My trip to South Africa last year was a brief hiatus in the thick of a move from San Francisco to Amsterdam – I figured Cape Town and Amsterdam were in the same time zone, so it was almost rude not to pop in on the way. For anyone who has moved to another country before, I’m sure you’d agree it’s an arduous charge – I needed to focus on the relocation so planning for the holiday took a back seat; no bookings, no research, no expectations.
Going without a plan was perfect – it’s an understatement to say I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived. Cape Town is teeming with a rich and turbulent history and an abundance of character; it’s one of the most multicultural cities in the world and a melting pot for diverse religions, cuisines, cultures and businesses, all coexisting in one place.
Sea and farms surround the city, so there’s no shortage of great restaurants serving fresh and delicious food. There are stunning wine regions like Stellenbosch close by and the shopping in Cape Town is in a league of its own, with excellent homewares stores and weekend food and craft markets. You can’t go past the natural wonders, including attractions like Table Mountain, the beautiful beach at Camps Bay and game-park safari’s. I’d never been to a game park before and we spent a weekend at Aquila safari lodge – it was a novelty to be up-close with the lions, rhinos, buffalos, elephants and leopards. We did a sunset horseback safari, weaving our way through all the zebra’s and giraffe’s with the beautiful mountain backdrops. While a bit of a tourist attraction, Boulder’s Beach is also a good spot to visit to glimpse the colony of 3,000 odd freely wandering penguins – the scenery of inlets between granite boulders is also exceptional.
It’s hard to select just a few spots, but from a list of many, here are a few spots that I loved…