Every year, the whole of my high school goes away and spends a week in nature, be it hiking or paddling. This year, as is a custom at my school and many other schools across the country, we spent five glorious day on the Orange River, which serves as a border between South Africa, and our neighbouring country, Namibia.
We drove up (it took almost 12 hours), and after multiple toilet breaks and burger stops, we finally got through border control and were in another country (!!!). Being out in nature with school always make my heart so full. Without much signal or technology (I always make a point of leaving my phone at home), we have so much time to just chat to each other and engage and connect in ways that the busy everyday school life doesn’t really leave much room for.
We paddled for three of the five days, and the other two days were for traveling. The Orange River is so beautiful. We’d start in the morning, and pull up to a sand bank for the night just as the sun was setting.
I can’t quite put into words how it feels to fall asleep after a day of paddling down the river, with the moon and stars above your head, huddled in a little group, sleeping amongst some of your favourite people, whilst listening to the sound of water running gently over the rocks, and listening to the chirp of insects. It’s magical to say the least. Whilst the paddling was physically taxing at times, it was so fulfilling and it makes me a little teary if I think about it for too long because my longing to go back is that great. We have a beautiful continent, that’s for sure.
I’ve always heard that Cape Town is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, but when you’re a kid who has shared a city with Table Mountain your whole life, you assume that it’s normal. It’s only as I’ve grown older that I’ve been seeing my city in all its glory. I’m discovering so many wonderful spots in and around the Mother City (which is what Cape Town is sometimes called) and I’ve decided to share a few of my favourite spots with you. My plan is to make this a new series on the blog, and as soon as I have enough new favourite places to write posts, the next ones will follow. Some of them are the touristy kind, others aren’t. But whether you’re a tourist or a local, these are some places worth checking out.
Market on the Wharf and The Water Shed at the V&A.
I have to admit that this is probably my favourite spot in Cape Town. Its at the V&A Waterfront, but its outside, and the wooden benches overlook the beautiful harbour. You have a perfect view of the mountain! There are two separate areas: one that sells food stuff and one with local, artisanal products (my two favourite things). The ‘food shed’ as I call it (Market on the Wharf is its proper name) sells the best burgers at a place called Woodies and the yummiest pancakes, waffles and pastries at The Love of Yummyness. It also has a The Creamery stall that sells ice cream and Truth Coffee as well as many other food and drink stalls. Its always such a treat to go there and indulge. The Water Shed has many traders that sell a variety of local, artisan and handmade products. I could spend hours in that place and my parents always have to drag me out.
Sea Point Promenade
I love walking and running on Sea Point promenade. The fresh ocean air is so refreshing and it’s beautiful to watch a sunset (or a sunrise if you’re an early bird) there. And if you’re alone, don’t worry! There’s plenty of people, dogs and seagulls to keep you company along the way!
Being a Cape Tonian, naturally I would love Table Mountain. I see it almost every day and its one of the most famous landmarks of our city. But being on top is a totally different experience. I only have one (believe it or not) recent memory of being on top on the mountain. We took a cable car up ,watched the sunset and then rode down. It’s so beautiful, you can see everything from up there! Its fun to spot places from above. Once the sun goes down, the whole city lights up and its such an inspiring thing to see.
Boulders Beach is in the Simon’s Town area and I can say with much confidence that it is my favourite beach in the whole entire world (so far). Its called Boulders Beach for a reason. The huge boulders mean that its very sheltered, especially at low tide and so it feels like a huge, salty swimming pool. It’s the only beach I feel totally relaxed at. My favourite thing to do is sit on a rock as the tide comes in and watch the water lap onto the rock. Jumping off the boulders is also loads of fun and if you’re up to it, you can check out the penguins too!
I Yes, I AM a die-hard fan of this place. I first discovered them on Instagram when I was a newbie-grammer and once I tasted it, I was sold. The cute décor and yummy ice cream keeps me going back for more. (You can read a post I wrote about them here). Their waffles are divine and the ice cream is made from products that are sourced locally. My favourite café is the one in Moullie Point (not far from the promenade).
I don’t go to Camps Bay very often, but I love the vibe. It feels like you’re on holiday the moment you climb out the car. You can walk along the beach, or grab a smoothie or pizza at one of the restaurants opposite the beach. All just in time to catch a killer sunset.
The Neighbourhood Goods Market at The Old Biscuit Mill
The few times I’ve been here, I’ve LOVED it. Its my kind of place. Local products, smoothies and pancakes and LOTS of other food, what more could a girl want? It’s a perfect way to spend your Saturday morning. If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t mind wandering around through crowds (as long as you’re armed with an iced latte) and admiring all the prettiness and yumminess, then this is the place for you!
The Woodstock Exchange
The moment I walked into this place, I fell in love. The shops sell all my favourite local brands from skincare products and jewelry to home decor, coffee and chocolate. Its a place I definitely recommend if you enjoy all the handmade and pure goodness.
The Clay Café
This place is awesome. The view is just spectacular and its so fun too! They make all kinds of pottery from tea cups to ornaments and you go and paint them. They glaze them for you and you can come and collect them. Its really lots of fun to see your work and you can do it all whilst enjoying some cake or pizza!
I definitely love my city and especially these places! I can’t wait to discover new places and share them with you too! What are your favourite places in the Cape or anywhere, really?