travel diary

Cape Town - visiting the Mother City

Roxanne de Bruyn

Founder and contributing editor

Driving along the coast, cliffs fell in sheer drops just outside my window, the open ocean spreading out below in sparkling blue. On the other side of the road towered black mountains, their sides gritty and sparse from the recent forest fires. As we climbed higher, the effect was stark: the dark mountains, blue seas and sky, white crescent beaches far in the distance… Many have said that Cape Town is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Based on the panorama below us, the accolade was definitely deserved.

We stayed in an apartment in Three Anchor Bay, between the Waterfront and Sea Point. Our visit was family-orientated, but we squeezed in a few tourist activities here and there, walking along the promenade to the city and sipping cocktails at the Waterfront. We drove over Chapman’s Peak one day, and another followed the ocean and white beaches along the mountain to Hout Bay and beyond. A warm afternoon passed on Signal Hill, watching the paragliders jump.

Camps Bay beach on a sunny day
Cape Town waterfront with Table Mountain in the background
Sand and surf at Muizenberg Beach, Cape Town

In the Northern suburbs, white sands led to silver city views with Table Mountain in the distance. The water was icy cold, despite the heat, which hovered around thirty degrees while we were there. Poor townships were dotted through wealthy neighbourhoods, and the Canal Walk mall seemed gaudy and pretentious after the pure, natural beauty outside.

And still, the stunning landscapes were everywhere. A family brunch in Constantia had a backdrop of green views stretching across the vineyards. A long drive ended with a walk through Kirstenbosch, the gardens strewn along the foot of Table Mountain, a wobbly snake bridge looking to the south. One morning, we visited the colonial villages in False Bay, braving the ubiquitous wind. Kalk Bay was an easy and delicious option for lunch, with local fishermen out on the wharf, seals swimming and sleeping in the sun.

Yellow flowers against a mountain backdrop in Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
Walking along an elevated walkway in Kirstenbosch Gardens, Cape Town
Elevated wooden walkway with a view in Kirstenbosch botanical garden, Cape Town

The road led us down, almost to Cape Point, then was slowly enveloped in white cloud, shutting out the sun at the southern tip of the Cape. We drove through the mist, the wind softening as we went, until we emerged, blinking into the sunlight again.

Planning a trip to Cape Town? Read our guide on where to stay in Cape Town and our South Africa itinerary for first-time visitors

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Roxanne de Bruyn

Author - Roxanne de Bruyn

Roxanne is the founder and contributing editor of Faraway Worlds. With a background in communications, she has studied ancient history, comparative religion and international development, and has a particular interest in sustainable tourism.

Originally from South Africa, Roxanne has travelled widely and loves learning the stories of the places she visits. She enjoys cooking, dance and yoga, and usually travels with her husband and young son. She is based in New Zealand.

Last Updated 21 June 2022

Overlooking beautiful Clifton Beach

South Africa

South Africa is a country of contrasts. As well as enjoying the spectacular coastline, peaceful bush and safaris, visitors can also learn about South Africa's difficult history and diverse heritage.
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