Before we left on our RTW trip, we were invited by Alex’s friend to meet him and his girlfriend in South Africa to go to the annual Afrika Burn event. I will have a separate post about Afrika Burn for you guys soon! We arrived in Cape Town a few days before the event so we could prepare for the festival and do some exploring before heading off to camp in the Karoo desert for a week.
Once we told friends and family that we were heading off to Cape Town, most everyone was worried about our safety and otherwise advised against it. South Africa has often been rumored to be an “unsafe” country for tourists to visit.
We did see a lot of high security residences and buildings, and even our rental house came with heavy duty electric fences. We thought it was somewhat strange, but we decided to do the research before we got scared off.
We rented a guest house through Air BnB about ten minutes away from the city center of Cape Town. Luckily, our host family lived right next door to us and were great resources for us if we had any questions or needed help navigating the city. Our host was a German expat who met his wife in a village outside of Cape town years ago. They also had the most outgoing and intelligent 10 ish-year old son. He spoke German, English, and Afrikaans; fluently. I was so impressed by this little guy.
We finally asked our host family what the deal was with all of the security accessories decorating the seemingly peaceful residential neighborhoods and businesses. They explained to us that the country had a rich history of criminal activity like theft and violence most especially during the Apartheid period from 1948-1991. The Apartheid is described as a former policy and time when racial segregation and discrimination was institutionalized and the country suffered with racial, political, and economical struggles. While South Africa has since made a great deal of progress, tourists are still warned by their home governments and locals to take precaution most especially in remote areas and townships in South Africa, where the probability for criminal activity to occur is higher. Tourist areas are not typically known to be affected by criminal activity, so I think part of it is more of an exaggerated misperception. I was just as cautious here as I would be anywhere else while traveling. Overall, I felt safe and really welcomed in this beautiful country.
Once our friends arrived to Cape Town, we had a great deal of last minute preparations to take care of before heading off to Afrika Burn, but we were still able to squeeze in some time to see some tourist’s attractions in Cape Town.
We decided to venture out to a coastal village known as L’Agulhas in Western Cape. It was about three hours away in a car, and the drive reminded me of Arizona with its desert landscape and mountains. L’Agulhas is located at the southernmost tip of Africa. In fact, both the Indian Ocean and Atlantic Oceans meet here; which was our honest and touristy motivation for heading there. Once we finally made it there, we walked along the coast and took some great pictures to commemorate our journey to the southernmost tip of Africa. While it seemed somewhat desolate, it was also a really beautiful and peaceful place to be for the day.
During our time in Cape Town, we headed up to the infamous Table Mountain for the afternoon. Table Mountain is exactly what it sounds like, a completely flat mountain, but with a marvelous view, overlooking the entire city. It’s one of Cape Town’s most popular landmarks. You can take a cable car up to the top or hike it. We chose the cable car because it was late in the day. It was scary and exhilarating. The scenery was absolutely beautiful and we got there at a really prime time to see the lush clouds and the setting sun.
Even though we had such a short time being able to do some of the major tourists activities here in Cape Town, we still experienced a good amount. I split this blog into two parts because there is a lot of content to share with you. I hope you enjoyed these photos! Stay tuned for South Africa Part II! xo