Cape Town, or Cape Town, is the second destination of our world tour, just after Johannesburg
Departure from our hostel in Johannesburg to the airport, 10mn by cab. The cab does not put a meter and charges us R150 (9€). We note to be more vigilant or to take a Uber the next time.
Arrived in Cape Town, we take the shuttle of the excellent bus system MyCity to go to the youth hostel. R85/person all the same!
Cape Town reminds me a lot of Australia. I can find many common place names or stores/chains also available in Australia. The last time I made this reflection, it was in Madagascar where I found the colonial architecture that reminded me of Vietnam 20 years ago. As a result, colonization leaves its traces, for a long time to come.
I realize that I organized very badly all this part of the trip from Cape Town. I chose the accommodation a bit too much. The youth hostel is rather expensive and is in a street full of nightclubs and drunk people in the evening, and even at the reception of the hostel, the music is loud until midnight. Luckily we are in a private room with very few neighbors in the rooms next door.
We take an Uber to go to the bottom of the cable car. The driver is very nice and the price is two less expensive than in Johannesburg.
The cable car is an experience in its own right. The floor of the (huge) cabin rotates slowly, allowing us to have a 360 degree view.
Arrived at the top, we see the clouds rising very quickly. We are in the clouds in fact! Literally.
This idea enchants me and moves me at the same time. I have been very moved lately. Every time I see something beautiful, I tell myself that yes, it’s beautiful and above all, it’s not finished. 10 months of discovery and moments like this are still waiting for me.
Despite the clouds, the view remains excellent at times. We can even see the famous Olympic stadium.
Back at the hostel, we dine at the famous and mythical restaurant Mama Africa, recommended by all our Uber drivers, guides, hostels. Not having booked, we come at 18:30 at the opening and bribe the doorman with our best smiles. We get a table just in front of the stage (to enjoy the show an excellent music group from 8pm). First real African meal: We take a Wild Game tray, mango juice and an assortment of dessert for two. The price is very high but it is our favorite meal since our arrival in South Africa. It is the 1st time that JB eats crocodile (very average) and ostrich (very good). Verdict: our favorites are ostrich and springbox.
The following day, we leave for Plettenberg Bay and return to Cape Town two days later.
We meet Bazbus for a tour of the Cape Peninsula. It is very cold, we alternate between the sun and the rain but globally, it isn’t so disturbing. We are only 5 but the guide gives absolutely everything to fill the unpleasantness of the weather, until singing and even introducing us a little Cape Town.
We start with a small port from where the boats leave for the cape fur seals island. We do not take a boat but we see three seals swimming in the harbor. A man tells us that they are there because he is feeding them and the two big seals jump very high to come and eat out of his hand. Feeling the scam coming miles away, we say goodbye to him quite quickly. Later, the guide will confirm us that this man becomes very aggressive if he doesn’t get his tip for “his show”. Anyway, we are against feeding wild animals. It makes them dependent on man and dangerous. Baboons, once very nice (about 20 years ago) have become a real nightmare for tourists and locals, they steal food or even bags, open cars as soon as they smell food.
We will spend a lot of time at the different view points to take pictures and eat, before arriving at the penguin beach. They are very small (about 30cm) and have a lot of little ones with them (we can easily recognize them because their fur is different, not being waterproof yet). They are super cute and well protected. It’s magic anyway South Africa! We can see wild ostriches and 5mn later marvel in front of penguins in total freedom.
We then spend a lot of time at Cape Point (the tip of the Cape Peninsula) and the Cape of Good Hope. The view from Cape Point is breathtaking, we can see well the Cape of Good Hope from high and the False Bay.
We return to Cape Town and visit the V&A Waterfront, which isn’thing exceptional. We take the opportunity to test a South African cinema with “Finding Dory”. The seats are numbered. The 3D glasses are superb and better than in France. The prices are the same whether in 2D or 3D. The spectators are very respectful and silent. Obviously, the movie isn’t subtitled.
An Uber takes us back to the hostel. The driver comes from Congo and tells us his dream to come to France. “One day we will meet again, I feel it, I am convinced”, he tells us. We have a little twinge of heart for him.
The next day, we take another Uber (instead of the public bus because in the end it’s the same price for two). The driver takes advantage of the long ride to make his tour guide, showing us the different districts, telling us about the life in Cape Town. We feel that he really likes this city very much. Really, we recommend you Uber in Cape Town because it is really cheap and all the drivers that we crossed were of a kindness!
End of our stay in South Africa. Country that we discovered for the first time, that we liked and where we saw things that we had never seen anywhere else.
How to get there
We chose to fly from Johannesburg (O.R. Tambo International Airport) to the Cape.
From Cape Town airport, a shuttle connects the airport to the city center (MyCiTi), for R85/person (5€). Departure every 30mn. The bus will drop you off at the Civic Centre (12 Hertzog Boulevard). You can take a connection afterwards with the same ticket.
Other options :
- Leave from Skukuza (this airport being close to the Kruger Park). But this option, which saves time by car, isn’t very interesting because the plane ticket is more expensive than Johannesburg – Cape Town
- The train is apparently not a good option, for safety reasons – except for very very luxurious (and expensive) trains
- We did not want to take a bus because the landscape/time ratio did not convince us. But hey, that’s just our personal opinion. It’s up to you
- Stay in one of the many hostels of the Baz Bus network to make the most of this network. The buses & excursions proposed by Bazbus pick you up in front of your hostel (backpacker) and drop you off in front of the door of your next hostel. It’s a convenient and secure way of transportation (much more than the train). It saves you the cost of a cab to get to your hotel. In off-peak periods (May-July), booking your next hostel on the same day is quite possible, so you can make your decision during the bus trip.
- Excursions to the Cape of Good Hope take a whole day. Departure every day from your backpacker
- Another route that we recommend is the one to Port Elizabeth (with the Baz Bus) – 3 days minimum, simply because it is a beautiful way. Personally, we chose to stop just before Port Elizabeth, at Plettenberg Bay to see dolphins & whales. This is also the place where the highest bungee jump in the world takes place.
- The cheapest option to get around is to rent a car (about 20€/day, petrol is cheap) and you pay the unofficial “parking agents” in the street (R10, 1,5€), they will even show you free spaces
- Plane ticket: Johannesburg – Cape Town Return ticket 115€/person, excluding round-the-world ticket
- Shuttle bus: R85/person or 5€
- Cable car: R240/person or 14€
- Uber : R55/run for a 15mn trip (3€)
- Hostel: Long Street Backpackers: R445/night for a double room is 25€, R20/day for unlimited Wifi -> We do not recommend it especially because of the location and music, but the quality/price ratio is good because despite everything it is clean
- Excursion to the Cape of Good Hope: R690/person or 40€ lunch included
- Food: between R70 and R150 per meal per person (i.e. 4€ to 9€)
TOTAL: 500€ for 3 days, 2 adults, including plane tickets from Johannesburg
Optimal budget if you choose to rent a car instead of taking a guided tour and take a bed in a dormitory instead of a private room. However, plane tickets from Johannesburg will always put a strain on the overall budget.
- Plane tickets: skycanner (link), flysaa.com or the lowcost flymango.com (attention, some planes leave from Lanseria airport in Johannesburg and not O.R. Tambo)
- More info on the airport shuttle: MyCiTi http://myciti.org.za/en/routes/airport-service/ (from 2 persons, it is better to take a Uber)
- Bazbus : http://www.bazbus.com and the hostels of the Bazbus network: http: //www.bazbus.com/region.html (be careful, some hotels pick you up by shuttle bus so you have to read the descriptions)
- Hostel Long Street Backpackers in Cape Town: simply fill out the form to reserve the room. They are very responsive. If for any reason you need them to pick you up at the airport, this is also possible (rates: 1 person – R220. 2 people- R280. 3 people- R300. 4 people- R350): http: //www.longstreetbackpackers.com
- Excursion to the Cape of Good Hope :
- or Baz Bus : http://www.bazbus.com/tickettype.html?rid=17 (R690, or 40€, lunch included)
- either https://www.daytours.co.za/tours/full-day-tours/peninsula-full-day-tour (R930, or 54€, lunch not included, but more things to see than Baz Bus)
- The famous restaurant Mama Africa : http://www.mamaafricarestaurant.co.za/
- The Ocean Basket chain for South African style seafood (we didn’t like it very much but the locals love it): http: //www.oceanbasket.com/