We had one night left in Johannesburg before we would fly to Cape Town. On the morning of our flight however was the little matter of the Rugby World Cup Final between England & Australia in Sydney.
I watched in the hotel lounge wearing my England rugby shirt, making me universally popular with the South Africans who were willing England to win against their great Southern Hemisphere rivals.
There was just enough time to watch the game and then get our taxi to the airport. What I hadn’t counted on though was the tightest final ever and extra time. Johnny Wilkinson’s dramatic drop goal eventually gave England victory and we rushed to our taxi through a mass of back slaps & handshakes. A golden memory!
We loved Cape Town where we stayed for four nights either side of journeys along the Wine Route & around the Western Cape, which I will blog about next.
On our first two nights we stayed centrally. Our first visit was to the iconic Table Mountain, where we took the easy way by taking the cable car up and down.
The views from the flat-topped peak were spectacular, far out past golden sands and into the ocean beyond, the spreading metropolis of Cape Town below and the rural landscapes of the Wine & Garden Routes.
We lingered up top for a couple of hours to take in the views, observe dassies and lizards scurrying about and to go on some lovely short walks amongst the colorful spring flowers.
The hub of touristic Cape Town is the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront. We frequently found ourselves in the colourful harbour for both leisure and eating.
I remember the aquarium as being superb – we were delighted to see real clown fish so soon after watching ‘Finding Nemo’. We also saw colonies of penguins (a precursor for seeing them in the wild), great white sharks and a beluga whale.
As you would expect, the waterfront was also the departure point for boat trips. We took the harbour cruise, but in another travel regret of mine, we did not visit Robben Island where Nelson Mandela had been incarcerated for so many years.
At that time your tour guides were ex-inmates of the notorious jail. I expect this to soon be a thing of the past sadly.
Our last two days in Cape Town were spent staying in a beautiful apartment in Camps Bay, on the Lions Head side of Table Mountain.
As well as some beach time and some very nice drives along the bay, we also chilled out after all our travels. I particularly remember watching the Nelson Mandela Foundation concert on TV, which was being staged just a stone’s throw from us at Green Point Arena. This was the first in a series known as the 46664 concerts, so named because that was Nelson’s prison number.
The concert featured the likes of Bono, Annie Lennox & Beyoncé as well as an inspiring speech from the 85 year-old great man himself and was held for the benefit of aids charities.
South Africa should be on everybody’s travel list. I would very happily go again, perhaps alongside my other must see countries of Namibia & Botswana.