My husband and I just got back from an incredible trip to South Africa. This was my first trip to Africa and accomplished a major bucket list item for me – visiting my 6th continent. I remember mentally creating my bucket list years ago and thinking how incredible it would be to visit 6 continents (maybe someday all 7). Without the benefits of my husband’s job, I am not sure when and if this would have ever been accomplished. We are so lucky to have the incredible flight benefits his company offers and I am so happy we are taking full advantage of them to explore the world and learn more about different cultures and cities. Sorry for the rant – but as it is officially the new year, I thought it would be a good time to quickly reflect on all of our blessings.
Now we can get back to our trip! We flew from Atlanta to Johannesburg (one of the longest direct flights in the world) and then took a quick flight over to Cape Town, where we would spend the next few days exploring this gorgeous city.
Basically I would consider everything in this city a highlight. But below are my favorite things we did during our trip that I would recommend to you:
1) Rent a car and take a trip down to the Cape of Good Hope & Cape Point.
- The drive down to the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve is spectacular with views of the mountains, the beach and beachside towns. It is only an hour drive from Cape Town, but make sure to extend the trip and stop into Simon’s Town to check out the cute seaside restaurants and Boulder’s Beach where the famous penguins catch some rays.
- The most South-western tip of the African content, Cape Point, offers some of the most beautiful views I have ever seen.
- Explore the local park and be sure to keep an eye out for wild ostriches, baboons and antelopes!
2) Hike Platteklip Gorge up to the top of Table Mountain
- While the hike is pretty brutal – basically 2+ hours of a vertical ascent – it is well worth the effort (and avoiding the extremely long lines of the cable car to the top of the Cape Town staple).
- While we did make quite a few stops to catch our breath (it probably didn’t help that due to our extreme sunburn we were in jackets and pants in eighty degrees), the views and sense of accomplishment when you reach the top is rewarding enough to forget the pain and sweat you experienced the past few hours.
- If you are still feeling adventurous, you can hike back down the way you came or rappel/abseil down, if not, take advantage of the cable car.
3) Spend a day at the beach in Camps Bay
- Considered the St. Tropez of Africa, this affluent suburb of Cape Town offers an incredible juxtaposition of the beaches with Table Mountain in the background.
- Dozens of restaurants and bars line the beach offering a fantastic break from the sun
4) Check out the local attractions in the actual city of Cape Town
- Walk the marina, restaurants and shops at the V&A Waterfront
- Peruse the local handmade crafts and arts in the Green Market Square
- Explore the nightlife and restaurants of Long Street
- The South Africans give the southerners of the USA a run for their money – enjoy the South African hospitality and make some new friends
1) Not being able to stay long enough to explore everything else that the city has to offer such as:
- The local wineries – Stellenbosch, Costantia, and Franschhoek
- Robbens Island – where Nelson Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years in prison
- Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens and so much more.
Don’t worry I have a feeling we will be back at some point in the future to cross these off the bucket list 🙂
2) Getting food poisoning on our last night
- Beware of the Thai Restaurant in downtown Camps Bay 😦
3) Traveling for 31 hours through 4 different cities to make it back home
- Traveling on standby can have its downsides. Due to cargo restrictions and a relatively full flight, we experienced over a full day of traveling. However, it was well worth every second of the long flight(s) back and I look forward to visiting Africa again sometime soon!