Day 2 of our South African escapade was dedicated to a full-day Cape Peninsula tour. If you have the energy to drive long distances, the patience to read maps (or Waze!), and the luxury of time to get lost, renting a car to do this tour may be an excellent option. However, if you’re pressed for time and want a higher level of security and convenience, joining a guided tour is the most practical thing to do. It all boils down to preference, time, and monetary constraints. Renting a car and going on your own allows more flexibility, can save you money, and means being able to go anywhere, but not know what you’re looking at. Joining a guided tour can be a bit expensive, but gives more room for learning and discovery.
We booked a private tour with African Eagle Day Tours via our hotel the day before. It wasn’t the cheapest option, but it was worth every penny. It allowed us to customise our tour, and gave us the chance to ask many more questions than we would with a larger group. Furthermore, our tour guide was exceptional—punctual, knowledgeable, informative, and accommodating. He tried to bring us to all possible stops, and even accompanied us to buy my mom’s medicine. Unfortunately, I cannot remember his name. What I do recall is that he’s Muslim; hence he respectfully declined when we offered him a piece of bakkwa (roasted pork pieces) from Bee Cheng Hiang.
The first item on our itinerary was a short boat trip to Seal Island. It was a bit overcrowded, but seeing the seals in their natural habitat, and seagulls flying near the waters, was refreshing and new to me. (Hello, Ocean Park! Thanks for being a part of my childhood, but this, here, is the real thing!) The swell of the sea, strong winds, and the fishy smell definitely added to the experience. I personally think it is a must-do despite getting a little sea-sick. A word of caution, though: these creatures can smell really, really bad!
What happens when you combine strong winds and saltwater? Dry, sticky, tangled hair! Personal tip: Wear a beanie, scarf, hat, or anything to wrap your hair in. Keeping a bottle of leave-in conditioner in your bag would be a smart idea too.
Chapman’s Peak Drive is all about scenery and savouring the view. It’s the perfect time to sit back, slow down, and of course, snap a lot of photos. The whole drive was reminiscent of the famous Amalfi Coast in Italy.
If you love penguins, you’ll love this place. There’s an entrance fee of 65 ZAR (190 Php), but it’s worth it as the area is clean and well-maintained. There is also a long wooden boardwalk which serves as an observation deck. It was just really amusing to see hundreds of penguins going about their own business. It can surely make anyone go “awww!” Needless to say, this, by far, is my best penguin viewing experience. A few interesting facts about Boulders Beach:
- People can swim with the penguins.
- These cute, adorable creatures sometimes walk in the streets of Cape Town. Expect to see road signs with images of penguins on it.
- The beach is actually set in the midst of a residential area.
That’s my beautiful sister naturally strutting her stuff with the scenic beach backdrop and wooden boardwalk as her ramp.
I think I met the friendliest ice cream man ever. He’s Zimbabwean, and he made eating ice cream under the scorching sun extra fun! I mean, just look at his smile! It’s contagious! And his ice cream was delicioso. Refreshing, creamy but light, and not too sweet.
The Victorian-style architecture is due to British colonialism. Simon’s Town has a very rich and interesting naval history. I want to share more of it here, but I am going to be honest, and admit that I do not remember every single detail mentioned during our tour. Teehee. I’ll leave it to Google to do that job.
These guys greeted me with “Konichiwa!”, then posed to have their photos taken. Some people find it offensive and racist to be addressed this way, but I am so used to being greeted with a “Ni Hao” or “Annyeong” in the Philippines… So like, yeah, whatever. I’ll just go along with it. Seriously though, South Africans are probably the friendliest people in the world.
We were on our way to the restaurant to have lunch when these kids started dancing. I don’t usually enjoy watching kids perform in streets, due to its implications, but these kids were really good and serious about their craft. It didn’t take long to see the preparation that went behind their performance, and well-planned co-ords and accessories.
These are the freshest, cheapest, and biggest raw oysters I have ever tasted in my whole existence. Four (4) oysters for only 40 ZAR (140 Php)! I simply cannot eat oysters the same way again.
Contrary to popular belief, Cape of Good Hope isn’t exactly the southernmost tip of South Africa. It’s Cape Agulhas. However, standing on this rocky land definitely felt like reaching the edge of the world. The sweet smell of the ocean, the steep cliffs, and the crashing waves, were nothing short of magnificent. It was breathtaking; everything was perfect (and picture perfect).