As we sailed into Capetown, I was SO PUMPED to be returning to this amazing city. I had been to Capetown on my first ship contract in 2009 and had a great time, but it wasn't enough time, so I was thrilled to be back. This city is so beautiful and dramatic as you sail in to the valley that is looked over by Table Mountain. South Africa is home to many unique plants and is very green and fertile, with its sweeping wine country and scenery that just about takes your breath away. I thought it would be fun to rent a car, so we had prepared and Keri and I headed to the airport to pick up our van that held 7 of us cast members. Keri had to drive because South Africa drives on the left side of the road, and once we picked up the rest of the cast… we were off on our adventure!
|Beginning our drive!|
We had decided to drive down to Cape Point, the Southern-most point of the continent of Africa. First we navigated our van through downtown Capetown to head South and out of town. Finally, we reached the coast and the views began. It's just really dramatic scenery with mountains on one side and huge beaches stretching out on the other side of the car. There are a number of drives that are supposed to be incredibly unique experiences in and of themselves. Like driving down the Pacific Coast Highway, or along the Amalfi Coast in Italy, driving this road along Chapman's Peak is another drive that is known for being truly spectacular. We were quickly greeted with the beginnings of those views with the Twelve Apostles, a rock formation of 12 cliffs that rise right in front of the highway and drop into the ocean below. Poor Keri was a real trooper as all of us were craning our necks to take in the views and she was just trying to make sure we all survived some of the hairpin turns and cliffs we were going around.
Entering into Chapman's Peak drive was amazing. We were all just speechless with the scenery around us and then we began driving through roads that were literally carved into the sides of the cliffs. It was something I've never scene before. Almost like a 3-sided tunnel, we drove with the mountain dropping into the ocean on one side and then the mountain itself above us, below us, and on the left side of the car as we drove South. It was incredible!!! Eventually the mountains opened up to a huge beach. We had decided we would just forget trying to get to the beautiful wine country of South Africa because we knew it would take a while to drive to Cape Point, but luckily, we passed Cape Point Vineyards!
|Crazy road carved into the mountains on Chapman's Peak Drive|
|Cape Point Vineyards|
While not in the exact area of wine country, Cape Point Vineyards turned out to be a favorite detour of the day. We drove through the beautiful gates and were greeted with a beautiful hill of grapes growing on perfect rows. We made our way to the beautiful restaurant and pond area and found a seat outside. Our view included those gorgeous vineyards and huge beach just beyond that. This was truly idyllic and a perfect spot for lunch. We did a wine tasting of a few different wines and then got two huge cheese and meat platers with nuts and homemade chili jam! Oh my gosh, it was actually heaven! We ate and laughed and drank in the crisp, cool air of South Africa. It was like we were getting fresh air for the first time. We had a ball, but eventually figured we better continue on our journey.
|Happy cast wine tasting|
We drove for about 30-40 minutes longer before we got to our next stop: Boulders Beach. There was a quaint town around it, but Boulders Beach is famous for having a pretty substantial penguin colony that lives here every year. We pulled in and began our walk to the beach, stopping to look at shops and have some homemade ice cream from a store doing business out of a small window in a tiny stone building. It was so charming. The penguins didn't disappoint, either.
These particular penguins are call "Jackass Penguins" and they had so much personality. We walked along a boardwalk area and observed the birds nesting and walking around the sand dunes. At the end of the boardwalk was a viewing area that opened up onto the white sand beach and large round rock formations. There were hundreds of little penguins wandering around and playing on the beach. They were adorable. I just couldn't help but laugh at their funny little walk. They would swim so gracefully through the water and then ride a wave in, but as their bellies glided along the sand they would wobble around trying to stand up and sometimes just get swept right back into the ocean. They would also do this trying to fling themselves up to sun on the rocks and it was all just so cute.
Back in the car, we had our final destination in mind and we continued down the coast to Cape Point! Finally as we entered the park we realized we were close. The landscape completely changed to being more barren and lacking any trees, really. We did start seeing signs warning us of monkeys, which was somewhat surprising. Eventually we were rewarded by seeing about 8 pretty large baboons right in fronts of us. There were 3 cars in a line that had stopped because the monkeys were on the road. They were pretty intimidating and much larger than we had thought and all of a sudden one actually climbed and jumped onto the roof of the car in front of us and then jumped off. They eventually crossed the road and we were on our way. I couldn't help getting excited as we crept closer and closer to the Sotuhern tip of Africa, so I had to play some special music for the occasion; "Circle of Life" from Lion King blared full blast as we had this amazing Africa moment.
|We made it!|
We finally reached Cape Point, but our journey wasn't complete. In order to reach the very tip and see where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans converge, we had to hike a pretty substantial way up, up, up to a big old lighthouse and viewing area. It was a really cool moment, having reached this remote spot that we had spent the day journeying to. The views were other-worldly and the moment was worth the trek, for sure! Our drive back went smoothly, with a few passengers snoozing most of the way.
|At the very tip of the continent of Africa! What a journey!|
For dinner that night I had a plan. The first time I was in Capetown, my dear friend, Laura Cochran had traveled there to meet me and join me on the ship for a couple weeks. We hadn't seen each other in so long, but had an amazing meal at a pizza place and caught up on each other's lives for hours. I wanted that pizza again because I had remembered it being so great! I found the place, called Col Cacchio, on my blog from that first trip. The pizza was, again, AMAZING and I was able to call home and catch up with some friends and family. It all worked out great.
That night we went out to a casual bar and the next morning we were able to make a final, quick trip to the waterfront area and get some coffee and essential shopping done for the last leg of the Grand World Voyage. As we sailed away from Capetown I went up to one of the top decks to take in the glorious views of this city as we departed. Places like this make it easy to live rejoicing.