Hello Folks! It has been a while since my last post so here goes … 4 Days in Cape Town!
First and foremost, Cape Town truly is heaven on Earth! The natural beauty and landscape is extremely awe-inspiring making you want to never leave! I loved it so much that I am sending my parents to Cape Town for their 30th Wedding Anniversary [such a great child ;)]
4 Days is too short time to see all that Cape Town has to offer but if you have limited time, I insist you experience at the minimum all of the below
P.S. - As an FYI, I am not paid for referring to any of these. I had a fantastic time and want to share my experience with my fellow travelers.
Robben Island: a UNESCO World Heritage and part of the rich history of South Africa, Robben Island or ‘seal island’ is where former President of South Africa and Nobel Laureate Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for the 18 of the 27 years he served. Since 17th century, Robben Island had been used for isolation of political prisoners which finally ended in 1996 after the fall of apartheid. It is currently managed by Robben Island Museum and is visited by tourists all-round the year. You should definitely make a trip to the island.
Bo’ Kaap: or formerly known as Malay quarter is a multicultural neighborhood in downtown Cape Town. As you pass and walk through this neighborhood you will notice colorful houses and beautiful cobble stone streets. The history behind the beautiful houses is that to celebrate Eid, the residents would paint their houses with different colors. As the area grew more popular the tradition continued and it has now given Bo’Kaap the irresistible charm. While in Bo’Kaap, do make sure to stop by at Biesmiellah Restaurant – a local family owned restaurant that creates one of the best koeksister – a traditional South African honey infused fried dough. The name derives from the Dutch word “koek”, which generally means a wheat flour confectionary, also the origin of the American English word “cookie”. We had the pleasure of doing a walking tour with ….. He is part of the local youth movement to make Cape Town one of the top tourist destinations of the world. It was very fascinating to explore Bo’Kaap with him because it felt like a window to the inner non-touristy world was opened for us which enriched our experience by 10 folds
Cape of Good Hope: also called as “The Cape” used to be the stopping point for trading ships sailing between Europe & its colonies in the east. It is the most south-western point of the African continent. However, it is still worth a visit. To get there, I HIGHLY recommend renting a car and driving from downtown CBD to the Cape of Good Hope. It is a ~3 hour drive if you include stops for restroom, food and pictures. On the way you will see an Ostrich farm, beautiful landscapes and aerial view of the beach. Once in the Cape park, it is another 1-2 hours of viewing the landscape & hiking (if you like) through the rocks. There is a cable car in the park that goes all the way to the top of the highest mountain in the Cape however, beware of all the tourist crowds. We actually skipped the cable car because there were too many tourists but instead found some really awesome remote spots where we could still enjoy the view without rubbing shoulders & elbows with everyone!
Gansbaai: pronounced as “Hans-baai” is a picturesque fishing town and a well-known spot for cage diving with great white sharks! The drive to Gansbaai from Cape Town is mind-blowingly beautiful – the sunset over there is literally hues of purple, red and orange! If you are in Cape Town and have an adventurous streak in you then you HAVE to go cage diving! Its not as scary as it sounds — my girlfriend did it and she is afraid of almost all living creatures! There are 3 optimal cage diving spots in the world – Australia (3 hour boat ride); Mexico (7 hour boat ride) and South Africa (a mere 20 mins boat ride!) So do go Cage Diving in South Africa! As a word of caution, even though the boat ride is only 20 mins long, a lot of people on your boat will get sea sick and start throwing up in the water – on one hand it is excellent chum to attract sharks (pardon my grossness!) but seeing others throw up is going to make you sea-sick as well! So make sure to carry some over the counter medicines with you.
The actual Cage Diving experience is a TON of fun! They will put you in wet suits and put a weight belt on you (which I thought was interesting) in order to prevent you from rising above water. Then you will enter a cage which does have wide grills but not wide-enough to have the shark enter. 7-9 of you will then enter the cage with your eye gear and breathing gear and go down the water. The cage is hoisted right next to the boat so no fear of venturing away from boat. Once in the water, the crew from the boat will throw chums in the water to attract more sharks. All you have to do is be on the lookout when the crew calls out instructions and truly enjoy an extremely surreal moment!
Groot Constantia: You have not experienced what Cape Town has to offer if you do not go wine tasting. We chose to go to Groot Constantia – the oldest winery in South Africa. In fact the first South African wine which was exported in 1659 was created at this vineyard! 90% of wine produced in Groot Constantia is white while only 5% is red. The views from this winery are stellar! Check out the pics below. The space has two wine tasting facilities but go to the one closer to the entrance since it has some fascinating art pieces too! There are tons of other vineyards in Cape Town but we chose this one due to its history.
Table Mountain: At over 260 million years old, it is older than the Andes, the Alps, the Rocky Mountains and the Himalayas. It is so stunning that you can for real take #nofilter pictures! (Check out the blow image!) There are two ways to get up the table mountain – cable car (most preferred and quickest method) or like what we did – hiked up (will take you a “lil” while!) Either way, absolutely must that you head up to the table mountain for one of the most scenic views of Cape Town.
V&A Waterfront: Last on my list due to the crowds of tourist and commercial feeling of the place. If you have left over time and have done everything on this list, then stop by the waterfront for a cold beer and soak in the views of the table top.
Finally, I would be remiss if I don’t mention the FOOD & DRINKS! The food is amazing and beyond describable! Go anywhere (except chain restaurants) and I guarantee you will have a great time! Even for vegetarians – my gf is a vegetarian and she had no issues whatsoever. Drinks are shockingly inexpensive & potent! Do have the local beers and wine
Let me know your thoughts on this piece! Feel free to leave comments on your experience or if you would like me to add anything in particular to this list!