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Saturday, August 15, 2020

Cape Town

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Until you experience South Africa, it is difficult to explain its boundless charm. From the Cape to near Kruger, South Africa offers unique experiences and amazing scenery.

After a 31-hour door-to-door trip, our group’s first outing was the wine lands. After an exceptional tasting and tour of Anura Vineyards, located between Paarl and Stellenbosch, we headed to the Afrikaans Language Monument. Erected on the 100th anniversary of the founding of Genootskap van Regte Afrikaners – the organization that helped strengthen Afrikaners’ identity and pride in their language – the monument consists of structures of a convex and concave nature, symbolizing influences of different cultures on Afrikaans itself, as well as political developments in South Africa.

While cosmopolitan, the pace in Cape Town is slower than you might expect. Captonians joke that they will only rush if they are involved in a race and once they cross the finish line, they’ll go back to their relaxed ways.

From markets to top designer stores, there are shopping destinations for everyone. At Greenmarket Square where bartering for goods is a tradition, pricing was already so low that it was almost a crime to ask for a lesser price. Goods range from handcarved animal statues in all sizes and woods to jewelry, clothing, bags, bowls and belts.

The area was alive with music, street entertainment and outdoor cafes abuzz with locals and tourists. The magnificent Victoria & Alfred Hotel’s waterfront area offers an eclectic mix of stores and restaurants to experience and the Cape Grace Hotel proved to be the perfect choice of accommodations for our group.

The drive to the Cape of Good Hope was unforgettable, from the ever-present Cape Town winds pushing the cloud cover over the Twelve Apostles Mountain and the vivid turquoise of the frigid Atlantic, this drive offers one stunning display after another.
The Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve features extraordinary land formations and unique and diverse fauna and flora. Coming up on families of baboons while driving through the reserve is almost guaranteed and wild ostriches run loose throughout the area.
The legendary Cape Point and Cape of Good Hope form part of the Nature Reserve. These promontories were key beacons for the early explorers and are argued to be the point where the warm waters of the Indian Ocean meet the cold of the Atlantic.

Originally named the Cape of Storms in 1488 by Portuguese explorer Bartholomew Dias, its name was later changed because of the great optimism engendered by the opening of a sea route to India and the East.

Considered by many to be the ultimate Mother City experience with visibility over 40 miles, Table Mountain is officially one of the new 7 Wonders of Nature. Take the aerial cableway from the lower station to the upper station at 3,500 feet above sea level, or hike one of the 350 paths to the summit.

Those seeking a thrill may choose to repel down the side of the mountain or those less adventurous can just check out the gift shop and grab a bite at the small snack bar. Whatever you choose to do once up there, no one can escape the never-ending visual feast.

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