Between mountains and oceans, cosmopolite, dynamic and unique: Cape Town is a city that can be appreciated from sunrise to sunset. What could be better than going up its mountains to discover it?
A long trip
Thursday, 16th November 2017
After a beautiful last evening at Homtini and touching farewells with Jeremy and Margreta, we went early in the morning with Solène and the Esthers to Cape Town. We had booked a “taxi”, consisting actually in a minibus (as you find everywhere in South Africa). This trip was quite typical: Rn’B and reggaeton musics played at loud, a delay of one hour to make a useless detour in Knysna so to get a non-existent passenger (driver’s mistake), minibus full of quite voluminous passengers (Esther and me were stuck on the window because of our neighbour), the smell of junk food…
As soon as we arrived in Cape Town after this 8h-trip, we immediately went to stretch our legs and get some proper food. After some quick shopping and a good burger (veggie for me of course!), we then head off to Signal Hill to admire the sunset. This hill (which is accessible by car or on foot) overlooks the city and has a wonderful panorama, especially at the end of the day. We were not alone to have a drink there but whatever, the scenery was worth it…
From sunrise on Lion’s Head…
Back to the hostel, we didn’t wait long before going to bed: the day had been long and most of all we had planned to wake up at 3.45 to admire the sunrise from Lion’s Head! Close to Signal Hill, this mountain can be climbed in about 45 min and has a 360° view that is ideal for sunrises as well as sunsets.
Friday, 17th November 2017
Headlamps on our foreheads, we then went while the first daylights were emerging on the city. The light was already wonderful as we went up, but what a scenery once onfully the top! Once again, we were not the only ones to have had the idea, but it didn’t prevent us from enjoying the experience.
Back to town, we took some energy with a delicious and well-deserved breakfast at Jason Bakery. A bakery/café with a gorgeous menu from breakfast to lunch, with homemade granola, pancakes, kefir, kombuscha… a paradise! I soon noticed that the city is actually full of this kind of nice places.
… To sunset on Table Mountain
As we had had plenty of sun, we had decided to continue in the afternoon with Table Mountain’s ascension. More 1 200 m high above cape Town, this strangely flat mountain is often hidden behind the clouds so it is better not to wait too long before climbing it. It is possible to go by cable car or on foot… but I don’t even need to precise which option we chose!
The ascension itself can be done in two different trails, one that is quite direct and relatively easy (which can be done in around 1h30), the other one longer, steep and risky, with some parts that are closer to mountain climbing than hiking! Once again, it was out of the question to choose the easy solution! Solène had already done this more difficult trek, but even if she had warned us, we were quite surprised to see how difficult some parts were. But what a hike! The views are gorgeous, the pink and yellow flowers contrast with the grey rocks and the red ground, we can smell the typical odour of vegetation that is full of sun… all the senses are stimulated.
Once on the summit, the reward is worth it, even if it’s over-crowded (but luckily we had nobody on the trail as everybody take the cable-car… and we won’t complain about it!). We found ourselves a nice little stop protected from the wind to share a bottle of white wine and take some energy before going down. The sunset was finally a bit covered but the sky wore amazing pink colours at the end, which would be difficult not to be amazed of.
We went down at nightfall, once again with our headlamps, but this time on the easier trail. 10 km and 1 207 m of altitude in 3h08, we were quite proud of us!
We ended up this beautiful day around a real feast in a superb restaurant, Africa Café, ideal to discover the African gastronomy. You have everything there: the decoration (made after the different African ethnic groups), the waiters’ traditional clothes, singers and musicians that go from one room to another, a woman that comes to draw some traditional make-up on your face… and most of all, delicious cocktails and a very generous meal composed of many different African specialties to share. Fortunately the leftovers are given to people who need food or taken by the waiters themselves, because we were far from being able to finish all of it!
This restaurant is of course more expensive than the other places we usually went to but it is worth a try. It is a whole experience and the African gastronomy doesn’t lack of surprising delights!
No need to precise that we had no troubles to sleep after such a day…
TIPS & PRACTICAL INFOS
Taxi transfer (minibus) from Knysna to Cape-Town: R330 – 19,60€
Zebra Crossing Hostel : R190 – 11,30€ per night in 8-bed dorm, without breakfast. Nice and central hostel, with a pleasant patio. The closest road is quite noisy and there are no lockers. The wifi connection is excellent, which is quite rare and deserves to be underlined.
Food & Beverage
Hudsons, The Burger Joint : Around R90 – 5,30€ per meal. A large choice of burgers of all kinds, including very good vegetarian ones.
Jason Bakery : Around R80 – 4,70€ for a meal + a hot drink. Delicious café / bakery, ideal for healthy but tasty breakfasts and lunches.
Africa Café : R440 – 26€ for the meal + a cocktail. A beautiful house decorated after the different African ethnic groups. Very generous meal to share, to discover the continent’s different specialties. Served in traditional costume, with a short musical show. The prices are quite high but it’s worth the experience for at least once!