10 reasons to love South Africa...
It's been a whole week now since i returned from South Africa, and it is pretty safe to say that I am in love. Theres a whole bundle of reasons that make it such an interesting and beautiful place, but i've managed to narrow it down to 10 (in no particular order) from my travels that i never want to forget! There are heaps of photos following here, but i promise that i have been very restrained. Having returned with over 400 snaps, I think I've done well to whittle it down to this many!
An historical European settlement in the Cape Winelands housing some very attractive dutch architecture, some lovely little shops and restaurants and surrounded by many a vineyard.
2. Cape Winelands
Breathtaking views of rolling hills and rows upon rows of vines, and the free sampling is a bit of a treat too!
3. The shopping
Particularly in Stellenbosch there are some really lovely little shops. Exhibit A, B and C...
4. Camps Bay
A very beautiful suburb of Cape Town nestled behind table mountain and overlooked by The 12 Apostles. This is were my Grandma grew up, and met my Grandad, before she moved over to London.
5. Cape Town markets
Right in the centre of Cape Town the market stalls are full of life and colour. The stall holders go for quite a hard sell, and pounce on you as soon as they see you looking, and make it very difficult for you to turn them down, but still, very much worth a good look around.
5. Table Mountain
The journey up to the top of Table Mountain is a must - you can hike, which takes about 2.5 hours (apparently) or you can take the much easier option - the cable car, which takes about 2 minutes to reach the top - 1,086 metres above sea level. On a clear day the views are endless, however, when the "table cloth" is out you can end up with views of pretty much nothing!
6. Two Oceans Aquarium
The Two Ocean's Aquarium is located at the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town and houses some great aquatic exhibitions - particularly the 5 story live kelp forest and the 2 million litre predator exhibit, where qualified divers can actually jump in the with the ragged-tooth sharks, rays and loggerhead turtle.
7. Victoria & Alfred Waterfront
The Waterfront is a residential marina area developed by Prince Alfred and is great for shopping, eating and drinking, as well as providing great views of table mountain. The renowned craft markets are located here, along with the gateway to Robben Island.
8. Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens
Kirstenbosch is nestled on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain and is home to mostly indigenous plants, and largley native to the Cape region. We went on a rather cloudy day, the clouds were actually spilling over the mountain tops which made for some rather eerie views.
I was desperate to make it out to Muizenberg, (meaning "Mouse Mountain") purely to get a quick look at these legendary beach huts. The beach itself rolls on for what looks like miles and the white sand in the sun is close to blinding. However, it is not a wind free beach, so is great for kites, but not so good for a relaxing day of sunbathing!
I love these birds so much! Their huuuge bulbous bodies and tiny, brightly coloured, gremlin-like heads! Plus, they are monogamous, so thats nice too!
And I've missed so many other great things out - like Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope, Hout Bay, the penguins on Boulders Beach, Bo Kaap and Robben Island, but I think this is enough for now. This little re-cap has not helped my post-holiday blues at all, and I'm itching to go back already - best get saving then!
But as for now, I will leave you with one of the most exciting experiences from the trip - I got to see the water drain down the plug hole in the other direction! CLOCKWISE! Imagine that!