I thought that spending 6 days in one place would feel like a slow crawl. We are so used to moving around night after night when we travel. Cape Town is one of those places that deserves a deeper dive and more comprehensive stay. The city is layered with restaurants, beautiful outdoor space, waterfront walks, and a nearby countryside full of wineries. Today we went to explore the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden in the morning and then booked a cable car to the top of Table Mountain in the afternoon.
It must have been because we had spent the previous day by the coast, but this was the first day that I really experienced the Cape Town heat. In South Africa’s “spring/early summer”, it’s a dry heat with forceful sunshine. We arrived at the botanical gardens in the late morning and spent the better portion of our visit searching for shady trees. The gardens are expansive, and you can find both tourists wandering and local families eating picnic lunches. The air is full of bright floral scents that permeate the heat.
I finally surrendered to the blazing sky as I neared the point of fainting (thanks to my unnaturally fragile East Coast body) and we stopped for burgers at the café inside the park. Huge portions, tasty food. I tried to order the smaller size from the children’s menu but succumbed to peer pressure following a confused response from my server. Too. Much. Cheeseburger.
Later that afternoon we rode the cable car to the top of Table Mountain, watching brave hikers toil in the midday heat below us. The sides of the mountain were trickled with jutting rocks and faintly carved pathways. As we neared the top, the ocean merged into our view and made the jumble of city buildings look minuscule. The top of the mountain was larger than I expected. There were pathways that zigzagged in all directions and small rocky viewpoints for gazing. I chugged an unnaturally large and overpriced bottle of water that I absolutely needed to survive (dramatic but true) and enjoyed the faint breeze that was cutting into the hot air up top.
That night we went off to Bree Street, a stretch of city that is home to dozens of restaurants and adjacent to Long Street which is full of bars. We settled on Seabreeze Fish & Shell (I recommend making a rez) and dug into some ridiculously flavorful fresh fish and a plate of squid ink tagliatelle that tasted like savory heaven. Low lighting meant no food photographs–the memory exists only in my stomach. After a quick wander over to Long Street for a few totally unnecessary beers, we crashed into our room like overheated boozy bricks.