South Africa

The Natural Beauty in Cape Town, the Mother City.

Cape Town is considered the most beautiful city in the world. I think I agree.

It’s also nicknamed the “Mother City.” There are various thoughts on how this came to be but my favorite is because it describes the sense of home you feel in the city. Another one of the many explanations is because it gave birth to civilization. Cape Town was the first city in South Africa. It was established in 1652 as a refueling station for ships sailing to the East, along the Spice Route.

Table Mountain, at 1086 meters (3563 ft) high, is the backdrop of the city. We had an apartment, at Greenmarket Square, that had great views of Table Mountain and Lions Head. Our views included when the sky was crisp and also when the clouds had descended on the mountain and wrapped it like a blanket. It’s actually referred to as the table cloth when the clouds decent onto the top of the mountain and cover the “table top.” We hiked up and down Table Mountain, the longer route the way up and then straight down, which ended up being about an 8 hour day. Boy did my thighs feel sore a few days after that. The hike up the ravine requires a steep climb so that your knees are lifted as high as your hips and your thighs are 90 degrees from your torso. David and I both repeated many times over during the hike that it was one of our favorite…. ever.  Extremely stunning views out over the city and of the ocean.

The long route up table mountain
Notice the thigh 90 degrees from the hip!
Platteklip Gorge trail
On top of the mountain, above the clouds, with ocean behind us

We also hiked Lion’s Head and went on a great ocean kayak trip with sightings of seals and dolphins and again amazing views of the mountains.  David shared some great photos in this blog post and some about his experience of Cape Town and South Africa here.

After almost 2 weeks in South Africa, my parents traveled the long journey to join us for another 2 weeks. What a great time we had with a nice mix of sightseeing and relaxing together. We visited a botanical garden, ventured out on day long tours exploring the city and surrounding area, took a trip to Cape Point, Cape of Good Hope, and Simon’s Town where 2500 African Penguins live.  We did lots of walking around the V&A Waterfront, rode the Ferris Wheel, made a couple trips to wineries, joined the city history walking tour, spent time learning at District 6 Museum, did lots of browsing and shopping at outdoor markets, in stores, and a flea market.  And we visited plenty of restaurants and coffee shops. All of this mixed in with lots of great conversation, fb and instagram lessons, cooking with some meals in, reading, and just hanging on the couches at home.  Oh, and I can’t forget the safari.  That was really cool! And on our last day we enjoyed a cultural tour to a township and visited some inspirational community programs taking place. David’s post (mentioned above) has more info about this great non-profit Uthando, which means love.  “It is a unique model of Traveling Philanthropy and Responsible Tourism linking the local and international tourism industry focused on South Africa with a broad range of innovative, inspiring and well managed community development projects.”

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden Tree Canopy Walkway
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden
Groot Constantia
Cape Point
Hike back from Cape Point

Uthando Ikhaya Kulture Garden Project
Arts and education center supported by Uthando. We got to join in on a drum circle!

What a great experience in South Africa and in particular Cape Town!  The pictures can express so much more than I can through words.  Thanks Mom & Dad for joining us and creating these fabulous moments and memories with us!

Uthando…love….drum beat….heart beat……