I’m happy to be sharing Part 2 of our lovely trip to Cape Town, South Africa! This second part has even more photos than Part 1, but it also includes some of our favorite parts of our week-long trip.
On our fourth day in Cape Town, a driver took a group of us on a tour to Cape Point and Cape of Good Hope. This was one part of the trip that I had wanted to do during my first visit to Cape Town, but time didn’t permit. So I was excited to finally see this part of the region.
The drive takes a couple hours, with stops here and there, and it’s filled with beautiful vistas along the way as you curve along the ocean coast, like this one of Hout Bay.Along the way, it’s customary to stop at Boulder’s Beach, which has one of the largest colonies of African penguins. There are hundreds all over the beach, and it’s cool to see them walking around, swimming in the ocean, and nesting/sunning on the beach.After checking out the penguins, we drove to Cape Point, where we took the funicular up to the Cape Point Lighthouse.
The views were beautiful from the top! You can even walk out to the peak in the photo below (it’s a 30-min walk roundtrip, and we didn’t have the time). Jordan had some food trapped in his beard here, so in the name of helping him get it out, I may have aggressively smushed him a few times. The beard obsession made me do it.We were a long way from home…After the stop at Cape Point, it was on to the Cape of Good Hope, which is less than 2 miles away. We took some photos on the rocks, and our tour guide explained that though many people think Cape of Good Hope is the southernmost part of Africa, that title actually belongs to Cape Agulhas, about 90 miles to the east. But it is the southernmost western part of the continent. :-)On our way out of the Cape of Good Hope, we ran into a whole bunch of these furry friends – baboons!I’ve heard all kinds of stories about these guys jumping inside of vehicles, so I was very glad this baboon and her friends were on the move and preoccupied with something other than us.
We made our way back to Cape Town, stopping in Hout Bay for a seafood lunch and enjoying the views that Camps Bay offers up.
We caught our breath for an hour or so, and then we headed to Table Mountain with the hopes of catching sunset from the top. When my mom and I were in Cape Town four years ago, we went to the top of Table Mountain at sunset, and we were both left speechless. I’d talked it up so much to Jordan since then, that I really hoped he could experience the same thing. It’s a bit of a gamble though, because you can only go up to the top of Table Mountain if it’s not too windy.
Lucky for us, on the night we planned to go, the wind cooperated, and we were good to go. When the Uber driver saw we were heading to Table Mountain for sunset, he commented, “Oh, now you’re gehtteeng clevah.” Indeed sir, we were.
Here’s the view from the cable car, as you look up toward the top of the mountain.And here’s the view from the top, looking back down at the city. Once we got to the top, it was that same old feeling I had four years ago — that feeling that makes you say out loud, “This is incredible,” and “Is this Heaven?”There’s a reason why this place is considered a wonder of the world. And visiting was definitely one of the highlights of our trip.
There’s so much to take in — from the views of the city below to the “table cloth” of clouds pouring over the mountain formation they call 12 Apostles. It seriously blows my mind that people who live in Cape Town can just visit this place whenever they want. There are furry friends up there too, who look to share in any of the picnic food people have brought along. As the sun set, and the clouds, mountains, ocean and sun all converged, the views just got better and better. The next day, we woke up with plans to visit Robben Island. This was another activity I’d done during my first trip to Cape Town, but I enjoyed a return visit to be reminded of the severity and legacy of apartheid and the triumph of the human spirit. It was moving to stand in the courtyard where Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners would get their daily fresh air. To stand next to his garden where he buried the manuscript for his book Long Walk to Freedom. And to see his tiny prison cell. And all of the tours of the Robben Island prison are led by former prisoners. Our guide, Jama, was imprisoned for five years after participating in the 1976 Soweto Uprising. It was incredible to hear him talk about life in the prison.On our last night in Cape Town, we booked a reservation at a place called Mzansi Restaurant, which is located in Langa Township. For those not familiar, the townships in Cape Town are the neighborhoods that non-whites were forced into from the late 19th century until the end of apartheid (while the areas frequented by tourists today were reserved for whites only).
Mzansi Restaurant is an incredible success story, being a restaurant run by a woman named Nomonde, who opens her home and serves a family-style buffet of traditional South African food and dishes from other parts of Africa as well. As you enjoy the food delicious, you get to hear music played by a live band, and as we sat at the long communal table, we met people from other parts of South Africa, from England, Belgium, Denmark, and the U.S.
We listened to Nomonde tell the story of how she was born in the house where we ate, how she met her husband (he had also been a political prisoner), how the restaurant struggled for many years, and how the restaurant now stands as a pillar in her community, employing people as artists, cooks, and gardeners.
At one point, Nomonde took questions from the group of guests, and a woman from Belgium asked, “What’s your vision for where you want Mzansi to be in five years?” And before Nomonde could answer, I thought to myself, “What a Western-centric question to ask.” We’re so very consumed with plans, and growth, and profits, and more.
I was delighted when Nomonde replied, “I want to be doing exactly what I’m doing now. Here, in my home. I used to want millions, but I’ve realized I don’t want that anymore. I’m already wealthy beyond what I can believe. I’m already a billionaire, doing what I love with people I call family.”
Mzansi is the #1-rated restaurant in Cape Town on Trip Advisor. And yet, most people who live in Cape Town know little about it and would caution tourists not to visit, since it’s in the township. I’m so glad we discovered it and visited, because I left with a full belly and a full soul. It was definitely the other highlight of our week in Cape Town. Thanks to Nomonde and her husband Ace for hosting us!We spent our last day in Cape Town enjoying some final good meals and final cups of delicious coffee and picking up gifts for family at the V&A Waterfront. You can expect to see Jameson killin’ the game in some ankara print pants when the weather warms up, coming to a social media channel near you. ;-)