Cruising To The CapeWith the massive and breathtaking Table Mountain as a backdrop and the rugged coastline of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans lapping at its shores, Cape Town has been voted one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
It is the second largest city in South Africa and I recently had the pleasure of being hosted here by ‘Wilderness Safaris’ to do the following tours.
Table Mountain Tour
Voted in 2011 as one of the new seven wonders of the nature, Table Mountain is a must-do attraction.
There are two ways to get to the summit: hike, which can take from one to three hours depending on the route taken and your fitness level, or cable car.
There are two cable cars running every 15 minutes, each with rotating floors and huge windows to ensure you have stunning views while travelling to the top.
We opted for the cable car and once we reached the summit the views were nothing short of spectacular. You could even see Robben Island, where political prisoner Nelson Mandela was incarcerated, and with luck on my side, as well as the beaches of Clifton Bay, Bantry Bay, Camps Bay and beyond.
The Cape Peninsula Tour
This tour took us from Cape Town City to the Cape of Good Hope, following the Atlantic Ocean coastline and incorporating False Bay.
The coastal road takes you past some of Cape Town’s most exclusive residential areas such as Clifton, Bantry Bay and the trendy Camps Bay. Camps Bay beachfront is lined with cafes, restaurants and hotels and this is the best place to view the sunset whilst sipping a sundowner and watching the beautiful people walk by. The backdrop of these exclusive enclaves is the Twelve Apostles, part of the Table Mountain Range.
From Camps Bay, the adventure continued as we drove south down the Atlantic coast until we reached Hout Bay. Hout Bay is a little fishing village with a beautiful working harbour. The highlight here was a thirty five-minute round trip boat ride to Duiker Island, where thousands of Cape fur seals cram for every position on the rocky outcrop.
From Hout Bay the winding road took us through the nine-kilometre Chapmans Peak Drive, which is one of Africa’s most scenic coastal drives. The road runs parallel to the coast and allows for mesmerising Atlantic Ocean views.
After another hour of driving, we finally reached the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, home to ostriches, zebras, baboons and antelope. You can drive through the reserve up to Cape Peninsular and then take the vernacular (cable car) to the top, where a lighthouse proudly stands guard, warning ships of the reefs that surround the most southern tip of the African continent.
As we drove on, signs warning against feeding the local baboons were quite prevalent. At different times we saw baboons sitting by the side of the road and some were as large as 45 kilograms. Problems occur when tourists stop to photograph them with their windows open. At different points along the road ‘baboon rangers’ can be spotted armed with pepper pellet rifles by their side ready to shoot any rogue baboons to scare them away.
Next stop on our tour was Boulders Beach, near Simon’s Town, home to over 2,000 African penguins. These unique little penguins were so adorable I could’ve picked one up and brought it home. A word of advice though: they allegedly give a vicious little bite, so I don’t recommend souveniring one.
Continuing back to Cape Town city, we passed some of Africa’s best surfing and diving beaches off False Bay. Along this road was another unusual sighting: ‘shark spotters’. These guys were armed with megaphones on hand ready to broadcast warnings of any unwelcome visitors!
Our glorious drive finished off at the beautiful and lush Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, where we learned about the local flora and fauna.
Cape Town City Tour
There are so many major attractions of Cape Town city you would definitely take more than one day to see them all. As we had limited time, we were taken to all the major landmark buildings, museums and historical sights by an experienced tour guide from Wilderness Safaris, who gave us an excellent insight into the historical city.
I loved the multicultural part of town known as Bo-Kaap (Malay Quarter), where the residents here have painted their homes in a bright colours that give the area a unique and uplifting appearance.
There is no hiding the fact that Cape Town had a major part to play in the racial problems of years gone by and it was on the steps of the office of the presidential building ‘De Tuynhuys’ that President FW de Klerk announced that “South Africa has closed the book on apartheid”.
District Six, a suburb of Cape Town, is a stark reminder of the 60,000 residents who were forcibly removed from their homes in the Apartheid era and this area is still a massive vacant lot today. It’s certainly a reality check of the turbulent years of Cape Town’s history.
Cape Town is an extraordinary city full of culture, colour and history and you need lots of time to do discover all of its hidden delights and secrets. I hope to go back one day to do just that.
How to get there:
Soul of Africa Safari Company
+ 61(0) 404 497105
Who to fly with:
South African Airways has daily flights between Sydney and Johannesburg with direct daily connections to the largest network on the African continent.
1300 435 972.
Return economy airfares start at $1917 including taxes.