On Friday we left Livingstone. The airport was tiny and quite chaotic but we got the short flight to Jo’burg without any problems. Once again at Johannesburg airport, we waited this time for 6 hours before our flight to Cape Town. It was another short flight and we arrived at Cape Town Airport about 11pm and shortly after at our accomodation.
As we are only in Cape Town for the weekend, we already had everything we wanted to do planned. So, on Saturday morning we had breakfast then started our walk up Table Mountain.
That’s right we wanted to walk up to the top of Table Mountain from our hotel. What we hadn’t really accounted for was the distance from the hotel to the mountain but also and more importantly the 32 degrees heat! We started walking all excitedly and after a few minutes we were sweating under the shade of a tree. It took us about an hour walking up hill in the exposed Sun before we even made it to the Lower Cable Car Station at the foot of the mountain. By this time we had definitely decided to get the cablecar up and down the mountain. I think if we had walked we would have got heat exhaustion and I would have had another episode like the Three Peaks Challenge.
The Cable Car was actually very cool! It gets you up a very steep 1000m in a few minutes and 60 people are packed into each car.
When we got to the top, the views were sensational and we couldn’t have picked a better day. The visibility was excellent and we could see for miles.
After a walk along the table, some sightings of the Dassie (Rock Hyrax) and an ice cream we headed back down on the cable car once again.
Cape Town is a beautiful city and much more Westernised than Johannesburg and other South African cities. In the afternoon we went to the V&A Waterfront, a complex of shops and restaurants in the port area othe city. Sitting having a drink, we could have been in Barcelona or another European city. Not really Africa, but beautiful nonetheless.
The evening was very exciting. This weekend was the Cape Town festival and tonight just around the corner from our hotel was Long Street where the Cape Town carnival was taking place. We joined the crowds lining the street early and after an hours wait we were treated to a brilliant carnival procession full of dancers, floats and Harley Davidsons.
One strange event that happened was this big old lady who wanted to get to the front of the railings for a better view. To do this she barged me, Heidi and 4 or 5 other people out the way as she stormed rudely to the front. Lots of people understandably got quite angry and started shouting at her and pushing her out the way. Heidi was in the middle of this but luckily came out of unscathed and the woman finally retreated, probably to have another go somewhere else.
This morning we headed to the waterfront once more to start our tour of Robben Island. It was a really good tour and very well organised too. The weather today started quite differently from yesterday with a cool breeze and mist everywhere.
The boat took over a hundred people on its journey to the island. Once we arrived the mist had started to lift and it was soon a bright sunny day with a cloudless sky although a bit cooler than yersterday.
When we arrived at the island we got on a coach and began touring the island. We saw many of the buildings that were in use during the years the island was used as a prison for political prisoners including many who fought against apatheid. The lyme quarry was almost untouched since the days when the prisoners were forced to work there under the scalding sun.
We then visited the top security prison where many of the high level prisoners were held. We were actually shown round by a former political prisoner who served 6 years at Robben Island and who now lives on the island doing these tours. It was quite fascinating hearing the stories from someone who actually spent time here but also very touching!
One of the most famous prisoners was of course Nelson Mandela and we were able to see his tiny cell where he spent 18 years!
After the tour finshed we sat in the sun on the top deck of the boat heading into the cool breeze towards Cape Town. It was an amazing joruney back with the awesome Table Mountain in front of us and seals swimming and jumping out of the water next to us.
When we arrived back we took a walk along the coastline and past the very impressive stadium, which hosted football games during the World Cup Finals.
Now, we are back preparing for our long flight tomorrow when we head for Asia!!