12 Hours in Cape Town
When a good friend of mine, Korey got the job he had been working toward in South Africa I was all about visiting. You have friends who say they'll visit and then friends that actually follow through. I've always been the follow through friend.
As the follow through friend, I booked a 4 day trip to Johannesburg with a lovely day layover in Zurich. I'm a sucker for day long layovers, especially in Europe since the city center is usually a short train ride away. With a long layover during the day it's like you get two trips for the price of one! But, back to Africa, I booked my round trip out of Johannesburg since I got a good deal and that's where most of my trip was planned. After buying the flight and doing further research I realized Cape Town is a must see and determined to get a taste of Cape Town if nothing more. I mean, how many more times in this lifetime would I pop over to South Africa?
Turns out there are flights several times a day between the two major cities and the price was about $100 round trip. Fly out early morning and fly back late evening, simple enough. One Hundred Dollars is reasonable but if you're going to spend just one day in Cape Town, how do you make the most of it? Wandering around on your own is great but without a car and with limited knowledge of the city probably not the best way to maximize time. I looked at a handful of group tours but none of them were as comprehensive as I had imagined. I found a few that would be great if combined so I started looking into private tours and made a list of the places I wanted to see. I made a list of the places I wanted to go and started emailing private tour companies. The company I was originally interested in was committed on the one day we were there so they referred me to PG Tops Travel and Day Tours. For about $300 Or R4,000 two people got a good taste of Cape Town.
We got in around 7am on a Monday morning and hit the ground running with our guide picking us up at the Airport. Where did we go? Everywhere.
Quick City Sites: Since we had packed a lot into the day we did a quick tour of the city seeing the highlights by car. Great little markets and some cool architecture. I'd have done a walking tour of the city or just wandered around if we had more time.
Bo-Kaap: We stopped to walk through the streets of Bo-Kaap on our way out of the city after the quick city tour. This area of Cape Town is well known for it's brightly colored houses and historical ties to Cape Malay culture. Before getting on the road we stopped for quick bites at Biesmellah Malay Restaurant (AMAZING samosas & baked goods).
The Drive out to the Cape of Good Hope: We drove along the coast for most of our ride and it was breathtaking. We stopped at various points along the way to take a quick walk, take a few pictures and just enjoy the moments. This reminded me of walking along the coastal areas of Australia. Great views!
Boulders Beach & Penguin Colony: There are quite a lot of penguins as you walk through the colony. It's great but a bit touristy so there's also a little beach nearby where you can get up close and personal (not too close though, they're wild). There is also a cute little ice cream shop in Simons Town nearby with unique flavors and good coffee.
Cape of Good Hope & Cape Point: Table Mountain National Park was the main attraction of our drive. The Cape of Good Hope is a part of the larger park with tons of outdoor fun for anyone into hiking or wildlife. The views are beautiful! At one point in time Cape Point was thought to be the southern tip of Africa but science later proved this untrue. It was super windy near Cape Point so I'm glad I bought a light jacket.
I would go back to Cape Town in a heartbeat and spend more time exploring but you would be surprised by how much you can see in just one day!