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Going around the Cape

So just in case you thought that one blog with photos is all you are going to get from my SA visit-let me assure you my attempt at getting back to writing involves detailed travelogues. I have figured that one of the most pleasurable things in life for me is planning a trip and then being  completely obsessed that we stick to the itinerary I made (which involves visiting each and every damn place there is to see in that area). Not for me a luxury or leisure trip- my trips are all exhausting to say the least!

And as for spouting it all online,God knows there is a requirement for more Indian travelogues out there. I mean Indian travelling to non Indian places.

So continuing with my Cape Town sojourn. Next day morning we made our second attempt at table mountains and yes we reached there to find a snaking queue (took us around an hour to clear it) because it was one of those occasions when the cable cars where working.

A lot of foreigners of course trek to the top and there is a nature reserve as well. However the rotating 360 view cable cars is also quite good. While you are admiring the Lions head and the Bay the view would change and the Table Mountains would loom up suddenly. Your breath really does get taken away for that one moment. The view from the top stretches across the city. Definitely worth the effort. There is a café/shop at the top as well. Only drawback-its quite crowded at the top 🙂

 

Table mountain dominates CT landscape.

The rest of the day was spent in going around the Cape. Hemmed in by the Atlantic Ocean and Indian Ocean, the Cape Peninsula Loop is one of the most stunning drives in the world. This area boasts magnificent scenery of mountains giving way to the oceans, quaint fishing villages and beautiful beaches.

As you keep driving the scenery becomes exceedingly dramatic and picture postcardisque. The beauty of each bay is rivaled by the next . We did 3 comparatively large pit stops-Hout Bay, Cape of Good Hope and Boulders beach.

Overcrowded much?

Hout bay is a fishing town just south of Cape Town. The main street in Hout Bay is full of interesting shops  and there is an excellent craft market. There are also daily charters from Hout Bay Harbour to Duiker Seal Island beneath the well known Sentinel Mountain where you can view thousands of Cape Fur Seals .

Next we headed along the spectacular Chapman’s Peak Drive .

Picture Postcard from Chapman's peak drive

Winding our way South to the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve we visited the Cape of Good Hope. Here the Atlantic Ocean meets the Indian Ocean and a rocky peninsula jets out into water stretching as far as they eye can see. The whole scenary is ethereal.

As we returned to Cape Town we moved along the False Bay Coast to visit Boulders Beach African Penguin Colony.

Little out of place to see something which inhabits the Pole near the Equator!

We rushed past Simons Town and  Muizenberg to head back to Cape Town before night fall. I really wish we had spent some time at these places.

If I were to dispense advice based on experience would say spend a day for Cape of Good Hope exploration alone.

Our Cape Town sojourn was done. It truly is home to a stunning setting of mountain meeting the sea and lucky are those who wake up to such beauty everyday.

But we were not done yet.

We were headed to the Garden Route next! And we even managed to find a travel guide-cum-driver for a reasonable price. This was turning into a dream vacay!

 

 
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Posted by on January 13, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Ticking off the bucket list

So after the wedding was done and dusted I couldn’t wait to get that suitcase packed and run off.I had made it amply clear my honeymoon was going to be in one of THE FIVE places I wanted to see. Cape Town was at the top.Except apparently not enough Indians think South Africa to be a very likely honeymoon destination or destination of any kind. Every packaged trip cost a bomb and whenever I told someone our choice of destination the usual reaction would be

1.”ooh..is it safe?”

2. “Waha to bas kaale log hain na?” (not making this up trust me)

So in a burst of frustration both me and AB stayed up with our laptops one night and booked the entire trip ourselves including the flights, hotels and applying for visa.It cost us a bomb. But it was going to be a trip we wanted with places we wanted to see and at our pace than being bundled around in a van with 10 other tourists and going to an amusement park or overpriced game drive.

To be honest, I was scared with the countless warnings we got-doubting my (please note singular not plural) choice of destination. Will we find a guide? Is planning-on-the-go gonna run us to the ground? Will I get mugged/killed the moment I step of that plane.

So after quick stopover at Dubai I was sitting/sleeping my way on the longest flight I had ever taken to Cape Town-South Africa’s mother city clutching my excel itinerary to heart.

Well the Gods they were smiling I guess. Because from the moment I stepped off that plane I knew this was going to be the memorable trip I had always wanted.

Our Hotel was right next to the V&A waterfront. It reminded me a bit of Clark Quay but a lot prettier.

The Victoria and Alfred Waterfront is the centre of CT tourist's social life

There were pubs music shops restaurants by docks as sailboats splashed on the docks inviting tourists like us for a sunset cruise. Of course we had to have experienced every tourist trap there is.

Sunset Cruise on the Atlantic

The champaigne, the sunset, the beauty was all very heady and finally the husband agreed that maybe maybe that hole in the pocket was worth it!

Spell binding view of city

The next day we left early to visit Cape Town’s main attraction the Table Mountain. The flat-topped Table Mountain dominates the City skyline and is now one of the world’s seven natural wonders.But when we got there we realized it was quite possible that we maybe leaving this continent without seeing the top if it. Gale winds are common at the top of the mountain and authorities dont take any chances with the cable car.

With our spirits a little lower than before we set off for Robbins Island tour.  When we were talking to couple of agents from India one of them happened to mention how quickly this tour sells out. So we had tried to book tickets online the day before we left for RSA. And luckily found what might have been the only 2 tickets left for the entire week.

Robbins island was the place where South Africa kept its political prisoners during apartheid. And we must have been the only honeymooning couple checking out Nelson Mandela ‘s cell. An ex-prisoner takes this tour and it seemed rather punishing to me that someone would want to revisit a place they were imprisoned for decades daily and take a tour of the same.A must visit for history buffs it left us feeling rather glum.

An evening in the buzzing V&A waterfront cheered us up as we stuffed our face with Italian food.

The last day in Cape Town was drawing close and there was a lot to see! (This trip wasnt planned with relaxing or taking it slow in mind!)

 
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Posted by on January 8, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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