Currency: 1 US Dollar = 15 SAR (South African Rand)
I have never been so unprepared for a trip, as i was on our visit to Capetown. We really did underestimate the 17 degrees weather forecast with the assumption that it wouldn’t be that cold but we could never have been that wrong!! On the contrary Johannesburg was quite hot which of course was due to the fact that we traveled in summer. You cant help but notice the contrast between the two cities especially the ambiance. Jo burg is more of a cosmopolitan city while Capetown is a bit more reserved. I’ve heard very good reviews of both cities especially Capetown and I am here to attest to them.
In Capetown, some of the major landmarks include Table Mountain which is a leveled plateau accessible via a rotating aerial cable-way that can be quite uncomfortable for someone with heights phobia. At the top, they have restaurants where you can buy food or refreshments and just bask in the serenity. The cable way goes back and forth every 10 minutes.
While still at the top; otherwise known as Table Top, you get to experience such breathtaking views of the country with Devils Peak, Lions Head and Robben Island at the backdrop. Its also a great venue for photography with the breeze assisting in capturing any movement detail.
Other landmarks include Cape of Good Hope which is believed to be the point where the Indian & Atlantic Ocean meet. Apparently its not; the exact point where the two oceans meet is called Cape Agulhas which is quite a distance from Capetown. The two oceans have different colours which is how you distinguish them. On your way to Cape Point you get to pass by the Boulders Beach which is home to the rare African Penguin which is now endangered. An endangered species is that which is almost going to extinction.
Johannesburg on the other hand is quite a busy & vibrant city that is abuzz with trade. Major landmarks here include Nelson Mandela Square located at Sandton. It’s an upmarket area with restaurants, hotels, malls which are pricey compared to other places. Cradle of Humankind Museum a UNESCO declared World Heritage Site is almost a 2 hours drive from Sandton where the evolution history of the beginning of man is featured. A tour guide briefly takes you through the stoneage sites and then you head inside the museum that has a mixture of old and modernity.
Back in Capetown, the best way to view the city is through the Hop On Hop Off buses that are quite affordable and they drop you at every other corner of the city. You can pick them at the V&A waterfront which is the central point for most pickups. Capetown wheel is also found here. We could still view the table mountain though downed in cloud cover. In such days, the aerial cableway is closed until it clears up.
It is also in Capetown that you get to visit Robben Island, (you get a view of it also from the table mountain) a historical landmark that takes you through the apartheid journey. To get there, you board a 45 minutes Ferry to and another 45minutes from. There you find former political prisoners who are now tour guides that take you through the history of what happened in the Island. Such an eye opening experience. Mandela’s Cell number 46664 and the rock pile which they formed during a reunion with the other former political prisoners can also be seen at the compound. The rock pile signified the hard labor and the hardships they endured while in prison. Former SA Presidents imprisoned there include Nelson Mandela, Jacob Zuma as well as Thabo Mbeki’s father.
In Johannesburg, you can visit Mandela House No. 8115 in Soweto which is where he was arrested and taken to Robben Island to serve the 27 years in prison. You really get to learn a lot about Mandela on a more deeper level as per the article Iv shared before Here. Activity wise you can get to bring out your inner child at the Gold Reef Amusement park.
We also toured the Lighthouse in Capetown which is normally used by sailors to guide them on approach to mainland. Its currently new as the old one was decommissioned after an accident occurred there many years ago. Pieces of the shipwreck are still floating on the waters to date.
A drive through the Chapman’s peak exposes you to the Mother City’s (as its populary known) spectacular scenery and coastline. There is a variety of landscapes along the way including the wine routes that are ranked among the best in the world. Scheduled stops can be done at various approved stop points where you get to bask in the beautiful weather and surroundings. On the other side is Camps Bay which is a high end eatery and residential area that has the beach right across. Ahh Its so surreal!
Some fun activities may include taking a sunset cruise over some champagne..we not saying! Again this depends on your budget as there is a variety of packages you can choose from that may be cheaper or more expensive. The cruise takes place at the V&A Waterfront where you get a variety of yachts to choose from which just makes you feel like Royalty. The choosing!! They also arrange private cruises for couples or groups and even helicopter rides.
Its best to visit Capetown in Summer as during Winter some of these attractions may be closed due to strong winds and cloud. For the 5 days we were there the Aerial Cableway to Table Mountain was opened only once as the weather was really bad in other days; and you don’t even want to think how long that queue was. Our patience was really tested but we were quite determined. That said, am never one to visit a destination twice but Capetown, il be back. Fo Sho!! I mean who wouldn’t with such sunsets?? Yebboh!!