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Bo-Kaap in Cape Town, South Africa

Well Hello There Cape Town!

By Jenny McLarney

Last updated: 26th October 2011

Five rand is roughly 40p and that’s the price of a tequila shot in Blaauwberg, a suburb of Cape Town…wowsa. An amazing price? Well yes but you have to keep in mind the HEFTY price you pay the next morning. This is one of the first facts that was instantly thrown at me as I walked through the hostel doors and I sure did pay that price. But when the scenery is as good as it is in Cape Town the disgruntled hangover quickly slides away.

Lady standing with arms outstretched on Cape Town coastline

After a rather spacious eleven hour flight that included three movies and two surprisingly good meals I arrived in Cape Town.  The first thing that hits you when driving through the city is the townships that stretch for miles and miles before the stunning Table Mountain. My guide, Cornelia, told me how these colourful shacks are regarded as an eye sore but in my opinion you could put a power station under that mountain and it would somehow look poetic.

A group of people walking through a colourful Cape Town neighbourhood

The walking tour of Cape Town really gives you real taste of the city. Cornelia is great. Energetic, informative…a bit crazy. She also takes you round all the parts that I wouldn’t normally experience, like the colourful Bo-Kaap neighbourhood, the market stalls and taxi ranks. One thing that is a bit unnerving is the stares…oh boy we got a lot of stares. But Cornelia leads you on, eccentrically shouting out information or bursting into song. Possibly my favourite part of the day was the cannon firing at the castle. Four guards march into the main courtyard, everyone crowds round as they rigidly process to and from the gate in preparation for the firing. Now I was expecting a large canon…but as soon as they produce the canon you soon see it is pretty small…the size of a toy canon. After it’s over the main guard casually holds the nose of the canon with one hand and slings it over his shoulder.  So tongue-in-cheek it’s brilliant.

A large group of seals swimming and sunbathing

After a rather wild night out I wake up in my bed covered in sand…a hint that I may have visited the beach at some point during the night, or perhaps  I just bought some sand. WHO KNOWS.  Either is possible. All I remember is a lot of merry singing round the campfire, some seriously burnt marshmallows and tequila. I rush through these clouded memories as I prepare for the Cape Point tour.

A smiling lady holding holding up a tortoise

WHAT a tour. You capture such a wonderful impression of South Africa as you drive down the peninsula. We took a boat to see the seals (they smell REALLY bad) and stopped at a huge amount of breathtaking sites.  These sites are especially dear to you, as is life, after stepping into Cornelia’s car. I think we got off lightly with only losing the bumper when she was a little slow on the break at a cliff face (!) Despite the slightly dodgy driving she is a cracking tour guide…a fact MACHINE.  She knows the best places to eat, she is fluent in the three main languages of Cape Town and she can even give you the life span of a penguin. A word of warning, don’t pick up a tortoise…even if you are saving it from the road they will piss on you like mad. This isn’t some piddly little stream, no this is a serious gush.

Tonight is a night off but I’ve been warned that Thursday night is quite something else. So I’m prepared. I just hope the beach has enough sand…


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