Sitting here in the heart of Cape Town, one of the most gorgeous cities I think I have ever had the pleasure of traveling, I cannot believe that our 5 weeks are already up. This time has been relaxing, invigorating and exciting. Not only were we able to get out and see so much of what Cape Town has to offer, but we were also able to recoupe from Europe, cook for ourselves, (and by ourselves I mean Mark cooking for me) save some money and buckle down and get into the gym. We went 6 days a week and our one day off we made sure to go and sight see. We had to choose things that weren’t part of our upcoming tour and let me know tell you, there are a million and one choices.
Every day I am here, every time I look out the window, every time I walk outside, jump in an Uber and drive outside the city, I am blown away by the beauty. I am constantly amazed how one minute you can be engulfed in tall buildings, bustling city life, people in suits heading to work and the next minute you’re turning a corner and walking through an oasis of the Company Gardens rich in lush green trees, flowing fountains and friendly squirrels. Its so easy to forget you’re in the centre of a city with a population of over 3.7 million.
Take a drive down to the V&A waterfront and listen or join in with the street performers, choose from all the different restaurants that sit on the waterfront and overlook the amazing harbour. Stop in at the V&A mall for some high end shopping or cross the street to the Two Oceans Aquarium and walk through the underwater tunnel of the predator tank. For only 130R (13$CND) you can take a ride on the Cape Town Wheel and enjoy the sweeping views 40 metres above the city.
Not a long drive any way from the centre you can reach an outdoorsy persons dream. Whether it be a hike around or up Table Mountain, Devils Peak, Lions Head or Chapmans Peak, the trails are endless whichever route you choose. Head up Signal Hill or over to Camps Bay for a stunning sunset view, choose from endless beaches or for history buffs, check out Rhodes memorial at the beginning of the Woodstock Cave hike. Take a tour of the UNESCO World Heritage site, Robben Island where Nelson Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years in prison. The tour is led by a former prisoner and a trip around the beautiful island with a stop for a gorgeous view of Cape Town across the water.
For those animals lovers such as myself, you have so many decisions to make. I would suggest doing your research first as not all the attractions are legit. Look for ones with breeding or volunteer programs, ones that have been around for a long time and have good reviews on google or Facebook. Be careful when picking one that lets you interact with the animals as ‘canned hunting’ (animals that are raised by humans and are used as hunting targets) is a huge issue in Africa. Look for rehabilitation programs, ones that have onsite hospital care or eventual release programs. If you’re anything like me, you dont want your money going towards any corrupt hunting or exploitation of wildlife. A place like World of Birds has all of the above, or the Cheetah Outreach in Stellenbosch. Boulders Beach is an amazing place to visit and a place I would pay to go a hundred times over. Some places you can interact and this can be okay, but all I’m saying is please look into it first and go with your gut, if it doesn’t feel right, dont go.
As I spend more time here, my mind keeps wandering back to 2012 when I was living in Australia and traveling the Great Ocean Road in a van with my friends Danielle, from the valley and Tim, from Cape Town. In the evenings we would lay around and ask Tim to tell us stories about Africa. He would talk all about Cape Town and life growing up in one of the most amazing and sought after places in the world. I remember listening to him, jealous of his experiences, of his life of travel, the amount of places he had been and the things he must have seen. I was so envious of his life starting in Africa, his carefree mentality and the strength to travel the world alone. Australia being my first trip, it seemed impossible to get to that point and that it was all so out of my reach. I thought about how I wish I had started traveling when I was younger and maybe I’d be where he was at. I did the worse thing you can do and compared myself to someone else. Africa seemed like a dream, like a fairytale story you listened to before bed. It has felt like that to me since this moment, and yet, here I am only 6 years later turning that tale into a reality. It just goes to show that if you really want something, it can be done. How bad do you want it? What will you sacrifice to achieve it? For me, this is an easy answered question. Things can be bought and sold, replaced or put aside. There will always be a job in my future and a place to lay my head wherever I choose. A gym will always be waiting for me to burn those calories I ate on that dessert I didn’t need but had to try. I will always come back to Cumberland into the open arms of my parents offering up that spare room until I get back onto my feet again. In the last 6 years I have travelled literally all over Europe, I will be going to South east Asia for the third time, I’ve been to Seattle for a Jays game, rode rides at Disney World in Florida, finally experienced an all-inclusive resort in Mexico and Greece, gambled money away in Vegas (only 20$ but still). I have eaten amazing food all over the world and gained countless pounds doing this. I have spent thousands of dollars, sold several vehicles, gave up my phone and beautiful apartment or house to experience these things. Looking back I would do this a hundred times over. These moments of experiencing the world is priceless and I couldn’t imagine living any other way.
4 Photos above taken at Camps Bay @ Sunset