Cape Town & the Cape Peninsula in 3 Days
As we are not the real city-lovers (except for New York, which is always a good choice), we decided to explore Cape Town in 2 days – Lonely Planet says it’s possible, so it’s gotta be.
We took the overnight flight from Frankfurt to Cape Town. It takes 12 hours – long enough to eat and sleep for about 8 hours, which we actually did because Condor only offers two movies for free – Garfield and Harry Potter. As we did not want to see either of them, we were able to sleep – in favor of a refreshed arrival. After we had arrived at 8:20 in the morning, got our luggage (thank god it arrived!) and picked up the rental car, our world tour could eventually really start. Our first stop was our guesthouse in Newlands (a nice neighborhood that seemed safe to us). After we had checked in to our room with Table Mountain view (could be worse), we immediately hit the city.
Table Mountain was not really clear but Lion’s head was – so we hiked up Lion’s head. It is a semi-difficult 45-minute hike with some harder climbing parts. The trail leads one time around the mountain which provides the perfect view on Camps Bay Beach, Signal Hill, the Waterfront and Table Mountain & the Twelve Apostles. We really enjoyed the hike until we crossed the sunbathing spot of a puff adder – yes, it is puff adder season and shouldn’t have been a surprise to us if we had just informed ourselves in advance. Well, that is not our style (just because it could prevent us from doing such things – especially Bianca would have protested for sure because her love for snakes is limited) so we discovered the puff adder after a group of people had disturbed her already and she was already escaping, thus represented no danger to us. The view from the top is just amazing and pays off for such encounters … if it is clear. We faced the situation that once we reached the top it got cloudy so we could just catch a little glimpse of Cape Town.
Camps Bay Beach
After that, we decided to hit Table Mountain. Our motivation was soon destroyed when we learned from the lady at the gondola station that there was absolutely no visibility. Well, we saw that there was a massive cloud covering half of the mountain but we just hoped it wouldn’t be as bad as it looked like. We decided to change plans and wait for a better time to go up when we, coincidentally, met a relative of Tom. Funny story but that was not the first time this happened to us, we always meet people we know … everywhere. We decided to make the best of our bad luck with Table Mountain and went for a drink and a delicious burger on the Hard Rock Café-terrace at Camps Bay Beach with a stunning view on the beach and the sea. After a stroll at the beach, it was almost sunset time, which we spent on Chapman’s Peak Drive – one of the world’s best coastal drives. We enjoyed the “Route de Crête” in France (Provence, between Cassis and La Ciotat) even more, but the drive was still amazing and the view stunning.
Our second day started at Muizenberg Beach, only a 30-minutes drive from Cape Town. The beach has gained world-fame because of its colorful little beach houses. It’s not one of THE picture spots for no reason – it is a really photogenic place. We walked through the white sand and, for the first time, had the feeling that we are actually on vacation. We watched the surfers riding the waves, observed African people playing football at the beach and absorbed the beauty of South Africa.
Signal Hill & Table Mountain
For the afternoon, Table Mountain was forecasted to be clear so we headed back to Cape Town after our little beach chill out. Unfortunately, it looked exactly like the day before, so we decided to drive up Signal Hill instead (an extension of Lion’s head just opposite of Table Mountain) to, at least, get to enjoy the view on Table Mountain drowning in clouds. We had just set up our picnic table with a cappuccino and a fresh donut (very delicious) when, all of a sudden, we were able to see the top of Table Mountain. Lightning fast we packed our stuff, put on proper shoes and a jacket, drove to Table Mountain again, parked the car, did not have to line up (which basically never happens – average waiting times of 2 hours is no exception when the mountain is clear), jumped into the gondola and spent two awesome hours on top. The circular walk on top is well maintained and offers a 360° panoramic view down to the city and, on very clear days, to the Cape of Good Hope. If you want to go up Table Mountain make sure you book a ticket online (valid for seven days), that helps you to skip at least part of the line. If the mountain is not clear and you decide not to go up, you get a full refund. If the mountain is covered in clouds, you don’t need to go up, it is a waste of time and money. It can get freezingly cold on top and without the view, it is not enjoyable. If you are lucky though and catch a good day, don’t hesitate to go up – it’s totally worth it. Make sure you bring a warm jacket (even it is warm at the bottom!), a woolen hat, scarf, gloves and, of course, your camera.
Cape of Good Hope
After two days in Cape Town, we headed south to explore the Cape Peninsula. It takes about an hour by car to reach the Cape of Good Hope – the most South-Western point of the African continent. As we call ourselves “point”-tourists and have already visited all southernmost points on the southern hemisphere (not Antarctica but Slope Point in New Zealand and the Beagle Canal in Tierra del Fuego, Argentina), we also had to visit this one. And, to be honest, it is the most beautiful. We started our tour at the Cape of Good Hope-signs, which attracts lots of tourists. We lined up for the “must-have” picture with the sign (Tom just did it because Bianca insisted – the light was bad and we had somebody else take a picture of us which we never do because Tom hates it) and started the more fun and less touristy part – the trail to the Cape Point Lighthouse. The hike takes about 1 – 1.5 hours until the lighthouse. It leads you along the steep cliffs of the cape and provides stunning views on the ocean and the lighthouse. We walked until Dias Beach, one of the most wonderful places on earth. You can walk down via steps (like a stairway to heaven) from the hiking trail. We loved the place so much that we sunbathed for about two hours, enjoying the postcard view on the white sand and the ocean. Then we decided to walk back to the car and drive to the lighthouse. The 5-minute drive felt like a safari (at least for us, who haven’t been on a safari yet) because we saw an ostrich, monkeys and a turtle. The hike up to the Cape Point Lighthouse takes about 10 minutes and is rather easy. We then followed the “Lighthouse Keepers Trail” and walked to the Dias Viewpoint – it takes around 15 minutes more and is totally worth it because then you are at the very end of the peninsula and you get to enjoy a wonderful view of the 12 apostles, the lighthouse and the cliffs of the cape.
Our overnight stays
Glenhaven Guesthouse, Cape Town
We spent two nights in the Glenhaven Guesthouse in Cape Town. The area seemed safe to us and there is a supermarket in walking distance. The room was very spacious and offers a super-nice view on Table Mountain – from the bed- and the bathroom. The room includes a delicious breakfast and gated parking. The price was 25 Euros per person/night. View it on Booking.com: Glenhaven Guesthouse
De la Hilcremat Guesthouse, Simon’s Town
We spent one night in the Simon’s View Guesthouse in Simon’s Town on the Cape Peninsula. We thought it was a good idea not having to return to Cape Town after our day at the Cape of Good Hope and we really enjoyed only having a short drive to the guesthouse from Cape Point. The guesthouse is embedded into the hills overlooking the ocean. The restaurant Dixie’s is in walking distance (around 500 meters) from the guesthouse and we can really recommend it. It doesn’t look highly inviting from the outside but inside it is very nice, the food is delicious and the prices descent. The guesthouse doesn’t include breakfast or gated parking and costs around 20 Euros per person/night. View it on Booking.com: De la Hilcremat Guesthouse