Category Archives: South Africa

Exploring the Cape Town City Bowl – what to see and do

 

After slogging my way through a monster backlog of work and surviving the Cape Storm of 2017, I finally got out of Observatory and into the heart of the city, which is known as the Cape Town Bowl. I didn’t get out to see everything, but I hit the big spots…

V&A Waterfront

An oceanside re-development that has brought a touch of class to downtown, the V&A Waterfront is an awesome place for shoppers and foodies to spend a lazy afternoon.

The food market is a big draw for many visitors. I ate lunch at home, but I did have some Millionaire’s ice cream from a vendor here. Vanilla ice cream with bits of shortbread … yum.

Can’t have a touristy place without a giant chess board. I didn’t partake – not in the mood to get checkmated in five moves like a chump 😛

The V&A Waterfront also has a giant Ferris Wheel built in the style of the London Eye. Would have gone up, but it was closed for inspection in the wake of the Cape Storm.

Bo Kapp

The traditional home of the Cape Malay people since they arrived in Cape Town in the mid-17th century from Indonesia, Bo Kapp stands out from the downtown core with its brilliantly painted homes.

Feel free to walk through the streets of this community and snap pictures, but be sure to respect the privacy of the residents who live here.

Within one of the pathways leading between homes, you’ll find these murals which depict the heritage of the Cape Malay people almost as well as any book you’ll read on the subject.

Castle of Good Hope

The Dutch first established the Cape Colony in what would become Cape Town to serve as a refuelling point for ships heading to/from the Far East. Unfortunately, the remoteness of the region opened it up to attack from pirates. The Castle of Good Hope was built to counter this threat.

Despite what you might think, today’s downtown core doesn’t pose a threat to this fortification, but back in the day this cannon and others guarded it against on-land offensives.

The ramparts of the Castle of Good Hope are particularly impressive. The rainy day, while tricky to photograph in, makes for photogenic cobblestones.

With multiple levels and rooms within this elaborate structure, plan to spend at least an hour exploring and finding amazing things to photograph.

Been to these attractions while in Cape Town? Share your experiences in the comments!

Plettenberg Bay – the crown jewel of the Garden Route

Cape Town had some serious gravity to it – with all its amazing things to see and do (and a buttload of work to get done), I spent three weeks there to start my time in South Africa. After catching up on projects, sightseeing, and waiting for the aftermath of the vicious Cape Storm to be cleared away, I was free to finally hit the road in SA.

The ranchlands of the Western Cape between Cape Town and the Garden Route

Destination #1: The Garden Route. Not an easy place to visit, as there are numerous places to stay – George, Knysna, Jeffery’s Bay – all these places had a pull to them. Once I typed in ‘Plettenberg Bay’ into Google Images, though, my fate was sealed: I simply had to make this my base in this beautiful region.

Shortly after arriving, I knew I had made the right choice.

I only had time for a quick look about town before retiring for the night. The next day was a wash, giving me a convenient excuse to get further caught up on work. With 20 degrees Celsius and sunshine predicted for the following one, though, I would quickly fall for this beautiful resort town

 

A well-deserved beer after a fun day walking this incredible beach

A well-deserved beer after a fun day walking this incredible beach

Oh, I forgot to mention something – despite it being officially winter at 34 degrees South Latitude on this particular day, the water was 17 degrees Celsius – bearable for hardy swimmers and plenty warm enough for experienced surfers.

Ever been to Plett? Geek out on how awesome this place is in the comments below!

PHOTO: A beautiful day in Observatory, Cape Town, South Africa

I have a habit of travelling to places outside peak season. And so it was with South Africa, as I landed in Cape Town in June. Good timing, eh? Not really. The seasons are reversed in the Southern Hemisphere, meaning it was almost winter when I arrived in SA.

As luck would have it, though, it was much warmer than normal when got to my hostel in the neighbourhood of Observatory – 23 degrees Celsius to be exact. Sweet place to stay, by the way – it’s served by the third station from downtown on the Southern Line of Metro Rail, and it is full of indie restaurants and cute shops.

Pleasant weather like the kind depicted on this day is fleeting, though – one week later, and the worst storm in 30 years struck, bringing the winter rains and temperatures to a city dying of thirst. One year on, and Day Zero still looms on the horizon – here’s hoping this winter brings downpour after downpour.