beautiful.
Cape Point Lighthouse and Cape of Good Hope
Our next stop was the Cape Point Lighthouse. We chose to walk up the steep steps to the lighthouse rather than taking the funicular train. I wished I had worn sneakers rather than my sandals. We also hiked out to Diaz Point and the new lighthouse, which is situated lower because of the fog. We saw plenty of lizards and even a rock hyrax. After the lighthouse, we opted to drive to the Cape of Good Hope, stopping at several shipwreck viewing points. We arrived later that evening at the Four Rosmead for our last night in Cape Town. For dinner we walked to a great Italian place on Kloof Street. Bacini’s; great local place with excellent food, and the perfect meal to end to our stay in Capetown.