Day 1 – Robben Island, a Whale, and Waterfront
A crisp and sunny morning greeted us on our first day in Cape Town. We had booked a day-long trip that would pick us up from the door-front and drop back after it was over.
In fact, for all our trips in Cape Town we arranged to be picked up and dropped off from our apartment. That was really great, I can tell you. It relieved us from the bother of finding local conveyance in a new place, and helped us cutting expenses.
Our trip commenced with a visit to the District Six Museum but that was closed. So our tour guide, an excellent narrator, went to great length in taking us through the city’s business district, on to the meandering lanes of Bo-Kaap that wore the city’s distinct multi-cultural identity with colorful houses and cobbled roads, still retaining the look as they were centuries back.
Time on hand, we visited the settlements at Langa and Crossroads where we visited the people living in shanties, watching them cope with daily struggle, before heading back to the city to the lively assemblage at the V&A Waterfront.
Here our trip ended for the first half.
A little later, having our lunch packed up, we queued up to board the ferry for the 30-minute trip to the Robben Island. We were lucky to get to the upper deck, given the rush of tourists, and luckier still to find a vantage point next to the driver’s cabin.
The vast expanse of the azure blue Atlantic lay before us. Our destination was still some 10 minutes off when the man next to me cried out,
Look there…a whale!
Taut with excitement in an instant, we peered at the horizon in the direction he indicated, but saw nothing. Just when we slacked a bit he cried out again. This time some more people chorused with him.
And yes…right he was!
The whale, a huge one, undulated on the water, swimming majestically in the distance. Watching it melting away slowly from our view…we thanked our stars, and the guy who viewed it first.
Ecstatic we were, and why not!
Here are some pictures we’d shot that tells the tales of Robben Island.
Day 2 – Table Mountain, Camps Bay, Waterfront
This was the day we had to us. Tours need not be jam-packed with everyday excursions. I always felt, too much of seeing around tires you fast, and makes less justice to your hard-earned money than you deserve.
We woke up a tad late, jogged in the Company’s Garden, and enjoyed a hearty breakfast in the balcony exchanging notes and staring up at the Table Mountain which we were to visit a couple of hours later.
We bought tickets for the Red City Tour in the double-decker hop-on-hop-off sightseeing bus. This was convenient for us as it passed through the main city attractions. And we decided to first visit the Table Mountain, and then other places.
Table Mountain was one of the world’s 7 new natural wonders. Up at the cableway station you could see the images of 6 other natural wonders – Halong Bay of Vietnam, Amazon Rainforest, Comodo Island of Indonesia, and 3 others.
We stood in the queue for an hour before boarding the cable car, but once on the top we were simply blown away by the sheer beauty of the views around. The day was clear, and one could spot the Robben Island far away in the Atlantic.
Sometimes the flat terrain of the mountain top would be hidden behind clouds, and it would seem from the city below as if the Table Mountain had a ‘table cloth’ placed over it.
Camps Bay was our next stopover. We ate our lunch in an Indian restaurant since it was sparsely occupied in contrast to the other eateries that were choc-a-block with people. The food was pleasantly good, and we even got an item home-packed for our dinner.
The beach, otherwise lovely and inviting, was immensely crowded which made us make way to the Waterfront riding in the red open-top sightseeing bus. By the way the city-sightseeing also had a Blue Mini Peninsula Tour that took a longer route and stretched beyond the city.
The blue route – as it was popularly called – included the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, plus stops in Hout Bay, and an optional township walking tour. For a minimal additional cost you could also throw in the Cape Town Canal Cruise.
Excellent way to see Cape Town really! Get more information here…
Upon reaching Waterfront we were in for a surprisingly infectious carnival atmosphere all around. People thronged in the huge arena, talking, laughing, eating, doing whatever pleased them.
Crowds of people milled around talented mime artists and local bands, even a yoga sadhu (picture above). And if not them, they collected at the mini-amphitheater soaking in the electrifying solo by Judith Sephuma, the popular afro-pop singer and a jazz vocalist.
Wow, what a performance!
We returned late in the evening, happy and content with our day’s enjoyment in the magic city of Cape Town.
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