Cape Town, South Africa

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According to a “Here’s where you should live based on your Myers-Briggs type” articles (quality journalism, aka guilty pleasure), I should live in Cape Town. And they’re probably completely right – Cape Town has it ALL: Great food, adventure sports, beaches, mountains/hiking, fascinating cityscape, etc. Not only is the city itself wonderful, it’s a great springboard to so many cool places- the Cape of Good Hope, wine country, even some safaris nearby.

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City Hall, where Nelson Mandela gave his first speech after becoming elected president
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a Mandela mural
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District 6. 60,000 of its inhabitants were forcibly removed during Apartheid 

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Cape Town is the oldest city in South Africa, also named the “Mother City”. It’s one of three capitals of South Africa (cool!) and was an important European outpost back in colonial seafaring days. It was extremely apparent how different the Western Cape vs the Eastern Cape (where we were in Kruger/Joburg a few days prior) were – the Western Cape is filled with more expats and white people, while the Eastern Cape is more true African. There’s an election happening soon, and it was fascinating to learn about the history and ongoing struggles between the DA and ANC (the two main political parties).

dinner at Pot Luck Club, sister restaurant of Test Kitchen – rated one of the best restaurants in the world (and so cheap!)

V&A Waterfront Area – touristy and pretty much a shopping mall, but fun to walk around at night. Plus everything is framed by Table Mountain

Anyway, besides semi-immersing ourselves in the political climate, we had a few days of delicious food, beach-hopping, and simply enjoying the city. On our very first day we opted for a Hop-On Hop-Off Tour Bus to take us around. You may roll your eyes and say “wow, that’s SO touristy” and yes – it is! – but it took us around to all the major sites (including Table Mountain and Camps Bay) so we didn’t have to drive all day. Plus, Cape Town is so picturesque, there’s no other city where it’s so pleasant to simply drive around and take in the sights.

sights while driving around during Hop-On Hop-Off tour. Notice the crooked pine tree – a manifestation of how strong the winds here are

We didn’t do a hike up Lion’s Head because it was closed for refurbishment (and then, on our last night, there was a huge fire that broke out on the mountain – a combination of the horrible drought + huge winds!), but we did enjoy our time at Table Mountain. The Cape is its own floral kingdom – the smallest in the world – and it was cool seeing all the biodiversity on the mountain and also in the Botanical Gardens – which is now our favorite Botanical Gardens in the world!

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we took the cable car up, planning on hiking Lion’s Head that night…not realizing that it was closed
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look how tiny this floral kingdom is!

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The beaches are beautiful but many are quite windy, which do not make them great sunbathing beaches – but some are sheltered from the crazy winds and filled with beautiful bronzed models. There were some Miami-esque vibes going on in the Camps Bay area, without the Miami prices.

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everything was so beautiful in this Botanical Garden. I couldn’t stop snapping pictures – not only of the plants, but of the beautiful landscape. I think I’d want to get married here if  we had our wedding in South Africa!

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tree canopy

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protea flower

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we did a “movie under the stars” night at the Botanical Gardens 

DSC_0030DSC_0015We were also able to squeeze in two of the major museums – the contemporary art museum which was cool, and the South African National Gallery. It was really cool seeing African art – and not traditional African art that is curated in Western museums!! – displayed, oftentimes reflecting the turbulent Sub-Saharan African political landscape. We didn’t get to go to Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years, but felt his legacy everywhere in the city.

Museum of Contemporary Art, by the V&A waterfront
the building itself was pretty much art

South African National Gallery was right next to the South African Jewish Museum, which was pretty much a fortress

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Sea Lions at Hout Bay

We only stayed a few days in Cape Town, but were instantly charmed – I don’t think it’s my favorite “city city” for its historical sites alone, but it’s definitely the most picturesque and adventure-filled city I’ve ever been to! Also…the sun in the southern hemisphere is really intense, I got sunburn within a few hours of sitting outside with SPF 100, and poor M had to cover his head any time we walked outside!

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Camps Bay
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the water is colder in the summer than in the winter thanks to the currents

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windy

 

4 Comments Add yours

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  4. What a wonderful read and definitely an inspiration for others to travel to Cape Town! I am so fortunate to call this place home!

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