After a long turbulent flight with transfer in Qatar we finally exit the Cape Town terminal. We sniff the air, how does South Africa smell? Ahhh good!
With the MyCity bus we drive to the center for about € 6.50 per person. The bus is quite modern and not very crowded. After a large industrial area we drive past slums where the public toilets are lined up and the garbage bags are thrown over the fence.
Next everything is much greener and we even see flamingos in a river along the highway. Cool! The Table Mountain is very visible and looks impressive. At the foot of the mountain there is a small park where we see zebras running. The windows in the bus are open, the fresh wind blows in and smells like a barbecue.
When we arrive at our hotel we are pretty tired. There is no time difference, but we have been traveling for 24 hours. We stay at The Backpack hostel for one, because we arrived a day earlier than initially planned. Our bed is in a safari tent tonight, hooray for Africa!
The Backpack Hostel is a nice complex with a swimming pool in a good location in the middle of the city. We quickly eat something at a restaurant around the corner and then take our rest in one of the sitting areas in the hostel garden with a view of Table Mountain. In the evening we chat with an Australian guy who lives in Ecuador. He invites us to visit him next year in Ecuador… we will! 🙂
It is pleasantly crowded in the courtyard of the hostel so we sit back and relax with our €3 bottle of excellent supermarket wine.
The next day we have to move to another hostel. We have made reservations at HomeBase, which is located close to the ‘nightlife’street of Cape Town. When we check in we get a double room with shared bathroom. I tell the lady who shows us through the pretty dated hostel that we had expected our own bathroom and in no time we get it. The hostel is not full, so the ‘upgrade’ we actually booked is no problem. Alright!
Today we walk to the Waterfront district, which is located near the harbor. Nice to look around, interesting buildings, some shops and a few huge boats. It is quite busy. We entertain ourselves perfectly by looking at people, but we wonder why they are here. It is not that special here…
There is a Foodmarket, a large hall with various eateries and shops. It is very tastefully decorated and smells delicious. We see the weirdest dishes passing by, but because we are not hungry yet and have decided to keep our tighter budget straight away, we skip a meal for now.
When we return to our hostel after the nice city walk we get the tip to eat at the Asian food bazar. It is certainly inexpensive, a kind of atmosphere-less hall with different counters of all types of Asian food. As soon as we have ordered and paid, our order is ready. When we open our mealbox at our table, we can see how much it is. We eat our bellies full and give the rest to a pathetic looking hungry guy who had passed by ‘accidentally’ a few times.
Well, that was… ehhh, once but never again.
When we walk back to our hostel we pass Longstreet and immediately see the super cute café, Tiger’s Milk, where we spend the rest of the evening. Wonderful music, cozy decor and BEER! There goes our budget.
After a pleasant evening we walk back to our hostel and we are approached by a man who (like all other beggars in the city) wants some money from us. He babbles a little about his children and his foodless existence. He is not easy to discard and we feel sad for him, but for safety reasons I tell him we have nothing and I say, god bless you man!
This is good, he puts his hand on his heart, nods and continues.
Phew, maybe we’re too paranoid, but better safe than sorry…
After a very uncomfortable night in our hostel we decide to do something active. We are going up Table Mountain!
Although it is still covered by a thick blanket of clouds, we have good hope.
From the center it is about 1.5 hours walk to the Cable Station where the cablecart leaves.
A return ticket with the lift costs € 17.50 per person, argh… we are going to walk!
We hike further up the road and ask a boy we meet if we are going the right way.
The boy stutters and is clearly a bit nervous. With a smile he tells us that we have to continue and take the second path, which is a little easier. Great!
When we reach the entrance of path 2 after an hour, we see that the hike up is still 2.5 hours. Huh? The Australian guy in the hostel said he had done it in an hour. We are already on the road for 2.5 hours and apparently only halfway. Shit.
The view on top of the mountain is fantastic. On top of a solid piece of rock of 260 million years old…
There are several paths up there but it is obvious most visitors stay around the cable station. We walk over the mountain and see a group of Klipdassies (mountain marmots), extremely cute!
The views around are truly spectacular! Devils Peak, Leeukop and the 12 apostles seem to rise from a thick layer white mist. Magical… like being in heaven.
The clouds completely disappear and Cape Town shows itself while we wait. After a few hours we have to tear ourselves away from this beauty and we walk back to our hostel.
After another utterly disappointing night we go out for a day by train. The station is close to our hostel and the train is easy and cheap. We visit Simons Town where a penguin colony is established. So far, we have experienced the residents of Cape Town as very friendly and helpful and at the train station it isn’t very different.
What an experience, the train is very full and looks like a metro. We are the only obvious tourists, so we get a lot of attention. A man next to me asks us where we come from. When he hears that we are Dutch, he says he thought that he could understand everything we said. Oops, ehhh what did we say? The man tells some about history of Capetown. We have a great chat…
From the Simon’s Town station we walk to Boulders Beach at half an hour to the penguin colony. Access to the beach costs around € 5, – per person but a bit before the beach is there one small beach that is free. There are less penguins but it’s very exclusive.
The penguins are very funny, how they walk, they dive around and play with eachother. We are having a wonderful time and the weather is amazing.
Back in the train we decide to get off in St. James, the station is right on the coast and we immediately walk onto a stunning white beach. Great rough rocks, only locals and a row of beautiful coloured houses. Life is fine. We relax for an hour and walk over the rocks where some kids are catching fish.
Another great day, we are already looking forward to the uncomfortable night that awaits us.
Our hostel is on a busy street with lots of traffic and the bed is not too comfortable so in combination with the traffic noise the nights are pretty hard.
Only one to go.
Our last day in Cape Town. A nice city walk and then feet up on our roof top terrace. We stroll through the city towards the Bo Kaap district, the colored houses and cool graffiti are a treat for the eye and the camera. We’re happy we decided to walk further than the first popular street…
This last night we eat at Mama Afrika, a restaurant where according to the reviews you HAVE to eat. I reserved seats four months ago but when we arrive we get an el cheapo spot in the corner behind a wall. The restaurant is attractively decorated but the ‘no one puts baby in the corner’ feeling dominates. The place is completely full so changing tables is no longer possible. We place a small order and during our starter the African band starts playing. Unfortunately, we don’t hear much more than a single drum in the distance and a vague shadow on a black and white TV. Slightly disappointed we leave the table after a not really special meal to sit at the bar closer to the band. We can only sit in a corner at the bar, where we still cannot see anything.
Pff, we’ve seen enough of this hype. Almost all guests are busy taking pictures of the band, that is performing an act in ‘African warrior’ outfit.
After this short but expensive visit we decide to spend our last evening at a better place, enough bars here!
Completely drunk (nope not really: tight budget ;-)), so after two beers and a lot of fun we walk back to our hostel for the last night in our terrible room.
But it doesn’t bother us anymore because Cape Town is cool!