What a city!!
I arrived into Johannesburg after a fourteen-hour flight from Sydney (thanks Qantas). I had an overnight stay in Johannesburg and my friends who live in Pretoria advised me for safety reasons not to leave the hotel, so I didn’t …nor did I need to. I arrived around 3pm and left the next day at 8am. I stayed at the Intercontinental Hotel and having jet lag was up at 3.30am at the gym after which I took a seat to relax overlooking the indoor pool.Next day I head off to CapeTown on South African Airways (lovely airline) and went straight to the Table Bay Hotel on the Victoria & Albert Waterfront colloquially known as the V&A Waterfront. The waterfront is situated on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean and comprises residential and commercial properties, hotels, retail stores and dining. It’s a huge area with over twenty-three million visitor every year.I sat out the back of the hotel once I had checked in as my room was not ready and enjoyed great views of Table Mountain the flat topped mountain that you can hike or take the cable car to the top for stunning views all over Cape Town.There are quality statues all around the waterfront and the coolest are the ‘crash’ of life size sculptures of rhinoceros found all around the complex; there to bring the world’s attention to the plight of Southern Africa’s endangered real rhinos. Each is painted by artists from South Africa’s creative communities who benefit by having their work exhibited and appreciated by visitors.
Whilst the waterfront is still technically a working harbour with fishing boats and container ships, these days it caters more for visitors with waterfront restaurants and cafes, shops and markets. On my first day, I walked past this lovely looking restaurant and decided to make a booking. It was a seafood restaurant but as I loved the look of it, the waiter said the chef could definitely make me a vegan dish and he did; a delicious plate of warm vegetables which I enjoyed with a glass of South African Sauvignon Blanc and finally finished a book I had started some time ago whilst in China.The V&A Waterfront is divided up into five different shopping districts: Victoria Wharf, The Watershed, The Alfred Mall and Pierhead, The Clock Tower, and Breakwater Point. There are more than 450 stores selling everything from local designers to international brands. Also the V&A Food Market was a wonderful place to spend an hour or more with so much to buy; great smells and yummy food. I bought a delicious vegan chocolate cake and some warm cashews. The Clock Tower was a particularly lovely structure as were the buildings all around the complex.
Late one afternoon I took a ride on the Cape Wheel to get a 360-degree panoramic view of Cape Town. The cabins are fully enclosed and air- conditioned and takes about fifteen-minutes for a four-revolution ride.The waterfront has many lovely places to sit and relax. Each day I had something planned which included the hop-on-hop-off bus, walking through the Botanical Gardens, driving along the coastline, boat ride to Robben Island where Mandela was imprisoned, photographing the coloured houses of Bo Kaap and a day trip to the National Park and the Cape of Good Hope which is the rocky headland on the Atlantic Coast (but more on these later). Then after a busy day I would walk around the waterfront to ensure I reached my 12,000 step minimum looking at various sculptures and wall graffiti along the way then finding a different place each day to enjoy a drink and snack.I did dine at a South African restaurant but unfortunately I was extremely disappointed with my meal; one forkful and I didn’t eat the rest! I think when you see the photo you will understand why!But apart from this one and only bad meal, I loved Cape Town and would recommend it to anyone visiting South Africa…it’s fabulous!