How the beauty of Cape Town can change your life

Visiting Cape Town can change your life.

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

I never lived in Cape Town, but I wish I had. Growing up in South Africa meant I got to visit many times, and if I was to ever move back it would be to Cape Town for sure.

Nestled on the southern tip of the African continent it flanks the skirts of the Cape Fold Mountains and is cupped by the converging Atlantic and Indian Oceans. It has the well-deserved reputation for being one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

It has all the things I love – stunning seascapes and mountainscapes, a thriving art scene, gorgeous old towns and fishing villages, wine farms and game reserves to explore. Immerse yourself in the beauty here and it can literally change your life.

The flat-topped main mountain looming over the city, Table Mountain, is older than the Alps and one of the oldest mountains in the world. It has a unique botanical diversity, predominantly of fynbos plants, as the smallest and richest of the world’s six floral kingdoms and is one of the Seven Wonders of Nature.

When the southeasters blow a tablecloth of clouds pours down its sides.

The last time I was there we stayed outside of the city overlooking the ocean at Hout Bay. The time before I think it was Bantry Bay with its cliff-side condominiums and hotels and views of Clifton Beaches. Both places were a delight.

Chapman’s Peak Drive

An Adrenalin Road Trip

From Hout Bay we took Chapman’s Peak Drive, a winding, cliff-edge drive with heart-stopping views of the Atlantic Ocean. It’s one of the most spectacular marine drives in the world, steep cliffs on one side, ocean for days on the other.

The road continues through the mountains, isolated and untamed, and down the other side where you can visit the naval hub at Simon’s Town and a string of my favorite little fishing towns, including the penguin colony at Boulders Beach, Fish Hoek, Kalk Bay and St. James.

Cape Point Stunner

We visited Cape Point too, part of the Table Mountain National Park where you can take the funicular up to the lighthouse and gaze out from the cliffs to where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans merge and crash onto the rocks below.

I’m so in love with those expanses of ocean with their its huge, pounding waves. They swirl and crashes around the coastline like a living creature, dangerous, untamed, with a beauty that can rip your heart out.

There are so many beautiful small towns around Cape Town. On our last trip we drove out to Franschhoek to visit its many art galleries and have lunch at one of the artisanal vineyards. The area is known for its French influence and incredible food and the town is so pretty with its Cape Dutch architecture and mountain views. Also worth a visit in the area is Stellenbosch, full of galleries, restaurants and shopping and pretty architecture.

Reminiscing about my times in Cape Town evokes a deep longing inside me. I miss South Africa even as I love my new home in the United States. I’m sitting at my desk in Connecticut as I write this and as I glanced out the window I saw two squirrels romping. They remind me of their cousins I first saw as a child in the gardens of Cape Town. Their playful antics made me laugh then, and I’m smiling now.

I cannot recommend a trip to South Africa without a warning that crime is an issue. Please stay with your group and don’t go anywhere alone. Poverty is real. Driving from the airport to the city you’ll pass acres of shanty towns along the highway, corrugated tin and other scrap material formed into tiny box dwellings, jumbled together in a picture of squalor. While you’re there you may find a place where you can help and make a real difference in people’s lives.

And tourism helps the economy. I hope you’ll get to visit Cape Town one day if you haven’t already. I believe it’s a part of a South Africa visit everyone who loves to travel should have on their bucket list. It will blow your mind, change your outlook and even your life. Personally, I’m already looking forward to my next trip.

Some of my Favorite Cape Town Treats.

There are so many things to do the list could seriously go on forever, but here are some of my favorite Cape Town things to do:

  1. Visit the penguin colony at Boulders Beach.
  2. Have lunch at the Brass Bell restaurant in Kalk Bay. You walk under the oceanside railway line to get there and dine just above the waves.
  3. Tour the wine cellars at Groot Constantia, the oldest wine estate in the country dating back to the 1600’s with its Cape Dutch architecture and stately oak trees.
  4. Tour the Constantia wine route and visit some stunning wineries.
  5. Take the Cable Car to the top of Table Mountain – weather dependent so check the weather first – and walk the trail at the top.
  6. Shop for souvenirs and try one of the world class restaurants at the V&A Waterfront.
  7. Drive the loop across the mountains and down through the fishing villages of Fish Hoek, Kalk Bay, and St. James. Stop for lots of shopping and food.
  8. Take a picnic, watch the kitesurfing, and go for a long walk at Blouberg Strand’s Big Bay. You’ll also get to see the most famous view of Table Mountain from there.

4 thoughts on “How the beauty of Cape Town can change your life”

  1. Lillian McCabe

    Greetings, Colleen –

    We enjoyed your beautiful photos and descriptions of drives, bays, and special spots, you and Barry must have enjoyed them all on what we think was a recent trip. So neat that you can make trips back and explore different areas of your native South Africa ! Some of your pics reminded me of coastal areas in Chile, my mother’s native country, from a trip a cousin and I made there a few years ago. Some of the Pacific coastal bays and developments, the wineries in Chile, looked similar to the Atlantic and spots in South Africa.

    Enjoy springtime in Connecticut and see you at Emerald Crest !

    Lillian and Dan McCabe

    1. Lillian and Dan how lovely to hear from you. The trip was amazing but seems a long time ago now. I’m busy posting about another trip so watch out for my email coming soon.
      Looking forward to seeing you in person this summer!
      Colleen

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