BootsnAll Travel Network

Cruising around the Cape

The last couple of weeks in Cape Town have been a random mixture of non-stop action and sitting around the hostel all day doing nothing. After my last post I was invited by some locals to go up to a little town called Clanwilliam for a big music festival that was happening that weekend. The In-SAN-ity Festival was a big three-day affair ben, outside on the river, with dj’s playing non-stop music while everyone camped out. Picture the Oregon Country Fair, only with trance/house music instead of jam bands, and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what this was like. There were three music stages, people swimming and floating in the river, and lots of vendors selling everything from pancakes to magic mushrooms. I drove up with four other people, all from CT, and we camped out in the back of a VW van. Trying to sleep in the van was a little difficult, but we didn’t expect to get much sleep anyway, what with the dj’s playing loud trance music all night long. Sunday morning we packed up and headed back to CT, stopping a long the way at a beautiful secluded swimming hole along the river. It was a great weekend, and reminded me of Eugene quite a bit. 🙂

I’ve been trying to get in as many Ultimate games as I can as well, and the pick-up games at the University of Cape Town are really good fun. The fields are in good shape and in a beautiful setting as well. Last weekend we only had six of us show up though, so we played 3 on 3 and ran ourselves into the ground. It’s a tiring game, but it sure is nice to be out running around in the sunshine. Sunday mornings the teams have informal beach games down on Clifton Beach, and I’m going to get in on that tomorrow. Clifton’s beaches have been rated some of the best in the world so I’m looking forward to checking them out. Obviously, the game will be followed up be cold drinks on the beach, so I’m counting on it being a good day. The Ulitmate players here in South Africa are all quite good, and many of them are quite passsionate about promoting the sport in South Africa through the South African Frisbee Disc Association, or SAFDA.

One of the other things I found here was Cape Runners Against Gravity (CRAG), a trail running club, and I joined them for a run the week before last. There’s an abundance of hiking and running trails here in CT, so each week the group comes up with a different route to run. This particular run turned out to be more hiking than running, as we only spent the first 20 minutes or so actually running, and the next hour scrambling up a narrow ravine to the top of the mountain range known as the Twelve Apostles. We ran in the evening, getting back to the cars just as it turned dark, so the sunsets and views were spectacular.

Last weekend I jetted out of town again, this time taking the InterCape bus along the Garden Route to Plettenberg Bay. Plett is a small beachside town, located about 40KM from the Bloukrans Bridge. Bloukrans is the site of the highest commercial bungy jump in the world at 216 meters. Having done all the other jumps on this trip, I couldn’t very well pass up the chance to do the highest bungy in the world, could I?

The night before heading to Bloukrans, I stayed at an absolutely awesome backpackers in Plett called Albergo for Backpackers. (Be sure to check out their photo gallery!) It was run be a very cool couple from Holland, and staffed by an extremely friendly staff of locals. Every night they fire up the braai (Afrikaans for bbq) for anyone who wants to grill a slab of meat or just chill out by the campfire. The three resident dogs are all very friendly, and well behaved to boot. The night I stayed there was unusual, in that a lot of the guests were actually South Africans and not travelers. Most of them were skydivers, and a handful were base jumpers who had come to base jump off of Bloukrans Bridge. It was quite cool to hang out with them and be a part of that again.

The bungy jump the next morning went as well it could have. I got there just before 10:00 AM and was in the first group of the day to jump. It took us about 5 minutes to walk to the jump platform, and to get there we had to cross on a catwalk underneath the bridge. I hadn’t had to do that on any of my previous jumps, and being 216 meters above the ground and looking down was a little freaky. But the jump was awesome, and I made a point to try and fall as fast as possible and bounce back up as high as I could. It was awesome. I had a video taken, but it’s on a VCR tape so I won’t be able to share it until I get home.

I rode the bus back to CT on Monday, getting back to the backpackers about 7:30 PM. After checking back into my room and getting a shower, I hooked up with some of the other people here at Big Blue to go to a local bar down the street. Monday’s were Karaoke nights at this bar, but as it turned out, this bar also happened to be a gay bar. Can’t say I’ve ever seen so many men sing so many Barbara Streisand songs in my life. But the beers were cold, and in between the karaoke the played some great dance music so it was all good.

Tuesday was a “do nothing” day, but I spent Wednesday and Thursday playing a tourist again. On Wednesday I took a boat out to Robben Island and toured the prison where Nelson Mandela was held captive for eighteen years. It was interesting to tour the island and see the prison, and the tour guide was a former prisoner who had spent twenty years imprisoned there. Thursday was another hike back up Table Mountain so I could get some pictures from the top of the mountain.

Today I spent the day walking around the city and taking in more of the sights. My first stop was the Castle of Good Hope, a fortress built in the late 1600’s by the Dutch East India Company. From there I walked up Government Lane, past the Parliament building and the President’s house, to the South African National Gallery. It was full of some very cool exhibits: paintings, sculptures, photography, video installations; some very old and some very modern. From the Gallery I walked back to the backpackers, taking a detour through the Muslim neighborhood of Bo-Kaap, well known for it’s very colorful buildings and unique architecture. It was a great day to be out walking around as the weather was sunny and warm. Hopefully it will hold for a couple of more days. I fly out of CT next Tuesday and head for Bahrain, the first leg of my journey home.

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Insanity Festival; Swimming hole on the Oliphant River

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Running with CRAG; Table Mountain and the V&A Waterfront; University of Cape Town rugby fields

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Cape Town from Table Bay; Robben Island Tour

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City Hall; Moat around the Castle of Good Hope; South African National Gallery; Bo-Kaap

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One Response to “Cruising around the Cape”

  1. Laura Says:

    very cool.. totally not how I imagined Cape Town.. for some odd reason, I had always envisioned Cape Town as being on a peak looking down toward the ocean… I guess I should have done a better job on my 6th grade country report on S. Africa!

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