Trail Africa: 4 Things You Should Do When You Visit Cape Town
There are many beautiful places in South Africa, and Cape Town is definitely one of them. It is the cooler, more serene, more poetic sister of Johannesburg. Don’t get me wrong, Johannesburg (Joburg or Jozi) has its calming qualities – every city has its own poetry – but how can a city famous and also notorious for its Jo-hustle-burg come close to the cool, calm, seaside character of Cape Town?
Cape Town is where two oceans meet. The cold Atlantic Ocean on the west meets the warmer Indian Ocean rushing from the east. So it can boast phenomenal resorts and scenery to staunch your vacation lusts. If you’re planning a visit and wondering about the things to do in Cape Town, we’ve got you covered.
Check out 4 exciting things to do when you visit Cape Town…
#1. Visit Greenmarket Square
The Dutch occupied the Cape Colony in the 17th Century and used a portion of that space – Greenmarket Square – for the sale of vegetables and slaves. It became a car park but transformed yet again in the late 80s into a flea market.
Greenmarket Square was the scene of the Purple Rain Protest of 1989 — when black people protested against apartheid before the headquarters of the apartheid government, which was close to the Old Town House. During this, the protesters fired water cannons dyed purple. Emerging from its unsavory past is a cobbled square hemmed in by old colonial-style buildings, especially the Old Town House and the imposing Central Methodist Church.
Greenmarket square bustles with trade and entertainment. You’ll find lots of arts and crafts; do yourself some good and buy an African mask or painting. Colorful beads and hats will make great gift items for your loved ones. You’ll find buskers on the cobbled stones toting saxophones or marimbas or drums, making incredulously sweet music. You can also find belly dancers and traditional dancers in leopard skins, barefoot, swaying their hips, performing the Zulu war dance, doing high-up kicks, and wowing you. Feel free to visit one of the Italian cafés to savor a cup of cappuccino or a bite of pizza. Otherwise, try some traditional Capetonian food in the restaurants.
#2. Visit Table Mountain
Cape Town has also got mountains, big chunks standing close to your luxury lodge like bodyguards from nature’s security firm. It has also got a large and flat-topped one like a table. South Africans call it Table Mountain. (You may have seen a Miriam Makeba album bearing the mountain’s name as its title). This iconic mountain can inspire anything from a tour in pursuit of transcendental aims to trips in search of pure fun and even romantic quests. A view of Table Mountain from your chic hotel or luxury lodge is indeed spectacular.
But nothing compares with gliding on Table Mountain Aerial Cableway. It is like floating on a new wonder of the world. Look down below and you might spot wildlife dotting the mountain – snakes or mongooses, grysbok, or dassies. You might sight even more. Your guide will be there to spice up this wonderful experience with thrilling anecdotes.
#3. Do a wine tour of the three wine regions
Cape Town is famous for its wine estates and outstanding wines, so this is undoubtedly one of the things to do in Cape Town. Are you a wine connoisseur? You should explore the three top wine regions of Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, and Paarl. But you need not be a wine connoisseur to enjoy the rich natural and man-made delights that these towns have in abundance.
Let your guide lead you through Stellenbosch’s picturesque landscape and Dutch-influenced architecture. And then to Franschhoek, which translates to “French corner,” and which, true to its name, is full of French-style architecture, wine shops, and cafés. Sit back, sip your wine, and revel in the beauty of this town. Paarl, which means “pearl,” offers the stunning beauty of its granite mountains and scenic landscape. It is home to some of the globally renowned wines such as Shiraz and Chardonnay; so here, you’ll be treated to tastings of Paarl wines with chocolate pairing – an experience that will warm up not only your taste buds and blood but also your heart forever.
#4. Go for a safari
Your experience of Cape Town is definitely incomplete if you miss out on a safari. For an affordable but adventurous safari experience, arrange a trip to the Aquila Private Game Reserve and Spa in the Southern Karoo highlands two hours from Cape Town. Named after a rare black eagle Aquila Verreaux, the reserve is home to a vast variety of wildlife you will be thrilled to view under the care of experienced guides.
The Big Five – elephant, lion, leopard, African rhino, and Cape buffalo – are a popular tourist delight at Aquila. In addition to spectacular game viewing, you’ll be treated to finger-licking South African cuisine, top-notch hospitality, and a truly adventurous experience you’ll never forget.
Featured image: @wonderlust.capetown/Instagram
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A writer fascinated by humanity and diversity. He is the author of Do Not Say It’s Not Your Country.
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