So! I can now safely say that I’m half South African AND I’ve finally been to The Mother City. And I spent so much time on this post so please give it a browse 🙂
During my two-week journey with the family, I took the time to jot down daily notes about the many events – therefore it’s time to share my incredible experience with you all!
Day 1 – Landing, Cape of Good Hope, baboons and STEAK…
So as soon as we landed and collected our suitcases, we saw this huge elephant statue advertising one of my favourite drinks – Amarula, and I officially felt welcomed into my second home. Amarula is an amazing South African creamy liquor that I could accidentally drink too much of. The elephants get drunk on it too if the fruit ferments!
There was no messing around with us, we were instantly ready to explore. We picked up our seven seater Toyota Avanza from Avis hire car, and went on our way to our first apartment in Bantry Bay.
The view was stunning and the apartment was in pristine condition. Each apartment we visit during the trip is somebody’s holiday home, therefore we made sure we didn’t break anything!
We enjoyed the self catering, and grabbed as much fresh food as we could from a supermarket called Woolworths, and it’s very similar quality and design to the English Marks & Spencers, (just not as pricey!)
The fresh produce was to die for, all of the fruit and vegetables looked like they were on steroids because of how huge, colourful and perfectly ripe they were! South Africa has the perfect climate to grow practically everything, therefore they make British meat, mangos and avocados etc look pathetic. (Sorry England, I still love you.)
We soon took off to visit the most South-Western point of Africa, The Cape of Good Hope. This is where we saw crashing waves, felt a strong breeze, and saw many tame Chacma Baboons, including a baby baboon who just wanted to sit on my lap and scrounge for food! This iconic attraction got its name from when a Portuguese discovered the sea route from Europe to India.
On our drive around the gorgeous cape mountains, we spotted many ostriches, mountain goats and even the remains of a huge bushfire which left everything dry, orange and black. However, the wonderful African plants still manage to use the ashes as nutrients in order to grow again!
Once we enjoyed our first Cape Town sunset, we headed out to town to enjoy our first fillet steak meal and my mother suggested we skip dessert and try one of her favourite drinks called Dom Pedro.
Well… I was having a party in my mouth when they arrived. A Dom Pedro is like an ice cream milkshake with chocolate sauce, but with your choice of either Amarula, Kalhua or whisky mixed into it. I was a very happy lady and I will indeed be making my own at home.
Day 2 – Cableway to Table Mountain, a selfie with an Elephant Shrew, Penguins, and a huge seafood platter…
We were up bright and early in order to beat the queues to the Table Mountain Cableway. It was incredibly high up and the views were breathtaking. The inside of the cable car rotated 360 degrees so we managed to see everything without cramming into the other tourists.
Once we reached the top of Table Mountain, we realised it wasn’t as flat as it seems from the bottom! There were stairs, shops and different areas to explore. We had a walkabout to take in as many views as we could.
We visited The Table Mountain Cafe and enjoyed a latte and a muffin whilst trying to keep warm inside for a bit – as it was rather chilly all the way up there.
As well as a selfie with a Dussie, I also managed to crack a selfie with a penguin! This was when we drove to Boulders Beach, where the place is obviously filled with boulders and… well… penguins?!
When I think of penguins, I normally think snow and ice. However, there is one species of penguin that is attracted to warmer climates. African ‘Jackass’ penguins live in colonies on the coast and islands of Southern Africa.
The penguins made one hell of a racket which sounded a lot like a donkey! They were incredibly tame and enjoyed relaxing amongst us humans. I managed to get my GoPro out and take a few videos of them swimming underwater, as well as grooming themselves and snoozing on the boulders.
So after an adventurous day on top of the iconic mountain and randomly hanging out with penguins on Boulders Beach, it was time to head to the Black Marlin – a pretty fish restaurant just outside Simon’s Town.
When they bought out this beauty of a seafood platter, I was in awe and ready to tuck in. However, I soon realised how cheap all of this was, and how stupidly expensive this dish would be at home. You would pay around £30 for just a whole lobster right? Well, this was just £16… Wow.
Day 3 – Helicopter ride, Cliff Side Beach, ice cream along Waterfront harbour, and more STEAK…
We were up again nice and early to meet our family friend Wayne to take us on a helicopter ride. I’ve never flown in a helicopter before, so I was rather excited to put on the cool headphones and see Cape Town from a great height!
The views were to be expected – magnificent, and I managed to take some amazing photos and videos. We were up in air for about an hour, and we flew to many sections of Cape Town in order to see it in all it’s glory. Wayne was rather daring and flew ridiculously close to the beaches, as well as over the mountains, which created a high sense of adrenaline!
Once we landed, we made our way to Cliffside 4 beach. (Cliffside is split into sections, hence the numbers.) I tried to have a swim, but the Atlantic Ocean was FREEZING! Therefore I only managed to get my ankles in, and even those felt like they were going to snap off… However, once we travel through Cape Town to our next destinations, we will soon be dipping our feet into the Indian Ocean!
We visited Waterfront Mall and Harbour, where we went to an ice-cream stand full of flavours and grabbed a cone each. We sat along the harbour to see the boats and people watch. The seagulls were very confident here, so I hand fed them a bit of my ice-cream cone. We spotted some African tribal dancers singing and dancing to their rhythmic drums. I couldn’t help but join in as I loved the beats!
In the evening, we met Wayne and his family at The Hussar Grill. This restaurant is well known for it’s steak, and I couldn’t wait to try some good quality food.
After looking at the mouth-watering menu, I chose the 300g fillet steak with peppercorn sauce, butternut squash and buttered spinach. I must tell you, the fillet steaks in England look absolutely tiny compared to these succulent and ginormous cuts of meat. Better yet – the entire bill, for eight people including drinks, equalled only £137… COME AGAIN?? A fillet steak alone in the UK cost around £28!
Day 4 – Running, homemade breakfasts, Bloubergstrand Beach, and…. You guessed it… STEAK.
In the morning I forced myself to actually get up and go for a jog with Dad. I was inspired by all the other runners that were preparing for a Triathlon, which was taking place along the beach road within a few days.
Once we returned to our beautiful apartment after an awakening hour-long run, Mum and Lauren had prepared a lovely vibrant breakfast. We had fruit salad packed with papaya, watermelon, mango, strawberries, bluberries and bananas. We also had the typical stuff like scrambled eggs on wholemeal toast, tea, fresh orange juice and natural yoghurt. I felt alive and healthy after feasting on such a good breakfast. I’ve also noticed that I tend to eat more breakfast on holiday than at home – I’m sure I’m not the only one. I usually just have a bit of cereal and tea and that’s that!
We drove to Bloubergstrand beach, where we sunbathed and saw a distant view of Table Mountain. It seemed that wherever we went, we always managed to spot it!
In the late afternoon, we went back to Camps Bay along the promenade and visited a little cafe to have some drinks. Originally I was going to choose a cocktail, but I saw that the wonderful Dom Pedro drink was on the menu! So you’d never guess what we all went for…
We enjoyed the hussle and bussle of the promenade bars, and as soon as the sun vanished from the horizon, we went home to get ready for our evening meal at…of course, Hussar!
Day 5 – Steep hills, Wilderness luxury Tree House, Stood on the Southernmost tip of Africa, and SPIDERS…
Today was the day we said goodbye to our first apartment in Camps Bay, and set off to the Garden Route of of Wilderness. This was where we were going to stay in what we called a giant, luxury treehouse! This is where we were going to stay for three nights.
There’s one thing that scared me whilst travelling here, was the incredibly uphill roads we had to drive along to get to the house! I had to close my eyes a few times because of how vertical I felt! I was certain we were going to fall backwards! I soon got used to it after a few trips down to the town and back again.
What a beautiful, Boho style house! This spacious and HUGE apartment was filled with natural pinewood and tribal african decor, which gave the place an uplifting scent. The colours and designs were bold and creative, some even home-made. I was truly inspired by this house, and the welcoming owners who designed the whole thing lived just next door!
We had a walk around and the most amazing thing we saw was the open wet room for a bathroom, including a large bath overlooking the whole scenery of the mountains and the coast.
We were having fun settling in and exploring, apart from the fact I had to stay in the same room as my sister because of a HUGE African rain spider occupying the other room on the ceiling! It was just staring at me like “THIS IS MY HOME! WHO THE HELL ARE YOU?” My Dad soon got rid of it after throwing a few things at it. We didn’t kill it because I’m not that mean! However, I still didn’t stay in that room…just incase it had a partner waiting to plot my death.
We had no internet, no signal, and no TV. This was the furthest we could go when it comes to being off-grid. I liked it, as it was an escape from social media and preventing the constant need to check my phone all the time.
We took a drive to Cape Agulhas, which is the Southermost tip of Africa. This is also the place where the Atlantic and Indian ocean meet. It felt like you were at the end of the world, if it was square…
It was peaceful and…empty. It didn’t have that touristy feel to it and it wasn’t made into a ridiculous attraction. There was simply a sign pointing to a wooden pathway saying – “150m to The Southernmost Tip of Africa.”
There was a pretty red and white lighthouse in the centre of it all, which is rather necessary for the boats travelling through that vast amount of ocean ahead of us!
We spotted a concrete slab which indicated where we were. It was Afrikaans at the top and English at the bottom, and it said: “You are now at the Southernmost tip of Africa,” as well as the clear blue signs to show us that we were at the centre point where the two oceans combine. We could actually see the warm green shade of the Indian Ocean, blending in with the deep blue colour of the Atlantic.
In the evening, we visited an Italian restaurant as it made a change from fish and steak, and I enjoyed a hearty tomato and mascarpone tagliatelle dish, filled with rich meat and peppers.
Again, the meal was extremely cheap, and we knew we would pay much more at home. However, we have noticed that the service has always been rather slow here. Perhaps I’m just so used to the sense of urgency being a waitress back at home, that I forget how laid back everyone else is!
Day 6 – Great White Shark diving, Cango Caves, Chinese Takaway…
We got up really early to do the Great White Shark diving in Mossel Bay. Neither of us have ever been shark diving before, or even seen a shark this up close – apart from when we visited a large aquarium…protected by thick glass…
It took us ten minutes to get to Seal Island by boat. There were about 15 of us on the boat and we were all given a wetsuit. These wetsuits were vital as the water was very cold, as well as it being further protection incase one shark fancied a human arm that day.
I took my GoPro with me into the water, and I captured some mind-blowing footage. I am in the process of making a Cape Town video, which will be put on YouTube soon!
We saw around five sharks, and one got so close that it screeched the cage when it went past! This huge, monstrous shark with deathly black eyes was trying to grab the tuna heads which were used for bait, and were also right near our faces! It was rather yuck getting tuna gunk everywhere! I felt sorry for all the seals on their own little island! There were so many and they were making such a racket! No wonder this is a hot spot for the Great Whites! It was also the season where all the baby seals were learning to swim in groups. I was thinking – “Get out of the bloody water!”
Once we got off the boat, we went to Wilderness beach for an hour. We didn’t walk from one side to the other, as this was a huge seven mile stretch of beach!
We drove through the mountains to get to Cango Caves, which is a huge ancient cave with many pathways and small cave-diving holes to explore. However, I am rather claustrophobic so we chose the easy route in which we didn’t have to squeeze through anything!
I remember the woman who told us about the history of the caves, as her voice was utterly therapeutic! I wanted to hire her to sing me to sleep! Or even just talk to me to prevent stress! I could happily hear her talk all day…
It was interesting hearing about how old the stalactites and stalagmites were, dating back millions of years go.
The first man who discovered this cave only had a tiny candle torch with him, therefore he couldn’t even see past his arm. How scary would that have been! He was only trying to fetch his lost dog apparently! They also used to hold gigs and concerts here because of the acoustics. However, they stopped doing that a couple of decades ago because of vandalism. What a shame!
We felt rather tired by the end of the day, so decided to pop past a Chinese takeaway to get some grub to take back. We felt like we needed to make the most of that treehouse, as we always seemed to be popping out and going straight to bed when we got back!
It was quite nice just chilling in our pyjamas eating takeaway. Dad managed to light up the wood-burning fireplace, which attracted some bats to the heat of the chimney, as we could hear them squeaking and flying inside the pipe!
One more thing, I spotted the other spider! Right above the bedroom doorway! It was already plotting to jump on my head, and I ordered Dad to chuck it outside. I had hawk-eye after that, eyeing the house, the ceilings and making sure there were no more spiders eyeing up their prey… “It’s ok” they said… “They’re harmless!” they said…
Day 7 – The World’s Highest Bungee Jump, Plettenburg Bay, Garden Route Mall, Cinema…
So today was the day my brave old Mother and I went bungee jumping! I was only slightly shitting myself… Mum wasn’t as she’s a fearless South African. Dad already experienced this jump with his best friend a few years ago, and he nearly cried. Therefore he was going to stand back and watch us this time, and my sister was certain she wasn’t doing it as she is just scared of heights in general. Walking across the bridge was going to be a mission for her, let alone jumping off it!
Our jump was at 1pm, and we were joined up with a group from Oregon, America. They were a pretty cool bunch of people, around my age, who looked like student friends on a backpacking journey.
The walk across the bridge to the centre-point was actually harder than the jump, as the floor was see through! Therefore we were walking like idiots, scared to look down!
We all cheered each other on, and my Mum was the first person asked to jump, as we all had numbers written on our arms in black pen to indicate who was going next. I was put near last! So I was excited to see everyone else jump first, along with their reaction afterwards.
Amongst the workers, there was a DJ who played really loud dance music to pump us up. This really got us in the mood to jump, as well as having a boogie so we weren’t bored waiting around for our turn. Each jump was also being filmed, so we could see their experience on a big screen!
Once it reached my turn, I felt the butterflies kick in.
The workers were tightly but comfortably strapping my ankles together with soft padding, and I had to put my arms around two guys’ shoulders for support whilst making my way to the edge of the platform.
I did not look down, otherwise I would have reversed. But I knew I was ready to do that swan dive.
One word to describe that jump – Disorientating.
Along with – OH MY GOD – HOLY SHIT – I AM DYING – I AM FALLING – I CAN FLY – GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH – THIS IS THE BEST THING EVERRRRRRRRR!!! – OH SHIT I AM FALLING AGAIN! – AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! – continuous high pitched screams.
Once the falling and bouncing was over, I was just dangling there, upside down, halfway between the bridge and the flowing river beneath me.
It really was the strangest feeling, but it was possibly the freest I have ever felt. There was nothing to hold on to, just those ankle straps keeping you alive.
I loved it so much that I wanted to do it again backwards! The adrenaline was addictive!
I made sure I got the video footage and the t-shirt to prove I did it!
Next up was Plettenburg Bay, where Mum used to visit when she was 16. It was late afternoon and wasn’t that hot so we only stayed there for about an hour.
In the evening we visited Garden Route Mall to have some steak at a Spur restaurant, then watched Fast & Furious 7 in the cinema, which only cost us £2.50 each?!?!?! A cinema ticket is around £9 at home!
Day 8 – Long drive to Kommetjie [Kom-mi-key], Wireless Road, TV night, Comedy…
It was just one huge stretch of road going for miles and miles, and my Dad got quite worried because his petrol was rather low, and he hadn’t seen a petrol station for a while. So technically we could have been stranded for a few hours, as hardly any cars went past us! Obviously he didn’t tell us this until we actually arrived, otherwise there would be carnage in the car.
Once we got to a petrol station, I was quite shocked that they had workers who filled up your car for you, as well as wash your windscreen! One side of me felt lazy, but then the otherside of me realised that everybody needs a job out here, even the smallest of jobs like one person looking after your car for you when you park somewhere public.
This apartment was light, spacious and Dad got rather excited about how nice the thatch roof was.
The white beach, full of surfers, was just a five minute walkway from our backyard. So we took a walk along the soft sand and spotted loads of dog walkers and kids learning to surf. It was a very relaxing sight to see.
I must admit, we did get a bit excited about having a TV and Freeview! We had no TV for a week and a half, so we turned on the music channels, and you can’t beat having a glass of wine with a good movie after the long journey.
After a delicious meal, we enjoyed the sunset and put on a film – Catch Me If You Can. We then watched a hilarious South African stand up comedian called Jon Vlismus, an Athiest who rips the shit out of all religions and the general public, and I happily found it hilarious.
This place felt more modern, comfortable and very homely, and I must say, I was pleased we had more heat!
Day 9 – Sunbathing, Surfers, Freezing ocean, BBQ…
It was much warmer here, so Lauren and I took the time to top up the tan whilst the parents went to pick up Granny Daphne (Mum’s Mum), who flew here from Johannesburg. It was more of a chill and sleep in the sun day.
We all had some lunch and a catch up before heading back to the beach. We tried to brave the freezing waters but it was close to impossible. It wasn’t summer here anyway. I really did try to face those fun waves, and managed to get my whole body in, which soon became numb, so that was the first and last time I went in the ocean…
We had a wonderful BBQ outside in the garden, and ended up playing UNO in the evening with 80s music playing on the music channels.
This was the time to unwind after how busy our holiday has been.
Day 10 – Langebaan, Waterskiing, Braai, beach house gathering…
We drove to Langebaan to meet up with Wayne, (helicopter guy) and his family at their holiday home. It had a huge woodfire BBQ which we would be using later on for our Braai meal.
We all had some drinks and enjoyed the scenery, and some of us headed out to the opposite side of the water on his speedboat to a peaceful, clean isolated beach. This was when it was time to get my water-ski on!
I always make the most of any outdoor sports, as it’s not like you can simply do this in the UK! The shitty weather does not motivate me to do any outdoorsy things, this is why I feel I need to live in a much warmer climate.
Today was all about family and friends, and it made me realise how important and amazing my family was. If I ever feel down or lonely, wherever I am, I know I can count on my family for support.
So tonight it was about good summer food, Savannah Dry cider, giggles, and gossip – whilst yet again enjoying the sunset.
Day 11 – Wine and Cheese Tasting…Practically all day…
It was a stunning and warm day for it, but this heat may have allowed the wine to sink into our system much easier than expected. I was so excited to try the cheese, but it ended up being a feasting instead of a tasting – so I started to get quite full rather fast.
We learned a lot from the wine connoisseur. He said that Cape Town is all about good lifestyle and good wine. Wine is so easy to grow in South Africa, as the grapes gets enough water and moisture in the winter, and plenty of sunshine when it’s hotter.
This is also the reason why so many fruits and vegetables grow beautifully here.
The four wine farms, in order, were Fairview, Anura, Le Pommier and Solms Delta. They all had their many house wines that we could try. All the selected wines were listed on our given paper, and we had to describe the cleanliness, the pallet, the scent and the colour.
When we reached the fourth vineyard, we had a wonderful lunch with our group, and that helped line our stomachs even more! There was also a little petting zoo to visit while we were there. At this point I was feeling heavy headed and did not want to taste anymore wine! It was still a very fun day, especially when my lightweight Dad started to get tipsy and stupid…
Day 12 – Recapping in the sun, Consumed more shellfish along the harbour, watching and admiring Paddleboarders…
This was our last day, *sobs*, so I spent some more time drinking baileys in the sun, whilst reminiscing all the ridiculously fun things we’ve done on this trip.
I have ticked many things off my bucket list – bungee jumping, shark diving, wine tasting, trying a Dom Pedro and visiting a magnificent cave.
I have tried some wonderful food for extremely low prices.
I have noticed that there is a huge balance of diversity, with a mixture of suburban areas and townships, but it seems to create a new urban culture and it seems pretty controlled.
In the evening we went to a shellfish restaurant along the harbour called Berthas in Simonstown, which had some pretty good deals on decent fish food.
After we ordered, we spotted a couple who were paddleboarding around at night in the bay.
It was rather peaceful to watch, and we soon got stuck in to our food. The folks had a whole bowl load of large prawns, and Lauren and I had the seafood linguini, followed by chocolate fondant for dessert. This whole holiday has just been full of indulgence!
I really hope you enjoyed my Cape Town journey, and now it’s time to start writing up my Daily Journal whilst on my gap year in Australia!