Cape Town

November 7, 2008 – Friday – Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

Before checking into our Cape Town hotel, Craig and Phineous take us up to Signal Hill. The views of Cape Town’s shoreline and the mountains (including Table Mountain, the Apostles, and the Lion) are spectacular (see above banner image). We then check into the Hollow on the Square Hotel, and I say goodbyes to our guide Craig and our driver Phineous.

One of my fellow solo travellers on the tour and I take the hotel shuttle (R10 each) to the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront. It is a happening place – the locals are obviously out for dinner on this Friday evening. We manage to get the last unreserved table at the Wang Thai restaurant. It is wonderful Thai food. I have prawns and stir-fried vegetables with steamed rice, a corn meal appetizer and a cappuccino to finish (200 Rand, US$24).

Useful information about Cape Town from our guide

  • The Red and Blue open-top buses offer good self-guided tours of Cape Town. Tickets cost 100 Rand (US$12) for the whole day. Buses run from 9am to 2pm. Buy tickets from the Clock Tower at Victoria & Albert dock. The Blue bus covers the beachfront area, and the Red bus covers the inland area (city & Table Mountain).
  • Robben Island boat tour is closed right now, but it is a 4 hour tour when operating.
  • If restaurants list “SQ” in place of the prices, ask for the price before you order, otherwise you will probably be in for a rude shock when the bill arrives.
  • The red Excite taxis offer the best rates and service in town. Call them on 021 448 4444.

Knysna to Cape Town

November 7, 2008 – Friday – Knysna to Cape Town, Eastern Cape, South Africa

JoeTourist: Western Cape Province &emdash; Poop deck, Bartolomeu Dias 1988 replica
Poop deck, Bartolomeu Dias 1988 replica

There is a torrential rain storm and strong winds all last night and this morning. The noise awoke me several times last night, since my cottage has a metal roof. First stop is the Bartolomeu Dias Museum in Mossel Bay, which is a maritime museum showcasing the Portuguese explorers Vasco de Gama and Bartolomeu Dias. There is a full sized replica of Dias’ caravel ship in the museum, which was sailed from Portugal to South Africa in 1988 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of exploration in this area by the Portuguese.

Lowveld farmhouse in Heidelberg, Western Cape

After we have lunch in the farming and grape growing community of Swellendam, we drive through some beautiful Lowveld farming areas before driving through the 4km long Huguenot Tunnel on our way to Cape Town. After exiting the tunnel, we are suddenly in the grape growing district of Paarl, which is known world-wide for their wines.