This past month I was able to visit one of the top places on my bucket list – South Africa! Now 3 weeks is nothing to sniff at for time away but it surely was not nearly enough time to really explore the entire country and its beautiful landscape and beautiful people. Over the next couple of posts under this heading I will do my best to do justice to the country that has captured my heart and is just the nibble of the big continent I intend to discover more of over the next decade! Here are just a small sampling of some of the great Capetown Big 6 – six unforgettable experiences that are a “must do” on any visit to this amazing city and its surrounding areas.
- Cape Point
- Constantia Vineyards
- Robben Island
- Table Mountain Cableway
- V&A Waterfront
These by no means are the limits of what you should or could see in and around Capetown but it is a fantastic landing pad for lots of interesting day trips but the city itself can take you days to see depending on what you are interested in. A must though of course is Table Mountain! Although it has not been 100% confirmed, it is believed that Table Mountain is at least 6 times older than the Himalayas – originally an island until the sea receded millions of years ago.Glaciers carved its flat surface and then the mountain gradually rose up, thrust up by the tectonic forces . The Cape’s original inhabitants, the Khoi San, named the mountain “Hoerikwaggo” which means “Mountain of the Sea” – when you are there – ask a local to help you pronounce this name properly.
Now no visit to Cape Town is complete without a glimpse of the mountains interesting phenomenon – the famous tablecloth, a meteorological phenomenon that actually causes a cloud cover to tumble down the mountains slopes like a layer of billowing fabric. There are many stories and songs shared about this interesting site and Capetonians will tell you the ins and outs of how to tell what the weather will be like by it as well. There is one story or legend that tells a tale of a retired pirate, Jan Van Hunks, who encountered the devil on the mountain and in order to save his soul, challenged the devil to a smoking contest. Allegedly they stoked their pipes and have been smoking ever since – the table cloth represents this smoke which happens on a daily basis.
Now Table Mountain is many things to many people but to true Capetonians, it remains the spiritual and geological heart of their city.
Did you know that Table Mountain is now one of the new 7 Wonders of Nature? The mountain’s most common animal is the Dassie or Rock Hyrax. Most likely you will see dozens of them sunning themselves on the rocks up top. They look like fat brown rabbits minus the ears.
A Strange but True fact about the Dassie or Rock Hyrax, is that in a twist of nature that is stranger than fiction, its most closest relative is the African Elephant. There is zero resemblance, they are the size of a house cat and ironically they don’t charge!
Table Mountain Cableway
Take the time to really map out the best choices for your personal interests when you look to plan your trip to South Africa! If you need assistance never be afraid to ask a travel professional like myself.