After a 25 day safari almost anything would feel like a letdown… Until we went to Cape Town! All of our energy went into planning the Safari, so Cape Town was kind of a bonus. As soon as we picked up our rental car we drove along the coast to Boulders Beach, home of the African Penguin! Yes, penguins! Happily swimming and waddling on the shores of Cape Town.
It was a super windy day and afterwards you could have sanded down an end table with the amount of sand in my hair, but we endured it to get some great views of the floppy little critters and the picturesque beach.
One interesting thing about South Africans, they all idolize America. Gregor and I like to ask everyone who expresses positivity towards America where they hope to visit someday. The answers are pretty diverse. Mostly, New York, California, Miami, but one person said, “Oh, definitely Missouri!” to which we replied, “I’m sorry, did you just say Missouri?” “Yes, Missouri! My cousin lives there and it is the most beautiful place in the world.” I have never even thought of going to Missouri, what am I doing traveling all around the world when the best place on Earth is in my own country?
In any case, as one cashier told me, “Everyone in South Africa dreams of going to the US.” I told him the US is great, but it has good and bad just like every country. “There is nothing bad about the United States!” he exclaimed. Well, it is certainly nice to meet people who give you this perspective when you feel like the inmates are running the asylum.
We rented an Airbnb with a kitchen which turned out to be great and came with the added bonus of a puppy! Her name is Dory and she had free reign of the yard and would frequently come to our door and whimper a little bit and then come hang out with us after her family had left for the day. It was excellent. Except for the part of puppiness that we had forgotten, which is you spend half of your time with the puppy digging illicit objects out of her mouth. “Dory, don’t eat that [insert object]!”
Of course we had to see wine country so we spent a day in Stellensbosch and wow! So much more than we expected. Not a heck of a lot of South African wine makes its way to the US and even less of it is known for being great, so I didn’t expect to know much about the scene here, but I did pour Rustenberg Chardonnay by the glass at Sibling Rivalry, so I thought, what the heck, we should check it out. I’ll admit, I half picked the wine because it was a decent, not over-oaked chardonnay at a good price point, but the other half of the reason was because it had a screw cap and none of us had the patience for corks at 8:00 on Saturday night. Every weekend I swore I was changing every glass pour to screw caps. Corks or not, the wines were great as were the gardens. We practically had the place to ourselves and really enjoyed strolling through the fountains and rose bushes.
Lunch was our fanciest of the South African part of our trip and did not disappoint. Stellensbosch is very similar to Napa in the way the wineries present themselves, but less than half the price. Actually, scratch that, the wine is about 1/8 the price, the food about 1/3. So we treated ourselves to a really really nice lunch at Deleaire Graff whose wines were in general not the greatest except for the sparkling! I won’t go into the details of lunch because we ate enough to be full until the next afternoon, but it was incredible. If you could also eat the view we would have exploded.
Back in Cape Town, we had several recommendations to go up Table Mountain. We opted to climb Lion’s Head instead of taking the cable car up Table Mountain. Now we know what it feels like to exercise after a month of sitting in the car. Ugh. I really thought I should be set for life after all the hiking we did in Nepal, but it turns out my credits expired. I exaggerate, it was not a significant hike, except for the part where of course we had to take the “more interesting” route, Gregor assured me, which involved some light climbing and edging along a cliff or two. Oh well, what an amazing view! I truly cannot believe this place exists.
We were similarly blown away by the Cape of Good Hope. An ostrich and her babies were nice enough to provide some extra scenery. Babies did not make the “cute baby animals” tally, sorry ostrich chicks. Cute from a distance maybe.
At the Cape of Good Hope we truthfully did not do a lot of talking, just a lot of looking, so we invite you to do the same 🙂
Trio of cute lizards.
Bon voyage, Cape Town! You’ve been lovely. Next stop, Greece.