Hey everybody, how zit?
welcome to my last post about South Africa. Today I am gonna tell you a bit about my stay in Capetown and its surroundings. Although I didn’t cover a big geographical area, I had plenty of things to do, from outdoor activities to enjoying the local nightlife or running around to get cash money and I really enjoyed my time there.
As Capetown is a very dynamic city, I chose as musical background for this post a song from the South African electronic music band Goldfish. Enjoy the good sound!
The drive from Tsitsikamma to Capetown is quite long but is really pleasant. Indeed, I follow the famous Garden Route next to the sea and the scenery is all the way simply amazing. It takes me around 7 hours to arrive at the international airport, where I say goodbye to my rental Polo. I am surprised to give it back in such a good shape after having spent so many km on bumpy roads 🙂 The next surprise arrives when I try to find the taxi area. Indeed, the Cape Town airport is the complete opposite of the one in Joburg: the taxi area is limited to the strict minimum and was replaced by a big Uber pick up area. Luckily for me, there is free WiFi and I can order one to get to the city center.
I arrive in Capetown city center shortly after 17:00. There I meet my friend AD and his colleagues for a few welcome beers, followed by a nice burger for diner. Before going back to AD’s place where I’ll spend the coming week, we finish the night in a bar/club with a nice view on the city.
The next morning is a bit difficult. I wake up with a little bit of hang over but I pretend to be still young and have a trained army of Gamma GT in my blood and after a small bite and a coffee for breakfast, we head to a nice event organized by a local brewery: the Capetown beerfest, a local variant of the famous Oktoberfest in Munich. There we meet some of AD’s friends. The event is organized in 2 shifts, the noon/afternoon one and the evening one. The plan is to go to the first one and to finish the day watching rugby in a bar.
The decoration in the tent is very well done. Wooden banks, music stage, blue/white colors, it really looks like a tent of the original Oktoberfest. The first surprise comes from the drink menu. It is possible to choose between different beer brands! Nice idea, but I am really curious if people really take time to chose their beer after a few liters 🙂 Second surprise, but not so good this time, there is no half chicken!! A big minus point that I should report to the organization 🙂 The show is quite entertaining, the beerfest is opened the same way as in Munich by the traditional barrel opening, “O Zapft is”! The music is really cool. The first band plays a lot of German classics but is not totally up-to-date as the title “Atemlos durch die Nacht” by Helene Fischer is not played a single time. The second band, less German pop but more rock’n roll is also really entertaining. Compared to Munich, the beer is really cheap, a couple of euros per liter VS 11€ in Munich, however I can feel my lack of training and the collateral damages of the previous night. After the 4 hours of the first shift, my drinking KPI is quite low with only 2,5L, far behind my friend AD.
To rest a bit, we head back to the city center to watch rugby in a bar. After the first period, AD tells me that he needs to go back to the beer fest for personal reasons 🙂 My body is not really in shape to resume drinking, but OK, let’s go. The evening shift is far more crowded than the noon one. The tent is super packed and so we fail finding a seat. However as it is a bit more laid back than in Munich, there are some bars outside where it’s still possible to order drinks. I start with the beer tasting stand where I get a small glass of each type of beer produced by the brewery and after that I queue outside to get the next liter. It takes me ages (almost 2h) to get my beer as there are not enough 1L glass for everybody (and so people had to wait that somebody brings its glass back to clean it and use it).
During this time, I lose my friend AD but after a while I find him again on the dance floor. He is a bit “tired” 🙂 but I am still impressed that he can still stand after so many beers 🙂 We decide to go home shortly before the end, to avoid the big closing rush. After a short stop at a gas station nearby to buy some food, we struggle a bit to find a taxi as AD’s phone and mine are out of battery and we can’t order an Uber. After a while, we make it home safely and it doesn’t last long before I fall asleep on the couch.
On the next day, we wake up quite late and after a quick breakfast, our planned TV/couch afternoon is interrupted by Krissi, a funny girl from Germany and one of AD’s roommate. She’s going on a hike with a friend of hers to enjoy the sunny Sunday and proposes us to join. It is actually not a bad idea at all and it would be a good way to sweat the beer of the previous day.
The hiking trail is at Camps bay, at the end of the Table mountain national park. The conditions are just perfect but I am a bit afraid by the group 🙂 Everybody is in good shape and the pace is quite high for me. As we get closer to the top, the view becomes magic. Indeed, we get a perfect view on the sea, a part of the 12 Apostles and the bay. The last part becomes a bit steeper and the very end is very fun as we progress on big rocks. After a couple of minutes at the top to take some pictures and rest a bit, we start going down back to the car. The view is still amazing, however it becomes challenging for me, when we decide to go off track to go down faster. Indeed the trail becomes very steep and slippy and it is very impressive as we are sometimes very close to the cliff. I really have to control myself at some points, as I kind of get afraid of the height when I get tired. Back to the flat, crazy Krissi doesn’t feel tired enough and decide to run instead of walking to the car. I try to follow, but again the pace is too high for me 😉
Back at home, AD prepares a nice braai for everybody at the house. Braai is the South African term for BBQ and is a national pride as much as in Argentina with the parilla 🙂 I really enjoy the lamb and the Boers (meat sausages).
On the next day, I wake up quite early to go to Gaansbay where I booked a shark cage diving. There’s a bit of a controversy around this activity as some people claim that baiting the sharks has consequences on their hunting and eating behaviors. However as I got it for free by the agency where I booked my safaris in Pilansberg and Kruger park, I decided to do it out of curiosity. We are divided in groups of 5 and each group is allowed to spend 15 min in the cage. Each group is lucky enough to see a white shark twice. They are really huge compared to the sharks I’ve seen till now and very impressive. However the visibility in the water is very bad and actually the sharks are better observed from the boat.
Day 4 in Capetown starts quite relax. The plan is to go shopping to buy some stuff for the Africa Overland tour I booked to end my rtw trip. Around lunch I meet AD next to his office and we go buy some dollars at one of his partner. However my credit card is systematically blocked and I am very surprised as I made sure that I had enough money on it before going to the bank. After some research and contacts with my bank, I find out that there is a difference between paying and getting cash money and that cash withdrawal is limited to 500€ per day, which is very bad for me as I need a bit more to pay for the Overland tour. I spend the whole afternoon at home trying to figure how I can get a quite big amount of cash quickly. When AD comes back at home in the evening, he tells me that somebody broke into his car during the night and stole some bags. It sounds quite surprising to me as the area where he lives is very residential and seems very safe, but he reminds me that safety and security are still hot topics in South Africa. After that, we go out for dinner with Cassidy and her colleague Maria. Cass is a friend I met at the gym in Switzerland and Maria was sent from Indonesia to South Africa like I was sent from Germany to Switzerland last year and she is curious to hear about my travel stories in South Africa.
On Day 5, I run around again to get my dollars. It is actually a bit more complicated than I expected. Due to the South African law, I can’t get dollars directly from a bank. I need to withdraw rands first and keep the receipts to show them to the bank to convert them into dollars. I finally manage to get enough rands by using the money transfer companies Western Union and World Remit.
In the evening I go watch AD playing rugby touch. Rugby touch is a simplified variant of rugby where you just touch people to stop them instead of tackling them. Stamina and good team work are required to bring the ball behind the enemy lines.
On the next day, AD invites me to come with him on a field day trip for work to discover the region called plattenland, which is a nice wine region. The morning stops are really cool. I get to walk a bit in the vineyards while AD is discussing business with his customers. However, during the afternoon, the heat is stronger than me and I spend most of the time sleeping in the car 🙂 We finish the day with a short city tour in Stellenbosch, and we have a nice diner there to try nice local wines.
On day 6, I join a bike tour to explore Cape Peninsula. We start the day shortly after 07:00 by picking up people around Cape Town and we then head to our first stop in Hout bay. The drive is very scenic and the very nice weather helps a lot to take nice pictures of the coast.
After that, we continue our journey to the city of Scaborough. Just before arriving in the city, we all get off the bus to jump on our bikes. The ride along the coast is amazing but quite challenging. Indeed, the road is quite flat, but we have a very strong wind in front. We all arrive at different time at the meeting point. One girl from Berlin is definitely very fit, and starts in front. After 5 min she is already out of sight. 2 girls from the Philippines are exactly the opposite and after the first Selfie stop at km 2, they decide that it is too hard for them and stop and wait for the bus to pick them up. 3 other girls from Norway are unlucky and have a chain break twice.
After a short lunch, we then all jump back in the bus to drive further down to the next stop: Cape point. The walk there is very windy and I almost lose my hat but the view is really amazing. The following stop, Cape of Good Hope is located a few hundred meter further. The trail along the coast is very scenic but it is sometimes scary as the wind is very strong. An old man in a group I was following even fell on the ground after he lost his balance due to the strong wind. The Cape of Good hope is a very famous destination and so, when I arrive at the end of the trail, the place is very busy and I have to fight a bit with a group of old French tourists to be able to take a photo in front of the sign. Next to it, a bit further down on the beach, the body of a dead whale also attracts the cameras. The body is here since a couple of weeks now, and so the smell is luckily not strong anymore.
To finish the day, we drive northbound to boulders beach and its hundreds of penguins. It is not as impressive as Punto Tombo in Patagonia but it is still funny to see all the penguins sunbathing on the beach.
The next day is quite light. I spend the morning doing my last shopping session for the Overland Tour and visit a couple of banks to change my rands in US dollars. AD and I are surprised that so many banks that are claiming to be “bureau de change” have only a couple of US dollars in stock or no dollars at all. Shortly after noon, we drive a bit further in the wine country side to have lunch in a restaurant with a nice view on the vineyards. There I get to discover the Pinotage grape. At the end of the afternoon, I take an Uber to the Ashanti lodge, where the pre-departure meeting for my Africa overland tour is held. I get some basic information about how the tour will work and I get to know the other adventurers. At around 19:00, AD picks me up and we go back home for a final boys evening with a nice braai, beer, wine and an action movie on TV.
The next morning, I wake up a bit earlier to finish packing. Indeed my stay in Cape Town and South Africa is now over and it is time for me to start the last leg of my trip. After a short breakfast, AD drives me again to Ashanti Lodge again which is the starting point of the Africa Overland Tour. This tour lasts 42 days and will take me all the way up to Kenya through Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Zanzibar, and Tanzania. I am really excited and looking forward to discover this new part of the world!
More details and pictures in the next post! Bye!