Cape Town Diaries: 360 Degree Road Trip around the Peninsula

    My second day in Cape Town was going to be a long one and so I had decided to have an early night on the first day. The whistling of the strong winds woke me up early morning. I looked outside the window and witnessed the wind going crazy. I asked Astrid Mapwhether we should postpone the plan for the day but neither of us had enough time left in the city to be able to afford postponing our plans and so we agreed to go for it. We were picked up by a local resident, Michele, who was a middle-aged lady and would be our guide for the day. I usually don’t book guided tours and prefer exploring the roads on my own but due to the lack of time and excessive plans; we decided to get some local help and transportation to be able to save time in specifically planning them. We started off at the City of Cape Town and headed out along the Atlantic coast passing by some beautiful towns and beaches. Our first stop was the queen of Cape Town beaches, the ‘Camps Bay’. The coastal wind was extremely high and made it almost impossible for us to stand on the beach without support. The ocean currents were so strong that there were no surfers riding the waves. Palm trees outlined the sides of the road; little kids were showing off their skating skills and the groovy music in the atmosphere made the whole moment feel like we were in the Caribbean Islands. The coast portrayed a stark contrast as one side of the beach exhibited small towns with the locals’ playing card games and relaxing while the other side had 5-star hotels facing the sea. Michele told us that the beach was famous for having hosted a string of celebrities including Leonardo Di Caprio. There was a nudist beach a little further down the coast called the ‘Sandy Bay’.  (Don’t worry.  We didn’t go there!)

    As we drove down the Atlantic Coast towards our next destination, the scenic beauty on the way was so breathtaking that neither pictures nor words could do justice to it. Our next stop was the Hout Bay which used to be a forest up until a few years back but was now the hub of markets and African seal watchers. The Hout Bay is where the ferries for Seal Island leave. One can buy a ticket and go on a 45-minute tour to the tiny island full of African seals. We couldn’t go there since the ferries had been cancelled due to the violent currents that day. We walked around the flea market, had some food and moved on with our journey. I was enjoying the journey more than the thought of reaching our destination. It was like that feeling when you close your eyes and let the cold breeze touch your face and think about the happiest moments of your life which bring a smile to your face. Our next stop was at a view point called the ‘Chapmans Peak’. It is a view point from where you can see the rear of Cape Town city along with the deep blue sea which makes the scenery even more beautiful. Astrid and I took pictures in all possible poses and moved on as we had a long journey ahead of us.

    One of the most romantic scenes shown in films is when the Hero rides off into the sunset on horseback. That is something which every guy has fancied doing at least once in their lives. Our next stop was something similar. No, We didn’t get to do horse riding but that is something which can be done at the Noordhoek beach of Cape Town which was our next stop. We stopped there to see the beach and Michele told us about the horse riding sessions at the beach. It doesn’t cost much and is a must try. Next on the way was the Long Beach. The name proved to be on point as the beach was extremely long in terms of length. The endless tales of sands and the deep blue sea just couldn’t get any more scenic from where we were seeing it. Our last stop before reaching our main attraction for the day was a small Ostrich farm. Located just before the Table Mountain National Park, the farm had huge Ostriches. We played with them for some time and got back into our cars to get to the main stop for the day.

    We entered the Table Mountain National Park which costs about (120 Rand i.e. 6£). It is the way to the South-Western part of the world also known as the ‘Cape Point’ or theCape of Good Hope’. You might have an encounter with some wild Baboons on the way if you are lucky enough. We were lucky enough to meet them and took some pictures cautiously as they are extremely cunning.  We finally reached our main destination for the day: Cape Point. There was a 15-minute hike from the base station to the top. There is a cable car available for those who don’t prefer trekking. Before trekking, we decided to have lunch in the only restaurant at the base station called the ‘Two Ocean’. The origin of the name of the restaurant is often confused with the fact that Cape Point is the place where the Indian and Atlantic oceans meet but Michele told us that it was a wrong idea and that the actual place where the two oceans meet is a 3-hrs drive away from Cape Town called ‘Capagalous. Two Oceans was a classy restaurant with stunning view of Cape Point. (400-500 Rand for two people)

    We trekked to the top and finally touched the end of the South-Western land of the world. It was an incredible feeling to just be able to do so. I took out my phone and turned on my GPS to check my position. Looking at the blue dot on Google map had never made me happier. The lighthouse on top made for a perfect postcard view.  We took some pictures and took a break to just put down the camera and feel the moment. We then walked down and went straight to the Cape of Good Hope which had a sign board saying ‘This is the End of South-Western Land of the World’. Tourists line up to take a picture with that board for obvious reasons, which we ended up doing as well.

    It was time to drive on the other side of the mountains to go back. The reason that it is named as the 360 degree drive around the Peninsula is because we started from one side of the mountain and were returning from the other side though the False Bay Coast. We drove back through the False Bay and reached a town called ‘Simons Town’.  We were there to visit the ‘Boulder Visitor Centre’, also known as the African Penguin Beach. I had known that penguins are found in cold places but the African Penguins seemed pretty happy in the 34 degree hot sand as well. Thousands of them were resting on the beach which made it look so cute and perfect. We played with them and then made our way back. By this time, the wind was not the same as it had been in the morning and it got much better as the sun was out and a light breeze was made the heat bearable. We were dropped back to the hostel but the day was yet to end. We had the famous night life of Cape Town to explore.

    Our way back was a long drive without a stop. Astrid fell asleep and Michele was focused on driving. There was a long silence in the car and random thoughts were going through my mind.

    I was perplexed. I have met so many people in my travels- people who are so passionate about travel that they just wander around countries and stay wherever they like and then move to new places every few months. I love the thought of such a lifestyle and I was suddenly not sure whether I am happy with what I am doing in my life or not. On every trip, I am forced to ask the same question to myself: am I happy with what I do?

    I may hopefully find the answer to this question someday… wandering in some interesting part of the world. On this thought, my long road trip ended.

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