Penguins, Wine, and Mountains: Cape Town and Around

Our final stop on the continent was in Cape Town. Caitlyn’s brother, Greg, is attending the university there and kindly agreed to let us crash at his house. Cape Town is sort of the go-to tourist place in South Africa – the place everyone says you ‘have to see’. And it is pretty cool. Cape Town itself is nice, but the surrounding area is spectacular.

Greg picked us up from the airport and took us to his house – shared with three roommates who were away for winter vacation – and then we popped out for lunch before heading out to hit up Cape Town’s major landmark: Table Mountain.

Trapping the city against the water, Table Mountain looks just like it sounds – a giant table. In one of the largest online polls ever it was named one of the seven new natural wonders of the world. There are two ways up, walking or taking the cable car. We were a bit pinched for time and so we headed up on the cable car for a little wander. Although the city was pretty well obscured by clouds, the view was still beautiful.

From Table Mountain we headed over to Camp and Clifton Beaches. Clifton is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. It was pretty overcast and sprinkly when we were there but they are definitely a pretty set of beaches with super fine sand. Our final stop for day one was the harbour area for a wander and dinner.

The next day was even more jam packed. We started with breakfast in Kalk Bay at an awesome little restaurant overlooking the harbour.

Sunrise for breakfast

Sunrise for breakfast.

But from there, things got even more awesome. We went to Boulders Beach and hung out with African Penguins! We must have been there for over and hour – there were so many of them all doing different things, babies, mothers defending their nests against seagulls…. so much to see.

The last half of the day was spent checking out Cape Point and then climbing Lion’s Head. Both were great little jaunts, although it would have been nice to spend a little more time exploring the park down around the Cape of Good Hope.

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The following morning, we dropped Greg off at the airport and then headed out to Stellenbosch to see Reg, another of our friends from Korea. Stellenbosch is wine country and is less than an hour’s drive from Cape Town. It’s one of the oldest European settlements in the country and many of the buildings are in the traditional Cape Dutch style. We had a great stroll around the town with Reg and then Blake and Reg went to Rust En Verde for a wine tasting (Tamara was stuck doing homework). Wines in this area are fantastic – there is no shortage of choices – and these were no exception. By the time the tasting was finished there was only time for a quick bite before we had to head back to Cape Town.

Our final day in South Africa was pouring rain for the most part, but we decided to head over to Hout Bay – one of the smaller fishing towns strung out to the south of Cape Town. Sadly, we only got a short walk on the beach before we headed back to the house and caught an Uber downtown for dinner.

A friend of Blake’s from previous travels lives in Cape Town and we had arranged to have dinner with him on our last evening. He had picked out a Japanese restaurant downtown that had some excellent food. We even got to try ostrich, which, by the way, is fantastic!

Always great to catch up with old friends!

Always great to catch up with old friends!

Unfortunately, our flight required us to get up at 3:00 AM and so our farewell to Africa and all the friends we have there took place in the middle of the night in a slightly sleep-deprived haze. South Africa was a spectacular part of our trip and, with any luck, we will see some of our friends in Canada in the near future.