Winter in the Northern Hemisphere can be long and harsh. That’s why there’s no better place in the world to take a little respite from the cold at this time of year and enjoy a much needed vitamin D boost than Cape Town, South Africa. I’ve been travelling to the Mother City every single year for the past 23 years, and I’d like to think that I have become quite the travel expert on the place in all that time.
Over the years I’ve read many articles and travel blogs on the place, but none that really do it justice. It’s almost impossible to capture the beauty of Cape Town and all it has to offer purely with the written word. I’m going to take you on a virtual journey of this incredible destination in videos I’ve made personally of some of the highlights that this enchanting city has in store for you. That way you can guarantee that when you get there, Cape Town does exactly what it says it does on the tin.
I really can’t overstate the case for visiting Cape Town, especially at this time of the year if you’re seeking sun, amazing beaches, outstanding scenic beauty and to be immersed in wildlife. Trust me when I say that Cape Town, in the shadow of a flat-topped mountain really has it all. As an adventurer, explorer and lover of wildlife Cape Town is my kind of city.
Table Mountain is over 500 million years old and the view from the top is breathtaking. It provides a unique perspective of the scope of Cape Town with the city sprawling below. The easiest way to get to the top is by a thrilling Cable Car ride, but to truly experience the rich flora and fauna of the mountain, you can hike to the summit 1086 metres above sea level. There are numerous routes, but the most direct access is via Platteklip Gorge, which takes 1-2 hours. The Hoerikwaggo trail takes 4-6 days to complete and is operated by the South African National Parks. This 100km trail runs between Cape Point, in the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve and the Western Table of table Mountain. Hoerikwaggo is a Khoi’san word meaning ‘mountain in the sea’, as it appeared to the Gorinhaiqua to raise right out of the sea from the ocean bed. Table Mountian has an unusually rich biodiversity and the vegetation on Table Mountain consists of several different types of unique Cape Fynbos, which is the natural shrub land vegetation occurring on a small belt in the Western Cape.
Another of the famous hikes and trails in Cape Town is Lion’s Head. The peak stands 669 metres above sea level and forms part of the dramatic backdrop of the city of Cape Town. Situated between Signal Hill and Table Mountain it was named Lions Head in the 17th century and the mountain actually resembles a crouching lion. Hiking Lions head gives you the most spectacular views of Cape Town; the city bowl, the Twelve Apostles, and the Table Bay Harbour. The hike takes approximately 2 hours and there are two routes to the summit. One is for the more adventurous climbers and involving an ascent using rungs and chains and the other is a slightly more gradual trail. Eventually, the two routes converge taking you to the peak. It’s must for any visit to Cape Town.
One of the best ways to see Cape Town is Paragliding from Lion’s Head. It offers the most spectacular views and is the icing on the cake to make your Lion’s Head experience complete.
A trip to Cape Town means immersing yourself in nature and this is one of the few places on earth that you can really get up close and personal with African wildlife. Boulders Beach in Simon’s Town offers the unique opportunity to swim with African Penguins. Yes, there are Penguins in Africa!
Boulders Beach forms part of the Table Mountain National Park and these penguins wander freely in the protected conservation area. It has to be one of the most amazing experiences and one of the few places in the world where swimming with penguins is possible.
Once you’ve experienced all the thrills and spills that Cape Town has to offer, take the time to kick back and relax in the Cape Winelands. A 40 minute drive out of Cape Town will take you to some of the finest vineyards South Africa has to offer where you can taste some of the best wines in the world.
Babylonstoren is a vineyard that has it all. Nestked in the Drakenstein Valley between Paarl and Franschoek. Founded in 1690 it is also the oldest of the Cape Dutch wine farms. The farm is actually a replica of those that used to supply fresh fruit and veetables to ships on the Spice Route to India. The wine is amazing and the flagship wine to taste is the Nebudkanezer. It also has an award winning restaurant called ‘Babel’ within it’s grounds and is must for any trip to Cape Town.
The vineyards of Cape Town are incredible and far too diverse to cram into one blog. So don’t miss my next blog featuring my top 5 favourite wine farms in Cape Town which is a must for any wine lover.