We’re thankful to have traveled elsewhere in Africa previously, because Cape Town is a decidedly less African experience. Geographically, it deserves every superlative possible—it’s impossible to get away from jaw dropping vistas.
Culturally? We found the black/white race dynamics to be too overwhelming to be really comfortable there—considering apartheid only ended in 1994, the wounds are no doubt still fresh. But I’m not going to turn this into an inane ‘how my 4-day trip to Cape Town changed my world view’ college essay that my brother would scoff at.
All I’ll say is that if you go to Cape Town, go there with some sense of self-awareness and perspective. Otherwise, I reckon for some it would be a destination rated highly on a "stuff white people like" list—nice beach, good food and wineries, etc.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let me tell you about the beaches and wineries we visited…
Cape of Good Hope
We’re about 10,215 miles from Seattle here. Side note: amazingly, not the furthest we’ve ever been from home—Fort Dauphin, Madagascar wins that prize at 10,778 miles. (if anyone can name a further airport from Seattle than Fort Dauphin/FTU with regular commercial air service, please drop a comment—from a quick search, I couldn’t find anything).
I love geographic extremes—so visiting the southwestern most point of the African continent at the Cape of Good Hope was a thrill. Looking up the cliffs next to Good Hope, you see Cape Point (just a few minutes drive between the two). There’s actually some serious history behind the area, so it’s a cool feeling walking out to the lighthouse on the cliffs marking this spot.
In the second photo below, the white car is our rental parked at the Cape—and that’s a wild ostrich on the right stalking the parking lot! That was a new wildlife sighting for us, but we just found them too creepy and weird looking.
The drive down is just gorgeous, to boot. One of the highlights of the drive (other than me breaking the passenger side mirror within an hour of landing in Cape Town) was bringing the car to a near stop to yield for a baboon hanging out on the road. Living with baboons in your neighborhood would be a total nightmare, but this was a nice tourist treat.
Along the drive between Cape Town and Cape Point is Boulders Beach—a popular hang out spot for African penguins. We were there end of day, so they had all returned to shore to dry off for the night. Watching these guys shuffle their feet around on the beach was still highly amusing.
This is actually a busy little waterfront town that the penguins are integrated within. So lots of penguin crossing signs around town.
Then there was one last wildlife sighting: a Rock Hyrax aka dassie (pronounced like dussy, I think). The scale isn’t very good in this photo, but they are decent size at more than 8 lbs.
I lied in the previous post. There will be a couple separate posts on Cape Town. Part II to come…