Friday, May 20, 2011

Favorite Places Part I: Cape Town

Google stock; Aerial of Cape Town
For a place to land on my favorites list, it has to be unique in some way, and had given me an experience I can't get anywhere else. Every day when someone hears about my travels, I am asked what country is my favorite, and I never have a definite answer. I haven't been able to say what one is my favorite as each one is awesome in different ways, and special in my heart. however I can give you a long list of different places that really stick out in my mind.


Google stock; kite surfers at Camps Bay

These aren't in order of favorite, rather in random order as I remember them. I was once asked where in Africa I would live if I had to choose, and after some thought I believe I would most like to live in Cape Town, South Africa.  I don't think that you will get the National Geographic African experience that one sees on t.v at home, and hopes for when coming to Africa in Cape Town, but that might be why I like it so much. Cape Town is a very modern and beautiful city, situated right on the Atlantic ocean.

Camps Bay

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Cage Diving

The night life is fun and ongoing, and there just seems like there is always something to do. Bar hopping at night, climbing Table mountain, sun tanning on Camps bay beach, paragliding over the ocean, sport fishing, cage diving with great white sharks, taking wine tasting tours... the list goes on and on.

Google stock; Panorama from the top of Table Mountain. From left to right are visible Lions Head, Signal Hill, Robben Island, the Cape Town city centre, Table Bay, and Devil's  Peak.

sky tram up the mountain

Most notable thing in Cape Town has to be Table Mountain. It is a flat top mountain with unparalleled views of the beaches and Cape Town. My ambitious and in shape friends took the time to hike to the top, while I took the sky tram, giving me some alone time sitting on a rock wall just soaking up the majestic beauty.

Google stock; Table Mountain seen from Lions Head

The clouds would just roll right over the mountain like a white wave, and I doubt very much that I've ever seen anything more beautiful. It was very peaceful just sitting there by myself, reflecting on life. Table mountain is a UNESCO World Heritage Sight, but also a candidate for one of the new wonders of the world, along with Rio. No one should go to Cape Town, or even South Africa without getting to the top of Table Mountain.

Google stock; Cape Town wine lands

 Cape Town's transport system links it to the rest of South Africa; it serves as the gateway to other destinations within the province. The Cape Winelands and in particular the towns of Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek are popular day trips from the city for sightseeing and wine tasting. Whale watching is popular amongst tourists: Southern Right Whales and Humpback Whales are seen off the coast during the breeding season (August to November) and Bryde's Whales and Killer Whales can be seen any time of the year. The nearby town of Hermanus is known for its Whale Festival, but whales can also be seen in False Bay. Heaviside's dolphins are endemic to the area and can be seen from the coast north of Cape Town; Dusky dolphins live along the same coast and can occasionally be seen from the ferry to Robben Island. Robben Island is where the prison is located that Nelson Mandela spent 20 years or so incarcerated.

A group of students from my college and I all rented motor bikes and drove down the most beautiful highway to Simons Town and Cape Point. The highway follows the coastline the whole way, with sheer cliffs on one side and beautiful beaches on the other. I'll never forget those views.
Boulders Beach near Simon's Town is known for its colony of African Penguins. We paid the fee for the park and got to walk over to the beach that was teaming with cute little penguins. There were so many little squaking penguins, just hanging out in pairs, or swimming in the ocean. Evidently surfing is popular too and the city hosts the Red Bull Big Wave Africa surfing competition every year.


From Simons Town we rode to Cape Point to see the southern most tip of Africa, where we had heard that you could see the India ocean colliding with the Antlantic... But we couldn't, it was just peaceful seas.

Cape Town was also the location of several of the matches of the FIFA World Cup including a semi-final. They built a huge stadium called Green Point Stadium that has 70000 seats. I remember the stadium well, because it was the aspirations of some of my friends to be able to go into it and play some soccer themselves. 

Google stock; Green Point Stadium.

I think you can probably see why I loved Cape Town so much. It has a little of everything, and is un-ending. I've even heard Cape Town comparied to Rio De Janero, and I can see why.

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