Monday, January 24, 2011

Kirstenbosch Gardens

Kirstenbosch Gardens are located around the back of Table Mountain. They are huge! The Cape area is part of the unique Cape Floral Kingdom which contains a plant called fynbos which is a basically a little shrub. The plant diversity of the Cape Floral Kingdom is amazing.

Since it was the day after Christmas many extended families had brought picnics. Sunday evenings there are also concerts in the gardens during the summer months.

Plant and nature lovers will love this place and could spend hours here. Others, it's definitely worth a walk through as it's really beautifully done.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Table Mountain

The first day of our trip we visited Table Mountain and it was probably the hottest day of our trip. I have never been more glad that we didn't hike up the mountain. In addition, after hearing stories of people waiting on the mountain to rob tourists who are hiking (what are they going to get? my water bottle?) I wasn't so keen on hiking anyway.

I thought we got there early. But not considering the large amount of cars parked on the road winding up the mountain. We had to park at the bottom and walk up the hill to the cable station. We had bought our tickets in advance at Definitely buy your tickets in advance. Your tickets are then valid for a couple of days and you get to skip a wait in one of the lines.

We had another long line to wait in to take the cableway up though. Lines are so long because the weather in Cape Town is crazy and the cable station is often closed down. So when there's a nice day, all the tourists in town will show up at the attraction. And while it may be clear in the morning, the strong Cape Doctor winds can blow in the clouds known as the "table cloth" of the mountain that cover the mountain and can shut down the cable station. These sudden winds and clouds can also make hiking very dangerous. Point being: as soon as the weather is beautiful and that table cloth of clouds is off the mountain, get your butt up to the cable station if you want to see the top.

We liked this sign.

When we finally reached the top there were beautiful views of the city below, the entire Cape peninsula, and off into the Winelands. There is a restaurant up there if you want to grab some lunch or a drink and plenty of little hiking paths to explore.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

de Tafelberg Guesthouse

We stayed in so many wonderful guesthouses that I can't even pick a favorite but de Tafelberg in Cape Town might be it.  Ann and Kris (the owners) were extremely helpful in setting up dinners for us in advance, calling cabs, and giving us advice on what to see in Cape Town.

De Tafelberg is located in the Oranjezicht area of Cape Town at the base of Table Mountain.  The guesthouse is decorated beautifully.  Our room was on the lower floor and opened out onto the pool area.

Breakfast was served every morning from 8 am to 10 am and was delicious.  Many different things to choose from and Ann and Kris will cook bacon, eggs, and other breakfast foods to order.  There's also meats, cheeses, yogurts, several different kinds of juices, and cereals.

There is fenced in parking so you don't have to worry about anything being taken out of your car overnight.

There is an honor bar that offers wine and cold drinks that was very convenient for an after dinner drink or a cool drink in the afternoon.

Our favorite part is the little cabana out by the pool.  You can use it to lounge around in when the sun becomes too hot during the day or to have a drink or read a book at night.

I really can't say enough about this place and would highly recommend it to anyone visiting Cape Town.