We touched down in Cape Town in darkness. Table Mountain loomed in the distance as our car left the airport and sped along the 2, through the dimly lit townships towards the jewel of Africa. Our driver weaved down the city’s main thoroughfare, Strand Street, past shiny cars and shimmering towers. People flooded the sidewalks coming from bars and restaurants, loud and boisterous – a far cry from the slums we encountered on our way in. I had decided on the beautiful Romney Park Hotel in the upscale neighbourhood of Green Point just a short (and safe) walk to the shops and restaurants of Green Point and Cape Town’s Victoria and Alfred Waterfront area after strolling the city streets through Google’s Street View, reading countless reviews of the city’s many hotels, looking at restaurant menus and reviews, and generally researching as much information on different areas as I could. Our spacious and nicely finished two bedroom suite overlooked the garden and pool with sparkling ocean views in the distance. You can read my TripAdvisor review here.
We had a leisurely first full day in Cape Town, enjoying a short stroll to the nearby restaurants and shops of the waterfront where we soaked up the warm African sun and the jovial atmosphere of this little pocket of activity in the city. We dined on wild game kebabs at Belthazar and enjoyed beautiful views of the harbour and Table Mountain from the ferris wheel. After a quick walk back to the hotel, we spend the remainder of the day basking by the pool.
We had arranged a private tour of the Cape Peninsula and our car and guide picked us up early after a delicious breakfast at the hotel’s The George restaurant. Leaving Green Point we meandered along the M6 through the posh neighbourhoods of Sea Point, Bantry Bay, Clifton and Camps Bay. Each home guarded by increasingly high fencing topped with razor wire. Escaping the urban landscape of Cape Town we continue through the historic town of Hout Bay, and up the steep drive to the southern side of the bay where we were treated to amazing views of the granite cliffs and shining blue sea. Making our way southward through Table Mountain National Park we stumbled upon baboon troupes, centuries old farms, forested vistas, and the wide open views of the Atlantic Ocean.
As the four of us moved even further south, the landscape changes, ostrich farms and forests gave way to scrub and open plains. We had arrived at Cape Point, a Natural World Heritage Site within Table Mountain National Park. After parking the car we climbed the stairs to the upper lighthouse and marvelled at the 360° view from Cape Peninsula’s southernmost lighthouse. Riding the Flying Dutchman Funicular back to the entrance we get back into the car to travel just a bit further south to the Cape of Good Hope. There is a slight breeze, the sun is shining, and it couldn’t be a nicer day to enjoy the sites and sounds of southern Africa, and we were not alone. The parking lot was full, with visitors from around the world taking photos and videos of this historical site. Joining us in festivities were two wild ostrich and we watched in amazement as tourists tried getting close to them in order to have their photos taken alongside these finicky giants. We didn’t need to be reminded to give these animals a wide berth.
As we could travel no further south, we turned the car around and headed northward along the eastern side of the peninsula to Boulders Beach in Simon’s Town. Boulders Beach is famous for its huge colony of Jackass Penguins that settled there in 1985. To see thousands of these fascinating creatures on the white sand beaches of Africa is simply amazing. After exploring the colony on the elevated wooden walkways we had a great seafood lunch at Boulders Beach Lodge and Restaurant which has views out to the False Bay, white sandy beaches, and, of course, the penguin colony.
After our relaxing lunch, and a short stop at a local street-side market (little j got a slingshot), we climbed back into the merc and continued our journey northward towards Cape Town. Our next, and final, stop on our day long exploration of the Cape would be the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden. The weather had taken a turn for the dreary as we began our exploration of this stunning garden nestled up beside the mist shrouded Table Mountain but it was still hard not to be impressed with the large collection of mostly native plants, flowers and trees in this national treasure. After several hours exploring the many acres of the gardens we took the last leg of our journey back to our hotel for some rest.
We would be leaving for the dolphin coast early the next morning.