So my last night in Joburg ended up being pretty memorable. I stayed at a friend’s house that night, which also happened to be the quarter finals of the Rugby World Cup (South Africa vs New Zealand). We caught the end of the game, which ended up being super disappointing because South Africa started out really well, but ended up losing to New Zealand, so everyone was so upset. From there we went to a party at his friend’s house and I had the best time (from what I remember). Everyone was super nice and friendly and speaking English for me (they all spoke Afrikaans) and getting drinks for me. I ended up getting a little (okay, a LOT) drunk, but it was really fun! Getting up the next morning at 5:30am for my flight to Cape Town however, was NOT so fun. It was pretty painful, but luckily I had the window seat and slept for most of the flight (I flew with Kulula, a South African discount airline). Then I had the only bad Uber experience of my life, with a driver that didn’t use his GPS and couldn’t find the hostel, and went past the street a few times, and I ended up having to look it up on my phone and direct him, since he didn’t seem capable. Plus his driving was terrible, so that by the time I finally got to the hostel I was feeling so awful, I barely made it through check-in. All I wanted to do was lie down. NOW. Lucky for me, even though I had arrived earlier than check-in, my bed was already made up, so I went straight to sleep and slept all afternoon.
Monday, October 26, I got up bright and early, headed to the waterfront and did some shopping (I had to replace the flip-flop I somehow lost when I was drunk, oops), then I walked over to check out the hostel that Awesome Travel were opening in Cape Town called 91 Loop. It was still under construction when I stopped by, but I got a behind the scenes tour and it looked pretty amazing, with some really cool amenities, can’t wait to check it out next time I go!
From there I got an Uber up to Table Mountain. I was looking forward to riding the cable car to the top and check out the amazing views, but when I got there it was closed. They had stopped running the cable cars because it was too windy, so that put an end to that plan. I started walking back down the road, intending to get a taxi/uber at the bottom, but as I was walking down, I noticed the mountain to the left called Lion’s Head that I had heard was a good hike, so I decided to go climb it. It started out great, it was a beautiful sunny day and I had lots of energy.
About half way, it become apparent that maybe it hadn’t been the best idea. I hadn’t planned on hiking, so I totally was not prepared. I had my hiking boots but it’d been a while since I’d worn them so they were giving me blisters and I ended up switching them out for my flip-flops (yup, I did pretty much the entire hike in flip-flops); it was a beautiful sunny day, which was great, except for the lack of shade on the trail and my lack of a hat; I also started the hike with basically a cup’s worth of water in my water bottle, so that disappeared pretty quickly and I was sooooo thirsty; lastly, I had my shopping bags with me, so I didn’t really have my hands free and they kind of threw off my balance, so that wasn’t helpful. I managed to make it almost to the end but I finally had to give up near the top when it got more steep and I was wearing my flip flops and all I could think about was WATER. I need water now!
So down I went, which went quicker than going up, but still not quick enough and all I could think about was WATER and I just wanted to be at the bottom already. I finally made it back to the main road, and started walking down, intending to get a taxi/uber at the bottom, but as I was walking, a car stopped next to me and offered me a ride home, which I politely declined since my mama taught me not to accept rides from strangers. So I kept on going, and a few minutes later ANOTHER car stopped and offered me a ride, and so again I politely declined, but added that all I REALLY wanted was WATER! And so he offered me his water bottle. And so I got in.
Now I know what you’re thinking: Stranger Danger!!! And normally I would agree, but I was exhausted and hot and thirsty and beyond caring. And they gave me WATER! And actually, it turned out to be a great decision, they were super nice (there was a female driving) and they gave me a banana and an apple to eat (on top of the water) and they dropped me off near my hostel and there were no issues. She actually taught ESL (English as a Second Language), and he was one of her students. To be fair, I did turn on the gps on my phone, just to be sure they were taking me the right way and not to some random place. I wouldn’t recommend hitching a ride like I did, it’s not really a smart thing to do, and it’s something I normally would never do, but in this case it all ended well. Note to self for next time, don’t spontaneously decided to hike a mountain when you are woefully unprepared.
The next day I went on a tour of the coastal area, with a company called Day Trippers. They picked me up early at the hostel and we drove around the cape, which is breathtaking, then we headed to the fishing village of Hout Bay. From there we took a ferry to Duiker Island (aka Seal Island) to check out the Cape Fur Seals. The island is home to thousands of seals, and the boats will take you close to get a good look at the seals as they lay around on the island and swim in the waters. It was very cool. I wouldn’t recommend it if you get seasick, as the water can get pretty rough near the island.
From there we headed to Boulders Beach, to check out the African Penguins! A colony of penguins settled on the beach in 1982, and they’ve built a walkway where you can go and watch them hanging out on the beach and in the water. There are over 2000 penguins, so there’s lots to see, and they’re so cute! I could spend the whole day watching them and taking pictures of them!
After we finished with the penguins, we headed to the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, where we unloaded the bikes from the back of the bus, and cycled to where we were having lunch. It was a good hike to our lunch spot, with some uphill parts (which are never fun), but we made it and enjoyed our picnic lunch, before cycling to the next stop, Cape of Good Hope, the most South-Western point of the African continent. I walked around, and did a hike to the top of a rocky hill to get a view of the coast, it was gorgeous!
After that it was time for our last stop, the lighthouse at Cape Point. Built in the 1850s, it was decommissioned in 1911 because it was too high up and so the beam was often hidden by mist and bad weather (and ships kept crashing) and so they had to build another one lower down and closer to the water. It’s also the spot where The Flying Dutchman supposedly disappeared and is now said to be haunting the area! I decided to not be lazy and take the funicular and instead walked up the hill to the lighthouse. This was exhausting after the cycling and the hike I’d already done, but I made it to the top and got to enjoy the spectacular views before getting on the bus and heading back to the hostel, where I went out for dinner with two girls I met in the hostel from Israel and the U.S.
On the way home we spotted a pack of baboons along the road and our guide told us that they pay these guys to keep track of the baboon packs and if they start getting too close they shoot a paint ball gun at them to scare them away from humans. It sounds mean, but the the baboon situation is actually becoming a huge problem in Cape Town and in South Africa in general. As their habitat has been demolished by development, they’ve become increasingly aggressive, breaking into homes and cars and attacking people that have food. You can see for yourself in the video posted below.