V&VPR City Guide: Cape Town III
Due to Cape Town’s proximity to mountains and stunning coastline, there are plenty of opportunities to burn off the calories. Where better to start than with a hike up Table Mountain. The walk up takes roughly four hours, but for those looking for a more challenging ascent, there’s the India Venster Trail which involves a bit of actual climbing. The views from the top, especially on a clear day, are out of this world. You’re able to look far towards the Cape of Good Hope and up north towards Namibia. Keep a look out for wildlife as the trail is full of exotic animals.
For those looking for a less challenging hike, the Lion’s Head trail is another alternative with equally stunning views. The descent from Table Mountain is straightforward as you hop on a cable car that takes a few minutes (V&VPR insider tip: to save time, buy cable car tickets ahead of schedule).
There are two amazing places in Cape Town to catch the sunset: one is Signal Hill, and the other is Clifton Beach. Both offer uninterrupted views of the Atlantic Ocean.
In addition to the stunning vistas of Table Mountain and Lion’s Head, a visit must be paid to the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens which are at the foot of Table Mountain. The park is vast, and it is also a great place to sit back, relax and admire the vivid variety of flora. Do note that some of the resident Egyptian Geese might ask you to leave in a not-so-polite manner. A great way to get a full view of the park is to head to the boomslang – named after a snake, it is a treetop walkway that gives an obstacle-free view of the park and of Table Mountain behind it.
A trip to South Africa or the Southern African continent, in general, is not complete without a safari. Just an hour and a half outside of Cape Town is the Aquila game reserve. The Game Reserve boasts a large variety of wildlife including the Big Five (lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo and leopard) and if you’re lucky, you might be able to spot all five. The guides are incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about the work they do and the conservation efforts they lead.
While South Africa and Cape Town are amazing, it is essential to take into account the history of the country, particularly during the Apartheid regime during visits to different parts of the city. A way to learn more about the past is a visit to Robben Island, the prison where Nelson Mandela was held from 1964 for 18 years of his 27-year sentence. The tour takes roughly three hours including the ferry transfer, and it starts with a tour of the prison where a former political prisoner of the island leads the tour. You learn a lot about how poor conditions were and see Mandela’s cell. The rest of the visit is on a bus around the island where people still live on the island today as it is now a site of animal conservation. The highlight of the island tour is getting the best view of Table Mountain and a family of Cape Penguins that chill by the seaside.
Whether it be for work or leisure, Cape Town is an exciting city. With amazing delicacies, soaring mountains and stunning coastlines, the city have so much to offer. It is waiting to be discovered and savoured.