Adventure on the Western Cape

The Western Cape, South Africa

After traveling extensively in China I had gone to Singapore and visited some friends for a couple of months. Therefore, I decided that I would return to South Africa as my next destination. This time instead of returning to KwaZulu-Natal, I wanted to visit some new locations on the Western Cape.

Next, I booked the flight and then set out. As a result, I looked forward to returning to Africa. In addition, I had a new surfboard to bring with me. Fortunately, it was fall season in the southern hemisphere and with winter approaching, the waves would be picking up. It was a good time for a surf trip to western cape.

Visit Table Mountain

The coastline of the Western Cape is characterized by craggy mountains and beautiful beaches. However, one exception is Table Mountain, which has a flat top. The climb up will get your heart rate pumping and the views on the way are fantastic. I was staying below the mountain in Camps Bay and I had hiked all the way from my condo. This was a bit to far, so next time I would just hike in from the parking lot at the trail head.

I definitely recommend that you hike to the top. Don’t take the tram unless you are physically disabled in some way.

climbing table mountain cape town western capeThe approach to the summit of Table Mountain in Cape Town South Africa

Views From The Top

On the top you will be rewarded with sweeping panoramic views of Cape Town and the western cape. Most essentially, there is a pathway that walks around the perimeter of the summit. Fortunately, once you arrive on top it is flat! So you can enjoy views and catch your breath.

photo robben islandPhoto of Cape Town and Robben Island from the Table Mountain summit.

Drive down the Coast to Kommetjie

Kommetjie, South Africa is an idyllic little beach town 30 kilometers south of Cape Town. Since the drive down will take you through some very scenic coastal roads, it is well worth the trip. In addition, Kommetjie was my next stop after I left Camps Bay. Therefore, I rented a house and stayed in Kommetjie for 6 weeks.

Fortunately, the surfing here is fantastic and Kommetjie is located close to other attractions such as the Cape of Good Hope. However, in order to surf here you will need to get along with the locals. Good luck!

drive to kommetjieScenic drive to Kommetjie South Africa.

kommetjie beachKommetjie is an idyllic little beach town on the western cape. 

The Cape of Good Hope

The drive to the Cape of Good Hope is about 60 kilometers south of Kommetjie. However, the Cape of Good Hope is not the southern most point of Africa! As a result, to get to the southern most tip of Africa you need to visit Cape Agulhas. Cape Agulhas is an additional 150 kilometers to the southeast of the Cape of Good Hope.

The region between the two capes is the point of confluence between the Benguela current and the Agulhas current. In contrast, the Benguela current is a cold water current flowing north up the southwest coast of Africa. However, Agulhas current is warm and it flows south along the southeast of Africa.

The Cape of Good Hope was first rounded by Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias in 1488. Although there are records of the Phoenicians rounding the cape long before this.

Most essentially, there are lots of hiking trails around the Cape of Good Hope to enjoy.

Cape of Good HopeView point from the Cape of Good Hope. 

Cape Agulhas

If your goal is to reach the southern most tip of Africa, don’t forget to visit Cape Agulhas! Cape of Good Hope is more scenically rewarding. However, the drive to Cape Agulhas takes you through the sweeping South Africa countryside.  

Cape Agulhas western capeCape Agulhas South Africa

Victoria & Alfred Waterfront In Cape Town

Cape Town is a fair city and the V&A Waterfront is its main attraction. As a result, there is a big shopping mall, lots of cafes and things like this. However, if shopping malls are your thing, you are probably on the wrong blog.

Additionally, if faux adventure is your thing, then you can book a cage dive here with great white sharks. Or pay a few thousand USD equivalent for a short helicopter ride.

Cape Town Diamond Museum

Most essentially, diamonds and precious minerals are a very large part of the South African economy. Therefore, the Cape Town Diamond Museum is well worth a visit. Entry is free, however your guide is also a salesperson with Shimansky. Shimansky is the owner of the museum and they have a chain of jewelry stores specializing in diamonds.

As a result, you will learn about the origin of diamonds in South Africa. They are mined in the Kimberly region in central South Africa. The area is very rich in diamonds due to the formation of Kimberlites that bring the diamonds close to the earths surface. Additionally, you will learn other fascinating details.

Did you know De Beers was a Boer farmer who was more interested in farming than diamonds?

Put on a nice shirt and act like you may be interested in buying some diamonds. If so, after the tour you are taken into the show room where they have a massive display. Including all kinds of exotic diamonds.

Did you know their was such thing as black diamonds?

You will see them here.

Robbens Island

In addition, you can catch the boat to Robbens Island from the V&A Waterfront. Unfortunately, I get sea sick really easy on tour boats. Fortunately, I had been able to view Robbens Island from the top of Table Mountain. However, if you want to you can venture out, it is about a 10 kilometer boat ride.

Great Wine on the Western Cape

There is lots of good very affordable wine on the western cape. South African vineyards have a longer history than many French vineyards. Some vineyards in South Africa date back over 300 years!

Stellenbosch is near Cape Town and it will impress the wine snobs. I am not really cut out for that, therefore when I wanted a good bottle of wine I would just buy it at one of the local stores. The red wines from the western cape are all good. They go great with local red meat such as springbok.

Safety in Western Cape

South Africa has always had a relatively high crime rate compared with western developed economies. Unfortunately, it appears that things have not gotten much better since the last time I was here. There was a murder on one of the local hiking trails. when I was there. It happened in a suburb about 20 kilometers south of Cape Town. Some guy was shot and the victim was a local Afrikaner.

I never had any direct contact with crime in South Africa, however, when there is that much poverty surrounding smug little enclaves like V&A Waterfront something has got to give. It is best to be cautious.

Conclusion

Great surf, great hiking, great wine (also very affordable), great beaches, great weather, great natural landscape. Western Cape rocks!

 

Additional sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cape_of_Good_Hope