The Cape Town diaries ~ part 1

Welcome (back) to Cape Town! The last time I visited this wonderful part of the world was the beginning of the COVID years. What a show that turned out to be. After 24 hours of travel it’s great to be back – almost three years later! Whilst here and exploring, I’m going to capture and share out a few experiences. I hope you enjoy reading about them. Without further ado…

24 hours of travel…

Cape Town is a long way from the UK. Whilst it sits in a manageable timezone, there’s no easy way to get here. So after a taxi, a train, a tube across the city of London, and a long flight, I arrived 24 hours later, collected a hire car form the airport, and drove straight into the rush hour traffic! Hectic, as they say here. There’s nothing quite like a kitesurfing session to wake you up, so it was straight onto the water for a strong wind and freezing ocean face planting session. It’ good to be back.

The bigger car rental companies (Hertz/Avis) offer an as competitive rate when compared to some of the (so called) cheaper hire companies like RentACheapie. Plus the quality of car is better.

A lack of sleep…

I was woken in the middle of the night and thought someone had broken in. It turned out to be Spottie the Jack Russell, my Air B&B accommodation dog, scampering around the house. She’s very cute – even at 3am. Joking aside, Cape Town has a reputation for crime. It also has a reputation for strong winds in the spring/summer. Known as the Cape Doctor, it’s believed the wind clears Cape Town of pollution and ‘pestilence’. For many here, that means epic sunset kitesurfing sessions.

I’m using AB&B for this adventure. It made my arrival easy as I had somewhere pre-booked for when I arrived. There is a wealth of options and prices across the Cape but I am finding homes are booking quickly and I need to work a week in advance.

Market madness

Cape Town has lots of markets happening and on Saturdays a visit to the Orangaziecht city farm market is a popular activity. Perhaps too popular. But it’s always nice to drop in and after a few days of ‘adjustment’, I enjoyed my visit. There is a great selection of food and drink, a lot of it sourced locally, but it can be very busy. I’d recommend the mushroom kebabs.

If you don’t like crowds, it might be wise to pick your times. It is also open Sundays and Wednesday evenings. Note – the location isn’t at Orangaziecht anymore, but (confusingly) Granger Bay, close to the V&A waterfront, which is also handy for exploring the area around Sea Point.

Kalk Bay / Namaste Bae

The same weekend, a friend tipped me off about a comedy show on the other side of the Cape. Typically, it was sold out. I sent the organisers a message on the off-chance and they agreed to squeeze me in. What a result! The show was at the Kalk Bay theatre. Whilst I’m staying on the northern side of Table mountain (close to the kitesurfing) it’s only a 45 minute drive to some of the quirky seaside towns of Kalk Bay and Muizenberg.

Kalk Bay is a traditional fishing village, well worth a visit. Lots of coffee shops, hippiesque shops, tidal pools, and people selling kombucha. Which fed nicely into the comedy show ‘namaste bae’ with comedian Rob Van Vuuren. It was both hilarious and cringe-inducing. If I had enough hair to grow a top knot I’d be cutting it off and be eating meat again. Perhaps my yogic healing days are over.

Restricted areas.

By now, I’d been in Cape Town a week. This particular day started off innocently enough with a run, starting from the town of Melkbosstrand – a cool little surfer town further north from the kitesurfing areas.

It didn’t take long to leave the suburban area and arrive to the beach. There was a power station in the distance so I used it as a marker to run to and come back. However. it turns out this part of the beach is a restrictive area. I missed the small, partially hidden in the sand dunes, obscured by the mist, sign, and received a telling off.

It took two security guards, their supervisor, his supervisor, and another security guard two hours (stood in the sun) to determine I had made a mistake and was simply going for a run. Apparently, I got off lightly. Apparently, there needs to be a better sign.

Joking aside, a lot of people get caught out with this. If you’re in the area and enjoy beach walking it’s worth bearing in mind.

Quads of steel.

The good thing about Cape Town is the sheer amount of things to do. The bad thing about Cape Town is the sheer amount of things to do. But this last week has mostly been kitesurfing. It has been very windy (huge understatement) everyday for six days. I can’t remember the last time I kitesurfing six days in a row, never mind in such strong conditions.

A friend of mine arrived from Sweden, so we’ve been dropping into afternoon yoga classes and then heading straight to the beach for some epic sunset sessions on the water. I now have quads of steel. Today, the wind has taken a break. I’m thankful and relieved to rest. I’m also taking the chance for a break in the weather to switch locations and explore a different part of the Cape for a few days.

Kitesurfing happens all over the Cape but the majority ride from the ‘Table View’ side and up the coast. The wind builds closer to the mountain starting at Sunset beach and makes it way along the coast line. The nature reserve of Langabaan is also worth a visit.

PS, if you wonder how (and why) I am able to taken an extended break from the UK, fly south, and enjoy places such as Cape Town, take a look at my first book Adventures In Happiness, which tells a true story of travel, change, and adventure as I transitioned from a 20 year corporate career into something very different

Thanks for following. Part 2 coming just now 🙂

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