School girl in Panajachel, Guatemala, selling fabrics. She says "Why don't you buy my stuff?" I gave her a little Australian flag.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Cape Town....the tourist jewel of South Africa

Cape Town is an unforgettable city and is the tourist jewel of South Africa (or even Africa as a whole, but I am diplomatic). It is Table Mountain that makes it great. The city sprawls around the base of this flat-topped mountain which has welcomed mariners from afar looking for a safe haven and fresh provisions.
Foto above: The Lion's Head from the summit of Table Mountain. Click on fotos to enlarge.

Once you have settled in to your accommodation your first challenge is to climb Table Mountain and get a broad picture of the place. Fortunately there is a cable car going up to the summit which makes life easy. However there is no point in going up there on cloudy day when the "table cloth" is set, for you will see nothing. Watch the weather and pick your fine day. A mini-cab will take you to the cable car terminus, and a little further on to the Kloof where the hiking track starts, if you are that energetic. Details are given in my Bootsnall article Table Mountain

I have found Cape Town backpacker establishments very efficient. Always there is a "travel desk" where they will organize local tours or book you on the Baz Bus to go off on the Garden Route. Advice on "what's on this week" and city maps are forthcoming. When visiting Cape Town I usually take a tour somewhere, my favourite being a wine region tour like to Stellenbosh and nearby wineries.

Mementos to take home? Obviously nothing bulky. I always check out the textiles and traditional fabrics to buy as gifts for friends. Wall hangings, table cloths, table runners, scarfs, sarongs etc are often brightly coloured, and clothing items made from traditional fabrics. Jewellery made from beads and shells are worth inspection.

Cape Town is a fun city to explore. You wont be disappointed and will come back time and again to relax amidst wonderful beach and mountain scenery.

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