Preparation to leave for Africa
I feel like there is some background that needs to be typed before we get to day one!
Cape Town was the start of my travel in Africa.
I sway between being super organised and a last minute Larry! As the date approached to leave for Africa, everything I needed to book was booked. Research for Cape Town completed, money changed, international driving licences purchased.
I’d been getting my clothes etc out for weeks but did I think to do some practice packing..no. Did I pack the night before…yes. Was my bag super full..yes, did I spend the night panicking about how full my bag was and go and buy a new bag in the morning..yes. Did I over pack, yes. Did I then spend a flight panicking about everything I had packed.. Yes. You see a theme here right!
So I get to the airport and I say goodbye to my giant bag. I take my first flight to Doha, we arrive late by late I mean I have 20 minutes to get through the airport to my next flight. At this point I’m thinking, I’m pretty sure I won’t have a bag in Cape Town as I don’t see them having time to take it from one flight to the next.
When I arrive in Cape Town there is a man stood outside the aeroplane, with my name on a card and told me to go to the missing luggage desk.
I go to the desk and they confirm that my bag is having a sleepover in Doha.
At this point I’m actually quite pleased as it means I only have to carry my small backpack and not my giant over packed back pack!
I decide if it never turns up I can just go buy one new outfit and live in that for 7-8 months! I figured the only things I actually needed were all my chargers (I’d run out of room in my carry on!), my hearing aid batteries and of course my nettle tea!
Luckily the bag did turn up the following day and I was united with ALL my stuff. Also luckily my mother taught me well so I had spare pants, flip flops and a top in my carry on!
So after 2 flights I was pretty tired, partly due to lack of sleep because I was thinking about my giant bag!
I arrived in Cape Town and did the only sensible thing a girl can do and that’s to have a nap.
Late afternoon I decided that I needed to leave the hostel and get some food and have a wander. I took a walk down Long Street and ended up in Societi Bistro for dinner. They had gluten free pasta and sorbet so all my dietary needs were met. It was still quite warm in Cape Town so I was able to sit outside and dine al fresco. As I was alone I didn’t want to be wandering around on my own in the dark so headed back just as the sun set. Perhaps not the most exciting first day, but sometimes you need to give into what your body needs.
Before I went to Cape Town a travel bloggers I follow was there, so I took some tips from him on things to do! One of those things was the free walking tours with Cape Town Free Walking Tours.
They offer 3 walking tours, Old City, Boo Kapp and Apartheid to Freedom. They work on the basis that at the end of the tour you tip the guide what you think the tour was worth.
In the morning I decided to do the Old City Walking tour. This tour gives you the history of Cape Town and how it was colonised by the Dutch. It was interesting to learn about the history and the slave trade something I didn’t really know about even though I have been to SA before.
Fun fact for you all, the stones on the top of the City Hall are from Bath! The city next to my city! What are all the stones doing coming from Bath I hear you ask, well when the ships would sail across the seas they could not sail empty because of weight distribution and the risk of sinking! So they would sail to Cape Town with stones from Bath which I think is pretty cool.
For me one of the most exciting bits of the tour was seeing an Albino Squirrel. Yes you read that right an Albino Squirrel. I was so excited by the squirrel and completely switched off from listening to the tour. Until I realised that the guide had stopped talking and was waiting for me to finish my photos, opps!
Carry on reading onto day 6 for more about the squirrel.
I really enjoyed the tour so decided to do the afternoon tour as well.
I visited St George’s Cathedral in between tours, as it is opposite the tour starting point. I then went for a wander before joining the Boo Kapp afternoon walking tour.
Boo Kapp is an area in Cape Town that you can not miss with it’s brightly coloured houses. It also has the best crayfish curry!
I don’t like to explain too much in my blogs as I think it’s important that people visit places for themselves and don’t think well I already know all this!
Boo Kapp is a really cool area to visit, you don’t have to do a tour but I found it helpful to learn more about the area.
I went on a Cape peninsula tour with the Baz Bus. I’m pretty sure I did this your when I was in Cape Town when I was 19.
The tour starts with an optional boat trip out to a seal island. A coat was definitely needed at this point as it was pretty chilly but the sun was shining and it did turn out to be a beautiful day. We were lucky on our tour as we had beautiful weather, it was the best weather day of my 6 in Cape Town.
The tour takes you to see the Penguins at boulders beach, you can’t go to Cape Town and not visit the Penguins!
I was a bit disappointed that it has become very commercialised, and you have to pay quite a lot to go in to see the penguins. You don’t have to pay but you will see more penguins if you do. Once your in you do see a lot of penguins, but it was super busy and you had to que to get to the fence to see them properly.
This is a good tour to go on if you want to explore out of the centre of Cape Town but don’t have your own transport. Lunch is included in the tour which I always think is a bonus. And they pick you up and drop you off at your accommodation.
I met an Austrian girl on my trip who was leaving the next morning and wanted to go to table top so we grabbed an uber and went up for sunset. It was absolutely stunning I’m so glad I got to go and see the sunset. Luckily weather conditions were good that evening and we were able to get up and down on the cable car.
You can walk up and down tabletop, it is not recommended that you do this alone, often hostels will run walking tours.
Today was my favourite day, the scenery was stunning and being on Table Mountain for sunset was so good, we had perfect weather and amazing views.
After we went to Boo Kapp and had dinner at Biesmiellah’s restaurant, this is one of the oldest restaurants in the area and has the best Crayfish curry.
Today was an exciting day as it was the day of my food tour with Cape Town Culinary Tours. Blog post here.
En route to my tour I decided to visit the museum in Boo Kapp. I’m all about being honest and I wasn’t that impressed with it. For me the best thing was being there during a call to prayer. I really enjoy hearing calls to prayer.
The museum isn’t very big, but if your in the area it’s worth popping in. I wouldn’t make a special journey to go.
Next I went to the slave museum which was super interesting and I would definitely say everyone should visit. With the history of slavery and apartheid personally I think it’s really important to learn about these things. I believe it is important to recognise and take responsibility for things that have happened in the past to ensure that they don’t happen again in our future.
I then went to met my food tour, pop over to the blog post to read about it.
This was another great day in Cape Town, and I found out that I actually do like red wine!
My time in Cape Town involved a lot of museums and learning!
Today I went to the District 6 museum, Cape castle and the Zeitz museum.
I can highly recommend doing a tour at District 6 museum, it costs a little more than a standard entry but is worth the money. District 6 is an area where the government forced people to move and relocate, as they declared the area a whites only area. The guides are ex-residents of District Six, they talk you through the history of the area and their experiences of living there. There is a lot of reading and I’m not very good at reading huge blocks of text so I definitely got more out of having someone show me around.
I then went to Cape Castle which is just down the road from district 6, I spent an hour or so wandering around, they do guided tours but I didn’t want to stay and wait. I think a guided tour would have been interesting but equally you can just wander around.
I then walked over to the waterfront, and went to the Zeitz Art Museum. This is quite expensive, a lot of people said the best bit of the museum is the architecture and you can just go and look at it and not go inside. I did go in, the artwork was cool, very modern. Some of the exhibitions were closed which was annoying as the museum is set up so you can walk in a circuit but sometimes you had to walk back through an exhibition to get out.
I then went for a wander around the waterfront.
My last day in Cape Town and technically my first day of my G Adventures tour to Namibia.
The tour meeting was in the evening so I had the day before I needed to go to the new hostel.
I decided to do the third walking tour which was Apartheid to freedom tour. Initially I wasn’t sure if I needed to do it but I’m super glad I did. It was really interesting, and I learnt something about the white squirrel. Thank you to those of you still reading to hear about the white squirrel! There was a white apartheid president who was assassinated and locals say that the white squirrel is that president who now resides in Company’s Garden.
After the tour we went for lunch.
Places to Stay
I stayed at The Backpack, it’s a nice hostel. My room was clean, it didn’t have bunk beds which is always a bonus. I felt that it is quite big so didn’t have an overly homely feel. It had a bar and small pool. The best part of the hostel from my opinion is the view of table mountain. I loved waking up every day and being able to walk outside and see Table Mountain.
The location was okay, there were restaurants within walking distance and CBD was easy to walk to, you just need to be careful with walking around. As a lone female at times it was annoying as I would have to go for dinner before the sun set and then return back to the hostel if I was alone so that I was not out alone in the dark. Luckily I made some friends and after the first night was generally not alone.
I stayed at Once in Cape Town the night before my tour started.
The room I stayed in was super small and there was hardly enough room for us, we were 4 girls and it was super cramped. I also left the hostel with some interesting bites and I am not 100% sure where they came from. The hostel has a bar so is known as a bit of a party hostel, this was the main reason I decided not to stay there for longer then one night.
A friend I made in Namibia stayed at Atlantic Point and said that it’s really nice, they have large rooms and a good breakfast, and good WIFI.
If you have a bit more money than me then try Kinghorns Gardens a small paradise on the Cape Peninsula. I had the pleasure of meeting the owner whilst I was in Namibia and have no doubt that it is as beautiful and well cared for as it looks on the website.
Places to Eat
Sociei Bistro – gluten free pasta!
Bocca – pizza place, gluten free pasta
Biesmiellah – crayfish curry
The Meeting Point
I booked a transfer through my hostel to get from the airport to my hostel.
Mainly I used uber, I always felt safe in an uber and they were super cheap. I did use one street taxi and felt unsafe as the car was really run down and the guy drove really badly.
I walked around in the day but was always aware of my surroundings. I didn’t walk around at night even in a group.
Other Things to do
Robben Island, I didn’t go as I have been before so spent time doing things I haven’t done before.
Walk up / down table mountain.
Walk up and down Lions Head.
City bus tour.
Round Up of Cape Town
I’m so glad I spent 6 days in Cape Town before I stated my tour and am now a bit sad I didn’t spend longer. But I have the potential to go back to South Africa.
There is lots to do in Cape Town, and I think if you aren’t alone it has a good night life!
Be warned it can get cold during the winter months and it does rain!
I don’t think I would ever tire of seeing Table Top every day it truly is beautiful.