It was unusually hot for Capetown with brilliant sunshine the day we arrived on the 2nd November. Our guesthouse ‘Radium Hall’ in Tamboerskloof was in a wonderful location overlooking Table mountain and the city. We walked down the steps into a vibrant restaurant strip and had a good Italian meal at ‘Mitico’ before getting back and admiring the lights of the city.
In Jo’burg and in Capetown there are electric fences around most of the properties or bars on all the windows of the houses and apartments. People are very vigilant and there is an underlying tension because of all the crime in the country. Very sad for such a beautiful and a country with so much potential.
A lot of the population want Zuma out of the presidency and there was a large protest in Jo’burg the day we flew to Capetown.

The cloud had rolled over Table mountain so instead of going up the mountain we walked down the road and after coffee at a quaint German Bakery/cafe we bought ‘my city’ bus tickets which could be topped up and we went into town. The buses were frequent and medium sized and offered a great intercity service. There were train personnel at the modern depot in the city and it was very secure. There were many street stalls selling fruit and vegetables and all sorts of goods in the large mall as well as many modern cafes.
We walked half an hour from the centre of the city to the V and A (Victoria and Alfred) Waterfront which was an enormous area in and around the harbour which was developed twenty years ago and was full of shops, restaurants and cafes as well as many apartments and a dry dock refurbishing Japanese fishing vessels. The boats to Robben Island
also left from there.

We had a good walk around and ate the most amazing sushi and prawn dishes at ‘Willoughbys’ an iconic institution that Michelle had recommended. It was an enormous restaurant both inside a large shop and into the arcade and it was packed. The value was incredible. I had the ‘Rock Shrimp Tempura’ a signature dish which was 14large prawns and a salad for ZAR13.50 about $13 which was absolutely delicious. There were scores of chefs preparing fresh sushi which was also very good. The food here in South Africa is very fresh and so cheap compared to the prices in Western Australia, especially the seafood.

We made our way back changing buses in the city and went back to our guesthouse on the hill opposite Table mountain.
There was so much to see in Capetown so we took hop on hop off – red,blue and yellow lines firstly doing the trip around to Hout Bay stopping at Kirstenbosch botanical gardens which were located in a wonderful setting overlooking the back of table mountain. It was classed as one of the ten best in world. From there we went through to
Hout Bay where we got off and saw a beautiful seal in the bay and a sand artist who had nearly completed a rhinoceros and lion’s head.
We took a taxi around the bay and had the best calamari at Chapman’s Peak hotel which was another good tip from our friend. After another reasonable lunch we took a taxi back to the hop on point and the bus took us along the beautiful coastline with the mountains on one side and houses and apartments close to the shore. At the depot
for the hop on hop off bus we took the yellow line which ran around the city and to District 6, an area of open wasteland which was bulldozed during Apartheid because it was a multi racial suburb.

We decided to go up table mountain as we had bought tickets for an afternoon departure online which were valid for a week but when we got there they told us that it was very cold at the top and as we didn’t have our jackets we put it off for another day and caught the free shuttle to a point further down and then a bus to near where we were staying. The weather could change in the matter of half an hour with the clouds and wind coming up out of the blue. We were very lucky overall with nice hot weather but with a cold breeze.

All the service people we met in taxis and wait staff were Zimbabwean apart from one taxi driver. Most were educated but had left Zimbabwe because there was huge unemployment there. Only twelve percent of people have a job. They therefore came to South Africa and can work there. Apparently a lot of South Africans especially the men do not work and do not want to work so there is plenty of opportunity for the immigrants. Most Zimbabweans we spoke to said that they would go back to their country if Mugabe was ousted. Most of the Africans we met were bright and friendly.

On Saturday, our last day in Capetown we went to the Waterfront to try and get on the Robben (meaning seal) island tour which had been booked out. We were lucky to get an 11am slot so we wandered about and left at 11am on a chartered luxury catamaran. It was explained to us that the old tubs operating the route routinely break down hence the replacement boat. The bus guide who took us around the island and showed us the penguin colony and the limestone quarry where the political and other prisoners worked.
His knowledge was good and after the bus dropped us at the jail another guide took over. He had been a political prisoner from 1984 to 1991 and he gave us a lot of information about the running of the jail and about how they all kept their spirits up in times of crisis within the jail. It was a very informative tour but sad at the same time. There were no windows at the jail and no hot water until 1978 and the inmates had no shoes or socks and blacks had only shorts and short sleeved shirts to wear even in winter. Until then they slept on a mat on the floor with two blankets. It would have been bitterly cold in winter.

Back on the mainland we went over on the V and A Waterfront to the ‘One and Only’ hotel and to Rueben’s restaurant for an excellent lunch. My smoked beetroot and walnut risotto with gorgonzola cream was delicious as was Maurice’s seafood risotto. The sky was blue and Table mountain was clear so we caught a taxi up to the mountain and up to it’s peak. It was a very smooth ride and the views over Capetown, the ocean and the mountains was amazing. We had a walk around the flat topped mountain and saw a couple of Rock Hyrax. When the cloud started to descend onto the mountain and a biting cold wind picked up we decided to descend and saw then that it was 8 degrees. The cable cars had a rotating floor to give everyone all the views and could carry 65 people.
Maurice was tired so he continued to our guesthouse while I went to see the German school bazaar which by the time I got there was more like an Oktoberfest with a lot of beer steins, bratwurst sausages and a loud band so I didn’t stay for a long time.

On Sunday morning we left our lovely guesthouse and caught a taxi to the Avis depot in town where we hired a car and drove up the coast to Melkbosstrand and had a meal at the ‘Damhuis’ an old establishment specializing in seafood and Cape Malay food. I had the traditional pickled fish in a cold curry sauce and a ‘bobotie’ a kind of spiced shepherd’s pie with an egg based topping and a spicy chutney to go with it. From there we went inland to Stellenbosch, a university town and wine growing district.
It was a nice hot day so we walked around the town before heading for Franschoek.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.