So you want to go to Cape Town

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by exwhyzee, Mar 19, 2011.

  1. exwhyzee

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    Yes, its hard to get to…located as far away from the northern hemisphere as you can get in Africa and at the end of the third longest (17 hour) commercial flight available on the planet from the USA. Yes, it has a conflicted past as a melting pot of indigenous people, Blacks from the Great Lakes region, Dutch-rooted Afrikaaners, Malaysians, Indians and Brits. Yes, it had a great deal of bad press before Apartheid was terminated and continues to feature a shocking disparity of wealth aligned along ethnic lines. Sure it is filled with strange languages that most of us will never learn like Afrikaans and Xhosa.

    But…man is it worth a visit.

    Cape Town was settled in 1652 by the Dutch East India Company as a halfway stop on the sea lanes between the Far East and Europe. It is dramatically located on the slopes of Table Mountain, a 3,000 flat-topped landmark that distinguishes this city from any other. The city is centered on its harbor, known as the V&A Waterfront (named for Brit Queen Vickie and Prince Al of fabled piercing fame) with its 1882 Clock Tower and 1904 Port Captain’s Building. This heavily visited tourist area is where smart seals go to fatten up before being eaten by sharks at sea.

    The city bowl (the geographic area defined by the mountain to the south and Table Bay to the north) of Cape Town is focused on Long Street, and features landmark buildings such as the City Hall, the Houses of Parliament, and the Company’s Gardens that serve as a central park. Oldest buildings include the 1761 Burger Watch House, the 1701 Koopmans de Wet Huis (pronounced “coo-ip muns dah vet hace”), the 1783 Martin Melck House, the 1751 Tuynhuys, and the 1777 Rust-en-Vreugd – all influenced by Dutch and English architectural models.

    Long Street itself is famous for its cast iron verandas from the Victorian period. Nearby, the Bo-Kaap (pronounced “boo-uh kahp”) neighborhood was settled by early Indonesians and is today famous for its outlandish paint schemes and cobbled streets. A few notable Art Deco and Modernist buildings round out the city center’s scene.

    To the southeast along the Atlantic are the posh beaches Fresnaye and Camps Bay under the dozen spires of the Twelve Apostles ridgeline. The coastline is among the most dramatic in the world and is a playground for the rich and famous. To the southwest along the slopes of Table Mountain are more posh neighborhoods of Bishopscourt and Constantia. The University of Cape Town (established in 1829) and the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden (1913) are located there.

    With all the peaks and mountains, Capetonians have some of the best hiking and climbing opportunities on the planet. The easy way up Table Mountain is by cable car ($20), but it’s possible to climb with a guide. Be kind to the dassies. Views are vast. An easier climb is to the top of Lion’s Head, which has easy-to-use stainless steel handles to climb its sheer rock face. Skeleton Gorge rises from the botanical garden and features a hiking trail through the fynbos (fine bush) vegetation to the top of Table Mountain. Rooibos (of tea fame) and Proteas (the national flower) are products of the fynbos.

    Further south, past Fish Hoek and Simonstown, past Boulders Beach with its orgy of procreating penguins is the Cape of Good Hope, a shard of rock pointing the way towards Antarctica and buffeted by high waves and winds (on this day gusting to 80mph/130kph).

    Continued...
     
    #1 exwhyzee, Mar 19, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2011
  2. exwhyzee

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    Outside of Cape Town are once rural farm communities that have been turned into suburbs…but still feature scattered rural buildings and cool views. An iconic style of architecture that far out of town are stage-set perfect villages such as Stellenbosch with its Cape Dutch-style houses featuring baroque gables, thatched roofs, and whitewashed walls. Farther out, over the Du Toitskloof Pass (and its troops of wild baboons that Americans feel the need to feed at great peril to their well-being) is the town of Tulbagh (pronounced Tul-bakhh”). Established by Dutch and French settlers around 1700, Tulbagh is a day-trip outside of Cape Town filled with one of the greatest collections of Cape Dutch-style houses in South Africa…along with wineries, restaurants, and cutesy inns.

    West of Cape Town is the Overberg (over the mountains), a large agricultural region dotted with farm towns and coastal villages. The central town of Napier features a classic main street (in its hotel I experienced my first real bar brawl!). Arniston contains classic fisherman’s cottages from the nineteenth century alongside the rocky coastline of the Indian Ocean. The village of Elim was founded in 1824 by Moravian missionaries and remains occupied solely by members of the Moravian Church today. Cape Agulhas (pronounced “A-gullus”) is the true southernmost point of Africa and the dividing line between the Indian Ocean to the east and the Atlantic to the west. The 1848 lighthouse is the second oldest light in South Africa and keeps folks from bumping into nearby rocks.

    Rainfall rates increase eastward in an area regarded as the “Garden Route”, as the fynbos transitions into a temperate rainforest. The town of Knysna sits on a warm estuary and is a popular tourist destination, in some ways looking for like a New England village than anywhere in Africa.

    We all have predisposed ideas on what Africa looks like. The scenic areas around Cape Town will hopefully stretch your concept of the African landscape…and maybe even inspire you to save your euros, pesos, dollars, and pounds for your own trip. You really do want to go to Cape Town.

    Special thanks to my tour guide. :biggrin1:
     
    #2 exwhyzee, Mar 19, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2011
  3. nudeyorker

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    Wow you went to more trouble with these two posts than I think I did visiting in the first place.(The flight was a bummer... I went from NY to Miami for a non-stop) I had a wonderful time. When I have a chance I'm going to read all of your links.
     
  4. exwhyzee

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    No trouble at all, just an alternative to chatting about dicks in the chat room. :biggrin1:
     
  5. nudeyorker

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    Well then thank you. I keep meaning to visit chat to see your helicopter thing... but meanwhile I'm impressed.. I'm procrastinating getting ready for a trip to Australia.
     
  6. bigbull29

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    You love the world like me.

    You and I would make good friends (I think so).:biggrin1:
     
  7. nudeyorker

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    This has always been my theme song, for many years I was One For The Road. I'm lucky I have someone to share the world with now. YouTube - Nancy Lamott - Two for the road
     
  8. vince

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    We took a trip in the early eighties down the west coast of Africa on a Polish Ocean Lines (the commie era shipping company) freighter. The MV Krakow was a real rust bucket. We had a 5 days in Capetown and 3 in Durban. It was a wonderful environment but the politics of the time coloured everything and I couldn't wait to get out of there. I have never felt such hatred directed at me for simply having a certain skin. It was horrible.

    I've want to go back for a proper visit ever since apartheid ended, but haven't got around to it. But after reading that travelogue, there is no need! Thanks EXZ... you just save me thousands of dollars. Now I can afford to go to Iran. :biggrin:
     
    #8 vince, Mar 20, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2011
  9. sumdude

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    I always want to go to Cape Town. I mean I do go - regularly. But I always want to go..... it is Cape Town after all.
     
  10. exwhyzee

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    I probably am guilty of seeing the world through a lens of history, context, and vernacular characteristics. You should post some of the spots you have enjoyed. :smile:

    I like to think I'm sensitive to this sort of thing, and although the disparity of wealth was shocking, I personally didn't get the impression that there was much negativity directed at my ethnicity. Definitely a variety of tensions brewing between between countrymen, however.

    I get the impression it is a touchstone of sorts for South Africans...it is called "The Mother City" isn't it? :smile:
     
  11. D_Gunther Snotpole

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    Nice looking city.
    (I have always wanted to go to South Africa ... a South African family lived with ours in my early childhood, and I have a good friend in Durban.)
    Is that the country where you found the guy who had mastered telekenesis?
     
  12. prepstudinsc

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    South Africa is a beautiful country. I have been to Johannesburg and surrounding areas, but I would like to go to Cape Town. The people there are some of the nicest people in the world. I was able to spend time doing some volunteer work at an orphange in a township and it made me really change my outlook on how I perceive my wants and needs when I saw how people made it day to day on such limited financial resources and were grateful for what they did have. We in the United States take so many things for granted. Traveling to South Africa was a blessing to me.
     
  13. earllogjam

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    I have a friend who has rebuilt a beach house there and has invited me to go. I was thinking of going this April but not in the cards for this year.

    I was also thinking about linking the trip to Cape Town with going to Madagascar and seeing the inland swamp in Botswana.
     
  14. DavidXL

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    Funny, on Saturday night, I was out with another married couple, and I was talking about how much I wanted to go to Cape Town (and also to Botswana and the Namibian coast in southern-ish Africa and Tunis and Algiers in the north). Alas, the wives weren't interested. I'll have to e-mail them the link to your very excellent report (thanks much for writing it). . . .
     
  15. curioustitan

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    WOOHOO!!!!!
    Yeah baby!
    Who would have thought that my fair city and home would've received such honourable mention and praise by one as well travelled as XYZ.
    I'm so proud of my little slice of Cosmopolitan paradise....
    Oh and Kudos on your photographic prowess...it all looks so beautiful and picturesque...you've almost captured the beauty and majesty that i'm priveleged enough to have on a regular basis (and sad to say, that i take for granted far too often).
    Oh and anyone else reading this thread, feel free to vote Table Mountain as one of the next natural wonders....
    Go Cape Town.....another satisfied customer..... ;)
     
  16. exwhyzee

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    It was more of a death march...I lost weight and clothes fell off. :tongue:

    I flew into Jo-burg but didn't leave the airport. Maybe some day I can see Jo-burg and a few lions and elephants on safari.

    Sounds very cool, the beaches there are beautiful. I bet the house is impressive.

    Once they know what's there, I can't imagine they wouldn't be interested. Its long been on my list and so glad I finally got to visit.

    Donkey titan, I appreciate the comps...sorry a few random arms and legs got in the pics...pesky tourists got in the way. :rolleyes:
     
  17. august86

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    Wow Blondie,
    I'm sure Tourism SA will be declared redundant after this recommendation. :notworthy:

    Glad our corner of the planet left you pleasantly pleased...
     
  18. exwhyzee

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    The place speaks for itself through the pics...all I had to do was link the pics. Your are lucky to live in such a cool location. :biggrin1:
     
  19. tiggerpoo

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    Dear Exwhyzee

    Are you a South African? You seem to know so much about it. I am a South African, lived on Main Road in St James, between Muizenberg and Kalk Bay. What a fantastic city Cape Town is. UCT is my alma mata. Moved to the US in July 2005. Although I love it here, I miss it and SA very much.

    Kind regards

    Tiggerpoo
     
  20. Dave NoCal

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    Thanks you exwhyzee, this made my morning.
    Dave
     
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