Alive with Adrenaline: Backpacking in Cape Town, South Africa
A trembling and slightly irrational sense of positivity hits you when you arrive at Cape Town International Airport. Why? Because you know it’s one of those places that won’t let you down…. And it’s true; South Africa’s hippest and arguably most popular city is a richly rewarding destination for the wannabie Springbok.
To start with, it’s a wild place – not remote in the traditional sense – but the landscape really jumps out at you. Table Mountain is unmissable, rising up behind the city and enthroning it in ancient sandstone. There is one the of the world’s largest commercial ports here, as well as a thriving multicultural CBD, genuine markets flogging African wares, magnificent sunshine, and a great beach side BBQ scene (a funky daytime option for many Cape Town restaurants). It’s also the site of Nelson Mandela’s imprisonment (on Robben Island). It’s where the Indian Ocean meets the Atlantic (Cape Point) and just if it couldn’t be more interesting, Great White sharks appear from time-to-time to add that essential streak of danger to the surf perfect waters.
You can quite easily spend a whole day or two cruising down the Cape Peninsula, soaking up the beach bar culture, catching a bit of surf down on the postcard perfect Camps Bay, and ogling at the of the lush exclusivity of the Cape Town hotels. More affordable Cape Town accommodation is found on the outskirts of the city centre. Don’t be put off by numerous signs advertising ‘Guest Houses’ – they are often very well run and can offer a safe and economical alternative to a hostel or hotel.
5 things not to miss in Cape Town:
- Diving with great white sharks
- Taking a cable car up Table Mountain
- Visiting Nelson Mandela’s cell at Robben Island
- Crawling the beach bars and surfing the white foam waves in Camp’s Bay
- Drive down to Cape Point to see the line where the Indian and Atlantic oceans meet