By MONICA ADORNO
It’s little wonder that gorgeous Cape Town is South Africa’s most visited metropolis. The Mother City, as she is affectionately known, occupies a seriously stunning landscape filled with some of the best-known national parks and game reserves in the world, not to mention the iconic Table Mountain. So you can imagine my joy at being invited on a family holiday, the kind that your parents take you on when you’re still a kid, the free kind, to visit a family friend who moved out there. “Absolutely!!”, I yelled down the phone. “Count Me In.”
From the moment we stepped off the plane, buzzing with excitement, the country embraced us. Everyone, from the airline staff to the taxi driver who dropped us off at our charming little guesthouse, was so friendly. After checking in we sat down to enjoy a glass of chilled South African wine on our terrace and admired the superb view of the bay.
From our guesthouse, situated in the luxurious residential area of Fresnaye, we took a stroll towards the famous V&A Waterfront which we later discovered started off as a small jetty built in 1654 by Jan van Riebeeck. It was set up to establish a refreshment station at the foot of Africa for the Dutch East India Company. Dutch ships sailing to Eastern Africa, India, and the Far East would stop over to re-energise while on their quest for treasure. We enjoyed a delicious dinner of rustic al fresco fish and chips followed by a spectacular sunset. Over the next few days we returned to the V&A Waterfront to sample some of the other fare on offer at these fantastic Cape Town restaurants (there are over 80 restaurants in the one complex).
The next day, on the recommendation of the lovely owner of our guesthouse, we drove to Chapman’s Peak Drive. You can also walk or cycle the route but if you enjoy driving then do that as it’s less sweaty and a lot more thrilling! For 10 km, the road carves into the mountainside on one side, while on the other side it drops hundreds of metres to the ocean. It was slightly terrifying but the route is said to be one of the most stunning stretches of coastal road in the world, so it’s worth the panic. We pulled up in one of the numerous parking bays and ate a picnic on a slope while admiring the view and taking photos of Hout Bay.
Next on the agenda was kloofing on Table Mountain. Kloofing means canyoning in South Africa and it combines climbing, hiking, swimming, and jumping. Seeing everyone preparing to jump from 15 metres high was possibly more hilarious than the actual activity – a definite trip highlight, everyone should kloof. We booked with Abseil Africa. Make sure you book with a responsible tour operator.
We also left ourselves plenty of time to explore some of the shopping on offer. I picked up some intricately carved wooden animals at Kalk Bay Gallery and Dad picked up some bottles at Caroline’s Fine Wines on 15 Long St for all the family to enjoy back home in the UK.
Monica Adorno is a snowsports writer living and working in London. She spent her university days hitch hiking across Central America and South East Asia. She plans to conquer Mount Everest and marry explorer Bruce Parry!