Yesterday, I arrived home after 12 nights in South Africa. It was simply an amazing holiday with so many varied and fun things to do (from segwaying, to seeing hundreds of penguins and wine tasting). I had a blast.
If you’re going for a few days, you could do a lot, lot worse than doing the following:
Afterwards, after a short detour via St George’s Church, jump on an open top sightseeing bus tour (the Blue Line) where you can hop off and visit, still on a garden theme, the exquisite Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. Meander around the gardens through the picnicers and families. I loved the treetop tree canopy walkway in particular which reminded me a lot of a similar canopy walk at Kew Gardens.
After leaving via the greenhouses, hop back on board and take in the beautiful coastal suburbs of Camps Bay and Clifton. A full loop on the bus route takes about two hours.
Head back to the V&A Waterfront which is the jumping off point to Robben Island, formerly a prison (now a World Heritage Site) for many including Nelson Mandela for 18 years. Boats leave at 11am, 1pm and 3pm and the tour takes about three and a half hours.
On the 45 minute boat ride, keep your eyes peeled – we were lucky enough to see two whales as well as numerous seals. After disembarking you will start a bus tour of the island and it will take you around the main historical sites including the lime quarry (the prisoners mined the stone that built their own prison).
After the tour of the island you will visit the prison itself.
Our guide, Moses, was a former prisoner and provided an unique insight into life in the prison. It was sombre and thought provoking, however, he would not let anyone go away without a smile on their face. He said that it would have made Nelson Mandela sad to see anyone leave who wasn’t smiling. It took me a little while to get my head around that.
Once back in dry land listen to live music whilst having dinner at Mama Africa.
What. A. View. Table Mountain.
I’ve said day three here, however, do this as soon as the visibility and wind conditions are good. It can look like a fine day but the winds can pick up quickly which can stop the funiculaire from running and the “tablecloth” (which is a sheet of cloud over the top of Table Mountain) can also descend quickly and thwart your plans.
You can either hike up (the easiest (still not easy) route is Plettenberg Gorge) or take the funiculaire. I had toyed with hiking up but after seeing just how steep and hot it was, I was quite happy to admit defeat and take a five minute ride on the funiculaire with the revolving floor!
Once up, take one of the free walking tours that last 30-45 minutes to learn more about the mountain, its flora and fauna. You can easily spend a few hours at the top taking in the wonderful views and hiking along the top (so wear trainers).
In the late afternoon, visit Signal Hill winery the only urban winery in South Africa for a wine tasting before heading to one of Bree Street’s fantastic restaurants for dinner. You can read my full post here. I’d recommend Charanga.
It is a bit late for tips for me but do let me know if you have any that might be of interest to others and you never know, one day I might be lucky enough to go back.