Africa. What to expect?
The naïve 23-year-old me was unsure, but perhaps a bit afraid, when she first landed there in 2007. She was told Africa was a dangerous and unexplored jungle, a no-mans land, a place you’d probably be abducted.
It was funny when her South African friend told her that she thought exactly the same thing about Brazil (where I’m from). Misconception and preconception walk together, and none are great companies.
Now I know that the continent has tons of different landscapes to offer, from north to south and from east to west. Seeing the beaches of Kenya and Mozambique is definitely on my bucket list; plus obviously I will definitely one day come back, hopefully more than once, for a real safari adventure.
South African Airways was my first impression before arriving in the country. The flight attendants were so pretty and tall, with shiny dark skin and long necks – were those necklaces really stretching their necks? It looked like it. Their voluptuous lips framed their perfect white teeth when they smiled offering beverages.
After landing in Cape Town, I was baffled: the house we stayed in Cape Town was a real mansion with a modern Californian vibe. Where’s the misery?
The “Victoria & Alfred Waterfront” looks very European, but soon the African culture got into me through the best mechanism: music. A happy street band, dressed in matching print suits, sang what sounded like island music with a jungle beats: their deep voices and perfect aligned rhythm could sing to lead a herd of migrating mammoths. I felt an animal connection to these singers’ souls. Or perhaps it was an expression of freedom, like they once were in a cage and now it’s the cage that is still inside them.
Through my South African travel mate, I met these other locals — and they were quite poetic. (Are best poets those that carry a burden?). I thought it was beautiful when one of them said: “The only difference between the flowers and the weed is the judgment”
SO if you are visiting Cape Town, see through the beautiful colonial architectures and find the people’s soul, the people that have once suffered a lot through the apartheid and are still fighting to gain world’s recognition. South Africa is a beautiful country with an amazing history and you have to be there to see and feel it.
Plus check out the following amazing stuff you can do at Table Mountain’s town — not safari related!
Awesome Things to Do in Cape Town and surroundings:
- Learn to kitesurf in Camps Bay – although I haven’t found much information online, I know a friend was doing while we were there.
- See the colorful houses of Bo-Kaap – go for a walking tour with City Sightseeing South Africa. It’s free!
- Visit the Cape of Good Hope and Boulders Beach – Even if controversies say that the Cape Point isn’t actually where the Indian and the Atlantic oceans actually meet, the Southern tip of Africa is an impressive natural landscape and you should most definitely see it. Also, a trip there normally includes a stop at Boulders Beach, the famous seashore spot where penguins hangout. Although don’t expect a Happy Feet scene there: the Boulders’ guys are quite lazy and slow.
- Kloofing and Abseiling at Kamikaze Canyon – Kloofing is the act of ‘jumping out of rocks’. Abseil, also known as ‘rappel’, is climbing down a rock, controlled by a rope. Kamikaze Canyon is a beautiful park with beautiful waterfalls and crystalline natural pools with strategic cliffs that you can kloof (read: jump) off of it, into the water. This all-day tour can be risky if you are a little nutcase, but it is also an amazing hiking trip with refreshing swimming.
- Swim with White Sharks – I haven’t done it, but my friends did and said it was amazing adrenaline.
- Dinner & Bar Hop at Long Street – Full of bars and restaurants with two floors and balconies that overlook the other balconies of two-floors bars or restaurants across the street, the area is vibrant and full of flirtatious people.
- Llandudno Beach — The name is tough to pronounce, but what a gorgeous beach that is: a small stretch of white and soft sand, enclosed by rocks and surrounded by mansions (apparently even Madonna has one there).
- Hike or Abseil (or even just take the cable-car) to Table Mountain – how can you not climb the city’s famous centerpiece?