If you are visiting Cape Town (as any other city), it is advisable to stay in the city centre. Once you’re in the city centre, it’s easy to walk around the city and see most of the significant sites. It’s cheaper than a red bus tour, and much more calories will be burnt!
On our first day in Cape Town, Ellie and I put on some comfortable shoes, took out our sun shades, and got ready to walk around at a leisurely pace for some hours. We had marked up our tour books and had a clear idea of the places we wanted to see,… so we got right to it!
The thing with walking around Cape Town is that you will most likely stop for a bit to just take in how beautiful the place is. More often than not, Ellie and I stopped to have a quick chat that kind of went like this:
Nex: “Can we please stop for a second, let me just take a picture of this random road that has that beautiful mountainous backdrop.“
Ellie: “It really is very beautiful,… this looks nothing like what I’d see in Accra. I imagine you don’t see this much beauty all around Lagos Nex.“
Nex: “Most certainly not. I mean,… not this amount of beauty, and certainly not everywhere. O wait, turn around,… look at that view Ellie!“
Castle of Good Hope
Our first stop was the Castle of Good Hope. At first, I was keen on seeing this simply because it was a castle, but my interest heightened when I learnt that this was actually the oldest surviving and intact structure in South Africa. Well, when we got there, of course it was nothing like a fairytale princess’s castle – this actually is a military fort that was built when the Dutch settlers in Cape Town feared that the British would attack “their” darling Cape Town. Today, it is a military headquarters with a military museum in it,… but something about wars and militaries just rubbed me the wrong way and snatched away any interest I had in going in and exploring. This however didn’t stop us from taking pictures outside the castle!
The City Hall
Soon after we left the Castle of Good Hope, we carried on strolling through the city, and made a stop to look at the City Hall where Nelson Mandela made his first public address after 27 years in prison. Outside the City Hall was a parking lot (which meant that we were well exposed to the harsh rays of the sun…but I’m not complaining 🙂 ) which was once used as a military training ground. I couldn’t help but wonder if the owners of the market stalls in the now parking lot actually knew the significance of this place. Once I saw them looking at me in a funny way wondering why I was taking pictures, I concluded they didn’t.
The Company Gardens
It’s kind of hard to miss one aspect of the ancient historical narrative of The Mother City: Cape Town was a very convenient place for The Dutch East India Company who used to stop at the Cape to refresh and to recharge before carrying on the rest of their journey. Refreshment and recharging somehow turned into settlement…
The Company Gardens was initially a fruit and vegetable market mostly used to service the Dutch East India Company during their “layovers” in Cape Town. Over time, different species of plants and animals were brought here, there and everywhere around the world and the market transformed to a lovely green garden.
I don’t think I like squirrels, neither do I think squirrels like me very much.
- If you are going to walk around during the summer time, be extremely selective with your footwear. The hot sun and bad footwear equals a blister party on the soles of your feet! Sneakers and flip flops are highly recommended.
- Make sure you’re mindful of the time especially the closing time of the Company Gardens. It’s easy to get carried away lounging and basking away in the sun, and it’s also easy for you to get locked in after the official closing time (which is usually around 6pm).
- Be friendly! You’re very likely to meet other tourists and non tourists along the way who may or may not be pleasant. Some may offer to help take your pictures, others may just hop into your pictures without you asking. Either way, just keep smiling!
Meet The United States of Africa – a Malawian, a Zimbabwean, a Burundian, a South African, a Ghanaian (Ellie) and a Nigerian (Nex).