An Incredible City

Trip Start Oct 30, 2009
Trip End Aug 24, 2010

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Flag of South Africa  ,
Sunday, December 20, 2009

We definitely agree with the guide books Cape Town must be one of the most beautiful cities in the world and unfortunately we only had 4 days to explore a place with so much to offer.

On our first full day we decided to head to Table Mountain to conquer the largest commercial abseil in the world, 112 metres down the mountain side. The mountain is Cape Town's trademark standing at 1086 metres above sea level. It is certainly a fantastic sight and creates a stunning backdrop for the city. We travelled by a revolving cable car to the top of the mountain and then walked around the top to appreciate the view from all angles. Fortunately it was a really clear day with only a slight breeze which was perfect weather for the mountain. More often than not the Table is covered with a layer of cloud named 'the table cloth’ as we discovered for the next few days. The abseil was terrifying. We were descending into the clouds with an amazing view, if we had dared to look! The first half was difficult as we struggled to have the confidence to trust the ropes and lean back and relax. At the start we were told to be ready for a surprise part way down and ‘surprise’ was an understatement. Suddenly the guides at the top moved out of sight and we were on our own. Then the mountain side disappeared and we were left literally hanging in mid air part way down the mountain by a few ropes. When we were finally lowered to the ground it took a while to regain our composure! The abseil certainly was an awesome experience but not sure if the word enjoyable springs to mind!

Day 3 in Cape Town was spent exploring ‘the best of the Cape’. Our journey took us along the peninsula and through some quaint fishing villages where the scenery was spectacular. Our favourite part of the drive was over Chapman’s Peak. The road is cut out of the mountain side and as we wound our way along the scenery was breathtaking. Our ultimate destination was Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope but on route we stopped at Boulders Beach and an Ostrich farm. Penguins live amongst the rocks on Boulders beach and were not shy as we wandered along to capture some pictures of these very cute birds. On the way we also passed family after family of baboons playing in the road and the venomous cape cobra! Cape Point is the South Western most point of the African Continent. So on arrival we made the obligatory climb to the lighthouse to take in the view. We ate lunch in Simon’s Town an old navy town before driving out to Stellenbosch to see the vineyards and sample some more wine and cheese.

Many of the people we spoke to from Cape Town said how unpredictable the weather in the Cape was and they talked about how you could experience 4 seasons in one day. We did not believe them until our final day in Cape Town when we rose very early to go shark cage diving with the great whites. Unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be and after a 2.5 hour bus journey through fog, rain and wind and a big breakfast the dive was called off due to unsafe seas. We couldn’t believe it having experienced beautiful weather since we’d arrived. As we flew out the same evening there was no time to rebook so we had no choice but to return to our hostel very disappointed. The weather did pick up as the day progressed and we saw sunshine again before we headed to the airport. Missing out on the great whites has only reconfirmed our desire to return to South Africa to explore further, so watch this space!

South Africa Fast Facts

Weather – Warm, windy

Beer –Windhoek and Castle larger = 15 Rand = US$2

Currency – 1 South African Rand, US$1 = 7

Highlight – Table Mountain

Lowlight – Missing out on shark cage dive L
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Han on

I still can't believe you did that abseil, you must be mad.

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