Africa Adventures: Grace in Cape Town

Early Sunday morning, all of the interns (film, photo, and journalism alike) loaded onto two vehicles for a little vacation to Cape Town. I, of course, got dibs on the hippie van, whose seats I have spent a grand amount of time listening to Spotify and Oprah podcasts on.

The drive was about 5-6 hours, with a few stops for snacks, gas, and bathroom breaks. We picked up a lunch at a South African fast food joint called ‘Steers.’ My chicken burger was pretty good; I’ll give it a 6/10.

Once we finally arrived to Cape Town, it was just our luck that the other car broke down. We had to wait several hours in a parking lot for one of our instructor’s friends to come pick up the passengers of the other van. It was quite inconvenient, but our instructors told us it was just apart of the whole African experience.

On the bright side, I did get to tan in the sun and play a few rounds of ‘Heads Up’ while we waited.

Finally, we arrived to our accommodation: Stoked Backpackers Hostel.

I’ve stayed in some pretty nasty hostels, but this was not one of them. The decorations were fun, and the rooms were both spacious and comfortable. The location was perfect as well.

On our first night, we went to a super fun restaurant called Cape to Cuba. The interior design of the place was astounding, with grand chandeliers, intricate candles, and Cuban relics covering the walls. The restaurant was attached to a bar/club area. We ordered all sorts of fun cocktails and snacks at our table. For my meal, I got a garlic chicken breast on mashed potatoes. It took approximately three minutes to clear my plate from when it was placed on the table. Highly recommend this place.

Afterwards, we went to a local bar in Muizenberg. We played pool as we made friends with South Africans from around the area.

The following day, we ate breakfast at the hostel’s cafe, which was attached to reception at the front. We then departed to Boulders Beach, where we got to see penguins!! They were so cute. Some were screaming from the bushes, making a kind of ‘haha’ sound, hence why they originally were called Jackass penguins. We watched as they waddled about, sometimes picked up sticks with their beaks to make nests, covered their eggs, and dove into the ocean. A few times some of the penguins would get in little squabbles, and I even caught one smacking a younger one several times! The babies and teenagers had ruffled feathers that eventually turned into smooth, blue feathers, which covered the adults.

After the penguin viewing, we spent some time on the beach. Then we got lunch at the restaurant at the top of the beach, which was beyond delicious. I split some garlic bread and calamari with my friend Ryan. I then had chicken curry, which left me more than full.

Our next activity included a visit to Table Mountain. Because of the clouds/weather situation, we all had to take the gondola up (I would not have hiked either way, as I’m not trying to die in Africa). The gondola was sick. The floor rotated so you got a 360 view of both Table Mountain and Cape Town below. The water and mountain and town were so beautiful… that is until we got closer to the top and I looked straight down. My knees started going weak as I imagined the gondola snapping off the wire and spiraling towards the rocks below. We all would’ve died.

But we didn’t! We made it to the top safely, and it was pretty cool. The air was absolutely freezing, and multiple clouds passed over us, so we could only spend 10-15 minutes outside taking pictures before retreating into the warm cafe. I ordered myself a hot chocolate with a heart shaped chocolate chip cookie. I went outside to try to find a few of my friends, but when I did, the wind was so strong it struck the whip cream of my hot chocolate right off, so I quickly made my way back into the cafe. I found my friends when I returned.

Eventually, our group gathered together to journey back down the gondola. I made sure to look straight out rather than straight down. I still wasn’t fully settled until we made it safely to the bottom.

After Table Mountain, we went to the V&A Waterfront, where we got dinner at an amazing African restaurant called Karibu. I got a fillet with corn on the cob, and it was one of the most satisfying meals I’ve had in Africa, even more than the Cuban restaurant, but maybe still a little less than that at Mount Camdeboo (I will never get over that lamb stew from the first night). We then went on the ferris wheel that overlooked a lit up Cape Town. Large buildings were reflected by the surrounding ocean water, providing us with once-in-a-lifetime views. After three trips around and waving to the cute guy controlling the wheel at the bottom each time, we finally got off our gondola and met our other intern friends at a bar across the street. We left to go back to Muizenberg, where we went to another bar for about an hour and made even more South African friends.

We had a nice rest our last night in South Africa. Our last day consisted of visiting Two Oceans Aquarium before shopping and eating a little more in the V&A Waterfront. The fishies were fun to watch, but as an Atlanta native, I will always support the Georgia Aquarium over any other aquarium. Sorry, Cape Town. At the waterfront, I got a tarot card reading. It was interesting, but I can’t say I learned much more than I already know. I really wish I had spent my time instead eating with my friends. I did, however, have time to snag a delicious chicken and basil aioli sandwich from one of the restaurants down the way from the psychic place. I was much more satisfied with that sandwich than I was my reading.

Once we left the waterfront, we made our way to the Cape of Good Hope, which is said to be the most south-western point in Africa.  It’s located in Table Mountain National Park. I wasn’t really sure what I was expecting, but when I showed up, it was one of the wildest experiences I’ve ever had with weather.

We got out of the hippie van, only to immediately be smacked with the harshest winds I have ever felt. I had to completely lean against the air to move forward at all, often tripping backwards from being hit so strongly unexpectedly. My friend JP had just made it out of the van when the winds swooped his glasses right off his face, hurling them about 20 feet down the road. We held on tightly to our belongings, trying to make it to the sign proclaiming where we were, but after being pushed back time and time again by the winds, I decided this wasn’t an activity for me and retreated back towards the shelter of the van.

It was a nightmare, but it was a funny nightmare… That wasn’t even close to ending! We then drove up a mountain towards the lighthouse, which I immediately decided I wasn’t going to hike to. There was a buggy you could take up, but after watching some very aggressive baboons in the parking lot, I decided I should probably stay in the snack shop with several other interns.

Soon enough, it was time to head out. We drove through the town, sad to say farewell to such a fun and lively place. It was about a 6 hour drive to Groot Brakrivier. We got dinner at Steers, but I got a beef burger this time. I asked specifically for no sauce, and I gotta say, my rating moved up to a 7/10 this time.

p.s. Notice that wild wind in the last pic ^

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