Because we do not have much time to travel, we paired a 4 night stay in Cape Town with a 7 night stay in the neighboring country of Namibia. This was a wise choice for us! I mean, how many times can one fly to the southern tip of Africa in a lifetime?
First, I should explain that we were in South Africa in July – their winter. The season is mild, overcast and damp, but not too cold. It is peak season for sharks (our main reason for venturing to these parts), but not really peak for anything else. So, if you’re not into getting in a cage to view prehistoric carnivores, I would recommend visiting Cape Town during the summer season.
Our completely fabulous B&B (Chartfield Guesthouse) arranged a driver to pick us up from CPT and our transport out to Kalk Bay was seamless. We chose to stay out of the city limits in order to save on accommodations experience more of a local flavor and really, we just found the area prettier (based on our online research). We more of water, grass and blue skies kind of people. You know, there is nothing wrong with city life, it’s just not totally us. Much to my delight our accommodations were clean, comfortable and came with a view of the harbor! My first impression was completely different than what I expected – It was love at first sight!
We explored Kalk Bay for the rest of the afternoon and ate dinner at Cape to Cuba. I’ve got to be honest here, we should have listened to the lackluster reviews found on Trip Advisor. That being said, we both really wanted a mojito and the eclectic (who am I kidding – WEIRD) decor hooked us it. The mojito was excellent .. but that where it fizzled. The food was very mediocre. You should know that Mike and I live in an area with a heavy Cuban influence so we know good, authentic Cuban food – this fell short! We explored the harbor after our early dinner and then returned to our room to let our bodies adjust to the time change!
The included breakfast at the guesthouse was ab.so.lute.ly delish! Hot options of crepes, omelets, oatmeal and french toast were paired with cold deli and cheese tray, orange juice or slices of fresh fruit. It was fresh, made to order and let me dreaming of tomorrow’s breakfast! The next morning was supposed to be a day dedicated to sharks! However, I was reduced to (literally) tears when we found out weather cancelled our dive. Once again, the Chartfield Guesthouse went above and beyond and set up another dive with a different company. With the matter settled, we decided to go wine tasting early … which is always fun!
I couldn’t sleep the next night! I was dreaming of two very exciting things … breakfast and sharks! Prayers were answered and after a very early (and perfect) breakfast we were loaded into a van and started towards Gaansbai – better known as Shark Alley! We met a handful of other excited divers from the US, Spain and Australia. After a briefing, over a cup of hot coffee, we suited up and boarded Marine Dynamic’s (large) boat. I’m not sure why I shivered – the freezing temperatures, nerves or excitement. It was probably due to all three. Seas were over ten feet on the day of our dive. Marine Dynamic proved superior to other programs in the area as their equipment (cages and boats) withstood these conditions! Michael and I were first to volunteer to go in! Unfortunately, my hand was not seen and Mike abandoned me for the sharks. I can’t really say that I blame him though. Mike saw three of four sharks, very close before it was his turn to get out. I was sure to be in the second group that got in the (frigid and rough) waters. Maybe I’m biased, but I got a better viewing that Mike did. In fact, a 12 foot female thrashed herself into the cage mere inches from face. Talk about a beautiful and powerful creature. I am now enamored with the specie and have an immense respect for them! After my 15 minutes (or so) in the cage was over I viewed other patrons in the cage and snapped a few pictures. I would have gotten more pictures but I was busying throwing up over the side of the vessel …stupid motion sickness! All in all, I’ve never been more freezing and sick at one time. BUT, it was hands-down, one of the best days of my life! Would you get in the cage?
As if the sharks were not enough, the southern right whales were just the cherry on top! Our dive ended and we loaded into the van to head back to Kalk Bay. Or so we thought. Our driver surprised us with an impromptu whale watching stop. We were in luck! We spotted a single whale, who was acrobatic! The stop also allowed us to enjoy the interesting and incredible coastline of that part of SA.
Exhausted from our day of excitement we called it a night early. Our final day in South Africa was spent with a tour guide who showed us down town Cape Town and some of the surrounding areas/neighborhoods. Due to the weather (yes, that darn weather again!) we could not summit Table Mountain via cable car. However, we made the most of our time and still got a few good bird’s eye views of the city.
Four nights in this great town was just enough to ignite a love for the landscapes and people and whet my appetite!
You can see why this place is so popular among local and travelers alike, right! Yet, Cape Town, South Africa is possibly the one destination I have ever under-estimated in all of our travels. That being said … I have an answer to a question I asked at the beginning of the essay of “how many times can one fly to the southern tip of Africa in a lifetime?” My answer is hopefully more than once!
DO YOU HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT OUR TRIP, OR CREATING YOUR OWN ADVENTURES IN CAPE TOWN? Leave a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, I’d love to help!