More fun in the African Sun (Part 2)
Here's the long awaited for part two of our journey around Cape Town...
Day 3 started with a hike up Table Mountain. We decided to face it as early as possible; so that we could avoid as much of the sun as possible. It turned out that even at 730am, it was still 26C! Tom bought a very fetching hat to help protect his red face; and we made our way up via Pletklip Gorge. To cut a long story short; the hike was HARD. I like to think of myself as pretty fit; but wow – 1800 steps (no, I didn’t count – I read it somewhere!) in the intense African heat was incredibly difficult. I had to stop every ten minutes or so, just to catch my breath. Luckily, after an hour of climbing; we could understand why we decided to commit to this, because the views were breath taking. Tom had wondered why we needed to go to Table Mountain, as we’d already seen the views from Lion’s Head, but they’re on a different scale. We took a few photos, bought an overpriced magnum and absorbed the views before heading back down.
The way back was a million times easier; and it was nice to be able to motivate others who looked they were about to pass out who were still on their way up. We made it back down; and with the thoughts of a cold shower in our minds, we raced to our little rental car; who we affectionally called Ronnie. Unfortunately, Ronnie had died. No battery. We thought maybe he couldn’t handle the heat. This was not great news for two tired, hot, hungry people; stuck half way up a mountain with no mobile signal. Luckily, we found a local who had jump leads and we were on our way.
We spent the afternoon exploring Stellenbosch; South Africa’s wine region. There are hundreds of vineyards so it was very hard to decide where to go. In the end, we started with Delheim, because I’d liked the wine we tried at Galbi. I like to think we made a good decision; as it was a very colonial looking vineyard; was incredibly beautiful and we had a delicious lunch of springbok and greek salad. We tried their chenin blanc and sauvignon blanc; and left very happy indeed.
Whilst there, we got talking to some locals who recommended Hidden Valley and Ernie Ells. Although it was a 30 minute drive away; we decided to trust them, and go for it. Set high in the mountains; these two vineyards had incredible views and it felt quite luxurious to be sipping wine in their surroundings. Our favourite was Ernie Ells; the views were slightly better and we got to have a little go at golf in between drinking our wine.
At 5pm, we called it a day and decided to get back to Cape Town. However, because Ronnie died earlier in the day; we could no longer use the Sat Nav as we needed a code to re-set the system. So, we took the wrong turn and ended up calling into another vineyard to find their WIFI so we could find our way back.
We made it home just in time for our dinner reservation at Fork; a tapas bar. We both had a gin cocktail and shared a raclette and chorizo tapas dish. It was okay, but nothing special and we decided it might be worth venturing somewhere else for our main course; especially as there were so many places to discover. We soon settled on an awesome jungle-looking place called ‘Madam Tattou’; an Ethiopian restaurant. It felt and sounded like we were in a jungle! We were recommended ‘Tibs’; a dish of stewed beef, served with Isoba (an Ethiopian bread) and the veggie sampler. We both had a huge glass of house wine for 20 rand each. The food was really different – you weren’t given cutlery as you’re expected to use the bread to eat the food with. I really enjoyed it and would highly recommend the restaurant.
Our final day in Cape Town took us to Robben Island; the prison where Nelson Mandela spent 18 years of his imprisonment. My parents had taken us when we were younger, so I had fond memories of it. However, I hadn’t quite remembered the amount of queuing there was! Nevertheless, the trip was very interesting and being shown around by an ex prisoner was really quite special. We also saw some whales; which I particularly enjoyed!
We had decided to spend our final evening in Camps Bay; so we checked out of our apartment and into our new guesthouse; Balfour Place. If you want to stay somewhere that’s only a few minutes walk from the seafront; and is really quite impressive; then try Balfour Place. We were just frustrated that we couldn’t stay longer! Also, the first day in which we had a swimming pool; it was too cold and windy to use it! Typical… and our sun burn had nearly disappeared!
We walked along the beautiful beach; and stopped for drinks at a couple of places along the promenade. We shared a starter of grilled calamari at Mantra Café; which was probably the best calamari I’ve ever had – even Tom liked it! We loved the views from the restaurant and could have stayed all evening, however, we had a dinner booking at the Codfather.
The Codfather was mobbed! There were way too many tables; people everywhere and it just looked a little chaotic. We had been recommended to go there by quite a few people; but the atmosphere just wasn’t for us…. And it seemed to be the only restaurant in Camps Bay without a view of the sea! So, we ended up choosing Ocean Blue for our dinner destination. 40 rand a cocktail (£2ish) and a heck of a lot cheaper than the Codfather; we were in danger of getting a little carried away.
We started off with a springbok carpaccio; and then had swordfish and kingklip for our mains. Everything was lovely; and made even better by the relaxed feel of the restaurant and the views of the sea. We concluded our final night in Cape Town very content with our choice to swap restaurants.