Days 11+12: Cape Town

We flew from our safari in Kruger National Park (in the north-east part of the country) down to Cape Town (in the south-west) on Monday afternoon. Knowing that we didn’t want to have to make plans for our first day in Cape Town with the limited internet we had in Kruger, we jumped on a recommendation we received from not one, but two people on safari: a wine tour. Specifically, a wine tour with the company Wine Flies. For a very reasonable rate they picked us up in Cape Town and brought us to five wineries all around the primary wine region of Cape Town.

We started at Villiera, which is known for its community engagement and environmentally-friendly practices. Here we learned about the wine making process, and got to explore a vineyard.

From there we explored another location where we had pairing with cheese, headed to an extremely small location where we had custom chocolate pairings, got to have two glasses directly from the barrels in which they were being aged, and even when to the winery of a former world-famous rugby player. What a day! To say we were sleepy at the end was a huge understatement – we tried SO MUCH WINE.

The tour was well worth it – our guide was entertaining and fun, and we go to experience a wide variety of the wine culture. Plus, we didn’t have to drive ourselves! Added bonus. Needless to say we had a quiet evening before heading to an (early) bed.

 

The following day we focused a bit less on wine tasting, and rather attempted to learn more about beautiful Cape Town. We started by heading to the Bo-Kaap neighborhood, known for its colorful houses and beautiful spice shops.

We headed to a nearby market with loads of African goods before heading down to the V&A waterfront. This area was hopping, and we had just enough time to eat a quick lunch before heading over to Robbin Island.

After a brief boat ride, on which we were treated to excellent views of table mountain, we arrived at the island. It’s just a bit off the coast of the city, but served as a notorious prison and leper colony for many years before being turned into a museum in 1995. We were met by a group of busses, and we drove all around the island with excellent commentary. We learned about the history of the island and some of the extreme conditions that inmates were forced to endure.

After reaching the main prison area we joined a different guide and he brought us through the interior of the main prison. All of the guides on the island are former political prisoners who were on the island. This is a very humbling experience: learning about the conditions and treatment while on the island from someone who experienced it first hand. It’s very moving.

We also saw the cell in which Nelson Mandela served much of his sentence while he lived on the island. I’m certainly glad this place is a museum now – it’s quite beautiful but I can’t imaging being there as a prisoner.

After an extremely bumpy ride back to the main island, we had a bit to eat on the waterfront before heading back to our hotel. Tomorrow had more adventures in store!

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