City Sightseeing Cape Town – Being a Tourist in my own City

I think that it’s necessary for every person to be a tourist in their own City every now and again.  There are so many things in your own city you might not know of.  We are so fast to jump on a plane and to explore other countries and their cities, but once you start exploring your own city, you understand why tourist comes to your city.  We decided to hop onto the Cape Town City Sightseeing bus and did the Blue Tour which is the “Blue Mini Peninsula Tour”.  There are multiple tours on which you can go, even a Wine Tour, which will be the next one for us to explore.  The Blue Mini Peninsula Tour has 18 stops on the route, starting at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) moving on through Town and past the beautiful Mount Nelson Hotel, Kirstenbosch Gardens, World of Birds, Imizamo Yethu township, Houtbay, Campsbay and all the way back to the Two Oceans Aquarium where the tour starts.  For more information on the Cape Town City Sightseeing Tours, go to: http://www.citysightseeing.co.za

The nice thing about this tour is that it’s a “hop on, hop off” type tour.  So you can hop off the bus at anyone of the stops to explore the City a bit more and hop onto the next City Sightseeing bus (every 25 minutes there will be a bus) at the bus stop where you jumped off.  This makes it convenient to explore every part of the city.  This can make for a full day of exploring and fun.ImageImageThere is also the Canal Tour which you can do.ImageImageBeautiful Cape Town ImageImageImageYou will see people running or cycling all over town.  Cape Town is full of very active people, running, cycling or walking dogs.ImageImageMount Nelson Hotel against a beautiful backdrop of Table MountainImageImageBeautiful view of Table mountainImageView of the HarbourImageRhodes MemorialImageKirstenbosch Botanical Gardens is one of the stops on the Blue TourImageStopping at the beautiful KirstenboschImageDriving through Constantia and Newlands, so beautiful with all the treesImageWorld of Birds, wonderful place to take the kidsImagePlaying soccer on a Saturday afternoon just outside of Imizamo Yethu townshipImageImizamo Yethu Township on the outskirts of HoutbayImageImageGetting off at Houtbay for some much needed lunch at Mariners WarfImageOne of my favourite restaurantsImageMariners WarfImageMariners Warf is decorated to give you the feel of being on a shipImageImageImageImageSurfing at Houtbay beach.  The waves are small and calm, so if you’re a biginner, this is perfect for a startImageThe sea is so calm, making paddle surfing so much easierImageSome real African music entertaining us while eating lunch at Mariners WarfImage

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Big Bay Beach – Cape Town

Big Bay beach is quite close to Blouberg Beach.  It is a long stretch of beach to the right, which makes it perfect for walking the dogs and having the kids run around.  To the left of Big Bay Beach you will find Small Bay Beach.  These two beaches are very popular amongst surfers, kite surfers, paddle boarders, families walking dogs and kids playing in the water.  When it’s windy in Big Bay, it’s very windy, so it’s best to go when it’s a lovely summers or winters day with no wind.  The kite and wind surfers will fill up the water when the wind pick up.  Mostly you’ll find the surfers in the water early morning before it’s too windy and the waves are still good, but once the wind picks up you’ll see the surfers coming out of the water and being replaced by wind and kite surfers.

It’s the perfect beach should you want to take your dogs for a long walk.  This is one of the view dog friendly dogs where you can take your dog(s) for a walk at any time during the day and year.  Most dogs on this beach are socialised and play with each other.

You will also find loads of children running around on this beach playing cricket, soccer or beach tennis and learning to surf and doing some body boarding.  This is really the perfect family beach.  The only important thing to know is that the water is very cold and it’s advisable to wear a wetsuit when surfing, kite surfing or wind surfing.

Just off the beach, on the beach front you will find Eden on the Bay, which is a lovely little shopping centre with loads of nice restaurants and some surf shops.  The surf shops here also offer surfing lessons and you can hire a wetsuit and surf board, so you don’t have to go out and buy everything in order to go for surfing lessons.  If you are anything like me, first try it out and see whether you enjoy it before heading out and spending loads of money on a surfboard and wetsuit just to discover you might not enjoy it that much.  You can also hire SUP (stand up paddle boards), so if you are a surfer but the waves calmed down too much for your liking, you can always hire a paddle board and try that out for some fun.

On beautiful and clear days you will have a stunning view of Table Mountain and Lion’s Head as well as Robben Island which is an island in Table Bay, 6.9 km west of the coast of BloubergstrandCape Town, South Africa. The name is Dutch for “seal island”. Robben Island is roughly oval in shape, 3.3 km long north-south, and 1.9 km wide, with an area of 5.07 km².  It is flat and only a few metres above sea level, as a result of an ancient erosion event. The island is composed of Precambrian metamorphic rocks belonging to the Malmesbury Group. Nobel Laureate and former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela was imprisoned on Robben Island for 18 of the 27 years he served behind bars before the fall of apartheidKgalema Motlanthe, who also served as President of South Africa, spent 10 years on Robben Island as a political prisoner, as did current president Jacob Zuma.  There are daily tours to Robben Island which will take you to the museum and give you a more indepth history of the island.  You can go to http://www.robben-island.org.za/ to learn more about the tours on offer.ImageLoads of kite surfers here.  You will see they come out by the dozens as soon as the wind picks up a little bitImageWind surfers also enjoy the waves at Big BayImageYou will find the water filled with surfers, kite surfers and wind surfers when there’s wind and still good wavesImageBeautiful view of Table Mountain and Lion’s HeadImageThis beautiful couple asked me to photograph them and they ended up printing this photo on Canvas and put it up in their bedroom.ImageLoads of guys on the beach selling ice cream, perfect for those warm summer’s days.  Kids love running around with their ice creams.ImageSo many surfers on this beachImageImageThere is a surfing school at the centre “Eden on the Bay” by the beach front and they teach young and old to surf.  I believe that no one is to old to learn how to surf.  Definitely something on my bucket list.ImageOn clear days like this, you will have a beautiful view of Robben IslandImageDogs love playing in the water and running around at Big Bay – one of the last few dog friendly beaches in Cape TownImageImageEven crazy Harper is allowed on the beach and plays with everything and anything.  He absolutely loves the beach and playing in the water.ImageImageEven little kids enjoy surfing hereImageImageYou will even find some paddleskis at Big BayImageImageImage

The Infamous Bucket List

People always talk about “their bucket list” and then the movie “The Bucket List” featuring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman came out in 2007 in which two terminally ill men escape from a cancer ward and head off on a road trip with a wish list of to-dos before they die.  This is quite interesting as I went onto the Urban Dictionary to find out what the meaning of a Bucket List is and this is what a Bucket List is according to the Urban Dictionary:

“A list of things to do before you die. Comes from the term “kicked the bucket“.”  So this really got me thinking of what have I done thus far in my life and should I be lying on my death bed tomorrow, would I be satisfied that I have had a full life.  That I have stories to tell people of things I have done and crossed off a “to do list” before I die.  The conclusion I made was that, no, I have not done all the things that I would love to do and therefor decided to start my own bucket list.  I think that every person should have a bucket list no matter how simplistic they might think other people will think it is, but it means something to you.  It’s filled with things you would love to do one and it sets goals to reach.  You have a reason to save and to plan things in your life other than work and your normal every day type of things.

I am therefor now starting my own bucket list.  This list might be short for now, but I’m sure it will grow over a period of time.  I might even look at it in a couple of months’ time and change it, but that is the beauty of having your own bucket list, you can change it as you change, experience and grow.  Life is full of turns, failures and lessons and through all of that, you grow as a person and therefor your views and opinions on life change, just like your bucket list might change.  It might start off very conservative and then in a year or two’s time, will be radical, adventurous and out there.  Nothing stops you from doing the things you truly want to do, except yourself.  You might even have things on your bucket list which is a fear, but it’s a fear to overcome which can be exhilirating.

I live in Cape Town, South Africa and my bucket list will contain a lot of traveling as well as things to do in Cape Town and South Africa which I have not yet done.  So here is my bucket list as it stands on the 9th day of May 2013:

  1. To climb Table Mountain
  2. To paraglide
  3. To hanglide
  4. To take a 3 month sabatical and do a road trip in America on Route 66
  5. To go to Las Vegas and watch the show girls
  6. To learn how to surf
  7. To learn how to surf on a paddle board
  8. To get a tattoo – done ( I have 2 now)
  9. To do a Cycle Tour
  10. To backpack through Cambodia on a scooter
  11. To backpack through Philippines
  12. To go to Party in the Park in London
  13. To run a half marathon
  14. Go skiing and snowboarding
  15. To skydive
  16. Fly in a hot-air balloon
  17. To pack my bags and set off for a random location with no itinerary planned at all and no idea where I’m going.  Taking the first flight out of South Africa where no visa is needed or can be attained at the destination’s airport
  18. To go swimming with dolphins
  19. To live in a different country for at least 6 months
  20. Hiking through the Rift Valley
  21. To go to the Serengeti and experiencing the Big Migration
  22. To go to London, see Big Ben and Castles in England
  23. To watch the Tour de France and cycling some of the stages
  24. Traveling through Europe
  25. Attend New Year’s Celebration in Times Square
  26. To see the Vatican
  27. To fly first class
  28. To do a photography class
  29. To have my photos published

There is so many things to put on a bucket list and I have just started with mine.  Like I said, it’s bound to change over time and as I cross things off my bucket list.  Life is too short to have regrets, so live life to the fullest and love with abundance!

Muizenberg Beach – Cape Town  

Muizenberg beach, situated east to the False Bay coast of Cape Town might not have the tropical turqoise water of Camps Bay or Llandudno, but the water is warm and calm which makes it perfect for novice surfers and young children.  Muizenberg beach is well known for it’s bright colourful Victorian Beach Houses and makes for the perfect photo opportunity.  The fun thing about Muizenberg beach is that it’s safe for kids to play and swim as the water is quite calm and there is a big stretch of white sandy beaches.  You will find surf schools all over Muizenberg offering surfing lessons to all kinds of age groups.  You will find young children on surfing lessons and older people who would just like to learn how to surf.  The surfing lessons in Muizenberg are very affordable and you do not have to worry about buying a wetsuit or surfboard in order to go for surfing lessons.  The surf schools there will provide you with all the necessary wetsuits and surfboards to make your lessons as enjoyable as possible.

There is also an abundance of restaurants, coffee shops, surf shops and ice cream parlours.  So whatever you and the family feel like, it will be right on the edge of the beach.  Muizenberg was once the premier swimming beach of Cape Town and really comes alive in summer with loads of surfers, families with kids and dogs.

The water at Muizenberg beach is perfect for body boarders, should they not want to attempt surfing there.  You will find alot of fathers with their young kids in the water body boarding in between the surfers.  This beach can become very crowded with surfers, paddle boarders, body borders and just normal swimmers and should you decide to go there, you will need to know that you’ll have to be patient as this is a very popular beach in Cape Town.

People from all over Cape Town come to Muizenberg for the warmer and calmer water.

But Muizenberg is not only known for it’s lovely beach, but it also has history to it.  Behind the beach, the historic town of Muizenberg boasts the oldest building on the False Bay coast – Het Posthuys in Main Road, dating to the 1600s. Nearby, the public is invited to visit the Battle of Muizenberg site, where the British captured the Dutch colony in 1795 – a significant marker in the history of Cape Town and South Africa.

Other heritage attractions in the area include Rhodes Cottage, the house overlooking False Bay where mining magnate Cecil John Rhodes lived and died in 1902 (246 Main Rd, Muizenberg; +27 21 788 1816), and which presents displays on this larger-than-life icon.

It is also worth having a look at the Edwardian-era Muizenberg Railway Station (177 Main Rd, Muizenberg). The train journey, know as “The Southern Line”, from Cape Town to Simon’s Town is highly recommended. Find out more information by contacting the Cape Town Tourism Muizenberg Visitor Information Centre or the Muizenberg Historical Society (+ 27 21 788 5542) for more historical information on the area.

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Some of the brightly colourful Victorian Beach Houses

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These beach houses are situated by a little play area for kids.  Kids love this area as they can climb and slide and do monkey bars and play in the sand.

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Old school bicycle on the beach

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More colourful Victorian Beach Houses to be found along Muizenberg beach

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You will find quite a lot of people on SUP’s as well, or more commonly known as paddle boarders.  The warm water and small waves are perfect for paddle boarding, so if you would like to make a change from surfing, this is perfect at Muizenberg beach.

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Beatiful views of the mountain by Fishhoek.

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Seagulls eating clams and basically anything they can find on the beach

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Some kids after their surfing lesson.  They had a lot of fun and the surfing instructors are very patient with even the youngest of surfers.

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Little surfer who is not a novice any more.  Will most likely surf a lot better than me.

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Even surfski’s can be found at Muizenberg Beach.

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Some of the surfers

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Two surfers who took part in a surfing competition.  The waves were quite small on the day, but they seemed confident in their skills.

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Another paddle boarder

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