So, it’s no secret that my Cape Town trip was amazing, but we did make a few mistakes along the way. You can do allll the research possible, but sometimes things come up and you’re like dang, how did I not know about that/bring that/prepare for that?
Instead of putting a candy coating on our entire holiday, I thought it’d be more interesting, (and probably entertaining) to fess up to some of our mishaps. Hopefully it will save you from making the same mistakes!
Here is what NOT to do in Cape Town:
1. Do *not* drive the 13-hour drive from Joburg to Cape Town without staying the night. Especially if only one of you drives.
Seriously, what were we thinking?
Well, honestly, the biggest motivation behind driving was saving money. We are living on our savings after all. Which, in that case we were successful. The money we spent on gas and tolls was significantly less than what we would have paid for flights.
But at what cost?
We left at 2 a.m. and about an hour into our drive it started raining so badly Jono had to pull over. We stopped at a petrol (gas) station and Jono got a half hour snooze and we headed back on the road, the awful, awful pothole covered road. But Jono, armed with five hour energy drinks, chips and coffee, persevered. He really was a trooper. On the positive side, (because I don’t want this post to be depressing) the roads do get better after Bloemfontein and we did see some really beautiful views driving into Cape Town. And we talked and talked for hours and hours, which made for good husband/wife bonding.
We finally arrived in Cape Town around 6 p.m., four hours later than the time we wanted to get there, and seriously beat. I dragged Jono out for dinner when all he felt like doing was sleeping. The scenario where we fly into Cape Town, nap on the plane and arrive at our B&B rested and ready to go sounds wayyyy better.
Just fly. End of story. Check oout www.kulula.com or flymango.com for deals.
2. Do *not* not check the weather before going up to Table Mountain
This was an amateur move. When we decided to go to Table Mountain, we thought it was going to be great. The weather outside was beautiful: warm, light breeze, few clouds. What we didn’t account for was the massive cloud that was about to envelope Table Mountain.
We got in the cable car and were able to get some awesome photos of the city. The view was incredible! But it stopped there. I don’t know if you’ve ever been in a cloud before, but I’ll tell you now, it is not comfortable. We stepped out onto the top of the mountain to walk into a mist and be hit smack in the face with cold wind.
My outfit says it all…we were not prepared.
I only grabbed a scarf and cardigan because the parking lot attendant said it may be cold on the mountain. Thank goodness. I put my scarf around my head to cover my ears from the wind and keep my hair from getting damp. Attractive, right?
There were some moments of a view. We were going to abseil down the mountain, but due to the poor visibility we didn’t think it was worth it. There was a girl about to go down there though.
Don’t make the same mistake we did. I’ve heard the mountain is STUNNING when the conditions are right. Call the Table Mountain hotline to check on the conditions and make sure the cable cars are running before you make the trip out there. If you are in Cape Town for a few days, look at the extended forecast to try and plan which day to go up. At the very least you’ll want to be wearing the proper attire. The hotline number is: +27 (0)21 424 8181. You can also check the conditions online.
3. Do *not* go for dinner & sundowners on Camps Bay without making reservations
In Camps Bay, tourists and locals alike flock to the “sunset strip” for sundowners and dinner. Just look at that sunset! After walking around the waterfront, we decided to have drinks and dinner there on a whim. We walked up and down the strip looking for a nice place to view the sunset, but at 6:15 our options were limited. Every good spot was fully booked. Damn.
We ended up eating at a South African chain called Col’Cacchio, which was okay, but left a lot to be desired as far as view is concerned. I got that picture by opening up a window and practically leaning over other diners. Oops. Anything for a sunset photo!
4. Do not go on a boat if you are prone to seasickness without taking Dramamine
Whether you are taking a sunset cruise, or shark cage diving like we did, be prepared with dramamine. The combination of the choppy seas and smell of the chum and bait used to attract sharks was enough to make me and a few others on board more than a bit nauseous.
The sickness didn’t just end on the boat either. I was sick all. through. the night. and missed out on wine tasting the next day. (I might have ate something bad too? Not really sure.)
In addition to Dramamine, I’d suggest bringing aspirin, allergy medicine, Tums etc. Also, make sure to wash your hands often and consider taking a vitamin supplement like cal-c-vita. There’s not much else to say here. Trust me, you do not want to miss out on activities on your vacation because you don’t feel well.
So those are the things we would have done differently. Hopefully it will help you in your planning!
And just in case you were beginning to think I’m some kind of Debbie Downer, you should know that I plan to do another post on what we did right and include lots of photos of me frolicking around Cape Town to give you vacation envy 🙂