Thursday, 5 May 2016

Travel Thursday | Cape Town Edition

So you might know that Ryan is out in South Africa for three weeks with work, jokingly before he went out I asked him that if he did anything could he write about it for me so I could use it on here.. Well being the absolute sweetheart that he is he's actually wrote about his first week in South Africa and he's letting me use it on here for all of you to read. Enjoy!

Cape Town - Week 1

A few weeks ago I was asked by my employer to take three weeks out to Cape Town - South Africa, to help with a service transition. The trip is paid for, which means flights, hotels, food, and a car which I'll be picking up Tuesday is all paid by the company. Naturally I couldn't say no.
The flights here were great. BA have a great service, flying down to London from Leeds and especially the overnight flight to Cape Town was very good. Food and drinks were served, which were complimentary, the seats were comfy and reclined which gave us some well needed rest, and the in flight entertainment was good. I watched a good couple of programs which sent me to sleep.
Arriving in Cape Town, I was amazed by the beauty of the whole place. One of the first things I saw was Table Mountain. I’ve been here a week, seen it every day either up close or in the distance and it’s still just as amazing every time I see it.
The hotel I’m staying in, Protea Hotel Durbanville, is a quiet, out of town hotel. With a huge bed, room service, laundry service, a good bar, great food, and a view out of my room looking over the vineyards. There’s very little to complain about. The staff are brilliant and there are some real characters. Although it is a very pretty, quiet and well kept hotel, I try to limit my time spent here for obvious reasons.
Monday to Friday I work which doesn’t leave much time to play on the evenings as we tend to stay late, but what I did try mid-week was the steak. I’m not a huge steak eater, but this was good. The meat here is on another level. It’s real meat, and meat which you can probably only understand by experiencing it. It’s a must try out here.
This weekend, I spent time exploring on the tour busses, and they really do let you see a lot of Cape Town, and experience South Africa with recorded guided tours on every bus.
Saturday was spent at Table Mountain. I took the cable car up, which after a 40 minute queue, we were took up the mountain in just a few minutes. Heights don’t really do much to me, but I have to admit my legs were slightly wobbly looking out through the windows as the cable car spun around to give a 360 degree view of Cape Town. It was beautiful, although slightly terrifying looking down. Arriving at the top I was greeted with even more astounding views of Cape Town, Camps Bay, Llandudno, Hout Bay, the list goes on. Worth mentioning is also the very British names around here. I was surprised to hear names such as Llandudno, Somerset, and a few more which escape me. Table Mountain is however a must see, must do, and must experience.
Other than Table Mountain, I saw some amazing views, and some amazing homes around the mountains and beaches. I often find myself wondering what it would be like to become a real ‘Capetonian’. The views and natural beauty never tires.
Sunday was spent firstly at an aquarium, because when in Cape Town you must see some penguins. We then took to another bus, however this day was spent mostly riding it out, stopping only to experience the townships; namely Imizamo Yethu based in Hout Bay. A local by the name of Kenny Tokwe, who I learnt to be an inspirational character, took us around.
The township of Imizamo Yethu is a small collection of homes with an expanding population. I was shown the way they live, the community and a little history as we walked around with Kenny. Here we got to see the struggle, and the effects of the history of Cape Town. Most of the town was filled with metal shacks, although some brick homes were built by an Irish charity, and there are plans to build more. A few families showed us around their homes, and I was surprised to find that they did have electricity and water. At times I felt like we were intruding, but I was reassured that the locals do not mind the tour busses as they provide a good source of income to the local area. We visited in their Winter and the temperatures were the low twenties, however I wouldn’t want to be in those metal homes come spring, and especially summer where temperatures hit the forties. Walking around, we got to see the struggle however, we saw that the community is improving the way of life their, which is very fitting as the name itself, Imizamo Yethu, means ‘through struggle we achieve’ in Xhosa. It was an unforgettable experience and I really got to experience the other side of South African life.
The next week will be hard at work, but I’ll have another weekend ahead of me to explore this amazing city and we will have plenty to do. We will no doubt return to fully explore the bays, hopefully visit Robben Island, and check out Long Street and Century City.
Thanks for a great weekend Cape Town.