Yes, I am Capetonian and yes that makes me bias, but in my defence I’ve been lucky to visit six continents and have a reasonable size pool of cities to compare it with. Whilst we may have crime and a largely corrupt government (like so many parts of the world), the beauty of our city is unparalleled along with our vibrant, talented inhabitants and every tasty food imaginable. I challenge anyone to visit Cape Town and not fall completely in love with this cosmopolitan peninsula at the tip of Africa. Here’s why I think it’s the greatest…
I’ve experienced that locals can either make a break a destination for those visiting. For me, South Africans are the greatest wealth of our nation. South Africa at large is one of the friendliest nations there is. We are a warm, expressive bunch who smile freely and easily at strangers, greet each other when in close proximities and apologise when bumping into each other. We form the most diverse crowd with locals who are white, black, Indian, coloured and Asian. With 11 official languages, a plethora of cultures and religions, we really know how to mix it up. As a nation we’ve dealt with the good, the bad and the ugly of discrimination and we’re all the better for it. We feel deeply, we’re honest (blunt at times) and at our core I believe we desire to uplift and encourage more than anything.
It’s indescribable natural beauty.
I’ve seen some beautiful cities in my 28 years, some with great forests, show-stopping mountains or dreamy beaches. Cape Town is one of those rare cities that have it all. At any point you can have the mountains and the ocean in your peripheral vision. At times Table Mountain could be on your left with the sun sinking below the Atlantic Ocean, whilst earlier in the day you may have surfed at the long Muizenberg beach with the mountains to your left. After a 45 minute drive you’ll find yourself in the heart of the winelands with sweeping views of vineyards awaiting harvest and preserved Cape Dutch homesteads. You can mountain bike in the forests of Tokai, hike up Lion’s head for full moon or watch the fishing boats come and go from Kalk Bay harbour. I could go on, but that would give it all away.
Food, glorious food.
Whilst Thai food, Italian food and Mexican food are some of my favourites, I don’t think there is a country with such an eclectic mix of cuisine that all tastes this good. The quality of meat is up there with that of Argentina’s, Australia and New Zealand and we will show you just how to prepare it. Boerewors rolls are famous amongst our locals and whatever the occasion, Saffers will gather to get a braai (bbq) going and put boerewors sausage on the coals as well as lamb chops, chicken, steak or whatever else is going. In Cape Town especially we have the largest group of Cape Malay settlers who have done wonders to influence our local cuisine. Butter chicken, breyani, samosas, baboti, koeksisters plus curry and roti are just some of the foods I grew up eating. We have some of the best gourmet restaurants, artisan foodie markets and bakeries around. You’ll find healthy, seedy breads, great cheeses, delicious coffee and some of the world’s best wine. I get ravenous just thinking about it all.
It’s for everyone
Cape Town is for everyone under the sun from the lazy to hardcore adrenaline junkies. You can find your fix of hiking, abseiling, coffee shop lazing, party rocking, sunset picnicking, surfing, boat cruising and gallery browsing all within a few minutes of each other. Depending on the season, you can tan until your SPF factor allows, pamper yourself in serene day spas, shop until you can’t anymore, and watch a live rugby or soccer match, listen to a live band, be enthralled at the theatre or go SUP-ing in a canal.
We are a bubbling pot of talent and entrepreneurial flair.
Whether you’re dancing to the sweet house beats of a local DJ on a rooftop, or sitting front row at Cape Town Fashion week, you’ll get a glimpse of the abundance of talent on these shores. Our design Indabas, blogging conferences, photography exhibitions, bboys, makeup artists, dancers and artisan markets all have one thing in common. They are artists added their talent to our creativity pot and joining the movement towards self-employment.
Even in the rain, our inner city is pretty.
Unlike some cities I’ve had the displeasure of walking through in the rain, Cape Town’s little city centre does not resemble a post-apocalyptic town deserted by the humans-turned-zombies. They are not ugly to look at, are not rusting and appear to have been thought out before construction. We have our former colonies, England, Dutch and Portuguese settlers and French and German religious refugees to thank for some of the delightful European architecture found throughout the city. Visitors are often surprised at how ‘European’ Cape Town is with its plazas, town squares and European style architecture. Our city hall built in Italian Renaissance style, Art Nouveau touches added during the Modernist Movement between 1920-1930, the oldest original homestead in the Cape Malay quarter of the Bo Kaap, the Cape Dutch Architecture of Groot Constantia and the Castle of Good Hope a bit of 17-century and medieval architecture.
You’ll find us at the tip of Africa.
We are positioned where land and two oceans meet at the bottom of our continent and for this reason you know there’s gotta be a certain magic in the air. Cape Agulhas, a few hours from the Cape Town, is the true southernmost tip of Africa. But once in Cape Town, you can drive as far south as possible and enter the Cape Point Nature Reserve (a World Heritage Site) to find the Southwestern most tip of Africa. The point where the Agulhas and Benguela currents meet will fluctuate seasonally between Cape Agulhas and Cape Point. At this point where land juts spectacularly out to sea echoes many a tale of sailors and ships lost to the seas. First dubbed ‘the Cape of Storms’ by Bartolomeu Dias in 1488, by day it served as a landmark for ships by and on foggy nights, caused many a shipwreck along the coast. Walk up to the tallest point on the peak, the lighthouse built in 1859 which now serves to monitor all other lighthouses on our coast.
We get the best of all weather types.
With a Mediterranean climate, Cape Town experiences dry, warm summer and relatively mild, wet winters. Capetonians live for the summer and everyone comes out for sundowners, parties, live music and drumming on the beach. Thankfully there is no humidity here and the heat is dry and glorious meaning that you won’t constantly be sweating (South East Asia style) and you can get cooler in the shade. Our autumn doesn’t last long but distinctly turns all the vegetation shades of burnt reds, oranges and browns. Most locals just try to survive the winter’s onslaught of rain and cold whilst praying for the sun to return. On nearby mountains, it always snows and we get a chance to throw snowballs and make snowmen without living in the icy temperatures. Spring is spectacular as we are in the rich Cape Floral Kingdom and home to an abundance of fynbos. Kirstenbosch Botanical gardens is a great place to witness the flowers blooming and two hours from Cape Town, you can drive through fields of bright blooms in the Postberg section of the West Coast National Park.
So I guess what I’m trying to say is…I miss Cape Town, its people, food and beauty but I’m so glad I get to call it home.
What did YOU love about Cape Town?