Monday, October 11, 2010

I Heart Cape Town

If I had found a shirt that read, “I heart Cape Town” I would have bought it and posed for a picture to post with this entry! I thought Johannesburg was such a wonderful and exciting place to live and then I came here and I realized that Cape Town is where it’s at! It’s actually funny to tell the locals that I live in Joberg and to watch the look of pity on their face! I can’t get over how lucky I am to have the opportunity to visit a place like this and I envy the people who actually get to live here! I have been seriously tempted to knock on some doors just to see who owns the house and interview them about their life! The house where we stayed was not too shabby itself! We had a three story “cottage” in the hip area of Waterkant (pronounced Vawtakawnt). We felt pretty important to stay in such a beautiful residence, when in fact it was cheaper to rent the house then to get two hotel rooms for all of us. Before moving to South Africa I had read that Cape Town is very dangerous and has a high crime rate.  We have spent 5 days here and although we had one minor incident that proved there is a problem with car break –ins (nothing was stolen, thank goodness) we have felt completely safe. Unlike Joberg, electric/barbed wire fences do not surround residences and buildings and you can actually walk around after dark!

There is so much to do here and we could have easily spent weeks in just the Cape Town area alone, exploring the incredible terrain and attractions as well as relaxing on the many beautiful beaches. One thing that we could not have missed was a visit to Boulders beach, which is home to the African Penguin! It was such a trip to see the little penguin’s wobbling around in the sand. I kept thinking of the movie Madagascar and the penguin’s that guided the boat to the sunny sands of Africa.  One fact that is sad but true is that these darling penguins are considered endangered. Over 50, 000 penguins died in a two year period, and it is thought that there are only 2,700 penguins still living in this part of the country. The part of the beach where they live is now protected and a breeding program in place. Hopefully, it will be successful or there may not be any penguins left to visit.

After leaving Boulders we drove out to the Cape of Good Hope. This is an incredibly beautiful 19,000 acre nature reserve with hiking trails and great views of the deserted beaches and Cape Point. On the way to this location we had a couple of quick traffic stops due to families of baboons that decided to cross the street or in some cases take a seat in the middle of the road. The baboons are also residents of the nature reserve and are notorious for stealing food and may actually attack you if you are holding any!
The shopping in the Western Cape has to be the best I have ever experienced. I feel so guilty for spending so much of Trent’s hard earned money but there are so many gorgeous shops here and one of a kind goods that it is nearly impossible to not purchase one of everything! The malls in Cape Town are fantastic and there are flea markets, craft markets, antique shops and boutiques everywhere. I am grateful to have brought so many suitcases when I moved to South Africa, so that I can bring all of my souvenirs home! Of course many of the things I purchased are for gifts, but the problem is I don’t know how I am going to give anything away. I have decided it would be very possible to come to South Africa on a shopping tour only!

One of the most amazing locations we visited was Table Mountain, a massive mountain with a flat top, hence the name.  It is possible to hike up to the top (it takes about 3.5 hours and you walk up narrow, steep, stone steps or trails) but with two small children we decided to take the Aerial Cableway! When I saw the cable cars I almost preferred to hike as they go straight up some 3500 feet and hang from just a cable. Surprisingly it was an easy, smooth and very cool ride that takes only 5 minutes.  At the top of Table Mountain you can get a complete 360 degree view of Cape Town. We were there just in time to watch the sunset over the Atlantic Ocean.  From this view we were also able to see Robben Island, where Mandela was jailed for 18 of his 27 year sentence. In the brochure for Table Mountain, Mandela is quoted as saying: “During the many years of incarceration on Robben Island, we often looked across Table Mountain at its magnificent silhouette … To us on Robben Island, Table Mountain was a beacon of hope. It represented the mainland to which we knew we would one day return.” We were disappointed that we ran out of time and were unable to take the ferry over to the island to see the small cell where this great man was incarcerated for so long. I can only hope that I will be able to come back to see Robben Island as well as several other sights we missed. I am also praying that we get transferred here as going back to Johannesburg after visiting this place is like going from San Diego to Phoenix!

2 comments:

  1. What a set of lifetime experiences for you and your family. I really enjoyed reading about them and South Africe. Maybe someday I too will swim with the sharks. :)

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  2. Hey - don't be bashing Phoenix!

    ReplyDelete