South Africa is a beautiful country. I was there when it grabbed global attention in 2010 during the world cup. Until recently, however, the Zakumi and the sound of the Vuvuzela were the experience I could easily recall. No doubt, the football distracted me from taking in the beautiful scenery and touristy places in the county. However, my recent trip to Cape Town rejigged my memory, with more colourful and lasting details.
The city is worth its salt as South Africa’s Mother city. It lives and breathes the mountain and the sea: seas actually—the warm Indian Ocean and the cold Atlantic. Cape Town is where you walk out of your door and gaped at the mountain, hiking trail and freezing ocean. The city’s beauty and many to-dos is why everyone runs into its embrace.
Table Mountain is the city’s leading attraction and arguably its signature. It is a flat-topped mountain overlooking the city. It is the first place most tourists in the city want to visit, with many either hiking or using the cableway to the top. The mountain is part of the Table Mountain National Park. What strikes many first time visitors in the city is the way the mountain bumps up in an urban setting against the ocean current; where else will one find such?
Beneath the mountain, you will find picturesque beach communities, from Clifton to Camps Bay, where the beautiful sand are so inviting you cannot resist the temptation to sprawl out on them. By the beaches are bars where you could sit, enjoy some nice drink and watch the sun go down. When I decided to step outside to some immediate border area of Cape Town, I visited the Boulders Beach where about 3,000 adorable penguins call their home. Watching the birds play along the shores of the clear blue sea is quite enticing.
There is something appealing about the Victoria and Alfred waterfront or the V&A as it is commonly known; it’s simply the other side of life. With shopping, dining, entertainment and a host of leisure activities nonstop for 12 hours (9am—9pm), one can’t help but love this place.
Long Street is the heart of nightlife in Cape Town. Stretching uphill from the city centre to the direction of Table Mountain, Long Street is where most backpackers ease off at night. There are bars, restaurants and clubs with very affordable drinks and ceaseless fun there, many housed in old colonial buildings. Live rock bands, African highlife music, rooftop parties, etc., are regular night features on Long Street. However, being security conscious is highly recommended on any visit to Long Street.
Before I left, I also visited the Neighbourgoods Market at Old Biscuit Mill which I had my first ever taste of the Ostrich burger. I wasn’t lucky enough to be in town during the Cape Town International Jazz Festival but I think it’ll be good to attend the next one, if going by the report I heard about the festival which is nothing short of wonderful!
Credit: Cover image by Greg Lumley
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