I still consider Africa home. It is my motherland, my childhood, many of my core memories, my trauma and my foundation. I love to travel back with first time visitors, especially ones that have only known the first world. On this occasion I was lucky to travel with 3; the bestie and 2 other friends.
Our first stop was Cape Town. I absolutely love this city, it’s my favourite city in the world. Easily. Cape Town reminds me a lot of Melbourne. A feel good atmosphere, friendly people and amazing food. Simply awesome.
We landed around 11am, collected our Europcar rental and made the short journey to our lodge. Table Mountain towered in the distance. It was lunch time when we arrived and were pleased to get upgraded. The lodge is made up of a number of old Victorian houses turned into a luxury holiday space.
After a short rest we headed to the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront mall (V&A). My 3 travel companions kept remarking at how clean the city was and how it didn’t feel third world. We wondered around from level to level. Seeing grocery stores such as Spar and my old time favourite Mugg & Bean gave me a warm fuzzy feeling. All 4 of us ended up at lovely restaurant on the top level, we sat on the balcony overlooking the water as the night set in. I was somewhat surprised at how many people spoke English instead of Afrikaans. With our bellies full we headed back to the lodge for a full night’s sleep.
The morning came with an amazing breakfast. I started off with fruit, yoghurt and orange juice. This was followed by an English breakfast and Rooibos tea, a beautiful South African brew. The next 2 mornings would follow the same breakfast pattern.
The 4 of us piled into the car and headed for Stellenbosch wineries. On our way there we passed Mitchell’s Plain which is a suburb on the outskirts of Cape Town. This is one of the areas affected by poverty with a large portion of it being a shanty township. This was the first time my fellow travelers witnessed the heart breaking side of Africa. Despite the suffering you will see smiles on children’s faces whilst playing in the dirt. These are people doing their best to survive, whatever it takes.
We reached Stellenbosch Boschendal wine estate just before lunch. This place is surrounded by hills, shady trees and owls. After wondering the grounds we settled in for white wine and deep fried haloumi cheese. Being responsible we waited until we were sober for the drive back to V&A Waterfront. With a refreshing bottomless lemonade in hand and a hearty meal in our bellies we had the waiters fussing over the bestie’s dreadlocks. They couldn’t get over seeing a white man with dreads. From here we headed up to the cinemas to wind down the day’s activities.
Our final day in Cape Town took us to Century City Canal Walk shopping mall. This place is massive. It caters for everything from grocery shopping to clothes and shoes, gun shops to tattoo parlors, souvenir shops to electronics and all my favorite childhood food places. Steers and Wimpy take me back to my childhood, a treat at special times of the year. Knowing that my suitcase was past the weight allowance I still felt the need to stock up on heels and dresses.
Lunch time took us to Camps Bay which hosts Table Mountain, Lion’s Head and waterfront restaurants along the beach. Fish and chips on a hot sunny day never tasted so good. The salty sea breeze does manage to keep you refreshed in the warm sun but the beach water is very cold.
Our next drive took us to the Table Mountain cable cars which takes you to the top of the mountain for great views of Cape Town. On this day the wind was too strong to operate the cable cars. We decided to attempt the climb instead. We drove up to Devil’s Peak and started our ascent. 2 hours into the climb and only half way up we realised we bit off more than we could chew. The sun was setting, it was time to head back down. From where we stood at the half way mark the city views were still spectacular.
We tucked in for our final dinner at Mugg & Bean. Our waiters from the night before were again very hospitable and fussed over us.