Summer in Cape Town

IMG_2772It’s either a big shame or a really good thing that Cape Town, South Africa is so far away and relatively difficult to get to from North America.  Big shame, in that few folks from that continent will ever be able to go there and see this amazingly beautiful place.  Really good thing, in that if were more accessible, the place would likely get overrun with tourists and wrecked.

My January timing for being in Cape Town meant I was there right in the middle of summer.  Warm, sunny weather.  Brilliant blue skies.  Stunning.

Cape Town seems to have something for just about everyone.

I stayed just outside of the downtown area in Green Point, where a new futbol stadium has just been built for the FIFA World Cup.  The stadium is a block away from beautiful beaches.  I went to thebeach and hung out, just overlooking the water.  Given that two days prior to my arrival, a man had been attacked and killed by a great white shark in the area, I elected to stay dry and stay alive.

In one sense, Cape Town felt like my hometown of San Diego, with its coastal lifestyle.  The kelp on the beaches even gives the sea air the same kind of smell as you’ll find in San Diego.  In another sense, it felt like Denver, in that the downtown area has a beautiful backdrop of stunning rocky mountains.  In Cape Town’s case, the mountains aren’t as tall as the Colorado Rockies, but Table Mountain is really gorgeous.  It frames the whole city beautifully.

I did a ton of walking all over Cape Town, rather than using public transportation or renting a car. I even walked from my hostel to the Table Mountain aerial cable station – it was about a 10K hike, up about 1,000 feet.  Good workout!  The view from the top is really awesome.  You see the coastline, downtown, other mountains, and lots of plant life.

Cape Town really has a lot going on – a very active night life in some areas, a chilled out beach vibe in other areas, tons of shopping, day-trip safaris nearby, South Africa’s winelands within an hour’s drive, and more.  I dined at a few different places, and found the food to be excellent and the prices incredibly affordable.  And now for something I didn’t know about Cape Town – it’s got a pretty darn respectable coffee scene there.  I visited a couple of shops – Origin Coffee Roasting, and Truth coffeecult.  Both roast their blends, pull quality espresso shots from good machines, and have skilled baristas.

I would highly recommend Cape Town as a destination.  It’s pretty spendy for North Americans to get there, but if you’re going to be in the neighborhood like I was, it’s a must see.

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