20.02.2014

THE BEAUTY OF AFRICA: CAPE TOWN

THE BEAUTY OF AFRICA: CAPE TOWN, Nazlı Tezcan | 20.02.2014

Our journey to the end of the world, Cape Town is one of the most beautiful cities in Africa. The sweet summer breeze that lasts for months greets you as soon as you first exit the airport. Our destination was our hotel located near the center of town: Protea Hotel President.

Before settling into our room, we made our decisions in the lobby with our guide for when and where we would be going the next day. While it is possible to travel without taking a tour, we knew that we weren't staying for too long and we wanted to make sure that we saw as much as possible in the time we had.

As soon as we left our bags at the door we headed out the door. The weather was gorgeous. We also wanted to shed off the weariness we felt from the trip so we walked towards Camps Bay and its cafes and restaurants, all of which were near our hotel. Our eyes were eventually drawn to a little cafe and we sat down. However I was unable to get comfortable since really all I wanted was to head out to the sand! There aren't that many people who go out to the sea and even though it was summer the Atlantic Ocean was cold as ice. Even just sticking my feet in the water made my whole body freeze up. But still just to see the white sand beaches was worth it.

We loved the area so much we ended up deciding to get dinner there. Because we were only 4 days away from New Year’s there were quite a lot of people there and the mood was relatively festive. We chose the Cafe Caprice, which looked nice and popular. If you enjoy seafood then there's no reason to look for any other kinds of food in Cape Town. The best calamari I've ever had in my life was definitely that which we had in Cape Town. Many different restaurants offer a wide variety of different seafood platters; the only difficult part is choosing which one to get!

We had spent a long time traveling and the food only made us crash even further, so after food we headed back to our hotel and fell asleep immediately. The next day we knew we had to be up early anyway for our tour of the Cape of Good Hope.

The next morning our guide took us from the hotel with the rest of the group and we headed out. Our first stop was Seal Island. We got to the village from where the ferry leaves, and noticed that while waiting you can pass the time by shopping for souvenirs and the like.

After a windy boat ride we got to Seal Island. Don't think it's a real island paradise that you can walk around in, it's a massive rock with hundreds of seals on it. From the boat you approach the island from the side and watch them but it's still a lot of fun. Around here you can also look at great white sharks in  "shark cage diving". We thought it was possible we saw a fin poke out over the water, but otherwise we'll leave shark viewing to the next time we come.

We went back and then headed out to our next stop which was Boulders Beach to see some penguins. It was interesting to see penguins wandering around in the summer on sandy beaches. We watched these waddling animals from a platform after which we told our guide that we were starting to get hungry. Actually our schedule called for us to have our food stop at the Two Oceans restaurant in the Cape of Good Hope (and I should make sure to say that the view from this restaurant is truly stunning) but we really were getting peckish so our guide picked a restaurant closer to where we were for us to eat at. Once we'd sat down we ordered some of the incredible seafood platters on offer. Even though the portion sizes are massive, the food is so delicious that you can eat more than one plate. After quenching our appetites we headed out to the Cape of Good Hope.

Accompanied by the beautiful view along the road we eventually arrived at the Cape of Good Hope National Park. Our entrance was cut off by a family of baboons. You have to keep your windows closed at all times because otherwise they can be somewhat aggressive.

Inside the Cape of Good Hope National Park there's a funicular that takes you up to the lighthouse to get a look at the incredible views you get from there. I have to say it's absolutely worth it to look out from the lighthouse and see two oceans at the same time, it gives you an immense sense of freedom.

Our guide reminded us that we had to get ready to go to Table Mountain so we collected ourselves and set off. However I guess we actually hadn't gotten ready fast enough because we missed the last cable car up to the top, and all we got to do was look at the view from the bottom of the cable car.

After such a tiring day we ended up going to Waterfront with its cafes, bars restaurants and shopping. Undoubtedly one of the most famous restaurants here is Ocean Basket so we ate there and then headed back to our hotel.

The next day we woke up early because it was our last day in Cape Town and we still had a ton of things we wanted to do. We first went to a market that came recommended by our guide. Here you can buy wooden masks from Africa, hand-crafted souvenirs and a number of other things. After completing our shopping we headed over to the Two Oceans Aquarium at Waterfront. However once we got there we realized we really didn't have time for it and left it for when we came back next, because we are positive that we'll be here again.

Actually there were quite a few things that we wanted to get done, but we had to go back. This time we couldn't see Robben Island or Safari Park but the next time we definitely will and so we left the city with sadness and the taste of its delicious calamari still in our mouths.

THE CAPE OF AFRICA, CAPE TOWN

Bahar Sinem Özkesici Ünal
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TABLE MOUNTAIN

N. Müge Ünlüer
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