One of the most common questions I get is “Of the places you have been to, which is your favourite?” It has always been a tough question, and I cannot recall ever being able to give a solid answer to it. However, our recently concluded trip to South Africa last December has changed all that. South Africa, undoubtedly, is my favourite.
I remember telling my parents a few years back that we should travel to South Africa, so just imagine my delight when we finally purchased our tickets from Singapore Airlines last February. I honestly did not know much about the country. I just heard a few good stories, and thought, “Why not make it one of our future destinations?”
Nature, safaris, black people, Cape of Good Hope, Nelson Mandela, Charlize Theron, Candice Swanepoel, and Adam Sandler’s movie entitled Blended. These words basically summed up the image I had of SA. I didn’t even know that it has a reputation of being an unsafe destination due to high crime and murder rates. I would get a little bit surprised when friends would say “Ha? Why are you going there? Aren’t you scared? I heard there’s a case of rape every day.” These remarks led me to think if we chose the right destination, and made me realise (again and again) how unaware I am of current events.
This is the first trip that I planned entirely on my own—from the visa application, to the domestic flights in between, accommodations, transfers, and itinerary. The biggest constraint was time; we only had seven (7) full days to cover the basics. It was a challenge, but definitely a worthwhile one. I learned that I am capable, that planning trips can be fun. Best of all, my family had a fantastic time, and they all thanked me for it. That, to me, is priceless.
Now to the first highlight of our trip!
We arrived at our hotel in Cape Town at around 12 noon. Since our rooms weren’t ready, and the hotel’s check-in time was still at 2:00 pm, we decided to head out and visit the nearest attraction—Table Mountain. The hotel arranged a transfer with Sport Taxis, a well-known taxi service in Cape Town that operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The fact that we didn’t need to call for the typical taxicab that can only sit up to a maximum of four (4) passengers was a plus. We are a group of four (4) adults, and two (2) kids of ages 10 and 15. As a family travelling in a foreign land, we prefer to stick together.
The 15-minute ride on the way was such a breath of fresh air—especially after 20 hours on a plane. My dad, who tends to be critical of places we visit, couldn’t help himself from blurting out words of admiration. He described the city as quaint, and modern, yet close to nature.
We took the aerial cable car to reach the summit of Table Mountain. If you have the time and energy, you may opt to ascend the mountain via foot. I’m sure it’s going to be worth it. Oh, and the cable car has a floor that rotates 360 degrees, allowing each passenger to witness the breathtaking sights during the journey up (and down). How awesome is that? No need to rush inside to get the “best” spot! Harhar. Someone sounds guilty!
It’s easy to see why it was named such. It’s literally a flat-topped mountain overlooking Cape Town. It’s like a giant creature that emerged from the ground only to claim its rightful spot at the centre of the city. Truly, it’s Cape Town’s most distinguishable feature. Like, you cannot go to Cape Town and not notice this huge chunk of land.
You know what they say, wear sunglasses when you feel ugly! Or when you can’t take a decent photo. Haha! Fine, I didn’t feel ugly. I just lacked proper sleep, and haven’t taken a bath nor washed my face! Sunglasses = Instant Lifesaver!
How dramatic is that? Legend has it that this smoke is the result of a smoking contest between the devil and a legendary local pirate. Seems like South Africans are fond of myths and fantasies.
Hope you enjoyed the first installment of my South African escapade! We fell in love with Cape Town in a day. Stay tuned to see how South Africa stole our hearts in a week <3