The first foot we step into Africa is in the Cape Town, South Africa airport. Minutes after clearing the pleasant and easy customs/immigration we ran into a lady who dogged our every step for the next 6.5 weeks. Actually she became our good friend and we hers, spending the entire time in Cape Town before we focused on the trip in Benji, the truck in our Africa-in-Focus tour: three weeks from Cape Town up through Namibia, turning into Botswana where the Number One Ladies Detective Agency hangs out or so we’d heard and on to Victoria Falls, thence east and north to Tanzania.
We shared the owner Gary’s ride back to the B&B, the Bellevue Manor, which maybe isn’t quite as grand as one might think – perfectly comfortable and reasonably priced. It’s a twisty little maze of old houses ratcheted together into a great many rooms and no overriding sense of architecture. I have not a single picture of the interior and barely one of the exterior of the building. Chalk it up to jetlag.
Cape Town is a gem of a city: sandwiched between the cold, deep blue Indian Ocean and a range of mountains behind. 3.5 Million people live in a prosperous looking, modern city with wide streets, clean and, as far as we could see, bearing no scars of the troubled past.
School kids crossing the street. Maybe the lady with the flowing blue dress is their teacher and the man on the left is very intently talking to the man standing next to him who seems not to pay attention. The signs and the language are all Afrikaans. We’re looking down on them from the top of the double decker city tour bus.
Geographically, geologically the city is stunningly situated: Table Mountain rises 3500′ or nearly 1100 m. over the city and the deep blue waters. Cape Town wraps around Table Mountain and presents visitors with 270 degrees of ocean front.
Nicely provided for viewing is the cable car, a breathtaking ride to a very windy place. Glad we took our jackets! The view is out over the bay to Robben Island and south toward the Antarctic. Probably that’s the origin of South Africa’s penguins (unseen by us).
Downtown streets: Mama Africa’s nightspot on the right. Downtown: new cars, well-dressed people, businesses occupied, sidewalks full. Everything was as is should have been. South Africa, if represented by the streets of Cape Town was the most prosperous country we visited of the seven. The most prosperous came first and the poor came later. Easy to point the camera and snap a shot of ease – not so with poverty.
Nicely provided for viewing is the cable car, a breathtaking ride to a very windy place. Glad we took our jackets! The view is out over the bay to Robben Island and south toward the Antarctic. Probably where South Africa’s penguins (unseen by us) come from. There is a trail up the side of Table Mountain – not for the faint or weak of heart. We paid the rand and rode up in 10 minutes having ridden the city tour bus to this point. Great vistas and a must do if you go to Cape Town.
Although Cape Town is exactly as far below the equator as Los Angeles is above it, it felt much cooler even though there are palm trees in both – more like San Francisco to us. Cape Town is much the prettier place than the LA, IMO and feels more like SFO, being on the water and lovely architecture preserved from the time of colonialism.
Below are pictures of Cape Town – Using one of the two red city tour buses we visited the botanical garden, bird world, the waterfront, and Robben Island (separate post).
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