Cape Town Day 1

We tried to fit as much as possible into our only full day in Cape Town!

Katie has been sick with a cold/flu, so we slept in a bit and did not leave until 9am. We tried to find an open internet café to print our Robben Island tickets, as well as an open pharmacy to get some Western cold medicine. Everything (except KFC) was closed in the city center, probably because it was a Sunday. It was actually eerie at points.

We stumbled into a tourist information office that was open, so we went in and asked for the nearest open pharmacy. We walked about 10 minutes, and found it was indeed open. A friendly pharmacist suggested Advil Cold & Sinus (R65 for 20 tablets) after Katie described her symptoms. With this medicine happily acquired, we stopped at a nearby KFC to grab a quick breakfast (since we had seen no cafés open so far and we knew KFC would be quick at least). Katie had an egg, cheese and white sauce sandwich with a hash-brown while JT had an interesting sandwich filled with chicken, cheese, hash-brown, BBQ sauce and white sauce. It was a very interesting combination. We both got a “cappuccino” from their coffee machine. It cost just R65.80 total for both of us.

Then we walked to a Hop-on Hop-off City Sightseeing Cape Town bus (R170/person/day, Visa accepted). We always laugh at the people on these buses, but it was really the most convenient way to see a lot of Cape Town in one day…

We took the big red double-decker bus to the Table Mountain lower cableway station. There were so many cars that it seemed like some people had to park over a mile away! The bus took us right to the cableway station though.

We bought our tickets (R225/person roundtrip, Visa accepted) and then got in the line to board the cable car. We probably waited 30-40 minutes. Meanwhile, we were entertained by watching the cable cars going both directions and the abundant posters bragging about how Table Mountain was named as one of the “New 7 Wonders of Nature” The actual cable cars hold 60-80 people (it seems they have a weight cut-off, not a person cut-off) and the floor rotates as the car ascents/descends. The trip only takes a few minutes.

Once at the top, we enjoyed the view in all directions. We met a couple near our age, where the girl was Russian (we think she had to be or have been a model based on how she posed for pictures) and the guy was Turkish (from Istanbul). We were chatting with them for a while, and trading taking pictures. They were living in South Africa now, in a ‘small fishing village’ as the girl said. They even invited us to come with them in their rental car to Cape Point for the rest of the day. It was a very nice, and tempting, offer, but we declined in order to stick with our planned itinerary.

Panoramic from the top of Table Mountain. You can see the cable car station on the left side of the photo.

We walked on the Klipspringer Route around the ‘table’ of Table Mountain. It was a very easy walk that did not require our hiking shoes. Although the crowds thinned out as we got farther from the cableway, it was still rather crowded and it was hard to get away from the crowds.

We saw lots of people hiking the various routes up and down the mountain, as well as some rock climbers. The hiking routes looked pretty strenuous, and we heard one girl claim it took her group 5 hours to ascend via the Platteklip gorge route (although most materials say it should take 2.5 hours).

Selfie from the top of Table Mountain

We waited about 10 minutes for the cable car down the mountain. Then we got an Uber to the closest blue line ‘peninsula’ route bus stop (4.39 km R43.06). From here we took the bus to the Kirstenbosch botanical gardens.

Katie had seen on the Earth Porn Facebook page a post about a 130m canopy walkway in the Kirstenbosch botanical gardens. Since the entry fee to the gardens was just R50/person, we decided to go see the walkway although we did not have time to see anything else at the gardens. The actual walkway was pretty neat, although it did require a long uphill climb from the parking area in order to get to the start of the walkway. We’re glad we made the effort to go on the walkway.

Great views from the top of the canopy walkway!

After we left the botanical gardens – mocha (R28) and pretzels (R6 each) from the garden’s cafe in hand – we headed for the purple ‘wine route’. Since it was late in the day, we could only visit one winery, so we choose Groot Constantia, which is the oldest wine estate in South Africa, dating back to 1685! We bought three tastings at R40 each, which let us sample 15 wines in total. There were only 12 wines on the tasting list though, so we tried a few twice. We also got to try a ‘special’ dessert wine (Grand Constance 2012), which we fell in love with and departed with two R486 bottles (one as a gift and one for us). We also bought a R78 bottle of a rose wine for our last South African dinner.

Groot Constantia vineyards – which are open for anyone to wander through!

From the winery, we got on the last scheduled blue route of the day (although we saw one other final bus behind us later). The company should really run buses later! There was an announcement that our bus would be stopping at the last city stop (and not continuing around the loop), so we figured that it would run along the normal route until it got to the city stop. So, we were confused when the bus pulled into a random driveway and turned around. We wondered if the bus must be just going directly to the final stop. We had hoped to eat dinner in one of the seafront towns and then get a taxi or Uber back. JT went to ask the driver whether there would be any more stops, but the driver (Shakespeare) very rudely refused to answer any questions- simply replying that JT should sit down. So, when the bus stopped 20 minutes later at Camps Bay (a seafront town we considered getting off at), we happily exited and decided to eat at the restaurant mentioned in the bus promotional materials, Blues.

We were very impressed by Blues. The service, food, and view were all great! We had an outside table overlooking the beach. JT had white fish, Katie had salmon, and we split some extremely delicious R25 chips (fries). All together, with a generous tip and after the 10% discount, we paid R476.50 (Visa accepted) – including a corking fee for the wine. It was a wonderful last dinner in Africa!

This photo doesn’t do it justice! What a great meal!

After dinner we took an Uber (6.57 km, R59.56) back to our hotel and packed for the trip home. It’s hard to believe our trip is coming to an end!

Leave a Reply