South-Africa (3/5) Cape Town


Since Knysna didn’t go through and I had changed my plans about Mossel Bay, I went straight to Cape Town (520 km/323 miles) which was going to take over 8 hours including all stops. Damn, this was going to be a long ride. Fortunately, I didn’t have to spend it alone. Michelle, the Australian workawayer from Jbay was apparently taking the same bus all the way to Capetown as well. After some catching up, a really long ride and attempts at sleeping, the bus was almost at it’s final destination when we witnessed a beautiful sunset. Everyone was already taking pictures, but I was too comfortable to grab my camera and just enjoyed the moment. Half an hour later we arrived into the city and I was one of the first to get dropped off together with two Canadians. I had chosen the Ashanti Lodge Gardens, as it had a great combination of being located close to both the Long street – THE street of Cape Town – and Table Mountain, still being a peaceful/enjoyable place and having a cheap price. There are also plenty backpackers in Long Street, but I prefer this one. I checked in for 7 days, which I later found isn’t enough time to get the fullest out of Cape Town.

On the day after, which was the 15th of July, all I really did was walk around town for a few hours. It was obvious I stood out as a tourist. It was not like I was with the group of guys with huge camera’s hanging around their necks, wearing big backpacks and holding a map mumbling where the heck they were. But still, it is apparently enough to stand out wearing shorts and short sleeves in the winter.. That’s what I like about travelling though, finding out what things are weird for the locals that are normal for me and vice versa. It was fun exploring the city, but I don’t like the fact that there are so many beggars. Some of them also keep following you, which is very annoying, but besides that, I found that the people were really friendly.

Later that day, I was at the bar trying to get a ticket to Johannesburg, as I hadn’t one yet. – I had problems throughout my whole trip with my paypal/visa card due to the currency or something.. Maybe something to take a look at before leaving for a trip – This led to frustration and I full on ragequitted. Then I met a group of Captonian engineering students and I got offered a few drinks, so I tried to put my frustration aside and make a great night of it. After the bar closed we went in town, to the Beerhouse. They had a special event the moment I went there; Instead of real loud music, they rented out headphones. I really love this idea and I think it should be used more. The thing I mostly hate about clubbing you see, is the fact that it’s so difficult to converse or order the right drink on first try. In this case you can just take off your headset. It’s also not ear deafening as you decide your own volume and there are multiple channels, meaning people are dancing to different songs which is fun!

Table Mountain..?

I had put hiking Table Mountain quite high on my list, as I love nature, especially if you have to work for it (such as by hiking, climbing, biking etc.). The day before I had asked Ashanti for advice on transport to get there (get a card and use the public bus I’d say is the best strat) and just when I wanted to leave the morning after, one of the staff members told me I could group up with two others. Thanks! The more the merrier! A short while later we – Zuzanna, a german girl I saw on the Baz Bus before, Julia, an English girl staying in Cape for a bit and I – left to get on the bus. Completely being unaware of our location, we missed our stop and had to wait for another bus going the other way. Then when we did finally get there, we saw that the top of the mountain was incredible foggy. Well… this sucks! We weren’t planning on wasting more time and money to see mist. I decided to take a view pictures of the city from there, just so I wouldn’t go back empty-handed.

When returning it also started raining; it wasn’t the perfect day for a hike. It didn’t stop raining for the rest of the day either, which meant I didn’t do anything that day. It was a staying in kind of day. Later in the bar I met an Australian mate Jono who had become friends with Julia. The three of us would go in town, supposedly to meet up with the Germans I had met at Albergo before. But we lost them when we arrived at agreed upon club, because they only let people in who are over 25. I mean..seriously?? 25?! Instead we went to the Beerhouse. This place asks for 21 and older and they will most definitely ask for your ID, but I got in twice and I am 18, so pick older friends and you’ll have most likely nothing to worry about. Beer house has countless of options for beer – seriously a lot –  and Beer House is my favourite so far.

Table Mountain! πŸ˜€

Next morning I rose up early to go to a food market with Jono and Julia. Holy damn.. so.. much.. food! Besides food, there are also diverse types of drinks and many fun things to buy at these food markets. It’s fun to go to, but with my small capacity of time, I wasn’t going to stay there whole day. Now it was time to say goodbye to Julia as it was her last day in Cape Town. When Jono and I walked back, we decided to take a shortcut through the park. This is the home of dozens and dozens of squirrels. I don’t mind squirrels, they actually are kind of cute. This one squirrel though, it started following us and then he gave us this creepy scare… πŸ™ˆ

Photo on the right was taken by Jono Burton.

We had plans to go hike up Table Mountain that day, so when we came back, we asked around if anyone was going to join. Zuzanna joined pretty quickly and Gabriele from Italy also joined in. The GINA-squad* was ready to go! There are multiple routes to the top, but sadly I don’t remember which one we took. After somewhat less than a 2 hour hike with the oh-so beautiful sight, (and a kid rolling down the mountain..) we got up the mountain. The view really was ama… -oh right, the kid is fine, so stop worrying- …zing! I am glad I had the time to get a few good pictures and take this beauty in, because only a tad later a fog came in. Holy damn I am happy we didn’t arrive any later! The weather had been great all day and the whole climb up too, so I was wearing shorts and short sleeves, not thinking of bringing a sweater. The second the fog came in, I realized my mistake. Going down with the gondola meant standing in a humongous queue which moved at the slowest rate possible while shivering in the cold. At least I got a jacket from Gabriele. The way down was great too. Definitely put this on your list, but do go hiking if you can! It’s a lot of fun and way more satisfying in my opinion.

A couple of photo’s are taken with Jono Burton’s camera, thanks mate!

– *Zuzanna from Germany                                                                                                  Gabriele from Italy                                                                                                              Well.. Me from the Netherlands                                                                                    And Jono from Australia – I think it’s a great name :p thought of by          Gabriele.

Robben Island prison visit.

I had made plans for cage diving with sharks, but unfortunately it got postponed to tuesday due to bad weather. Instead I was going to do the Robben island tour with Zuzanna and an Australian couple. We had to rush that morning, kinda my fault. Oops! Luckily we made it in time. First you are taken from the docks in a boat that brings you to the island. This boat ride takes nearly an hour. A little tip: If you sit on the deck, it means you aren’t allowed to walk and it gets cold because of the wind. It’s windy on the island as well. When on the island you are shown a few places by bus with a guide explaining things before going to the actual prison.


On the island

At the prison you will learn more about the prisoners including Nelson Mandela and their situation there. The prisoners weren’t real criminals, they were just protesters of the apartheid regime. The tour was given by a former prisoner (other times also by a former guard, as some guards were on the island to help these people make it more bearable) which makes it much more lively. He told us that the first time he came back to Robben Island to do a tour, he cracked up having to relive all these memories. I think it takes a lot of strength to come back to a place with such memories. He explained that there are multiple cell blocks. Starting at A, you could go to B with good behaviour. Cellblock B meant more recess time, more food and better beds. I have had a look inside cell block A and it looked awful. They had to sleep on mats on the cold floor, even after having worked in the water (I remind you how windy it is there too) and the meals were rationed and different per race. There were a few cellblocks just for the ‘leaders’ and they also had their own playground, so they couldn’t get in contact with the other prisoners. We got to see the prison where Nelson Mandela stayed in. It was an amazing and educational tour and I liked it in this way. The prisoners were of course released, but too many had wasted their lives inside these walls or even died there for standing up for their freedom and against apartheid.

“Nelson Mandela, amongst many other protesters of the apartheid regime, were held captive here.  Tours are either guided by a former inmate or prison guard, so the harrowing tales of hardships and stories of secret meetings tend to come from personal perspectives, rather than a mere audio guide.  It was insightful, capturing and educating” – 12 things to experience in Cape Town

Then we took the boat back, this time warm and cozy inside, given something to think about. This tour should be taken if you don’t know that much about the prison times on Robben Island. I recommend taking one of these tours. They are often fully booked so do it on time. When we arrived back at the docks we decided to check out the Food Market there, which is a different one I went to with Julia and Jono. It’s called the Waterfront food market I believe. We decided to wander our own way for a bit, the Australian couple heading back before Zuzanna and I. Here again was so incredibly much food. I got so much crap I didn’t even need. Such as spices, sauces, nuts and dried fruits. Once I saw Jasmine Dragon tea it reminded me of my favourite (fictional) uncle, thus I had to get some. But even though the valuta difference make things more affordable, this tea was damned expensive! Well just one cup of tea then, which I have to admit, was super delicious! I haven’t had a cup since sadly. After we had also been to the huge mall to do some eye-shopping, we decided it was time to head back.


Cape Point

Time had flown these days and I was already on my second to last day in Cape Town. I really wanted to go on the Peninsula tour that day, but the prices of the tours were pretty expensive, especially since I still had the cage diving (at least I thought so) and the plane ticket. luckily the German group, (well, I found out two were from Switzerland, which explains the accent) overheard me and invited me along. They had plans to go take the Peninsula tour on the same day, but by car and there was one seat left! Very excited I decided to join them. If I hadn’t stayed in backpackers, all of this most likely wouldn’t happen. Apologies up front, because I can’t really remember everything chronologically correct. I was somewhat sleepy that day, but nonetheless I really enjoyed everything. We left early in the morning to get the chance to see as much as possible. Some time past with a few stops, including a beach with coloured cabins and at an amazing viewpoint, as we got to a fisher’s bay. It was quite fun and interesting to see the boats and supplies the fishermen used and how this guy flayed a fish, but I mostly enjoyed watching the seals (Please correct me if I am wrong) swimming around. One of them climbed the stairs and started posing for us, until he fell asleep. When we wanted to leave, a second seal had come up too and he blocked our way and started hissing.. Yeah, we went the other way around…

After this we stopped at the Penguin sanctuary. For not all too much money, we got to enter. There were a bunch of numbered little ‘nesting homes’ for the penguins. We also saw a bany penguin, which is absolutely the most adorable thing! And there eas a huge group of penguins on the beach derping around :p To end our tour off, we went to Cape Point, the most south western point of whole Africa. As we drove up there, an ostrich came running at high speed.Very cool! πŸ˜€  The Cape Point was a few stairs up to a lighthouse, giving us once again a great opportunity to embrace the nature.

After arriving at the backpackers again, I found out that my cage diving got cancelled, again! The weather was not right, so I had to miss out on the one thing I really wanted to do. At least I could make my mom and aunt happy with the fact that I wasn’t going to be surrounded by sharks. I suppose they won that round, but I’ll be back… Now that I didn’t have to get up at 4 am the next morning, I decided to spend my last night beating my fellow Ashanti guests in a few games of pool (Joking, I played average :P). The next morning I wasn’t planning on staying bummed out over the cancellation, but to go to the Food market at the docks again, this time with Jono, to get some food for in the plane. After I got more crap, I took a cab going to the airport accompanied by Zuzanna, as it was her last day in Cape Town as well. As I wasn’t able to get a flying ticket online I took a shot in the dark and went to the airport hoping I could get a ticket a few hours in advance without it being overpriced. Gladly I did, even though I had a loooong time before my flight would be leaving. Once I got on my plane, I was ready to go to my next workaway place and make it a great experience, also excited to go on a safari.


If you want to see more pictures, you can check out the slideshow!

*Any given advice and or opinions is only meant to either describe my trip or to help people have a great travelling experience*