Monday, August 18, 2014

South Africa Sojourn, Days 2&3: Table Mountain, Camps Bay, and Kirstenbosch (Part III)

First of all, I realize the length of these titles is slightly ridiculous, but its too late to go back now! ;) So jumping right back in to the South African Sojourn. When I last left off, we'd ended our first day in Cape Town with dinner at the V&A Waterfront. Let's do this!


After a lovely hotel breakfast on Sunday morning (Easter!), we took the Hop-on Hop-off bus from the Mount Nelson Hotel stop (a 3 minute walk from our hotel, if that) and enjoyed the historical city tour on our way to the Table Mountain Cableway. I really cannot recommend this bus system enough. A two-day ticket was incredibly reasonable (less than $20) and it hit ALL the best sights in the city. Actually, the downtown section is apparently free! We had been worried about not renting a car, which turned out to be a non-issue these first few days.

So, Table Mountain. This may have been my favorite tourist attraction in Cape Town! The views atop the mountain were breathtaking. Walking through the city, I was continually amazed by the towering mountain looking down on us at every angle, but taking the cableway to the top? Stunning. We didn't purchase tickets in advance (you can do this online) and we waited about 20 minutes to ascend. You may want to look into booking the tickets beforehand if you're in a rush.

I'm not a huge nature person, but I was completely absorbed in the beauty surrounding me as we walked around the tabletop, snapping hundreds of photos, soaking in the views, clear skies, and the vastness of the ocean. It was heavenly. We “hiked” around the top for an hour or so (its flat and not at all strenuous, totally worth it), taking in the panoramic views of the peninsula whilst trying to avoid the crazy crowds. This was also the weekend of the world-famous Two Oceans Marathon and the crowds were pretty intense (a theme, if you've noticed).


Sigh, I'm already nostalgic for this place! And I now totally get why reminiscing about Cape Town led G to tear up ;)


After visiting Table Mountain, we hopped back on the bus ;) and continued the tour to Camp’s Bay where we enjoyed a cocktail and appetizers at Blues Restaurant & Bar. The beach at Camp's Bay was (shocker) gorgeous, especially juxtaposed against the stark mountains nearby. But this strip was not exactly what we expected... it was "ultra-trendy" or, a little trashy French Riviera? I've heard that Clifton Beach is the place to go for a more luxurious and classy scene. Honestly, beach hopping was not our priority, so we were just glad to have visited one along the left coast!

For dinner, we decided to return to our neighborhood, Kloof Street/Company Gardens. At the recommendation of the very sweet Austrian hotel owner, we dined at a DELICIOUS little neighborhood Italian restaurant called Nonna Lina. I would highly recommend this place for cheap and tasty fare. It was less than $20 per person, delicious wine included, and it was packed on a Sunday night!


On Monday morning, we tried the second bus route to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens before our afternoon flight, yet another stunning place to visit in Cape Town. It was so refreshing to be surrounded by such gorgeous and lush landscape in contrast to the very dry and dusty Dakar. I don't even think my photos really do the gardens justice - my fancy camera's battery died, so the rest of the photos were taken with my iPhone, womp womp. With more time, I would have gladly spent an entire afternoon exploring the corners of the gardens with a gourmet picnic in tow, perhaps lucky enough to catch an evening concert. (Check the schedule for events if you visit, there are often concerts at the gardens!)

Here is were we made a little mistake – we did not realize the bus needed to make the entire loop to return to our initial stop. We hadn't allowed for an hour bus-ride back to the hotel before our flight and there were no taxis to be seen at the gardens, located in a more residential area. So, we hopped back on the bus in the opposite direction from our hotel, hoping to find a cab sooner rather than later. Unfortunately, we had to ride another 30 minutes away from the hotel until we were FINALLY able to get a taxi. We made it to The Fritz just in time to hop in another taxi to the airport for a seamless departure to Port Elizabeth. Let's just say our hearts were definitely working over time.  Never a dull moment when traveling with me ;)


And that concludes the first leg of our South African Sojourn :) In those 2.5 days, we officially checked off 4.5 of our TOP TEN must sees in Cape Town - not too shabby! Next, I'll pick up in Port Elizabeth with our drive to Addo Elephant Park and the game park adventures that ensued!

If you're planning a trip and would like to catch up on my South Africa posts, here you go:
1. Planning for Cape Town
2. Day 1: Long Street and V&A Waterfront

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