Cape Town, In and Around
It’s been a long while since I posted about Africa, maybe I’m starting to lose some of the freshness and excitement from our trip. It has been over a year since we came home. I posted several times about Uganda, and how it was one of those places that changed me, for the better. It was a place that made me feel like the pure version of myself…Tobi without distractions, inhibitions, or first world “problems.” After 3 blissful weeks in Uganda, we took the 5 hour flight down to Cape Town to spend a week there.
When we arrived in Cape Town it was winter–chilly, raining, and windy–which was a shock coming from tropical Uganda. We were so not prepared for the 40 degree and windy days, only having packed one pair of pants and one fleece. If something looks similar in all of our photos, it’s our wardrobe.
We caught a taxi to our bed and breakfast, called Jambo Guest House. Barry and Mina, the guest house owners, welcomed us with a snack and set us up in the Africa themed room. I highly recommend their B&B. They are clean, helpful, friendly, and breakfast was great. The little old house is charming and is within walking distance of the Waterfront, which is the main attraction of the city.
On our first day, we decided to do a township tour to get a feel for the local culture and history. Townships are communities where people of color (other than pure white) were sent to live during apartheid. They are where most of the blacks and other people of color still live today. Townships lack utilities including sewage, water and electricity. I think relatively recently, most homes in the townships were finally provided with in house electricity. Barry suggested a tour with Jorvan Community Outreach. They were comparable in price with the other tours, but what we really liked was that Jorvan is run by a local family and all proceeds go back into the township communities. We were sold. Brian personally drove us to various townships surrounding Cape Town, and explained the sad history and dangerously slow improvements that are being made. As Brian was raised in a township, it was great to have his first hand perspective.
First stop on the township tour was a preschool filled with adorable children. Matt and I were asked to sing a song to the kids, which we did–Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. They laughed at us, but it was totally worth the embarrassment.
Then we visited an after school program/youth group for teens. Since there are very few organized activities for kids living in townships, many of them get into trouble. We visited the home of a local man who opened up his humble home for the kids to gather. He teaches them traditional music and dancing, and they raise money by doing performances in the city. They were so talented, and filled that tiny house with joyful, wonderful noise.
This is the man of the house, trying to make change, and leading by example. So inspiring.
Someone makes friends easily.
Next stop was a community kitchen that serves hundreds of kiddos that would otherwise be sent to school hungry every day, but this lady and her sister do their best to see that the children get at least one hot meal every day. They are able to do what they do only because of donations.
Seeing the townships was very eye-opening for us, and such a stark difference from the comforts of the cosmopolitan city just minutes away. There was and continues to be a lot of inequality and poverty, but the sparkles that we interacted with gave us hope for the future and a renewed sense of personal strength.
Early the next morning, we decided to hike to the top of Table Mountain. We packed a lunch and rode the double decker red bus to the trail head. I may have overestimated my physical abilities, thinking “I’m from Montana. I live in the mountains. I will have no problem with this little hike.” It didn’t take long for me to realize that this was one of the most challenging hikes of my life. It ended up being 2 hours of straight up climbing, with very few breathers thanks to my Marine husband.
But at least I found some love waiting for me at the top.
Strolling along the flat top of the table was peaceful and astoundingly beautiful!
We could see Robben Island clearly, though we never were able to visit it up close.
The ground on top was mainly rock and dotted with little pools and puddles.
I may have never wanted to leave.
And we weren’t the only lovers on the table top at dusk. At one point I looked over the edge and caught a couple doing the deed! Not kidding! They quickly got up and made a run for it, as I covered my eyes in horror. I mean, they could have just finished, I hate to see such a beautiful backdrop go to waste. Oh man, there are just some images in my mind that will never, never, ever go away.
On the third day, we went with Brian from Jorvan again and toured the Cape of Good Hope. The entire drive was winding and picturesque.
We took a boat out to seal island and it was, well…stinky.
We fed ostriches…a very touristy pastime.
I found a little more love on the beach, too bad it was too big to take home.
We stopped at the African penguin colony…Who knew there were penguins in Africa? They were just the cutest little buggers.
On the fourth day, we stayed around the city and did a red double decker bus tour. Even though it was chilly, we rode on the top. Later, we walked around the waterfront and bought souvenirs downtown.
One of my favorite Cape Town finds! A Bali elephant mask, currently adorning my wall.
The Waterfront with Table Mountain in the background. (Yeah, I hiked that mountain, psh, no biggie.)
The Waterfront is especially lovely at night. The fog rolling over the top is referred to as the “table cloth” or so our cabbie told us. There are plenty of restaurants and shops on the Waterfront, but it is quite touristy.
The World Cup soccer stadium, right near Jambo Guest House, is not much to look at, but it is surrounded by a really lovely park.
On our final day in Cape Town, Barry and Mina offered to let us ride along with them to see the Southern Right Whales giving birth along the sea shore. Apparently the giant creatures come right up to the shoreline and give birth! We drove about two hours to the place where the magic happens, but it ended up being too windy and rough of a day for them. We did see a lot of dolphins, though. They always say the journey is better than the destination and along the way, we had espresso, shopped, ate great seafood, and stopped at a couple of vineyards. I don’t know if that is better than watching a whale give birth, but it was delightful.
Our wonderful hosts, Barry and MIna!
The wine country.
Our last South African sunset before the 18 hour flight back to the U.S.