It was a long flight from London to Doha in Qatar, followed by a very swift transfer, and an even longer onward to Johannesburg, and a final short hop to Cape Town. I arrived almost 24 hours after I had set off from the house in London, and after a little initial confusion, met up with Martin and Rachel.
They had just flown in from Johannesburg earlier in the day, and had accommodation already booked for them in Cape town via their friend Steve’s workplace. I had tried to ring the same place to make a booking, but I couldn’t – apparently bookings are only accepted via the company Steve works for.
So I had set off for Africa with a rather confident and blasé atitude to my precarious accommodation situation, but hadn’t taken into account two factors. First of all it is peak summer season here in South Africa, and secondly, the English cricket squad is in town for the test match against South Africa, and the place is packed with cricket fans.
On the way into the city to look for accomodation I got my first glimpse of Table Mountain, with the sun setting behind it. It’s a lot bigger than I had imagined it to be.
After trying several backpacker places along the main street I finally found one with a double room available, as somone had cancelled earlier in the afternoon, and decided to take it, despite the fact that it was three times the price of a dorm bed.
There was some sort of street carnival going on outside, and the hostel had a great balcony overlooking the street. There was what seemed to be an endless procession of chaotic, brightly dressed marching bands dancing up the street.
Once I dropped my bags off we all went for a wander through the busy streets, and ended up in a bar for a couple of extremely good value South African beers. There goes my first New Year’s resolution already, and it’s only the 2nd January!
The next morning we had planned to climb Table Mountain, and Martin and Rachel collected me fairly early. Unfortunately the mountain was shrouded in cloud, and the weather was gloomy, so instead we decided to take a drive down the peninsula to the Cape Of Good Hope, the most south-westerly point of Africa.
The countryside is quite wild, and the walk from Cape Point to the Cape Of Good Hope is spectacular. The weather improved through the day, and we all ended up a little sunburnt by the end. On the way back we saw baboons by the roadside, and stopped off in Simon’s Town to see the African Penguin colony there.
In the evening we ate at a pub in the trendy, touristy Waterfront area of Cape Town, and met briefly with Mukhtar, who lived in town and had contacted me via the website. But I was somewhat distracted by the fact that I didn’t yet have accommodation for the night again, and went to make a few phone calls. Before long I had the next two nights organised, and was somewhat relieved.
An easy day planned tomorrow, wandering the city and trying to get organised for the next few days and the next few goals!