On the day of Mandela’s passing I couldn’t help but quietly mourn for a man I had never met. His death wasn’t a complete surprise as he had been sick for quite some time. Still, his actions, compassion, and wisdom had made a significant impact across the globe and I was grateful to be alive during his influence. I witnessed first hand his impact when I flew to South Africa during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. This was the first African country to host the World Cup and I knew I just had to be there.
When my friend proposed that we attend this lively event I initially thought we’d only visit Johannesburg. However, she had her travel bug set on Cape Town and I’m glad she did. Today, Cape Town is one of my favorite cities! We were only there for a short 3 days and 4 nights stay. Had I known it was going to be as awesome as it is, I would have made different travel arrangements to stay longer. This was my first travels with my friend, Cassie. Our inexperience with budget traveling, the jet lag, and tight funds left our days a little short but we tried our best to see what we could in the 3 full days.
There are several sights to see around Cape Town but I feel that no visit is complete without seeing Table Mountain. Actually, you can easily see the natural wonder anywhere around the city but being on top of it is a requirement. On a beautiful day, hiking up the mountain would be a lovely activity but since we were visiting during their winter we opted for the cableway (gondola) for just over R200 (~$20) each way.
The view was unforgettable with all of Cape Town just below, mountain ranges just beside, and Robben Island in the distance. We also took the same bus to see the Botanical Garden and World of Birds. That same evening we walked over to the V + A Waterfront where we saw many enthusiastic Oranje supporters for the game against Cameroon.
On another day we hopped on a tour bus to see what was outside of the city via the ever popular Garden Route. We had one other girl with us who was traveling for a few days all the way from Switzerland. How lucky was Lolo to guide 3 cute Asian girls around, right?! Ha. We enjoyed a warm day overlooking Hout Bay. We made a pit stop to meet some rather curious long-necked birds. Drove through Table Mountain National (and protected) Park to Cape of Good Hope. Then drove over to the other famous cape, Cape Point, to see where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet. We walked amongst penguins at Boulder’s Bay. Then ended the full day tour day overlooking Muizenberg and a subtle, yet stunning, sunset over the Indian Ocean.
Had my camera not crapped out on me, I would have gladly shown you some pictures from attending Cape Town’s FIFA Fan Park. I devastatingly lost a full day’s worth of pictures when I was trying to make room on my SD card. Anyways, FIFA constructed areas in all of the host cities for people to gather and watch the games for free. Equipped with large TVs, food court, and smaller tents for other games.
Photo courtesy of allAfrica.com
But no trip is complete for me and Cass without a little night life. OK, a lot of night life. All but one night we hit the town with our new local friends and fellow backpackers. Long Street is known quite well for its energetic bar scene. As we walked up and down , we entered each establishment a little less sober than when we entered. OK, a lot less sober. We danced and drank the nights away at Zula, The Waiting Room, The Fez, and The Dubliner. Through these nightly outings we had made new friendships from people all over the world.
There is so much to do in and out of Cape Town. I truly cannot wait to return to this beautiful city and experience more of it. The moments I had, sights, and people were incredible. Having the opportunity to combine my love for soccer (footie/futbol) and travel has been one of my best experiences to date. In fact, I am planning to attend the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil! But in complete honesty I don’t think anything can top the people I met in this great city. People whom I call friends today.