As we leave Morocco and journey forth on a 24-hour plane adventure to get to the bottom of the eastern hemisphere, Travis and I are, to say the least, PUMPED to be going to South Africa. Having heard nothing but good things (aside from the whole drought thing that has crippled the Western Cape), we were excited to see the coast, soak up the culture and drink the delicious wine (save water!)
The best decision we made was to rent a car for 5 of the 6 weeks we were staying there. Cape Town is really a place to be enjoyed with a car - there's so much to see in the surrounding Cape, and with little public transportation, we gave ourselves the gift of freedom and, dare I say, convenience? We went to the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point, which I must point out is NOT the southernmost tip of Africa, nor is it where the Atlantic and Indian oceans meet. That will be discussed further down. But, Vasco de Gama (remember him?) established Cape Point and Cape of Good Hope (originally called Cape of Storms) in an effort to help guide ships from crashing into the rough and rocky coast on their way to the Indies.
We spent a lot of time driving along the coast. Actually, just driving in general. Boulders Beach houses the cutest collection of penguins, Chapman's Peak boasts one of the most beautiful drives along the Cape, and Langebaan is a fishing village with Die Strandloper, a restaurant that does 10 courses of different types of fish to be enjoyed over 4 hours. Also, no heartburn for Travis FTW!
Naturally, we spent lots of time in wine country. How could we not? Wine tasting in South Africa is just like in the States - no calling ahead, no closed-when-they-say-they're-open, no wandering into someone's home seeing if they'll let you taste their wine. Just beautiful, convenient tasting rooms with delicious wine. Man, I missed this.
There are a few different regions in the Western Cape: Constantia, Stellenbosch and Franshoek, which is known for its MCC (sparkling wine made in the same way as Champagne). All are wonderful, so different from each other - but I do have to say our favorite was probably the wineries in Constantia. Also, 30 min from Cape Town!
We also went to the southernmost tip of Africa, Cape Agulhas, where the Indian and Atlantic ocean meet. We have since decided that we want to go to all the meeting places across the world and build a collage of our pictures, mapping out the points of where every ocean meets the other.
We also did a lot of hiking and chilling in Cape Town. We mostly stayed in our neighborhood of Observatory, where the wind whips off the coast and around Devil's Peak, up to 35 km an hour - and that's an average day!
If there's one thing I've learned about South Africa, it's that "hike" and "trail" are very loose terms. We hiked up Lion's Head, which looked easy and then turned into a surprisingly long scramble to the top. We also hiked Skeleton gorge, Where you climb (and I do mean CLIMB) up the back of Table Mountain, drudge across the top (flat, but not as flat as it looks), and collapse in the cable car on the way down. This hike was INTENSE. The first 1.5 hours are in a dense forest where the air is thick and heavy, but luckily provides shade, and is comprised of Stairmaster-level steps and a dried out waterfall you have to climb up. The next hour is a deceiving and steady uphill where you keep thinking it's about to go flat. It's not.
Then you finally get to the top, where the view is beautiful but your legs are jelly. Needless to say, we did this on our second to last day in Cape Town, and didn't move from our bed the whole next day other than to pack.
I have to say. We LOVED Cape Town. The people are so friendly and inviting, the weather is gorgeous, the wine and beer are delicious, they speak ENGLISH - honestly, Cape Town felt like a home away from home in a way we have not yet experienced. Everything about our time there was so effortless. It is 100% worth every minute spent there. We've only been gone a few days, and we already miss it terribly.