It’s 3 AM in the morning, woke up after 3 hours of sleep and I’m crushed. But the moment our taxi turns to the airport parking, I’m smiling. Adrenaline rushes through my veins and I feel super excited. Finally, we’re traveling again! 3 days ago we booked tickets to Cape Town, did a PCR test and here we are – doing what we love the most – getting new stamps on our passports. Here’s what our 4 days in Cape Town were like.
You traveled during Covid? How?
Actually, it was nothing complicated. We traveled during public holidays in the UAE and to be able to travel on the exact dates we wanted, we booked with Ethiopian Airlines. 35 minutes transfer in Addis Ababa seemed pretty stretched but the airline made it very smooth. We did chose South Africa because you only need a PCR test before departure and there is no quarantine required at this moment (double-check it if you’re reading this later).
We did a PCR test in drive-in at Saudi German Hospital – 150 AED per person, around 1.5hr wait (during which we booked Airbnb) and results in around 20 hours. Simple as that.
During the flight itself, things were really smooth. You can say people were not as cautious as we saw for example in August on the flight to Prague but otherwise, nothing to worry about. I still think going to a shopping mall is 10x way risky than traveling.
Day 0 – Enjoying the waterfront and seals
After 12hrs flight, we arrived around 2 PM which gave us a nice time to walk around the Waterfront. We went from a backside where you can walk through Marina – it’s not only a beautiful walk but also, you can spot seals chilling at piers or playing in the water.
The very first thing we did was to grab a food and
wine beer (sometimes you can’t hide you’re Czech) at V&A FoodMarket. Sitting there, soaking in the sun and looking at Table Mountain is something we could do every day.
Day 1 – Hiking Day – Lion’s Head & Table Mountain
New York has Time Square, Cape Town has Lion’s Head and Table Mountain. You can’t miss that hike. What usually would be pretty crowded were – luckily for us – very nice spots with only a few people around.
We did Lion’s Head in the morning (took Uber there, it’s 15 mins from the city center). Fairly easy hike up until the last part where you need to climb a few ladders and the steps get steep. It’s a beautiful 1.5hr long track where you get 360 views of the city and Table Mountain. If you’re not keen on 2 hikes or don’t have time for it, I’d probably choose to go to LH as it is easier and probably nicer given you can see the other mountains from there.
After that, we went for lunch down to Camp Bay where you can find dozens of restaurants with a beautiful beach view (we were at Surfshack).
Our plan was to go up to Table Mountain by cable car and hike back down. But the cable doesn’t operate during bad-weather days and given most of December is pretty windy in Cape Town, it was no surprise it was not working that day (you check this on their website). No other option than to hike up there. There’s a bunch of tracks you can take, we decided to go via Platteklip George (starting here). That is around a 2km hike with over 700m climb… if you finish it… which we did not 🙁
The hike starts with a nice road crossing several times the Silverstream spring. It’s around 500m above the sea where it starts getting rocky and sometimes you need to climb up a little boulder. From there, we were also struggling with the wind that was getting stronger and stronger. We were having a break at around 800m when we met a South African couple coming down from atop – and they looked exhausted. “Unless you’ve got gloves, don’t even think of going up there – it was blowing us off our feet.” Thanks, guys, I think you helped us to make a good decision of turning around. 🙂
We went down the same way and turned left on Countour Path which leads to the Cable Car station. That was a beautiful track around the mountain where you probably meet several runners as well.
By the way, our original plan was to go down from the top via the India Venster track. Only by the Lower Station, we realized this track is marked as dangerous with a lot of ladders and climbs – so probably not a good idea to use it on the way down during 30km/h wind.
Day 2 – South Cape Trip – Cape of Good Hope and Penguins
I won’t lie – our legs were stiff after that hiking day. Here’s the thing: in Dubai, we walk between 4,000-5,000 steps on an average day. Our Day 1 in Cape Town? 23,000. Living in Dubai can prepare you for many things in life, but walking is not one of them.
That’s why we planned a road trip on Day 2. This is where we went:
- Chapman’s Peak Drive
- Simon’s Town
- Cape Point
- Cape of Good Hope
- back to Simon’s Town to see penguins
- Muizenberg beach and back to CPT
Chapman’s Peak Drive is one of the most scenic drives you can see. Going right at the cliff from Hout Bay, you will have beautiful view on the sea. For a moment I wish I was riding a bike!
(heads up: you need to pay the entrance fee in cash – they only accept South African cards)
Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point will give you a nice view of a rough ocean. There are dozens of wrecks reported in this area and if you go to Cape Point Lighthouse, you can understand why. You can usually see seals, baboons, ostriches, and other animals on the way there. The whole area is a national park (this time they accept cards) that makes it a nice escape from the city (and it is only about 1hr drive).
On the way back we stopped back at Simon’s Town which is not only a beautiful coastal city but also a place where you can spot hundreds of African Penguins. They even have Penguin warning signs on the road – how cool is that?
The Boulder’s colony lives at Boulders Beach. There are a nice viewing area and boardwalks built to make sure tourists don’t disturb the animals. We were again lucky to travel during corona-times as we were almost alone at a place which is reported to be normally overcrowded with tourist buses and groups. If you’re that lucky, take your time and just watch them, how they go to the sea and back, how they get dry, how they try to dig themselves in the sand… Penguins are super fun to watch!
On the way back, we went through a Muizenberg beach which is known for its colorful houses but we didn’t even leave the car in the end – you probably don’t miss much if you go back straight to CPT.
By the way – our driver Barry was a really nice guy, the whole day cost us R1,400 and we got to see everything we wanted. You can book him via whatsapp: +27 61 493 2192. Say hi!
Day 3 – Franschhoek Wine Valley
We couldn’t miss Franschhoek Wine Valley. We’ve been to several vineyards before but honestly, the whole area of Franschhoek is absolutely beautiful! In the between of mountains are several smaller or larger wineries. Many of them are connected with the famous Wine Tram (and trambus). It is basically public transport between different estates – they will drop you there, let you do your wine tasting, and pick you up in an hour.
Can life get any better?
We purchased a Hop-on Hop-off ticket for a green line. It costs R260 per person for the ticket – then you pay your wine tasting fees at each estate (ranging between R25 and R150 per person).
Here are the 6 stops we made:
Fancy estate with many art pieces in the garden. The wine-tasting itself wasn’t that impressive. 6/10
Beautiful place, very good wines, and friendly staff. Definitely recommend their cheese & meat platter 🙂 9/10
This was our rest time – we just had lunch in the restaurant. The food was OK, the restaurant has a nice view of the tram track and vineyards. 7/10
Very different estate – it is more a farm than a vineyard. They are famous for their talented painting pig – not for the wine 🙂 But the place is really nice, a cute, small farm, very relaxed and the wine is actually great. Just don’t expect to get a steak for lunch – the mission of Pigcasso farm is actually to reduce meat consumption. 8/10
I can spend a week here! Richard Branson’s estate has probably the most stunning view all over the valley, a great restaurant, and nice wines! We spent here 2 hours because of the food, wines, and views. 10/10
It’s actually a shame this place was the last stop on our route – they were already closing and were honestly worried we’d miss the last bus back 🙂 but the garden is so relaxing and their wines are awesome! 9/10
Few bonus tips on where to eat (and drink) in Cape Town
- Lambrolla (wraps) and Seven Colors Eatery (sout african local food) at V&A Food Market
- Origin Coffee Roastery – awesome coffee, breakfast, and delicious bagels. Just be careful – a guy tried to steal our backpack while sitting outside – luckily Anna chased him down and got the bag back! ?
- Cowboys and Cooks De Waterkant – a traditional steakhouse with an open kitchen
- Radisson Red Roof Bar – nice bar with a pool on the roof – you get a beautiful view over the waterfront and marina
- Gigi Rooftop at Gorgeous Goerge Hotel – bit noisy, but a good place for a dinner
Summary? Cape Town was absolutely amazing, you can combine so many different activities together with great food and wine. Who needs more?
I love the airport buzz, planes and most of all – the feeling when you discover or experience something new. Together with Anna, we launched our gift voucher platform Ithara.ae. Photos are usually taken with Canon EOS 4000D, my Huawei Honor phone and DJI Mavic Pro.