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A Weekend in Cape town

Updated: Apr 14, 2021

I turned 28!!! And to celebrate this huge turn in my life,I took myself on a weekend away to Capetown as a pre-celebration. Note to all: you will need more than just a weekend in that beautiful city.

I arrived Capetown at around 10 am on a beautiful sunny day after a rather bumpy (and affordable) FlySafair flight from Joburg (which was cold and windy that day). The weekend was packed with so many solo activities so as soon as I checked in at my backpacker's lodge, I was out and about. Speaking of backpacker's lodges, I find that I am rather a cheapskate when it comes to accommodation on solo trips. I tend to prioritise price, cleanliness and proximity to "stuff" (the order is not important) so in that regard, Mountain-Ocean-Yoga backpackers in Greenpoint satisfied all of these requirements.

On day 1, I did what every tourist should do and took the hop-on-hop-off bus tour that every tourist should do (repeated for emphasis). I went on the red and blue bus tour which combined, lasted a whole afternoon from 1 pm to about 6 pm taking us through all of Cape town's highlights.

The blue bus tour is a great way to get to the cable car at Table Mountain and the red bus tour goes through Constancia, one of South Africa's oldest wine-producing areas with in-depth commentary throughout the ride.

Fun fact (for wine and book lovers): In the 1700s, Constancia estate became well known for its production of dessert wine, known as Constantia Wyn. This sweet wine was mentioned in the works of Charles Dickens and Jane Austen and thus fetched high prices at European auctions. Way to be early-time influencers, Dickens and Austen!

I ended my first day in the city with a relaxed 30-minute canal cruise from V&A Waterfront that took us into the city and back on a water taxi. The canal is overlooked by some of Capetown's most desirable residential addresses and hotels and some of the pics I took there are DEFINITELY going on my vision board.

Day 2 was my most exciting day!! Not only was it the only full day I had in Cape town but it was also the day I booked my "Cape town experience". No, not THAT kind of experience, just a normal, day-long tour of the city hosted by a local. If you only have one day in Cape town (although why would you only have one day in Capetown?) then, by all means, you have to book Kareem's Amazing Cape town in a Day Experience. This tour which normally hosts 6 people is perfect for exploring the best of Cape Town in a jam-packed day. Fortunately, (for me, not for the host), I was the only one who had booked and so Kareem and I spent the day together driving around, discussing racism, race-related issues, banana bread, South African history, surviving a pandemic, African sociology and home gardening all while making sure to enjoy the beautiful scenery around us. I include this to show just how perfectly personal this tour was, it was less "commercial" than the hop-on-hop-off bus tour and like I said in my review on Airbnb, felt more like a friend showing you all the cool spots in his city.

We started off by exploring the Western slope of Table Mountain National Park along the Atlantic Seaboard heading towards Cape of Good Hope, which I learnt is NOT actually the southernmost tip of Africa. On our way there, we went through Hout Bay and Chapmans Peak where the best Instagram selfies are to be taken.

After about a 100 pics at Chapman's peak, Kareem and I went on to the Table Mountain National Park where I hiked down to the Cape of Good Hope.

I was alone on the hike and decided to use it as a gratitude walk, naming everything I am thankful for while the (very strong) wind blew salty air in my face from the sea below me. I did that for a good 10 minutes and then I spotted a lizard which was right in front of me, now anyone who knows me knows I am SCARED of those things (geckos included) so I half-ran around the more desert-looking parts of the hike to avoid seeing more.

Needless to say, I was exhausted by the time I finished the hike. I quickly gathered up my strength for our next stop which was penguin spotting! I'll say here that although Covid has hit the tourism industry hard with the number of travellers plummeting, it was rather nice to enjoy all these sites in a socially-distanced manner without too many people. See a pic of me touristing in a mask for posterity.

By the time I had finished seeing the penguins and being brutalised by sand in my eyes (Capetown can be EXTREMELY windy in January), it was time for lunch! We had lunch at Constancia Glen, a boutique wine farm. I had the flammkuchen, a delicious thinly rolled flatbread reminiscent of, but 500 times better than a pizza. Constancia Glen also offers wine-tasting but at the time of my visit, the South African government had banned alcohol sales, just as well, because as most people know, I don't even drink wine.

On day 3, I went to Robben Island. It was insightful and draining and educational and upsetting and triggering but still very very important. I bought the tickets online ahead of the trip via and arrived promptly ay 8:40 am for the 9 am ferry to Robben Island. The island is about 11 kilometres from Cape Town, putting it firmly in the "overseas" category.

We started by visiting famed pan Africanist Robert Sobukwe's cell, where he was kept for years in solitary confinement. I am glad that the Robben Island Museum is deliberate about telling his story and making sure that it does not get drowned out by other more well-known prisoners such as Mandela.

Our tour was interestingly given by one Mr Adrian Basson, a former prisoner himself who now lives and works on Robben Island. However, I got the sense that this was more about necessity than choice. It seems many prisoners were not accorded a fair chance to reintegrate into society to properly rebuild their lives. All in all, I think everyone should visit Robben Island Museum for a different perspective on the legacy of apartheid. PS: The apartheid museum in the South of Johannesburg offers a more well-rounded storytelling experience.

If you came to this post because of my broadcast message that promised to tell you how I spent my birthday, congratulations, you have been officially catfished!! Okay fine, you made it this far so you deserve to know that for my actual birthday, I was at Chaminuka lodge just 45 minutes outside of Lusaka enjoying nature and riding horses. Of course, I will be writing about that experience too.

Note: I have not (yet) monetised my blog or travel writing so all the links indicated are genuine referrals for which I am not getting paid.

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