On our first day in Cape Town we had a clear plan to get on the Hop On Hop Off bus and head towards Table Mountain. We waked to the Hop On Hop Off office to buy the tickets, but we were informed that Table Mountain was closed due to very strong wind. So faced with this obvious miscalculation in our plan, we decided to still get the Hop On Hop Off ticket for the day (R170 ≈ 11€) and go for a ride. We stopped briefly at Table Mountain, but it was still closed, so we continued all the way until V&A Waterfront. It was interesting to get an idea of Cape Town and it was a beautiful day. V&A Waterfront is a beautiful area with lots of restaurants and shops where you can get quality local clothes and accessories.
We also checked out Market on the Wharf, which had so many delicious looking food stands that we just had to eat despite not being very hungry.
After having a break and seeing a couple of seals at V&A Waterfront, we headed towards The Castle of Good Hope, which is a star-shaped fort built in the 17th century and is considered the best preserved example of a Dutch East India Company fort. The fort was a bit disappointing as there were constructions going on everywhere and everywhere we went, we ran into dead ends and closed-off areas. This kind of thing is usually the downside when traveling during off-season.
You could see Cape Town Civic Centre from The Castle of Good Hope, which was quite an ominous-looking building. Very Mordor. 😉
Our final goal for the day was Slave Lodge museum, so we walked there. Right next to The Castle of Good Hope was Cape Town City Hall, which was a gorgeous building.
Slave Lodge museum was a strange experience. Half of the museum seemed to be a rather excellent and though-provoking exhibition and the second half was a collection of random items, so the overall experience was a bit confusing.
After Slave Lodge we walked back to the hotel to relax a bit before going to the restaurant.
We have selected a restaurant called Chef’s Warehouse for dinner and it was totally worth it. The restaurant was on the small side and was packed. They don’t take reservations, but we got a spot for two on small table, so for better seating you need to shop up early. They only serve a tasting menu, which we ordered and we also chose to have some dessert. All the dishes were delicious! The only downside is that the menu is served for two, but the dishes aren’t really made to be shared between two people. But the presentation and taste were great.
This restaurant was located approx. 1km from our hotel. When we were leaving, we asked the restaurant staff whether it would be ok to walk back to the hotel, but they told us that we probably shouldn’t and it would be better to take Uber. Another couple, who were dining next to us also said that we should not walk. We asked the restaurant staff to call us a taxi because we didn’t have internet access, but then the couple offered to give us a ride back to the hotel because it was on their way home, which was very kind of them and we accepted the offer. On the way back it turned out that one of them worked with one Finnish customer with whom I work! So it is truly a small world.
What I still find difficult is to evaluate the safety situation in South Africa. During the entire trip nothing happened to us and we didn’t face any situations that were even uncomfortable. Well, maybe once walking on a darkish street with some guys hanging here and there wasn’t the best experience, but at no point in time we felt threatened. But everyone talks about how unsafe South Africa is and how we should never walk after it gets dark or you need to know in which direction you walk. We also asked our hotel whether it is safe to walk after dark and they said that it’s ok to walk into one direction, but not the other as there was a park where there can be vagrants and it is not safe. Also maybe because we were two women traveling together and looked like tourists, we received advice to be more cautious? But we did follow the advice and took a taxi quite often. Maybe one reason was that it was winter and there weren’t almost anybody out after dark played a role as well. There were always plenty of people in restaurants, but nobody was taking a stroll on the streets.
And what is apparently very safe, cheap and convenient is Uber. Everybody is using it! And everybody always marveled at us that we don’t have the app ready on our phones. 😀 This might be due to the fact that Uber is operating in a very grey area in Finland and is borderline illegal, so I have tried it only once here. But in South Africa it is super popular. Every restaurant has a wifi, which is protected by the password, but you get the password by asking the staff, so you are can order Uber most of the time even though you don’t have roaming. We also could get a taxi or ask somebody to order us a taxi really easily in Cape Town, but for some reason it was a more confusing process in Johannesburg. There the staff asked us whether Zebra Taxi is ok. Of course we said it’s ok as we don’t know any better. 😉 But with Uber you get the price in advance and in South Africa you can even pay with cash! They implemented this just a couple of weeks before our visit. So if you need a ride, Uber is the way to go.