And the adventures in Cape Town continue…
The fifth day we ventured just outside of Cape Town to Stellenbosch, one of the premier wine areas of the world. Stellenbosch is about half an hour from Cape Town and is home to over a hundred wineries and over 100,000 hectares of grape vines. We started the day at Spier Winery, which is one of the biggest wineries in the area. After tasting five of their wines, we moved on to Neethlingshof, which is one of the most scenic wineries and a popular spot for weddings. This was my favorite stop; the staff was really friendly and helpful, and the tastings were delicious. After Neethlingshof, we headed into Stellenbosch town. Stellenbosch is actually the second oldest town in South Africa, and still has a large number of Dutch Colonial buildings. For lunch, we stopped at Delaire Graff Estate. Unfortunately, their tasting area was being remodeled (we were there during the off-season) so we were not able to do the wine tasting there. We did, however, have a delicious lunch at one of the restaurants there. Our last stop of the day was Lanzerac Winery, where we tasted wine and chocolate paired together. The chocolates were delicious and complimented the wines amazingly.
For the sixth day, we headed into Cape Town center again. We went to the District 6 Museum, which is a museum dedicated to the history of one of the township areas in Cape Town. Mostly the museum dealt with the rezoning of the area into a “whites only” area, and the subsequent removal of all the residents and the destruction of the houses, businesses, and everything else in the area during Apartheid. The museum also doubles as a community center for former and current residents of the area. After the museum, we headed to the Mount Nelson Hotel for high tea. The Mount Nelson Hotel was opened in 1899, and is one of Africa’s premier luxury hotels. High tea here was one of my favorite experiences in Africa. There was a table set up with piles of yummy desserts, finger sandwiches, and other goodies. In addition to the food buffet, there were also 30+ kinds of tea to choose from – as many and as much as you wanted. Julia and I sat there for over two hours, enjoying pastries, cakes, sandwiches, and lots of tea! I would definitely recommend this to anyone visiting Cape Town.
On my last day in Cape Town, we went back to the beaches and took a little more time to explore. We took the train to Muizenberg and walked along the beach trail to St. James and Kalk Bay. This is along False Bay, which is connected to the Indian Ocean. It was a nice day, but unfortunately not even close to being warm enough to swim (although there were plenty of surfers!). At Kalk Bay we ate a delicious lunch of fresh seafood and enjoyed a view of the harbor. After lunch, we headed down to the harbor and watched the fishermen unloading piles and piles of their catch – mostly rock lobsters. There were several seals hanging out, waiting for something to spill. It was really cool to see the seals swimming along the boats and along the harbor.
After an incredible week, my time in Cape Town sadly came to an end. Cape Town is one of the most amazing places I’ve been in all my travels, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone. It is very different than the rest of Southern Africa, but it is a unique and wonderful experience. From Cape Town, I headed to Johannesburg for a couple of days before heading home. Joberg is a very large, very modern city, full of malls and restaurants. I was out in the suburbs mostly, so I didn’t get a chance to explore the city much – not that there is really that much to see. After two days in Joberg, I finally started my journey back to the U.S. and after brief stops in London and Chicago, I finally landed in Des Moines. It felt great to finally be back home!