I love to travel. Whether it’s self-therapeutic, relaxation, or adventurous, I make it a point to spend my hard earned money on traveling the world. But there is almost no place in the world that gives me more solace than South Africa. One of my favorite places to visit in South Africa is Cape Town. Cape Town is one of South Africa's easternmost cosmopolitan cities, with a diverse mix of European tourists and Xhosa, Zulu, Afrikaner natives shopping, eating, and spending time at the beach. Cape Town reminds me of an eccentric San Diego, that caters to western standards of luxury with obvious African influences in every aspect of life.
Here are 5 things that you would absolutely love about Cape Town, South Africa:
1.) The Weather. What I love about Cape Town is that the weather is always nice. Although it may rain, it rarely ever snows, and the sun is always shining. The seasons are opposite than they are in the USA, so when its freezing here, it's probably feeling like a cool summer day in Cape Town. The best time to visit is March-May.
2.) The Food. The seafood in Cape Town is the best seafood I have ever tasted. From any city. In any country. In the entire world. In my life. The fish is so impeccably fresh and delicious. Most South African seafood dishes are served fresh with a side of sauces (lots of peri-peri) and steamed rice. The seafood is usually the main attraction. The choices of spices they use to enhance the food is worthy of a secret food show. I strongly recommend going to eat at the V&A Waterfront for all your seafood desires.
If you are searching for a more informal dining experience, I would suggest you visit Marcos Place. They serve traditional African cuisine with a lot of live music, great waiters, and friendly locals. It is located in downtown Cape Town not really close to the beach and some times there are some suspicous folks hanging around at night. Not to worry though, I've never felt unsafe and the waiters, entertainers, and customers are like family, consistently suggesting great places to shop and nice places to visit while you are in Cape Town. The food is reasonably priced and the service is down home.
If you are interested in dining in a place that has great music and a flair of culture, you should definitely experience Moyo. Moyo serves amazing Impala and caters to tourists seeking traditional African dishes from across the continent. The music is so impressive, with a live band and lots of dancing. The service at times can be spotty on a Saturday night when tourists overwhelm the place.
3.) Robben Island. This is an absolute must-see on any stop to South Africa. In order to understand this country in a way that is more than just cosmetic, you have to venture into its complex history. While the weather is dreamy, the exchange rate is perfect, and the people are nice, there is a strong cultural relationship all those things have with the worldwide hero Nelson Mandela. There's not a day that goes by that I don't think of this humanitarian as someone who became an international example of the ability to reconcile and love.
Robben Island is a place that embodies apartheid. It is a place that embodies the injustices that were perpetrated against not only Nelson Mandela but against all those Black, Coloured, and Indians, who stood up against an unfair government. It is a place that embodies 20th Century atrocities in a way that is both jarring and necessary to see. It is incredible to hear about the hundreds of names we have never known who were imprisoned there. It is also joyous to hear about how far South Africa has come in its collective fight for sustainable democracy.
The prison, which is now a museum, takes about a half day to truly explore. It is incredible to see how large it is. It is incredible to see how cut off from the rest of the world this prison was. You get to walk through the hallways. You get to stand in the courtyard. You get to see where Nelson Mandela work, ate, slept, prayed, and attempted to live for 19 years. I strongly recommend a visit.
4.) The Artwork. I have a deep appreciation for creative forms of expression. I love afrocentric artwork and Cape Town is chock full of handmade crafts, carefully carved masks, freshly painted portraits, and all kinds of art wonders. The statues and paintings are particularly inspiring. No trip to South Africa is complete without stuffing your suitcases full of amazing artwork.
5.) The Scenery. Did I mention this place is one of the most beautiful cities in the world? The views from Table Mountain to the un-crowded beaches, this city will absolutely take your breathe away at every turn. Cape Town can be overwhelming beautiful. The mood is so breezy, the condos are so freshly painted atop a mountainside, and the sea is so pristinely blue.