One of the best ways to get to know a city is by taking an official tour. Recently, I decided to hop aboard the City Sightseeing Tour red bus and see my hometown through the eyes of a tourist.
The great thing about this is you get to tour the peninsula without the stress of driving yourself to these places. You have the choice of where you want to hop on and off along the way.
While it’s a beautiful city, you realise that Cape Town is still very much a tale of two cities and being reminded of the Mother City’s history makes me weep. While there is much to celebrate about our city, there is also a lot that needs to be done to uplift the lives of many.
Driving past what used to be District 6, I remembered that my dad grew up there and he told me many stories of his childhood. His stories sounded like life was pretty good in those parts – you get the feeling there was a real sense of community. Then it was all taken away from them by the apartheid government.
The unfairness of it made me blue so I looked to my right, determined to enjoy the tour and not get down because of our sad history.
One of the first things you’re faced with are our mountains – the iconic and majestic Table Mountain and Devil’s Peak.
There is a route on the City Sightseeing Tour that takes you up Table Mountain where you can then take the Cable Car up to the top. Totally doing that next time.
The story of how Devil’s Peak got its name is interesting.
Legend has it a pirate named Jan Van Hunks go up to the mountain to smoke his pipe. On one of the days, he met a stranger. The two started a smoking contest to see how could smoke more.
As the smoking competition carried on, massive clouds of smoke surround them and swept over Table Mountain to form a “tablecloth”.
Van Hunk apparently out smoked the stranger, who revealed himself as the devil.
The first stop outside of the city centre is Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens. We hopped off here as I’d never walked along the now-famous tree canopy (also known as the boomslang).
Dubbed the most beautiful garden in Africa, “Kirstenbosch was established in 1913 to promote, conserve and display the extraordinarily rich and diverse flora of southern Africa, and was the first botanic garden in the world to be devoted to a country’s indigenous flora,” according to SA National Biodiversity Institute.
Our next stop was Hout Bay where we enjoyed yummy Mariner’s Wharf.
Mariner’s Wharf has been around for as long as I can remember. Who doesn’t have a memory of queuing here on a Sunday in summer? Thankfully there was no queue on the day we went as it was during the week and not in summer.
DON’T FEED THE SEAGULLS. Chips doesn’t have the optimal nutritional value for birds and feeding them your chips may impact their survival.
On the way back to the city centre you can hop off at Camps Bay and Sea Point, but we opted to stroll on the V&A Waterfront as it was a cold day.
This is something I’d recommend to locals and tourists.
We got our tickets at the Waterfront office, which is just outside the Aquarium. You can find more details about ticket prices on their website.