My travel report
Impressions from the Cape – Part 2
Cape Town, from Table Moutain to Waterfront
By Ralph Kratzer
Editor´s note: To remember the first part of my travelogue – click Part 1.
After a long and – at least for me – tiring overnight flight with Emirates Airlines from Larnaca in South Cyprus to Cape Town in South Africa with a stopover in Dubai, we reached our destination for the next few days, the Cape Milner Hotel in the centre of the megacity.
Cape Town, capital of the Western Cape province, is the third largest and at the same time the oldest city in South Africa. In 1652 the first Dutch settlers, led by Jan van Riebeeck, ended up here and settled at the Cape.
Since our day of arrival was the same day as my birthday, my partner Sarah offered selflessly, to consult as first step the Cape Town Harley-Davidson shop to buy me a present. And, coincidence or not, the store was not far from the hotel !!! Two hours looking at Milwaukee motorbikes and two donated T-shirts later, I felt sorry for my girlfriend and suggested to find the nearest pub and enjoy a cool draft South African beer. And again, a stroke of luck, right next to the HD-dealer was a nice and cozy place, needless to say that instead of one beer we had two or three. But especially Sarah had earned it this day.
The next day we first of all visited the Table Mountain, the scenic attraction of Cape Town.
In March, autumn begins in South Africa, and just at the Cape, with the different temperatures of the two meeting oceans (Atlantic and Indian), it may happen that you are confronted with several different weather conditions in one day.
So it came about that when we entered the cable car that would take us to the top, a completely clear view and blue sky prevailed, but when we arrived minutes later on top of the majestic mountain, it was covered in clouds. The locals then call it the “tablecloth”. But it was just this “head in the clouds” that gave the whole thing an almost mystical character. Later, on our way down, the sky cleared again, revealing the sight of the beautiful “City Bowl” of Cape Town.
Next on the agenda was a visit to the Company’s Garden, also known as “The Public Garden”. The spacious park in the heart of the city with more than 8000 different species of trees, shrubs and flowers, had its origin as Jan van Riebeeck’s vegetable garden. Today it is one of the most popular meeting places of Cape Town, for both locals and visitors to get away from the bustle of the city for a few moments.
After visiting the near Anglican St George’s Cathedral, seat of the Archbishop of Cape Town, and a stroll through a neighbouring colourful African market, we went to the neighbourhood of Bo-Kaap (Afrikaans for “above the Cape“), also called Malay Quarter, home for a bigger community of the Islamic inhabitants of Cape Town, mostly descendants of Indonesian slaves brought by the Dutch settlers to South Africa. It´s a picturesque place of mosques and quaint flat-roofed, bright-cloured 18th-century houses.
The late afternoon and early evening Sarah and I spent at the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, one of the newest attractions in the city, a multibillion dollar expensive private urban development project that is based on ideas of San Francisco´s harbour project and Boston’s Quincy Market. There you can enjoy yourself, take boat or helicopter trips, spend your time with endless shopping, visit a maritime museum or the unique Oceanarium, or just sit in one of the numerous restaurants, bistros and pubs located at the quay and watch the busy activity in the harbour and in the marina. All in all a project the city planners in Cyprus could learn a lot from…
In the next part of my travelogue, we visit the Cape Peninsula, the Cape of Good Hope and watch seals, penguins and sharks.
Note: As always in my travelogues you can learn more about an issue mentioned in the article by clicking the bold underlined links.