• Amanda Kenise

How I Conquered South Africa in 8 Days: CAPE TOWN


Durban was fun. It was like hanging with the homies on a cool summer day. It didn’t hurt that people were very welcoming and the men treated me as if I was Queen of Zamunda. I learned that my name was a Zulu name and very common. In fact, everywhere I went people kept asking if I was South African. The reason why was because they thought I was a “coloured.” You know, in America we are not too fond of such titles, but in South Africa, it’s what they called mixed race people or those of the lighter complexion.

In Cape Town, the treatment of being thought of as a “coloured” was much more noticeable and prevalent in their communities than any other city I visited. I know it is due in large part to Cape Town having the largest “coloured” community in the country. Let’s not get me started on the “colonization” by the Dutch, British, French, and who ever proclaimed to “discover” it.

Landing in Cape Town, one could mistake it for Western Europe. Not only did they have visitors back in the day, but they also seem to have modern day colonization since soo many people from Europe have settled in Cape Town and pushed the natives out. They even have their little areas within the city. Due to the substantial migration and attention received from this coastal town, it’s what shapes the beauty of its people and surrounding flair.

HOTEL OF CHOICE: Cascade on the Promenade

Owned and ran by a Belgian woman, this small boutique hotel, by far was the highlight of the trip. From the amazing staff that treated me more like a friend than a guest to the fantastic upgraded room, we stayed in. One would’ve thought we were staying in an upscale 5-star hotel! It was 5 star but on a budget. It reminded me of the bougie lifestyle I was born to live, but for some odd reason hasn’t caught up with my bank account.

The owner handled everything. Rather talkative, but was on point with catering to my needs. She coordinated all of our tours and made sure we felt welcomed with complimentary wine and coffee. She greeted us every morning and when we returned and always had a suggestion of things to do so we could take advantage of our time in Cape Town.

DAY 3- V&A Waterfront & Long Street

After settling in and checking in the hotel, I spent the evening at the V&A Waterfront for a little shopping and R&R. The place is full of great shopping and bites to eat. Moderately priced clothing is my calling, so I enjoyed comparing prices and trying on local wear. I even made friends with a few locals. Bradley walked me around the mall during his “tea time” (15 min break) and showed me all the hot stores that people shop. Aspiring to be a stylist, he enjoyed showing me his spots and practically knew everyone in the mall.

Oh, and I didn’t realize how popular South Africa was amongst the celebrities. He said they

have famous people there all the time, but no one cares because half the time not many know who they are. And as soon as he said that, we walk in the store and see Ghost aka Omari Hardwick fine ass shopping. Unfortunately, his guards wouldn’t let me take a pic. Even after cracking a few jokes saying, “I’m American” (like that ever worked before) to see if he’d let me at least say hey, but no luck. So I yelled “What up Ghost” and scurried out the store.

Once I returned home and saw my friend arrived, we grabbed an Uber to Long Street for dinner. Thinking this street was just restaurants and bars were an understatement. It was only a good Wednesday night, and the music was blaring as the drinks continued to flow. I was in love. We grabbed a seat on the patio and enjoyed the scenery as we ate our pizza.

DAY 4- Cape of Good Hope and Cape Town City tour

Cape of Good Hope Tour

Up early, we prepared for our long day of tours. Fitting in as much as we could with such little time, we filled our days with as much sightseeing as we possibly could. The first tour was the Cape of Good Hope Tour. Hands down, one of the best tour guides I had in awhile. You know you’re good when I don’t fall asleep AND I’m participating.

He picked us up, and we were on our way along the Atlantic Seaboard, taking in the beautiful, breathtaking coastal drive with many scenic stops in between, to Cape Point and the Good Hope Nature Reserve. I’ve never seen a landscape sooo beautiful as we drove along the coast. We drove through many neighborhoods taking in the changes in the way people live. Understanding the differences in the Afrikaans (black) homes from the others villages or community is mind blowing. To go from metal shacks to nice regular homes we see every day makes one appreciate the little things we take for granted. They are the kindest people. Don’t get me wrong… thug life exists which is why we did a drive by and not a stop through.

Hiding from the baboons (they attack people) and in search of the many wild animals as we make our way to the point, we take in the mini adventure! I felt like I was Eliza Thornberry (you know…The Wild Thornberrys… Nickelodeon…the girl who talked to animals… like one of THE best cartoons growing up) on my way to discover something amazing amongst the reserve. Once we made it to the lighthouse, we rushed to beat the big groups and made our way up to the top. We were on a time schedule because we had to be back in time for our next tour.

Once we left, we stopped by the historic Simon’s Town to take a look at the large penguin colony at Boulder Beach. They are so stinking cute! I tried to catch one who made its way to the street. Didn’t realize how fast those Lil' suckers are because it wobbled its way into a bushel of bushes.

Cape Town City Tour

On to the next visit, we visited Table Mountain, Bo-Kaap (Malay Quarters), Castle of Good Hope, and Cape Town Diamond Works. Hands down THE worst tour guide ever. I fell asleep twice and it being a rather dreary day didn’t help. And because of it being so gloomy, Table Mountain cable cars were closed. The fog was so thick that it would’ve been a waste of money to ride up there just to have our heads in the clouds.

Bo-Kaap was the next stop, and a must see. Bo-Kaap, formerly known as the Malay Quarters is a historic township bordering the city center. It’s one of the oldest parts of Cape Town. It’s known for its brightly colorful homes and cobbled streets. This area established by the original Cape Maly people who were the imported “free slaves,” brought by the Dutch who intermingled with the community. They tried to keep the homes, which many were passed down throughout the generations, within the community, but some were lost and sold due to developers taking advantage of the housing market.

The Castle of Good Hope was a wash because it rained the majority of the time and a lot of

the parts of the castle wasn't available due to an event. We still managed to see some of the rooms and the reserved furniture of these rather tiny people. I also sneaked off a bit to see the castle water well. Savage.

Finally, the end of the tour, we went to Cape Town Diamond Works. Besides the complimentary mimosas (I LOVVVVEEE Mimosas!) it was rather interesting to hear about the findings of Diamonds and all the work that goes into it. I felt as if I was on the ‘Behind the Scenes: Blood Diamonds’ tv show for the movie. Getting to see, touch, and try on was a great way to end this tour because I was tired.

Ordering in for the night (our hotel food was fantastic! My mouth is watering right now as I write about it), we made friends with the chef, who offered to give us a REAL taste of Cape Town.

Day 5- Mzoli’s and Wine Country Tour

Mzoli’s

Ready to meet up with our new found friend, we didn’t know what to expect. Of course, all those horrid stories I heard crossed my mind, but quickly went away once he called and said he was outside. Walking along the street, we caught a South African taxi and headed to the station. I don’t understand their taxi system. No order at all! It’s not like in America where you give the destination and get out, and they pick up the next. It’s a van that picks up several people, and you ride around until you get too close to wherever the taxi goes.

We made it to the station and walked to the top where they had the taxi stalls and all types of shops and services. Once we found the taxi to the Gugulethu Township, we made our way to Mzoli’s for lunch. Mzoli’s is a popular restaurant known for its proper meat for the braai (Afrikaans word for barbecue). It's popular on Sunday’s because people come from all over. It’s like a big party. DJ and all!

The owner of Mzoli’s focused on the township development and opened up a massive shopping center. Within the shopping center, you’ll find everything from clothing and electronics to a bank and grocery store. In the grocery store, he explained the difference between proper and non-proper food (Proper means natural). He also taught us how to make the traditional dish ‘Pap.'

On our way back to our hotel to prepare for our next tour, we took the long scenic route around the township.

Wine Country Tour

We ended our day with a half day wine tour through the historic Stellenbosch wine region. It was quite a refreshing trip full of lovely couples from all walks of life. We went to 2 wineries and enjoyed the tasting of wines and paired cheeses. I enjoyed tasting the Pinotage, which is a signature South African red wine. It’s a cross blend amongst the Pinot Noir and Cinsault and others. The last winery was the best with the scenic views and paired meat. I got to try antelope and deer meat… and I’d never do it again. I wouldn’t mind a full day tour to explore the rest of the wine region. It’s quite relaxing. Perfect for couples.

What I wished I had time for… Robben Island- Robben Island sells out fast. It's a very popular attraction where the ex-prisoners give the tours. You get to take the ferry and enjoy the views as you make your way to the island for quite an intense trip.

Table Mountain- Table Mountain is a flat-topped mountain overlooking the city of Cape Town. The cable car allows you the ability to take in those views. With Devil’s Peak to the East and Lion’s Head to the west, forms an amazing backdrop for the city.

Full Day Wine Tour- A full day wine tour allows one to visit the Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, and Paarl wine regions. You get to tour prestigious wine estates and sample all types of paired chocolates, cheeses, and meats. You’ll surely enjoy the experience and ambiance.

Also, hand gliding (and other adventurous activities), Township Tours, enjoying the Promenade, and staying for the summer!

EXTRA! EXTRA!

Long Street is a trendy street that is full of shops and restaurants by day and lounges and bars by night. This street reminded me a lot of 6th Street in Austin or Beale Street in Memphis. Filled with an array of different music and vibes, from hip hop/rap to African house music, you are bound to find a place to suit your mood. I found my way back there on my last night. Great way to enjoy a Friday night! The turn up was REAL!

Hands down… Cape Town was thus far the highlight of the trip. So much, I'm considering moving. Everything from the people and its history to the nightlife. I enjoyed myself.

Take me back, XOXO


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