I LOVE CAPE TOWN
Cape Town lives up to the hype.
We were in South Africa for 18 days before arriving in Cape Town, and everyday we heard, “Oh, you’re headed to Cape Town? It’s magical, you’ll love it and never want to leave.” To which I thought, “Really? You’re the 100th person to say that. I’m sure it’s great, but you also think it’s great because you’re from South Africa.”
Despite having left New York City almost 5 years ago, I still find my feathers ruffled when I hear people say another city is the best. I have always believed that NYC is the best, period. But perspective is ever changing, isn’t it? Can't they both be the best? We'll see...keep reading.
I digress, back to Cape Town.
To answer the question…why is Cape Town such a great city? Here’s a short list:
- It just is. You know how some people are cool, just because they are? Yep, Cape Town is that type of inexplicable cool.
- You have to visit to find out. It’s never been easier to travel here, and once you get here you’ll be really happy with the city’s affordability.
- It ticks all the boxes...trendy, chic, gritty, affordable, scenic, accessible, adventurous and historic.
- The people are warm, friendly and generous. I’ll get into that more later.
- It’s gorgeous, no matter which view you choose (sunrise on Lion’s Head, sunset at Table Mountain and everything in between).
- It’s close to everything….mountains, water, vineyards, desert, bush, you name it. It’s even close to Antarctica (which is on virtually no list for any city).
- Did I mention it’s affordable?
- The food scene is incredible, and only getting better with new things popping up all the time.
This list is only a very small part of why I fell in love with Cape Town (and all of South Africa for that matter). If you know me, or have read my previous post BUNGEEEEEE!, then you know that Derek and I love people.
It’s our strongest bond with each other, and it’s what makes us wildly passionate about travel.
I’m like my father who sat outside on a park bench in Bath, England while we paid $20 to tour the famous Roman baths because he wanted to:
1. visit with the locals
2. not waste money on a tour he cared nothing about (he's seen plenty of Roman baths in his 80 years, I'm sure, and they all kinda look the same)
The more I travel the more I feel like my dad, a few good photos of the landmarks and I’m sitting at a café chatting with locals.
Just how I like it, and a lot cheaper.
Cape Town was like walking into a home and feeling like it’s yours before you’ve seen the rest of it.
Or meeting someone you feel like you've known forever. It was like that for me.
People told me the food in Cape Town would be amazing and it was, but to a former New Yorker, that doesn’t matter so much to me. What matters to me about food (and any business really) is authenticity and passion.
We found that at Addis in Cape…where the owner, Senait, pulled up a chair and told us about Ethiopian food and how her restaurant came to be (and how our friend Nate helped her so much by sending all of his family and friends when she first opened).
And when our new friends, Daniel and Mel, had us over to their gorgeous Constantia home for a proper 7 hour braai (I’m not sure how long they normally are, but I think any less time would be insufficient) where we were fully educated on the importance of a braai. Note to self, when selling a home to a native South African…if there isn’t a proper braai (wood burning, no coal for a proper braai) you can consider it only sellable to foreigners.
Or when Nate (our dear friend who knows Cape Town like a local and gave us a fabulous tips and some friends to meet) put us in touch with Simon and Celia...and our Friday afternoon looked like 3 bottles of their delicious red wine (Simelia), tons of "getting to know you" stories, laughing with their sweet son, Lucius, all overlooking the wine country with Table Mountain off in the distance. It was an afternoon not to be forgotten!
Or when we walked into our local recommended restaurant/bar, Black Sheep, to the music of Rodriguez singing music that for many South Africans was the “soundtrack of the Apartheid” (if what I’m saying doesn’t make complete sense, watch Searching for Sugarman right now!) and had amazing local food while gazing at Table Mountain. I sat there and cried from the sheer joy of the moment. How many times have I listened to his music, or played it for a yoga class, and wondered what South Africa would be like? Well, here is was....a dream fulfilled.
Or staying in an apple orchard on the outskirts of Cape Town filled with fabulous airstream trailers fully outfitted with bathrooms, living rooms and patios…all because the owners have 4 kids and wanted a fun, family-friendly place to escape the city within an hour’s drive (epic idea Jamie and Dee…check out Old Mac Daddy).
Or going to the most “impossible to get a reservation” restaurant, Chef’s Warehouse, for lunch (because we couldn’t get a dinner reservation) and having one of our top meals, but better yet…sitting next to our future friends, Krishna and Neera, who we would see twice more in our 9 short days in Cape Town.
Why didn't we all get a picture together?! Oh well, here's one of the food.
Or starting our trip off right by meeting a friend of a friend, Alon, who we felt we’d known forever and promptly took us under his wing with countless Cape Town tips, an amazing afternoon on his boat on our first day in town and a real commitment to ensure that we loved Cape Town as much as he does.
Or our generous Air BNB hosts, Andy, Wane and Christo, who taught us to fly drones, made us dinner, let us play and snuggle all their dogs and offered to come to the police station when our rental car was broken into (nothing was taken except an empty wine chiller that we should have brought inside)…not to mention the bottles of wine and the laughs we shared.
Sadly, we forgot to take any pics with these guys, but you can find their homes by clicking on their names above.
These pieces of Cape Town you can’t experience with a must-see list, and happens only with:
- an open heart
- an easy laugh
- a curiosity of culture
- a willingness to not know how it’s going to be
- always having faith it’s going to go better than how you can plan it
I don’t know if everyone will feel as I felt about Cape Town (you likely have your own version of a favorite place), but I do know that it goes back to your attitude and the people you attract along the way. For that reason, I now have Cape Town at the top of my “cities to move to when all this is over” list.
As always, thanks for reading…and be on the lookout for our next blog about what to do in Cape Town (a quick list to reference for future trips).
And Cape Town...you have my heart, thank you for living up to my dreams.