We’ve spent the last couple of days exploring the Cape Peninsula. Yesterday (Saturday, Valentines Day), we drove up to Signal Hill, which is another high point that overlooks the city and out over the Atlantic Ocean. Lots of people doing the walk up to the cable car to take them up to Table Mountain. We planned on walking up Table Mountain today, but it was too cloudy and very windy, and the cable car was closed.
After we’d been to Signal Point, we went looking for lunch at the Victoria and Albert Waterfront. Lots of shops, fast food chains, restaurants and people! We had lunch at a little Italian cafe, and dessert at another Italian cafe, then walked to Nobel Square, which has statues of the 4 South African Nobel Prize winners – Albert Luthuli, Bishop Desmond Tutu, FW de Klerk and Nelson Mandela.
We drove to the northern beaches of Cape Town, to Milnerton, parked the car and walked on the sandy beach to stand in the Atlantic Ocean. We have a tradition of dipping our feet in the ocean, whenever we are somewhere interesting. It was FREEZING, so cold that we didn’t stop long enough to take a photo. During our 2011 road trip across the US, we stood in the Atlantic Ocean in Florida, and the Pacific Ocean in California. There were hardly any swimmers, but lots of kite-surfers and wind-surfers out on the water, all wearing full wetsuits (in summer!), and the back-drop of Table Mountain behind the city was stunning – it’s one of the most beautiful cities I’ve seen.
We had plans to visit Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela and many other political prisoners were incarcerated, but have read a few not-so-complimentary reviews of it, and decided not to go. Neither of us is particularly good on a boat or ferry, and the tours of the prison seem to be a bit random, with very large groups, over-booked ferries and general dissatisfaction about the whole process, so we decided against it.
Today, our plans for visiting Table Mountain were nixed by the weather, so we drove down to the Cape of Good Hope instead. We drove down the eastern side of the Cape Peninsula, then drove back on the western side. Lots of little seaside towns along the way – we stopped at a couple to look at the beaches and to have something to eat. The Cape of Good Hope is in the Table Mountains National Park. Long queue to get through the park gates, then a drive of about 10kms to get to the Cape, the south-westernmost point of Africa. Next stop: Antarctica.
The western side of the peninsula is absolutely spectacular. There’s a section of the road called Chapman’s Peak Drive which goes for about 10kms along the coast between Noordhoek and Hout Bay, winding around the cliffs and looking over the beaches, towns and out to sea. Before we did the drive, we hadn’t realised how scenic it would be. Only cars can go along this road, because part of it is carved into rock and it’s only high enough for cars, no buses or minibuses allowed. Well worth the toll of around $4.00
Back to CT via the coast, which was a bit like Malibu in California – amazing apartments, shops, people, cars – with Table Mtn still covered in cloud, and the wind still howling. We had pan-fried free range ostrich steaks for dinner and they tasted good. Like very lean, light beef.
Driving down the cape Penisular towards Cape of Good Hope on the eastern side and back up on the western side via the fantastic Chapmans Peak Drive