A Travellerspoint blog

January 2013

Seatbelts? Where we're going, we don't need seatbelts...

If I was going to suggest the first thing to do when you got to Cape Town, what do you think it would be? Scale Table Mountain? Check out the waterfront? Party on Long Street? No. I would suggest you head to your nearest main road, wait 10 seconds for a bus to swerve to the kerb, and climb aboard. With no ticket machine, seatbelts or passenger limit, these little shuttle buses are a far-cry from any form of transport in the UK, but will throw you into Cape Town life better than anything else. Everyone jumps in, balanced on edges of seats, pieces of wood and milk crates, shouts out where they want to go, and the driver somehow picks up on all of it and drops everyone off en route to its final destination. Everyone else was passing fares around the bus, shouting at the driver and shouting at each other, while a huge bloke with dreadlocks played Adele ballads from his blackberry and John and I clung on for dear life and desperately tried to work out where we were going.

Of course we did all the other stuff too. We skipped the option to hike up the sheer face of Table Mountain, and instead took a cable car to the height of 1000m for beautiful views across the sprawl of Cape Town.


What is remarkable about Table Mountain is that the top is completely flat, making it easy to walk around. There is plenty of vegetation and wildlife, and we managed to get a close-up of this little fella, a Rock Dassie:


Later that day we made our way to the V & A Waterfront, a shiny and new area of Cape Town dominated by 5-star hotels, shopping malls and expensive boutiques. However it's still a lively part of town, with beautiful sea views:


Note: We also had a sneaky visit to the cinema to catch Django Unchained. It was awesome.

The next day was dominated by a visit to Camps Bay Beach about half an hour down the coast from central Cape Town, that had been highly praised by people at our hostel. It was beautiful, but the downside of Western South Africa is that it faces the Atlantic, so even though it is hot the coast is incredibly windy and the sea temperature is like Bridlington in February. John stuck a toe in, and decided to venture no further.

Our last day was spent in the company of John's friend Cameron and his girlfriend Chantal, who took us to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens - shout out to them for a great day. Nestled at the base of Table Mountain, the garden has winding paths and rolling hills that seem to go on forever, and is stunningly perfect.


Although we spent a night in the insane party district that is Long Street, our best night was our last, spent in our hostel, The Green Elephant. A couple of the lovely long-term residents, Alex and Dean, were describing the typical South African food, and before we knew it they were piling charcoal onto a barbecue to cook us a traditional African braai - a feast of every kind of meat you can think of, with a side of cheese toasties for good measure. It was beautiful, but I for one am glad we only had four meats to cook, as I got full quickly. Dean, Alex and John were happy to take care of my leftovers.

So ended our stay in Cape Town, and at 7am the next morning we waved a sad and sleepy goodbye to the Green Elephant and headed for Stellenbosch. Stay tuned...

Posted by kate1401 08:29 Archived in South Africa Tagged cape_town table_mountain braai camps_bay kirstenbosch long_street Comments (2)

The Itinerary

24th January - 20th February: South Africa

20th February - 27th March: Thailand/Malaysia/Singapore

28th March - 22nd May: Australia

22nd May - 19th June: New Zealand

19th June - 17th July: Japan

17th July - 26th August: China/Hong Kong

Posted by kate1401 15:30 Tagged itinerary Comments (0)

The Final Countdown

So after all these months, our trip is upon us! I'm swinging between extreme excitement and extreme panic, but the English weather is certainly helping push me out of the door. According to the BBC, the temperature in Cape Town is currently averaging about 25 degrees Celsius, whereas my back garden looks like this:


You can imagine my excitement to be packing my shorts, sandals and bikinis (although not so thrilled about all the mosquito repellent). Of course I have had to reel in my excitement to make sure I don't over-pack; my rucksack is going to make a great weight-lifting tool as it is;


Of course I'm going to miss all my friends and family,and I'm terrified of all the things that could go wrong, but the next 7 months are going to be amazing. This blog is going to be my way of documenting all our adventures, as well as proving to my parents that I'm still alive. Happy reading!

Posted by kate1401 14:44 Archived in England Tagged home packing setting_off Comments (0)

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