It was time to leave behind Europe. We were hitting the road again, moving on to our fifth continent and final stop: the Mother Continent of Africa.
Boarding a southbound, transcontinental flight, we said ciao to Roma and touched down in Cairo, before planting our feet in the continent’s most southerly city. It was destination Cape Town, South Africa.
For our African adventure, we were giving ourselves three months to make the journey from Cape Town to Nairobi, Kenya. To kick off this final leg of the trip we reunited with our fellow around the world travel friends, Greg and Ashley. Coincidentally, these Chicago pals of ours embarked on a similar journey this year, and we’ve been fortunate enough to meet up with them several times along the way. On our fifth and final continent we were together again to take in the splendor of Cape Town and tackle South Africa’s famed coastal road: the Garden Route.
With a handful of days to spend in the affectionately named “Mother City” of Cape Town, we took our time soaking up the many attractions. Walking our way along the Atlantic coast, we enjoyed spectacular scenery of white sandy beaches and Antarctic winds that nearly knocked us off our feet. Jouneying over to the city harbor, known as the V&A Waterfront, we found tug boats and sailboats splashing along the docks beside masses of shops, restaurants and pubs geared towards tourists like ourselves. It was in the City Bowl, however, along bustling Long Street, that we found all the action. Victorian-era buildings welcomed us with wrought iron balconies, and a plethora of second-hand bookstores and cafes. By night we were back on the main drag of Long Street, diving into its thriving culinary scene. Where Cuban cafes and gourmet burger bars sit beside Mexican eateries and stylish sushi joints, there was no lack of gastronomical diversity to suit these pallets.
It was no coincidence that the Cape Town Marathon was taking place during our visit. After making our city rounds, it was time for Ryan to take to the streets. In his goal to run around the world, Ryan has set out to run a marathon on all seven continents. His stellar performance in the Cape Town Marathon takes him one step closer to this goal. With Africa under his belt, it’s four continents down and three to go. Bravo, Ryan!
With the race behind us, we were off to tackle Cape Town’s main attraction: the flat-topped Table Mountain dominating the city skyline. We were waiting for that perfect day to ascend the iconic mountain, and it just wasn’t happening. Weather in Cape Town is more than iffy and, on more than one occasion, we experienced all four seasons in a single day. On our final day, the weather did finally break, however, upon arrival our dreams were crushed. The cable car was suspended due to high winds, and we were strongly advised not to make the hike with a series of recent muggings on the mountain at this time of day. Two things were certain: we were definitely in Africa and we wouldn’t be seeing the top of this mountain.
Aside from missing out on the quintessential Table Mountain experience, I must admit, in Cape Town I expected a bit more. This city gets a lot of hype, and while I enjoyed my stay, there wasn’t anything really pulling at me here. I was itching to find that vibrant flare I always associated with the Rainbow Nation of South Africa.
On our journey south, however, to the outskirts of Cape Town, I learned this Cape does pack a big punch. Check out our journey here.