Last week we ventured to Cape Town, South Africa. Leaving the UK winter behind us, we welcomed the 80°F ( 27°C) temps as we departed from Cape Town International Airport after our 10+ hour journey.
Having only one week to explore the southern tip of the African continent was definitely not enough, but in true k&mk fashion, we just kept moving and tried to see as much as we could in the amount of time we had.
We explored Cape Town, its scenic surroundings, and visited a game reserve in the Eastern Cape region. We’ll leave the safari for the next post as the amazing animals we saw up close deserve their own space. So here’s Cape Town…
We started our tour with a walk through town and ended up at the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront hoping to find cheap sunglasses as we both forgot to pack them.
A Band at the V&A Waterfront
The V&A Waterfront is the historic harbor area of Cape Town transformed into a major shopping and dining destination. Although still a working harbor in certain areas, its main focus is tourism. For food, drink, entertainment, crafts, textiles, and various other delights, this is your place. It’s great for people-watching too, especially with a pair of new shades.
Next up was a visit to Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden and then a hike up Table Mountain, Cape Town’s most famous physical landmark.
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden
Located at the foot of Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch sprawls over 1300 acres and is recognized as one of the world’s great botanical gardens. It was founded in 1913 to preserve the unique flora of southern Africa. It contains several different plant species, including the primeval cycads.
Cycads at Kirstenbosch
Often confused with palms, the ancient cycads have been around for more than 200 million years. Pretty cool.
After a couple of hours in the gardens, it was time to commence our hike up Table Mountain, via the Skeleton Gorge trail inside Kirstenbosch.
Table Mountain - View from Company's Garden
Table Mountain is the flat-topped mountain that dominates Cape Town’s skyline. At approximately 3559 ft (1085 m) high and nearly 2 miles (3km) from end to end, its unique shape is unmistakable.
While many visitors take the Aerial Cableway up the mountain, we decided to take the more active route and save the gondola for the ride down.
Up, up, up we hiked on the steep trail scrambling over rocks and climbing ladders, but it was all worth it as the views at the top were spectacular…
View from Table Mountain
A bit further on we reached the mountain’s highest point, Maclear’s Beacon…
Maclear's Beacon - Highest Point on Table Mountain
About 30 minutes away from our destination, we were rewarded with this perfect view of Cape Town…
View of Cape Town: Robben Island (top left) - site of Nelson Mandela’s imprisonment. Cape Town Stadium (oval structure) - built for the 2010 FIFA World Cup
This was a fantastic day and a great hike. It was the perfect way to stretch our legs after the long flight.
The next day we drove out to Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope. It was a pleasant drive through many charming seaside towns. We made one stop at Boulders, famous for its thriving African Penguin colony.
It's called Boulders for a reason...
African Penguins at Boulders
African Penguins at Boulders
The African Penguin is listed on the endangered species list and Boulders is one of the few spots these interesting birds can be viewed at such close range.
After our penguin stop, we arrived at Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope to overcast skies, but the lack of sun did not take away from the sheer beauty of these magnificent headlands.
At the Point
Steep Cliffs of Cape Point
Cape of Good Hope
It is a common misconception that the Cape of Good Hope is Africa’s southernmost point, when in fact this distinction goes to Cape Agulhas, about 90 miles east. The Cape of Good Hope is however “the most south-western point of the African Continent” exactly what the sign says (and what these people in the photo seem to be cheering about).
Our drive back to Cape Town brought us along one of the prettiest scenic routes in the area or probably anywhere for that matter…
Riding Horses on the Beach
The beautiful Chapman’s Peak Drive winds along the mountain revealing more amazing views at every turn.
View of Hout Bay
Twelve Apostles - View from Camp's Bay
With all its natural beauty, Cape Town, South Africa is an impressive place. We enjoyed our visit tremendously and hope to return someday to see the things we missed. Now off to see the animals…
For some of the best fish we’ve had in a long time –
Millers Thumb (10B Kloofnek Road, Tamboerskloof, Cape Town)
We can’t recommend the Derwent House highly enough. The owners, Carol and Jo, are fantastic and make you feel right at home.
Derwent House (14 Derwent Road, Tamboerskloof, Cape Town)