Acting Like a Real Tourist in Cape Town

Like the real tourist I try not to be but reluctantly am, I booked a ticket on the citysightseeing hop on hop off bus with a friend and we sat upstairs with the wind in our hair, watching the city go by below us as we laughed at who we’d become. Our first stop was Kirstenbosch gardens and we took our time walking around, admiring the different areas that had been set up like the canopy treetop walk, taking us above the gardens and giving us a small viewing of the ocean and the mountains closer to us. The next stop was the winery, Beau Constantia which had the most stunning view of the vineyard I’d experienced both this trip and in my life. We ordered the four wine tastings for R100 ($10 AUD) and were surprised to be poured almost a full glass of each. With no lunch in our stomachs yet you can imagine how we were after all four, but thankfully still able enough to take some proper photos before we left.

Back on the bus we stopped at Hout Bay, quite a desolate area with nothing but a beach, some boats and a fish and chips shop. Admiring the beach with the classic mountain backdrop, something I’m still not bored of, we went and grabbed some lunch and sat outside. A seal sat atop the jetty having been lured there by a kid wanting money for people to take photos. That situation contributed to the vibe of the place and I wasn’t quite sure how much I liked the area, giving off an eerie feel. We got back on the bus and headed up the coast to get to town again, getting dropped off at the waterfront again before we walked to our separate hostels. That night was braii night, a Wednesday night tradition at Atlantic Point Backpackers. Excited to experience this part of the South African culture I put my name down and went outside for dinner by candlelight due to load shedding from 8-10:30pm. The food was great, but I can’t say it was much different from an Aussie barbecue, perhaps a few extra spices, and the toasted sandwiches were a welcomed addition, but other than that it was salad and meat, a typical summer’s night in Australia.

On Thursday I continued my touristic persona and embarked on a day tour around the Cape Peninsula, getting up early to enjoy the free breakfast at my hostel before getting picked up by the bus. Traveling along Chapman’s peak I was excited to experience it again, and lucky enough to stop for morning tea in a prime spot for photos. I still couldn’t believe the beauty of the area and I just sat and looked out, overlooking Hout Bay on the other side and the ocean around us, trying to spot dolphins and with a bit of luck, some out of season whales. Stopping at Boulder’s Beach, a place renowned for its penguins we hopped off the bus and took a walk along the boardwalk, admiring the little penguins hiding out in the bushes next to us. I was quite excited to see them in such an odd environment, used to them swimming around in the cold water at zoos, not in the heat of Africa. I didn’t get as far as the beach having seen enough penguins on our walk without paying the fee and wandered back to the bus to meet the others.

Our next stop was the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point, where the entry to the nature reserve took over half an hour because on this beautiful public holiday every man and his dog thought it a good idea to go there for the day. We walked up to the lighthouse with more stairs than we bargained for and admired the view from the top, the ocean around us and the mountains on one side again. The novelty global directional sign sat atop the landing, pointing towards the five major cities around the world and citing their distances. I found Sydney, 11,000km away and couldn’t help but smile, reiterating my solo adventure halfway around the world and making me excited to not call it home anymore.

We chose to walk to the Cape of Good Hope which is the south-western most point of Africa and I sat with the other solo traveler on the trip, watching as tourist after tourist had their obligatory photo with the sign detailing the coordinates. We just sat and took our time to admire the view around us, excited to find myself sitting on the edge of Africa, halfway around the world from where I’m used to.

The bus back was long, putting most of us to sleep. We were dropped off at our hostels again, and I made plans with the friends I’d made over the week to go to Mojo Market for dinner, with three of us leaving Cape Town the next day, two to go home and myself leaving for the garden route. We arrived at the market during another load shedding period and walked around the few stalls that were still able to serve food given their gas usage. Thankfully the power came back on and everyone clapped and cheered, excited for more of a food range and the fact that we could now see and enjoy the market properly. I treated myself to dessert again, breaking my promise to keep healthy but not regretting a bite of it. The four of us said our goodbyes as we headed out and I got home to plan where I’d be sleeping on Saturday, having not booked further than Friday (the next day) in classic backpacker fashion.

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