I actually have a “guided tours trauma” after several excursions in Thailand that offered a very boring program which was all about showing tourists what they supposedly wanted to see. Once we went for an elephant ride in the jungle. The jungle was a place where all the tourist buses came one after another. The elephants looked really unhappy as they had to carry heavy carriages with 6 tourists on their backs many times a day. I don’t understand how people can enjoy this, I only felt pity for the animals. The restaurants where we had lunch, were obviously paying percent to the guides for bringing the tourists there. So we almost did not have a choice to skip them and do our own program. Another tour gave us a chance to visit a famous floating market. The prospect was promising a traditional and picturesque marketplace for locals. In reality it turned out to be a huge and dreary tourist trap. We had to sit in the boats and there was no way out. The boats took us from one market stall to another where different people were persistently trying to sell all their goods. What we really liked about that tour is that it was over at some point.
That is why I was not very enthusiastic about the idea to book a day tour to the Cape Point. Nevertheless we did it as we had only one day in Cape Town left and still hadn’t seen much of its surroundings. And that is why at 7:45 we were already hurrying up to finish our breakfast while our tour guide was patiently waiting for us at the entrance of the guesthouse. She was called Marie-Claire and came from Rwanda. And she was very nice and easy-going. I was somehow relieved after talking to her. The tour promised to be relaxed and fun and even the fact that most of our fellow travelers looked very serious and didn’t say a word couldn’t spoil it!
Here is the map with our route:
The weather on that day was a bit cold and cloudy. The idyllically peaceful and beautiful landscape that we saw two days ago, had now gained a dramatic note and looked even more impressive. The Twelve Apostles and the Table Mountain were covered with heavy and lurid thunder-clouds.
As we were approaching the Cape Point our guide warned us against the baboons that live in the area and are keen on stealing food from numerous tourists coming to visit the Cape of Good Hope. In total, there are 11 troops consisting of about 375 individuals throughout the entire Cape Peninsula. They became one of the main tourist attractions there, though they might get quite dangerous if you decide to have lunch on their territory. Whenever they see food, they attack. What is funny, they have already learned that a cup of coffee doesn’t mean food. So if you decide to drink coffee, you are on the safe side.
After baboon stories we preferred to skip lunch and walked up to the Cape Point instead. Although it started raining before we got up, the panorama was just fantastic. We took our time as we had 1,5 hours on our own, and enjoyed the wonderful views.
Then we headed to Cape of Good Hope to see the place where Indian and Atlantic ocean meet each other. Which is not true. In fact the real southernmost point is 150 kilometers away from the place where all the tourists always rush. It is called Cape Agulhas and it’s the real point where the warm current of one ocean meets the cold one of another and turns back on itself. But no matter where the southern point actually is, we couldn’t miss taking the most typical South African picture there =)
After Cape of Good Hope we continued to Boulders Beach, the place I was looking forward to since we started our day trip. And the reason for it was the world’s famous colony of African penguins that has been living there since the year 1983. They occupied the whole beach and now they are hundreds of them there.
When we got to our last stop we already were so tired that we didn’t want to get out of the bus anymore. But when we did, we didn’t regret. We had a walk through the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, a wonderful and very harmonious place at the foot of the Table Mountain that is famous worldwide for its unique flora: only indigenous plants are cultivated there.
At the end of the day we had to move to another hotel to meet our group with which we were going to travel to Namibia. When we came to our new hotel at 7 in the evening, the girl at the reception told us that the meeting took place already at 6 and our group had already left to the restaurant to have a welcome dinner. The restaurant where they went to was… Mama Africa (the one where we had been to already on the first day).
The first person we met at Mama Africa was a man who was unbelievably excited about our arrival. ‘I’m so happy that you did it!’ he shouted. I found the reaction somehow weird. He didn’t even know who we were and was still so happy that we were there. The guy turned out to be our guide. But on the first evening we were so tired that we couldn’t even realize how cool he actually was. And after a short dinner with our group we just left to sleep, as we were completely exhausted and wanted to prepare a bit for an upcoming trip to Namibia. On the next day we had to wake up at 6 a. m. again (this vacation was going to kill me) to start our big journey with 18 other people.