36 hours in Cape Town

For about two weeks now, you may have seen my almost-daily dose of photos from southern Africa on Facebook and Google+. On this blog, I’m chosing the easy way out by starting chronologically: in Cape Town.

This holiday wasn’t for lazing about in the sun, sipping cocktails poolside. Accordingly, we never stayed for more than 2 nights in any one place. Cape Town was no exception, so we had to make the most of those 36 hours.

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We headed straight out to the waterfront (all of 300m along the water from our flat) after flying in. Somewhat vold but sunny weather with intermittent spray kept us awake, as did a nice Belgian brasserie with its selection of beers.

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I thought I should at least show you the main characters before plunging in. Posing in bright sunlight close to the V&A Waterfront.

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We headed straight out to the waterfront (all of 300m along the water from our flat) after flying in. Somewhat vold but sunny weather with intermittent spray kept us awake, as did a nice Belgian brasserie with its selection of beers.

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I burned the candle from both ends by taking a couple of night shots of the view from our terrace, right on the waterfront canal and getting up at what felt like the crack of dawn to take a few shots of Marie during her morning workout. Early morning chill, birds watching us closely, sun out and absolute quiet – what a way to ease in to the holidays!

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Having to cram all the sightseeing into one day, we set off at a brisk pace for Table Mountain. The clouds that had enveloped the mountain on the night before had vanished miraculously, so we parked the car at the farthest carpark and walked to the cable car’s base station. After a bit of queuing, the rotating cable car cabin took us up to the top.

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Here’s a couple of impressions of the view from the top.

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Yet again – and this was going to become a pet peeve of mine – we had to hurry, so taking pictures became somewhat more frantic than I was really comfortable with… but what the hell: call it an appetiser for a future visit.

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From there, it was straight down to the Cape of Good Hope.

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My preparation for this trip had consisted of nodding wisely along, whenever we were mulling the itinerary plans at home. So I had no idea what to expect from the Cape.

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The main lighthouse on Cape Point and cable cars taking you up there from the carpark (which you really don’t need: if you can walk to the corner shop at home, you can walk up to the lighthouse in 10 mins) were quite crowded with tourists. But walk around the corner to the second lighthouse or take the wooden walkway to the actual Cape of Good Hope (20 mins) and it becomes a totally different experience.

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An isolated beach, windswept rocks and the twisting walkway sticking to the rocky coastline – what a great place to spend a day…

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This being a national park, animals were free to roam, which meant seeing baboons and ostrich right next to the path (do keep your distance from either!). The weird furry guinea pig in the middle of the next image is a dassie (or rock hyrax), and it’s closest living relative is… the elephant. Go figure.

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On the way back to Cape Town, I had to plead and scream to stop the van for a shot of the sun peeking through the clouds just beyond the coast. Worth it, do you think?

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I’ll leave you with two pics from the greatest restaurant we visited in Cape Town: Panama Jack’s, right in the industrial port. Little lean-to shack with an eclectic selection of decor (witness the east German flag on the roof) but with an amazing selection of fresh lobster in tanks. If you ever get a chance: go there!

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Our flight was due to leave the next morning around 6am, which meant an intolerably red-eye ride to the airport.

Next Stop: Namibia (See the next part of the story)!