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Driving by Uber from the airport to our hotel in Camps Bay, I was a bit afraid. We were going uphill, and I was sure we booked a hotel room with sea views. But everything turned out fine. Camps Bay is the premier tourist destination in Cape Town, South Africa, and is magnificently located on the Atlantic Ocean, at the foot of the Twelve Apostles Mountain range and adjacent to Table Mountain. The sea at the front and a mountain at the back, a jacuzzi. We arrived (Janneke, my daughter as you might remember from my blog about Johannesburg ) and we were thrilled to be in Cape Town, Metropolis of South Africa.
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In Cape Town we used the hop-on hop off bus. For visiting restaurants, we used Uber. To Table Mountain by bus. For trips around Cape Town, we rented a car (driving on the left side of the road, we both paid attention to what was happening on the road and every time we said aloud “take a short turn” and yes: then it will be fine!). And we used a van pick up service for our Safari adventure.
Where to stay
In my blog I usually do not mention the name of a hotel, B&B, Restaurant because my blog is more about everything you can do when “over 60” and this is not a specialized travel blog that is updated every year. But I do like to mention this time the locations where we stayed just to give you an idea of the possibilities.
Our first stay in Cape Town was in Camps Bay, on the beach and a good starting point for discovering Cape Town and for a trip to Boulder Bay and the Cape of Good Hope (later a blog about the things you can do around Cape Town). From there we went by car to Franschhoek and stayed in a winery. Back to Cape Town for one night in the center of the city because the next day a van from Aquila picks us up to take us to Aquila Safari Park. One night stay in Aquila, back to Cape Town and again Camps Bay (different hotel).
What to visit
Red Bus tour
Like in Johannesburg, we started with a hop-on hop off red bus tour. From Camps Bay along the other bays like Clifton and Banton Bay, Cape Town Stadium, Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, City Center, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, World of birds and Monkey Park, Hout Bay.
The beach front of Camps Bay is a long stretch of white, palm tree-lined sand, it is trendy and has a cosmopolitan character. We were there in September (different hemisphere, so comparable with Europe in spring). Waking up and seeing the ocean from your terrace, great! The hotel is slightly higher and in front of it (below) are several restaurants, in one of them a top breakfast every morning.
Hout Bay, yes in Dutch Hout Baai because there used to be a dense forest in the times of Jan van Riebeeck, is close to Camps Bay. From here you can start your trip to Chapmans Peak, go for the best fish and chips in the world, have a look at the fishers, catch a boat to see the sea lions, visit World of birds or stroll around the Sunday market.
The first day we could not go up Table Mountain because there was too much wind. So be aware of that. You can hike up Table Mountain of course with beautiful views. It is advised to walk in groups, take a lot of water, take warm clothes and to be prepared to hike down if the weather is changing. Table Mountain is managed by South African National Parks and part of the UNESCO Cape Floral Region World Heritage Site because of its unique floral and fauna. We used the cable way up the mountain and bought (because my camera broke just after we finished our hike on the mountain) very good-looking photo souvenirs. (Ha, ha). On the mountain we still could take some pictures of the stunning views, the flowers and “de dassie”
Victoria and Alfred, should not it be Victoria and Albert? No, it is correct. The V&A Waterfront is named after Prince Alfred and his mother Queen Victoria. Prince Alfred began construction on the harbor in 1860.
The V&A Waterfront is now an iconic neighborhood, a port area that has been completely refurbished. You will find history, art and design, cafés and restaurants, stores, and an aquarium, a truly inspirational environment. Buy your souvenirs, eat Fish and Chips, and listen to music from local bands.
Architecture and interior shopping
Always interested in design, but with not much time in our busy program of “must have seen” sights, we found time to visit:
If you read Interior Magazines like Vogue Living, VT Wonen, Est Magazine, and so on, you will know the name Weylandts. Design with a soul. Described on their site as “our aesthetic is about combining clean, confident Scandinavian-inspired design with the raw, authentic textures of mother nature.” We loved the store and international shipping is possible.
The former Pyott’s biscuit company is now a creative hot spot. The Cape Town Creative Academy is in the old mill and around it young, creative shops. Local and artisanal goods and craftsmanship are displayed. Visit the restaurant on the top floor (spectacular elevator) with a beautiful view on Table Mountain and the ocean. We walked through the streets around the Old Biscuit Mill in the neighborhood Woodstock and enjoyed a quite different atmosphere.
One of my favorite hotels was the POD Hotel in Camps Bay because of the design. Absolutely my style and I used the bathroom as an inspiration for restroom and bathroom at home. More about that inspiration here.
To be honest, I did not really get into it. Something to do on my next visit. Sites mention the Cape Dutch Architecture, from the colonial past (whitewashed walls, round gables, thatched roofs) but I also read it is more based on German farms. Do you know more, please let me know in the comments.
- Because South Africa is in the southern hemisphere, the seasons are opposite to Europe: winter falls in the months of July – August and summer in December – February.
- Tasha’s Restaurant, so nice to see in terms of decor. My favorite color green is everywhere, and I bought a cookbook from them because of the great food. (I still use their granola- and cream chicken pasta recipes regularly.)
- Read more about Johannesburg here.
- On our wish list for next time: Robben Island, Kirstenbosch Botanic Gardens and Architecture.
- The South African language is often recognizable to us Dutch people; suddenly you walk on the Keizergracht, people say “asseblief” and is a pick-up a “bakkie.”
- At the moment (June 2023) TV show “het perfecte plaatje op reis” is “het perfecte plaatje in Zuid Afrika”
- I wondered if South Africans have problems with us because of the colonial past. Their reaction in general “no that were your ancestors. We must forgive them,” and they mentioned Nelson Mandela as their source of inspiration.
“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.”Nelson Mandela
Enjoy Cape Town, Metropolis of South Africa.
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