It was pouring with rain and icy cold on Friday and I was browsing the aisles of my local Woolies, trying to choose between chocolate digestives or those amazing fudge and pecan shortbread, when my phone rang. It was the lovely Natalie Roos, inviting me to join her and Cape Town Tourism on a day trip around False Bay that Sunday.
I nearly laughed at her but it turns out she was quite serious.
And we were lucky, because Sunday dawned sunny and gorgeous. Cape Town was in her element, showing off all her best assets, and my jersey remained tied around my waist for most of the day.
The trip was part of the #loveCapeTown campaign which is running into October. Cape Town Tourism has invited travel bloggers and journalists from around the world, including from within South Africa, to come and experience everything that the Mother City has to offer. There were about ten of us on the bus including Natalie and Hannah, of Cape Town Tourism, Andrew (@guy_with_camera), Meruschka (Mzansi Girl) and Abigail King (Inside the Travel Lab)
Listen, I don’t need to be convinced to #loveCapeTown. This city is in my soul. I know this city like the back of my hand and, still, every day I discover something new.
It’s a city that is forever changing and evolving but at the same time, is always comfortingly familiar.
I think my favourite thing about this city is the underlying passion and joy and drama that accompanies everyday life. From the gentle, towering mountains to the playful sea that can turn from calm and turquoise to grey and angry overnight. The baristas at Vida who have started my making my coffee before I’ve even walked in the door and the cheeky taxi drivers who piss me off every day, until I see two of them working together to cut off traffic and let ambulances with blaring sirens cut through rush hour. Or the time one of them stopped on a quiet road at 3 a.m. and helped a girl I know move a dead cat off the road.
I love that there is no excuse to be bored or lazy. There is always something cheap or free to do, always something different to experience. Whether it’s moonlight bike rides through the city or an early morning walk up Constantia Nek. I love watching the sun rise over the southern suburbs as I get in a morning workout in Kirstenbosch Gardens, or seeing the harbour turn rusty red from my office window when I work late.
Anyway, I digress. Get me talking about what I love about this city and the only to get me to stop is to shove a bacon croissant from Jason Bakery in my mouth.
Sunday was the most wonderful day. I started off with coffee and a stroll around Greenmarket Square as I waited for the bus. When the rest of the group had arrived, we took the scenic route through Lakeside, Muizenberg and St James before stopping in Kalk Bay for coffee and pastries from Olympia Cafe and a stroll down to the harbour, where we spent a happy half hour sitting on the harbour wall and watching the seals frolic in the waves. Definitely decided that seals have a great life. If I can choose, I will be a seal in my next life.
From Kalk Bay we drove along the coast to Simon’s Town and stopped for a walk along the Boulder’s boardwalk where Natalie invented a new thing. It’s called penguining. And it basically involves pretending to be a penguin. It’s great.
The coast just gets wilder and more beautiful the further south you drive. We spotted a whale and stopped for a quick look down the cliff at Smitswinkel Bay, where the homes are dotted around the rocks and in between the natural vegetation and for the life of you, you can’t figure out how they got all the materials down there to build houses where there are no roads.
Lunch was at the Two Oceans restaurant in Cape Point, which has been spruced up since the last time I was there. If you can get a seat on the balcony, you will have the most incredible view down a straight cliff front right into the ocean. I was super extravagant and ordered a platter with crayfish and calamari and rice.
I was totally serious when I said I didn’t think I could finish it because it was so much food.
I basically didn’t talk for fifteen minutes and when I was done it took a special kind of willpower to not lick my plate.
A quick trip up the funicular (my new favourite word) to the lighthouse before we climbed back on the bus for the ride back to town. I was asleep by the time we arrived back at the Cape Town Tourism offices, later than we expected (our guide, Mario, did his level best to hurry us along during the day but there’s no rushing a group of Instagrammers when there are seals jumping for fish and penguins penguining).
I came away with a full tummy, sun-burnt shoulders and a renewed passion for everything this city has to offer.
Thank you Cape Town Tourism for a truly, truly wonderful day.
(I took the WORST pictures. My absolute apologies. For more pictures of the day, check out @loveCapeTown on Instagram).