FUN-travel: South Africa – Cape Town

September 17, 2010 by  

The ABC’s of Africa

Green Market Square

A = Awesome
B = Bummer
C = Celebration
BB = Big Bummer
RBB = Really Big Bummer
TA = Totally Awesome
VG = Very Good

Day 7 – Thursday, September 9 – drive to Cape Town – half day tour – windy, cloudy, 60’s

  • B – no hot water in room
  • A – offered another room with really hot water
  • TA – receive complimentary bottle of wine for inconvenience
  • A – 9:30 am pick up and drive to Cape Town – arrive 11 am
  • TA – Walden House, lovely old Colonial home with 7 suites – get upgraded to master suite with fireplace & just remodeled with double headed shower – full city, Table Mtn. & Signal Hill views from our wrap around balcony
  • A – take drive up to Signal Hill – full views of Cape Town – drive along coastal communities – drop off @ 1 pm for ferry to Robben Island where Nelson  Mandela was imprisoned for 20 years – return to Victoria & Alfred Waterfront – walk around – street musicians & acts abound – back to Walden House by 6:30 – wonderful dinner @ Beleza on corner $30 includes bottle of Pinotage

FF (FUN Facts) –  Cape Town is called the Mother City – blending of Eastern, African and Western ways of life constantly evident in architecture, dress and local customs

Robben Island

Day 8 – Friday, September 10 – Cape Town – half day tour – windy, sunny, a bit warmer, high 60’

  • A – incredible spread of food, both hot & cold at guest house

    Table Mountain Tram

  • A – 9:30 depart for walking tour of Cape Town – go to Castle of Good Hope, built by Dutch between 1666 and 1679, houses the Military museum – walk through downtown Company Gardens
  • A – shop at Green Market Square – vendors selling African masks, stone & wood carvings, fabrics, drums, jewelry, etc.
  • B – lunch, wait too long & just so so
  • A – nice walk back to Walden House
  • A – dinner at Miller’s Thumb $40 – eat kingklip fish

FF – food & wine is extremely reasonable

Day 9 – Saturday, September 11 – Cape Town – Free day – sunny, windy, warmer, high 70’

  • BB – sharks not breaching due to beached whale they ate (tummies are full now)
  • A – hop on double decker city sightseeing bus
  • A – table mountain aerial tram is open
  • B – 35 minute wait to buy tickets
  • A – only takes 4 minutes to top (3200 ft) and floor rotates 360 degrees
  • B – still have vertigo and a bit afraid of heights (can’t look down)
  • A – seat in middle of tram stationary
  • TA – perfectly clear day, can see for miles
  • A – continue bus tour, get different perspective on top (drove the same route on Thursday in car)
  • A – end up back at Victoria & Alfred waterfront shops, have lunch, shop
  • A – back on bus with drop off at Green Market Square, more shopping
  • B – bus no longer running, must walk back to guest house (1 mile) been walking lots already
  • A –Maharajah Indian restaurant on corner, VG lamb curry, vegetables, rice & of course bottle of SA wine

Cape Baboons

FF – why you want a driver/guide here? They drive on the wrong side of the road and you can drink more wine!

Day 10 – Sunday, September 12 – Cape Town – Full day tour to Cape of Good Hope – sunny, warm, high 70’s

Cape of Good Hope

  • A – 9:00 am start @ Bo-Kaap neighborhood, lively, bright colored painted houses – drive south on east side to keep sun on our side
  • 1st stop Kirstenbosch Botanical gardens – 22,000 southern African flowering plants in a setting of mountain streams, pools and rolling lawns
  • 2nd stop Simonstown – Boulders beach has resident colony of jackass penguins
  • 3rd stop – Cape Point in Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, said to be the romantic meeting point of two mighty oceans, the Atlantic and the Indian – Sir Francis Drake called it “the fairest Cape that we saw in the whole circumference of the Globe.”
  • A – see roaming bontebok, ostrich and baboons
  • TA – west side drive to Chapman’s Peak very steep, winding & a lot like Big Sur
  • A – back to Beleza for another great dinner & even eat dessert this time, in celebration of my dad’s birthday coming up next week

Westerncape Recap: This is the first time we have ever stayed at guest houses instead of hotels. All of them were rated 4 stars and we were quite impressed with the service, food, and rooms. Our neighbor Jeff is from South Africa and when I complained about how expensive the quotes were for this trip he suggested B&B’s.  Hotels are quite expensive here. Now that Chris is retired, we no longer have a need to continue our loyalty to both Marriott and Hilton hotels. We are going to use our points up for free rooms when we are in cities where rooms are expensive (like Paris at the end of the trip.)  Jeff also suggested using his brother Stephan who has a travel agency in SA. And we are glad we did! We have felt very safe and comfortable everywhere we went. The cities have ranged from beautiful and quaint to very cosmopolitan.  We specifically chose to come at this time because we wanted to see the sharks’ breach. The best time for that is in their winter months of June, July & August. We were at the tail end so didn’t get to see them in Shark Alley. One of the surprises we hadn’t thought of was all the spring flowers that were in bloom. Overall we give the Westerncape 2 thumbs up and highly recommend seeing it.

Jackass Penguins