10 May Travel Diary: 10 Places You Must Visit in Cape Town
“The World is a Book and Those Who Do Not Travel Only Read One Page”
The world is entirely too big for me not to explore, so when an acquaintance told me of her trip to Cape Town, South Africa, I impulsively booked a ticket 2 weeks later. I had no idea what to expect but I figured I’d get it together in a week’s time.
First things first, if you’re going to visit Cape Town, plan to stay longer than a week. There’s so much to do and see that you’ll feel cheated out of an experience if you don’t do it all.
. If you need guidance on what to do, I’ve got you covered. Here are 10 things you must do in or around Cape Town, South Africa.
10. Table Mountain
Want to know what it feels like to stand on top of the world? Table Mountain is one of the many mountains scattered throughout Cape Town. This specific tourist attraction allows you to take a revolving cable car to the very top of the mountain to give you a bird’s eye view of Cape Town.
The Waterfront is a magical area where you can eat, shop, stroll through a museum or two, go on a sunset tour or listen to live entertainment against a beautiful nautical backdrop. You can easily visit the Waterfront a few times during your trip simply because there is so much to do there!
The former prison that housed Nelson Mandela for 18 of his 27-year sentence is now a monumental attraction that educates tourists on prison life during the apartheid era. Tours are led by former inmates who provide deeper insight to what incarceration was like during the days of apartheid. During the 1980’s and early 1990’s political leaders and protesters filled the cells on Robben’s Island.
7. Bo Kaap Neighborhood
Bo Kaap is a fashion blogger’s dream backdrop. Beyond the bright colorful homes, the lively area is filled with history and tradition. The predominately Muslim area includes the first established Mosque in South Africa. The sacred neighborhood is alcohol free and full of life!
Cape Town’s wine vineyards are a vision of beauty. There’s nothing more perfect than a vivid sunset, over a glass (or in my case, a few glasses) of wine. The scenery created an ambiance that gave me an outer body experience. It was sort of that moment where I pinched myself and said, “Marsha, you’re in South Africa!” You haven’t seen a beautiful sunset until you see it on the other side of the world.
5. Mama Africa Restaurant
If you want authentic, tasty South African food, then Mama Africa is the place to dine! The dishes are colorful, flavorful and quite diverse! As an appetizer I sampled crocodile while my dinner date had mussels. We moved onto the entree that included sweet potatoes, spinach and cheese, rice and fish. To wash it all down, I indulged in Savannah Dry, a cider-like beer. For dessert I treated myself to a warm brownie with ice cream. The food and ambiance at Mama Africa was so on point that I dined here twice! Oh and the food? AFFORDABLE! For 3 appetizers, 4 drinks, an entree and dessert the bill came up to a whopping 770 Rand ($59 total).
4. Mama D Creations
Directly across the street from Mama Africa is a mini “mall.” Walk in and you’ll see store owners who each occupy a small space where they sell unique souvenirs, handmade jewelry, t-shirts and much more. Up the stairs, in the back of the store you’ll find Mama D, a humble Muslim lady from Ghana who will sew just about anything you ask for in 24-48 hours. My first visit to her shop was simple. I showed her a picture of what I wanted, she took my measurements and told me to come back in 2 days. When I returned, my pieces were made pending last minute alterations. Once I saw how fast Mama D worked, I quickly put in additional orders. On my last day in Cape Town I left with a long line vest, dress, 2 skirts, 1 top, 1 purse and 2 pairs of earrings.
3. Aquila Safari
You simply don’t travel all the way to Africa to skip the safari. That would be senseless! There were no tigers and bears, but we did see elephants, lions, zebras, rhinos, giraffes and more. The opportunity to get up close and personal with wild life was an experience to say the least. The 2-hour long safari ride took us through the desert on an open safari truck. If you love animals and want to experience the Big Five, then you’ll definitely enjoy this!
2. Boulder Beach
I’m not sure how I was able to deal with the cuteness that is Boulder Beach. Normally when you go to the beach you’re allowed to lay out on the sand and enjoy the water. On Boulder Beach, humans are confined to the boardwalk so that the penguins can roam their beach freely. Must be nice!
Not only is Cape Agulhas the southern most tip of Africa (technically not in Cape Town), it is also where the Indian Ocean and Atlantic Ocean meet. Beyond the beautiful scenery and ability to say, “I’ve gone to the southern most tip of Africa and saw where the 2 oceans meet,” you can enjoy amazing food and a long, gorgeous beach just a few miles up the road. Our tour guide, Cathy of PersonalCapeTownTours.com, gave us the rich history of the area.
I feel like I barely scraped the bottom of the barrel when it comes to recapping my amazing trip. I’ve never been in more awe of the strength and beauty of people who despite their troubling history, manage to smile every day and carry on. South Africa’s Freedom Day occurred on Thursday, April 27th. Twenty three years ago, black and colored South Africans (Yes, there’s a difference) were able to vote and became free from apartheid. While the wound is still fresh and visible, the government is doing what they can to bring reform in the areas of housing, education and business. It was humbling to speak with the South Africans on their freedom day and hear the excitement in their voices about finally experiencing equality.
This trip was life-changing! If you’re a travel noire, wanderlust, history junky, culture lover or just a person who wants experience life through your own lens, I encourage you to book a trip to Cape Town, South Africa. You won’t be disappointed!
Wait- there’s more! I can’t let this post go live without showing you how our tour bus got chased by an ostrich. Hilarious.