Cape Town, South Africa: 5  Places You Need to Visit

Cape Town, South Africa: 5 Places You Need to Visit

Have you ever visited Cape Town, South Africa? There are so many things to do in the city. There is the V&A Waterfront, Table Mountain, and the Bo-Kaap, to name a few. Read on to learn more about our Cape Town adventure.

5 Must Visit Places in Cape Town

There are a lot of things to do and see in Cape Town, but these are a few of the highlights.

Victoria & Alfred (V&A) Waterfront

Exhausted from our 3 flights, we still wanted to get out and explore right away, so we headed to the V&A Waterfront. We took a long walk on the boardwalk to stretch our legs and watch the ocean as the waves ebbed and flowed. There were plenty of tug boats and sailboats in the harbour. We took a stroll through the Waterfront Village.

There is a huge shopping area. We visited a lot of the tourist shops while looking for something to eat. There was a giant Ferris wheel, and we had our picture taken in the frame that showcases Table Mountain.

Table Mountain

Our tour guide picked us up at our hotel, the Twelve Apostles Hotel, and drove us to Table Mountain, which is a flat-topped mountain that overlooks the city of Cape Town. One of the 7 Wonders of Nature. It is one of the biggest tourist attractions that draws 800,000 visitors a year (pre-pandemic). Most visitors hike or take the cable car to the top. 60 people can fit in the rotating cable car at a time.

Table Mountain’s dominant feature is the level plateau that spans approximately three kilometres (2 miles) from side to side, edged by impressive cliffs. Devil’s Peak (west) and Lion’s Head (east) flank it. From the top of the mountain, you can see all of Cape Town. Just don’t miss the last shuttle or you will have to walk down.

They paired us up with a couple from Australia. The wife was afraid of heights and panicked any time her husband went near the edge. She could barely look at anything.

The City

Next up with a tour of the city. A drive through some of the most affluent areas in Cape Town: Camps Bay, Clifton, and Sea Point, (the first suburb). We passed by Cape Town Stadium into the main street of the central business district. There was a quick stop at City Hall where Nelson Mandela spoke after his prison release.

Drove past the Castle of Good Hope, originally built as a maritime replenishment station and the oldest surviving colonial building in South Africa.

The Cannon

Next was a visit to Signal Hill, close to the center of the city, to see the Noon Gun and witness the historic time signal that has been happening since 1806. There are two black powder Dutch Naval Guns that are fired alternately. Even though they told us to plug our ears, it was loud and there was a ton of smoke.

Bo-Kaap

Bo-Kaap, formerly known as the Malay Quarter a racially segregated area. They built it on the slopes of Signal Hill. It is known for its brightly coloured homes and cobblestone streets. The Nurul Islam Mosque that was established in 1844 is in the area. Almost 60 percent of the multicultural neighbourhood residents are Muslim.

This section of Cape Town contains the largest concentration of pre-1850 South African architecture and is the oldest surviving residential area in Cape Town.

Final Thoughts on Cape Town

Cape Town was one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. If you ever have a chance to go there, do it. You won’t be sorry. Have you ever been? Let me know in the comments.

 

Until next time

Frankie

Feature photo by Pascal OHLMANN from Pixabay All other photos copyright Frankie Cameron.

7 Things to See on the Cape Peninsula Tour

7 Things to See on the Cape Peninsula Tour

Have you ever heard of the legendary Chapman’s Peak Drive or seen the seals on Duikar island? Both places are part of the full day Cape Peninsula Tour, a must-see if you ever travel to Cape Town, South Africa.

Image Created in Canva

 “One cannot resist the lure of Africa.”

~ Rudyard Kipling

Cape Peninsula Tour

The following are my top 7 things to see on the Cape Peninsula Tour in South Africa:

1. Millionaire’s Paradise

The tour begins in Cape Town, travelling past the beautiful homes of Millionaire’s Paradise from Clifton to Camps Bay. Some homes look carved right into the cliffs. The city of Cape Town winds around the Twelve Apostle Mountain Range.

Image by Taryn Elliott from Pexels

2. Chapman Peak Drive

The tour continues along the beautiful, untamed coastline. Named Chapman Peak Drive after John Chapman, the captain of an English ship. Construction began in the early 1900’s using the 630 million-year-old previously existing Cape Granite contour.

The road hugs the rugged cliffs on one side while the ocean stretches on forever on the other. There are over a hundred curves on the road, if it feels like you are riding on the edge of a cliff, it is because you are.

There are catch fences along the drive, in the event that there are falling rocks. In addition, they have set up several wonderful spots to stop on the drive and look back.

Along the drive, we met some new friends. It’s not every day that you have to watch for baboons and ostriches on the road. 

3. Hout’s Bay

Hout’s Bay is a charming coastal harbour surrounded by mountains. It received its name from the Dutch, meaning Wood Bay. There is a market for tourists and some wandering musicians.

The harbour is full of sailboats and some seals. The harbour seals have become tame enough to approach tourists for food, nevertheless they are still wild animals and should be treated accordingly.

4. Duikar Island

At Hout’s Bay you have the option of taking a boat out to Duikar Island (or Seal Island, as it is commonly known) to see Cape Fur Seals up close. The boat takes 20 minutes to get to the island and holds about 60 passengers. It costs about 70 Rand which is about 7 dollars Canadian.

According to Wikipedia, the island is 77 by 95 metres in size. The water around the island is rough, causing the boat to rock.  It is not a breeding colony because the waters are too rough for young pups.

The boat circles the island, getting as close to the rock as possible. It is a great way to see seals in their natural environment. It wasn’t until the trip back that I thought to look for sharks.

5. Cape of Good Hope

The Cape of Good Hope is the most south-western point on the African Continent. Part of the Table Mountain National Park, it was once thought to be the southernmost tip of Africa, but Cape Agulhas (200 km away) is the true tip.

It is very windy at the point, so hang on to your hat or anything you don’t want to fly away. The waves crash violently on the shore of the beautiful beach.

6. Cape Point

At the Cape, you can take the funicular to the lighthouse or climb the stone stairs. We took the funicular up and walked down to get the best of both experiences. There is a spectacular view at the top of both the Atlantic and Indian Ocean, since the cape is where the oceans meet. My pictures don’t quite capture the beauty of this place.

7. Boulder’s Beach

The last stop on the tour is Boulders Beach to see the South African penguins at Simon’s Town. If you love animals, you will love this experience. I loved it so much I wrote an entire blog about the penguins.

Trio of penguins

Final Thoughts

If you ever go to South Africa, I highly recommend the Cape Peninsula tour. Is Cape Town on your bucket list? Let me know in the comments.

Until next time

Frankie

Feature image by Sharon Ang from Pixabay; All other images Copyright Frankie Cameron Writes except the image of Cape Town.

5 Reasons to Visit the Penguins at Boulders Beach

5 Reasons to Visit the Penguins at Boulders Beach

A colony of African Penguins lives on Boulders Beach in False Bay outside of Simon’s Town, South Africa. If this attraction is not on your South African bucket list, it should be.

Arriving at Boulders Beach, you have the feeling you are in a residential area. In fact, some houses overlook the beach. How wonderful would that be? To see penguins out your window every day. Sign me up!

African Penguins

The African penguins received their name because they are the only penguin on the continent. Penguin World describes the African penguin as medium-sized. The birds range in height from 63.5 to 68.6 cm (25 to 27 inches) while weighing between 2.3 to 4.1 kg  (5 to 9 pounds). They have a black stripe that starts at their beak then follows over their head, back and flippers. Each are identical but unique in their own way.

Welcome to Boulders Beach, South Africa

Penguin Invasion

A small number of South African penguins emigrated from Dyer Island, near Gansbaai, to Boulders Beach circa 1982. They settled on the white granular beach between the enormous ancient granite boulders that provided them with shelter from the wind and waves. Today, thanks to conservation efforts, while still endangered, the colony has grown close to three thousand birds.

5 Reasons to visit Boulders Beach:

Reason #1 So close

Boulders Beach is one of the few places worldwide where you can get up close and personal with penguins. The first thing to remember is that they are wild animals with razor sharp beaks.

The penguins are happy to do their thing as long as the humans stay on the boardwalk.

Sneaky Penguin trying to hide

Reason #2 The Boardwalk

A boardwalk allows visitors to walk through the penguin’s habitat without disturbing the birds. The boardwalk starts at the visitors information center and ends at the beach. The beach area is where most visitors congregate because of the number of birds at that point. The view is beautiful and the penguins are fun to watch.

As written on the Cape Town Travel website, 60,000 visitors a year visit Boulders Beach to photograph and observe the famous penguins. My daughter and I followed this trio of birds up and down the boardwalk.

Trio of penguins
Penguin trio on the march

Reason #3 Conservation

The endangered penguins have increased in number because of the Table Mountain National Park Marine Protection Act. They keep the beaches clean and limit the number of visitors. You can read more about their conservation efforts here.

There is a small conservation fee to visit. The money generated from tourism goes back into conservation.

African Penguin & Seabird Sanctuary
The African Penguin & Seabird Sanctuary near Gansbaai,  provides temporary sanctuary for African Penguins and other marine birds that need life-saving intervention.

When we visited they had several injured penguins, they were hoping to rehabilitate and return to the wildlife. You can learn more about their conservation efforts here.

Boulders Beach Park Sign

Reason #4 Jackass Penguins

According to Cape Town Travel, the penguins got the nickname ‘jackass penguins’ because of the sound they make, like a bray. When we visited, we could hear the squawking or braying long before we got down to the main beach area.

Penguin gather on Boulders Beach, South Africa
Penguins leave the water at Boulders Beach, South Africa

Reason #5 Cuteness Factor

Who doesn’t like a penguin? They waddle, they can’t fly, and they are absolutely adorable. I didn’t want to leave. I could have stayed there all day.

Final Thoughts

South Africa’s new commitment to conservation is wonderful. Allowing humans to experience animals in their natural habit is the way the viewing of animals should be. Next time you are near Cape Town, South Africa drop in and see the penguins, they always put on a show.

Is Boulders Beach on your bucket list? Write me a note in the comments and let me know.

Until next time

Frankie

All photographs copyright Frankie Cameron Writes.