Cape Town is a MUST VISIT city if you’re visiting South Africa. It’s also one of my favourite city. I’ve visited Cape Town 3 times and yet it is still very exciting to me and still lots to see and do. To assists our road trip, we bought a GPS with a South African map, hoping the map will be accurate, esp with all the new development for last year’s World Cup.
We arrived on Saturday morning (sunny and hot!), got our rented car with no hassle and started our journey. We have arranged to stayed over at a friend’s house on first night as they invited us to braai (BBQ in Afrikaan). This way we dont have to worry about drinking and driving at night.
Below are the highlights for Cape Town.
Chapman’s Peak Drive
I’ve always wanted to visit this famous road. The last time I was in Cape Town for work (2009), my local friend wanted to show me but the road was close due to severe weather condition. Hence for this trip, I told David we absolutely can’t miss this. I would advice everyone to check the road condition to ensure that the road is open before heading there. You can do this on their website. This is a brief description of the drive extracted from the official website:
‘Chapman’s Peak Drive winds it way between Noordhoek and Hout Bay. Situated on the Atlantic Coast, at the south-western tip of South Africa, it is one of the most spectacular marine drives anywhere in the world. The 9km route, with its 114 curves, skirts the rocky coastline of Chapman’s Peak, the 593m high southerly extension of Constantia Berg. The drive offers stunning 180° views with many areas along the route where you can stop and take in the scenery or sit down for a relaxing picnic.’
Cape of Good Hope
The Cape of Good Hope is a rocky headland on the Atlantic coast of South Africa and also the south-westernmost tip of Africa. Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias and his crew were the first Europeans to sail around the southern point of the continent of Africa in 1486 and he named it: The Cape of Good Hope (“Cabo de Boa Esperanca”). Because it was hoped that it would clear the way to India, which would simplify trade with the East. Some years later it was his fellow countryman Vasco da Gama who rounded the southern tip of Africa.
The wind was blowing so strongly when we were there that we could hardly walk! We were literally being blown away after we took some pictures (the pics didnt turn out well). For my Malaysian friends, don’t confuse this place with our very own Tanjung Harapan in Klang. If you haven’t noticed, Cape of Good Hope translated to Malay is called Tanjung Harapan… hehehehe.
Where can one find penguins in Africa?? Boulders Beach of course!!
There is a colony of African Penguins that settled here since 1982. The beach is located in a residential area and visitor can observed the bird at close range, wandering freely in a protected natural environment. There is no entrance fee to visit the penguins.
Everyone that visit Cape Town will not miss this iconic landmark. Everywhere you go, you will bound to see a part of Table Mountain all around central Cape Town. I’ve been to Cape Town 2 times and never had the opportunity to go up the mountain. Therefore for this trip, I told Dav we must go no matter what!!
You can either hike or use the cableway to get to the top of the mountain, provided the weather permits it. Visitor is prevented from going up to the mountain if it is cloudy. So when we saw that it was clear blue sky on the second day, instantly we head up the cableway station. On top of the mountain, it has magnificent views overlooking Cape Town, Table Bay and Robben Island to the north, and the Atlantic seaboard to the west and south.
Table Mountain Cableway, picture by SNgoi
Signal Hill and Lion’s Head
Next to Table Mountain lies Signal Hill and Lion’s Head. From Signal Hill, signal flags were used to communicate weather warnings as well as anchoring instructions to visiting ships in order to ensure that they prepared adequately for stormy weather while in the bay. Similarly, ships could use flags to signal for assistance if, for example, an anchor line parted during a storm.
Signal Hill is also known for the Noon Gun that is operated there by the South African Navy and South African Astronomical Observatory. In 1836, a time ball was set up at the Cape Town observatory, however it was not visible to ships in the harbour, so a second time ball was erected on Signal Hill in order to relay the precise moment of 1pm Cape Mean Time. In this way ships in the bay were able to check their marine chronometers. The daily practice of dropping of the ball continued until 1934, when it was made redundant by radio signals. The guns on Signal Hill were used to notify the public when a ship was in trouble and there was a possibility of casualties on the coast near Cape Town.
Cannon-shot is still fired every day at 12 o’clock noon on the dot, to uphold the old Capetonian tradition.
Lion’s Head, picture by DSeow
Two Oceans Aquarium
Being an animal lover we would never miss a chance to visit the aquarium. This aquarium is located at the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront (V&A) in Cape Town. The aquarium comprises seven exhibition galleries with large viewing windows. My favourite gallery was the Kelp Forest Exhibit. They have giant kelps in the aquarium which was amazing! Normally one can only see kelp underwater.
Ice Cream Ninjas @ Tygervalley shopping centre
A friend recently started a business selling ice cream with a twist in Cape Town. The concept was great hence we were eager to visit his stall and support him at the same time! The ice cream was amazing… will definitely get him to expand to London in the future… hehehe check out his website if you’re based in Cape Town, South Africa.
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