For our recent honeymoon we took the adventure of a lifetime by exploring South Africa and the famous Garden Route specifically. The trip was so jam-packed with memories that I have decided to split the trip into several different blogs to allow me to focus on each individual area. Let me begin...
Our honeymoon began in the incredible city of Cape Town, a place I had long wanted to visit and certainly a place that did not disappoint. From the moment you arrive you can't fail to be impressed with the stunning horizon, with the imposing Table Mountain overlooking the city and the bay, creating picture postcards sights from every vantage point. The atmosphere is very welcoming, and the locals could not have been keener to show off their city with pride, and they are rightly proud.
We checked in to the delightful Southern Sun Waterfront Hotel, located just a few minutes from the most famous tourist area in the city, the fabulous V&A Waterfront. Although walkable distance the hotel does offer a handy shuttle service there and back every 30 minutes until late which we took advantage of when possible. The hotel itself was excellent and the rooms generous in space and amenities, not that we spent much time there with so much to see and do outside of its walls. Having familiarised ourselves with the waterfront and indulging in some memorable cocktails and delicious steaks on the first evening a good night's sleep was in order ahead of a packed schedule of events.
This began with a city tour that culminated in a trip to the top of Table Mountain via the cable car route. Although hiking to the top is possible, we decided that our travel-weary legs may not survive and opted for the more lung-friendly option. It is something I would recommend pre-booking as the queues for tickets can get quite large at various times during the day, but it is certainly worth it. The views on the way up were simply breath-taking, allowing you to see the city in all its formidable glory. The weather in Cape Town can be quite changeable and as we reached the summit the clouds descended, covering these views. Arguably this made the summit all the more stunning, as though you are within the clouds themselves and making the cold beer at the mountain café that little bit more special.
The following day we took a trip further afield to Cape Point, the Southernmost tip of Africa and another amazing place to visit. The National Park surrounding it is truly beautiful while the mild hike to the lighthouse well worth the effort. The highlight for me though was our sojourn to Boulder's Beach, home of a huge colony of African Penguins who were absolutely wonderful. I'm a big lover of wildlife so to see penguins in the wild was a real moment that I will remember for the rest of my life, they are amazing creatures with such individual personalities that make for fascinating watching.
Another highlight was our trip to Robben Island, home to Nelson Mandela for over 20 years of his time behind bars and a really touching place to visit. I would again recommend pre-booking the tours as they can get exceptionally busy, but they are well-worth your time, with a half day tour following the ferry journey led by former political prisoners held there. This allows you to hear first-hand exactly how horrific things were for there and from our guide, Sparks, we understood how giving these tours are a cathartic experience for them. Although a sombre mood is obviously the prevailing one, a lesson of hope also comes from the spirit and bravery of those held there.
In our four nights we managed to fit so much in and barely had time to draw breath. Outside of these excursions there is a plethora of bars, cafés and an incredible array of outstanding restaurants to sample any number of cuisines. The V&A Waterfront alone could cover all your needs, but we also ventured a little further out to a wonderful African restaurant called Marco's. Authentic food couple with memorable entertainment made for an excellent evening. This all comes with the current favourable Sterling to Rand exchange rate which means these slap-up meals can be purchased for a relative pittance by normal standards, so there has never been a better time to visit South Africa.
I was entranced by Cape Town and will hopefully return one day, I feel we have unfinished business there with so much more to experience, yet the honeymoon must go on, to the Winelands we go.