Friday, August 01, 2014

SA trip - The Western Cape

So this blog started out as a few posts for friends and family about the ins and outs of life in Korea. But now since I no longer live in Korea and I've done many things not related to Korea I thought I would turn it into a blog with info and pictures for anyone wanting to visit some of the places I have been and for friends and family to see what it is I get up to most of the time.

The following few posts will be dedicated to the two and a half month trip around South Africa that Kendyl, Liz, Becca, Paul and I did. I've always wanted to travel SA but I also kept making excuses like "Its expensive, I don't have enough holiday time, I can go to Thailand for the same price' and many such other excuses but it all came down to this... I honestly didn't think South Africa had THAT much to offer compared to countries that were cheaper to travel like Thailand, Cambodia etc. I am very glad to say that after these 2 and a half months I have been proven 100% wrong. I know South Africa is beautiful, I grew up in Cape Town, I worked on a wine farm, I've been to the beaches but what I didn't realize was just how much more beauty the country has to offer! I was blown away by the landscapes I saw along the way, the amazing people I met (locals and foreigners a like), the food (oh, the food!) and the great quality of the backpackers we stayed in along the way.

This post specifically will be based on the things that I think are a MUST for travellers of the Western Cape:

1: THE WINELANDS
South Africa has amazing wine. Fact. And the vineyards are beyond beautiful! There are hundreds of wine farms though and I am sure that you can't go wrong with many of them but I lived in the Stellenbosch area for 4 years so I will always recommend those above all and out of them:
Rust en Vrede (wine and food) - The best steak you will ever have in your life
Guardian Peak (wine and food)
Ernie Els (great view)
Uva Mira (for the view)
Waterford (wine and chocolate tasting)
Hidden Valley
But there are so many others so pick up a wine route map and take your pick :)
The Paarl and Franschoek wine routes are also phenomenal.

Rust en Vrede


Rust en vrede
Rust en Vrede
Guardian Peak view

2: THE V&A WATERFRONT
The waterfront has a lot to offer. Great restaurants, beautiful views, great shopping and awesome people watching.



 There are also many things you can do in and around the waterfront like:

3: THE TWO OCEANS AQUARIUM:
This aquarium has many different dispays and a lot of information. Its a great place to go with kids and adults a like. Spend your morning here before finding a restaurant in the Waterfront for lunch. You won't regret it.




4: ROBBEN ISLAND
This is where Nelson Mandela was held in prison for 27 years. Besides the obvious very interesting history lesson about apartheid, Mandela and South Africa, a boat trip to this island is also very beautiful. It is an absolute must for anyone wanting to understand the history of South Africa a little more.







Watching the sun set on the boat trip back
5: KOEL BAY (Koggel baai)
This beach is on the road going from Gordons bay to Rooi els. Its a beautiful beach and you have to climb down some rocks to get to it which makes it much more secluded and not full of people. You may need to ask a local for directions to it though because its easy to miss.




Take a picnic down there and spend the day. Don't forget to collect your rubbish before leaving!

6: MZOLIS MEAT
This is one of my favorite things to do in the cape. You can contact any tour company and organize a life into Ghughuletu, a local township to have a truly South African experience. When you arrive you wait in line to buy a bunch of meat and pap(a traditional dish) which they braai for you while you listen to local music and buy drinks from the shebeen. You can have a chat with many interesting locals and sample the great meat SA has to offer. You can also learn a lot about the township and help some of their entrepeneurs out by buying some of their self made products.











7: SPEND THE DAY ON CAMPS BAY BEACH
Take a drive down to Camps bay, its a very scenic drive and spend the day on the beach itself or sampling the food in the beachside restaurants as well as the great cocktails in the bars.







8: GO SIGHTSEEING IN CAPE TOWN CITY ITSELF:
Find a student and get them to show you around the University of Cape Town (UCT) campus, its beautiful. Visit the many museums in  the city as well as the company gardens. Spend the afternoon walking down long street buying clothes and have some dinner in one of the many restaurants on the road. I highly recommend The royal eatery for their mouth watering burgers.










9: CLIMB LIONS HEAD:
There is no better way to see the city than from the top of Lions head. I would recommend going up for either sunrise or sunset. We did sunset and had some amazing views. Coming down while its getting dark and seeing the stars and moon out above the city lights is also a must see.








10: SPEND A DAY AT KALK BAY:
Kalk bay is a small town on the coast with some of the best fish and chips I've ever had as well as some great little boutiques. I don't have many photos here as we went in the evening but trust me, take a day and spend it here! The brass bell is a great restaurant with a good view of the sea :)

The brass bell

Driving to Kalk Bay




11: CLIMB/CABLE CAR UP TABLE MOUNTAIN:
We climbed table mountain but if that is not your thing you can take the cable car up. The view from the top is awesome and there are some restaurants and curio shops at the top.
The weather in the cape is very unpredictable and table mountain is more times than not covered in its infamous table cloth. Try and watch the weather as much as possible to be able to get up on a clear day and have a great view.







12: HOLI COLOUR FESTIVAL:
If you are around at the right time of year this is a fun festival to watch out for.






13: BOULDERS BEACH AND SIMONS TOWN
Want to see some penguins? Take a drive down to the quaint Simonstown, have some lunch and enjoy watching the penguins at Boulders Beach.




14: CAPE POINT
Take a drive down to the Southern most tip of Africa and enjoy the view.







15: GO AND WATCH A SUMMER SUNSET CONCERT IN KIRSTENBOSCH GARDENS:
The summer sunset concerts run for a few weeks in Kirstenbosch gardens. Pick one, take a picnic and go! The gardens are beautiful and the music is great :)





These are only 15 things you can do in the Western Cape but there are soo many more! So do a little research or ask a local and you can make your time there just as incredible as ours was :)
Watch this space for news of our roadtrip up the east coast!