When we first visited South Africa ten years ago, we stopped in Cape Town for a few days and instantly fell in love with this beautiful city nestled in on the foot of the majestic table mountain, the most southern point of Africa, where the cold waters of the Atlantic and warm waters of the Indian Ocean meet – a truly magical part of this continent and the world. We were travelling on an around-the-world-ticket, have a guess, exactly – around the world – backpacking, roaming from city to city, beach to beach, country to country, often deciding in the early morning only were the journey would take us that day. When we liked a place, we simply stayed. A magical time, carefree, young lovers, the days fading into weeks, spent reading, exploring, swimming in the ocean, simply being, yet growing so much by the experiences made, things seen, the people met.
Now, almost a decade later, things are quite different. We are grown up (or at least it feels like that most of the time), we have more money to spend on travelling but unfortunately also much less time to do so. And while I wouldn’t want to go back to living out of a backpack on tiny budget for months at a time, I am forever thankful to have the memories of when we did so. I like the idea that our twenties were all about exploring and visiting as many exotic, foreign and far away countries as possible, our thirties seem to be about simply returning to the places we loved the most. And now being able to do so with our little girl makes it even more special.
Cape Town is an incredibly diverse city and equally offers an endless amount of places to visit – here are what we really enjoyed doing with our 14 months old daughter in the 24+ hours we spent there on a long weekend trip, flying down from Johannesburg, where my husband is currently based for work.
After arriving, picking up our rental car (including our pre-reserved baby seat) we headed straight to our hotel in one of the older, more traditional parts of Cape Town, right on the foot of the table mountain. This cute, little boutique hotel, with less than two dozen rooms didn’t disappoint. We loved the colonial feel, homely atmosphere and great location with a spectacular view onto table mountain from the roof terrace.
After a chilly night (it gets quite cold in South Africa in winter time) and a yummy breakfast we headed out for a drive along the coast. First stop Muizenberg, the surfer hot spot with its endless beaches and colourful little beach huts. Tim went for a quick surf in the rather cold water while M and I explored the beach. The streets in this little town are lined with surf shops, cute bars, cafes and restaurants from where you can watch the surf and enjoy the view over the beach and mountains in the distance.
From Muizenberg we headed along the coast past more little seaside towns and, as Tilly had a nap, decided to keep driving along the coast, taking the long way towards Camps Bay. This stunning road really takes your breath away with beautiful views over the ocean, high cliffs and deep drops and we even spotted some seals enjoying the winter sun upon the rocky beaches.
We arrived in Camps Bay just as M was waking up from her nap and straight away headed for lunch. This little seaside town next to Cape Town has beautiful beaches and lots of nice restaurants spread along them. We loved it here on our first visit and it was so good to return.
After lunch we headed straight to the beach, to give M some space to run around after our trip in the car and of course she headed straight for the only 14 degree warm water. Even in summer the ocean is quite fresh around here and although it was middle of winter, we enjoyed dipping our feet in it. It was so hard to keep M away from the waves and chilly seas so we just gave in and after just a short time we had a very wet but equally happy baby. The weather in Cape town can be quite chilly in winter, often suprising you with ‚four seasons in a day‘ like the South Africans say, so I think due to being wet, dirty, hot or cold I changed M’s outfits about four times that day!
After we headed back to Cape Town and our hotel we went for dinner at the Waterfront, the vast harbour area that has been turned into a lively hub with shops and restaurants. We found a cute restaurant called The Life Grand Cafe right by the water and enjoyed some more seafood, the sun setting over the sea and eben watched a seal happily playing in the waters of the harbour.
On our first visit ten years ago, the day we wanted to take the cable car up Table Mountain but it was too foggy to do so and this time is was closed for maintenance work. So instead we hiked up Lion’s Head, which is the smaller peak next to it. It’s a 30-40 minute walk that turn into a rocky hike right in the end, which gives you the most breathtaking views over Table Mountain, Cape Town and the surrounding coast. M was cosily tucked away in her carrier on my husband’s back, talking way and looking around over his shoulders.
After the hike it was naptime for M and after a one hour drive we arrived at our next destination, which I’ll tell you about very soon.