I had never been to Cape Town. So what could be better than four nights there, staying in an apartment in Sea Point that overlooked the ocean? Well, quite a lot, actually, did make this stay even better than that.
Firstly, our very good but rarely seen friends Maureen and Nigel organised the trip. They live in Jo’burg but their eldest son Colin went to uni/varsity in CT so they know it well. Maureen and I went to both Chingola Primary and Arundel together; Nigel knew Bob when they were both young graduates together working at Nchanga in the late 70s. So there was lots of catching up, reminiscing and laughing to be done. It was so very lovely to be with them both again and they did everything they could to make this a special time for us.
Secondly, their eldest son Colin was along for the ride. In fact he provided much of the ride, being the designated driver most of the time. He was also the fitness guru and motivator, accompanying Bob up Table Mountain and all of us up Lion’s Head. He was the CT expert too and a quietly amused observer of our antics. What a legend, it was great to get to know him.
Thirdly, Nigel mapped out a fantastic itinerary. On the afternoon we arrived, we wandered around the waterfront area, which was very swish. Drinks to watch the sunset, followed by a fantastic meal. On Day 2 we went up Table Mountain in the morning and off to Robben Island in the afternoon. Day 3 we drove to Cape Point, stopping at some lovely little towns on the way there and back; Day 4 we went wine tasting in the Stellenbosch region and Day 5 was Lion’s Head. Perfect blend of activities. More to do next time, too.
Fourthly, we caught up with some other friends whilst there. We had dinner with Megan’s brother Martin and his wife Jenni and lunch with Jenny Gorman, whose late husband Jim worked with Bob and Nigel at Nchanga. It was really good to see them all.
Fifthly, we were just so blessed with the weather. After a very wet winter in both Perth and CT we all appreciated four days of clear skies and sunshine. Some cloud on the last day but no rain. My umbrella and rain jacket were untouched. Table Mountain was particularly beautiful in the sunshine, as were the waters of the Indian and Atlantic Oceans viewed simultaneously from Cape Point.
Sixthly, South Africa seemed incredibly cheap to us. Most things were 1/3 to 1/2 the price and some even lower. Eating out was particularly affordable and we had some stunning meals, with great service, at unbelievable prices. There was even some talk of retiring to Cape Town. Who knows.
The Waterfront area
Easy ride on the cable car and what a view.
Robben is the Dutch word for seals and the island is the place where Nelson Mandela was held. I was initially a bit ambivalent about this visit but was really glad that I went. The bus tour of the island was interesting but the tour of the prison was unmissable. An ex-political prisoner showed us around and the commentary was balanced but poignant.
The island is beautiful but bleak and it must be freezing in winter. Everything was very simply laid out: very effective.
All sorts of people took the tour. We sat in one of the large communal cells to hear the story of the prison.
Mandela’s cell – outside and inside
After the ferry ride home, we met Maureen, Nigel and Colin in this very fancy restaurant on the beach. From the sorry to the sublime.
Along the coast to Cape Point
So many beautiful towns built into the coast and superb views. Kept hearing the R word.
Lunch at ‘Cape to Cuba’
Bob liked it so much he bought the restaurant. No, he didn’t, he booked it for his board meeting in February instead.
Martin and Jenni have lived in CT for a long time. They love it… So might we!!
WA is a good place to go wine tasting but the South Africans take it to a whole new level. We stopped at four different places, artfully chosen by Nigel to keep us all happy. Amazing. The views were as good as the wine which was as good as the food which was as good as the company.
But there had to be a trauma to end the trip. That climb up Lion’s Head on the last day provided it. Steep, rocky, narrow path with sheer drops to the side and the odd ladder and chains. Still… I knew I’d die happy. I could easily have done, because I wore The Wrong Shoes, having forgotten yet again to Ask More Questions.
But oh, speaking of shoes… Have a look at these. Hand made. Leather lines. Ridiculously comfortable and really quite cheap by Aussie standard. I might even have bought them all in Cape Town.