Travel Diaries: My Spur of the Moment Trip to South Africa
BY ROXY ALLNUTT
It was better than anything I had imagined.
4 AUG -2022
Somehow I missed the memo that Cape Town is the most fabulous city ever.
I travelled to South Africa for two weeks and I am still in disbelief at how much this country has amazed me. This was a pretty last-minute 'fuck it, I am bored of Auckland’ trip. While gapping to Singapore or Europe may have cost the same in flights, I think I was keen on something way out of my comfort zone. So when I stumbled off the plane from Auckland, exhausted as hell, I was immediately blown away by this sprawling metropolis on the other side of the world.
This stunning city spreads along a wild and beautiful coastline with sandy white beaches and cute little surf suburbs, with the iconic Table Mountain looming above you in the background. A New Zealander melting over the dramatic coastlines and unique flora deems a big statement, right? Endless vineyards, penguin-filled beaches, and so much sunshine — could any city be more beautiful than this?
Any conversation I had in NZ leading up to this trip was passionately followed with a world of stories and tips.
“Oh my god, be careful of the violence.”
“My Dad was attacked there.”
“You can never be alone.”
“Don’t be surprised if your luggage is stolen in the taxi. That happened to my friend. "
A lot of fear mongering over a good few weeks, and I won't lie, I was spooked. The nerves and worries were natural, and the picture of my two weeks abroad was now illustrated to be tucked away in the house, making trips out scarce.
There are some "bad" areas you should avoid. The crimes are what you could expect anywhere else. I recommend sticking to the places most people would go to. Keep valuables safe, and watch out for snatch-and-grabs.
South Africans love having guests in their country, especially a pack of Kiwis. It wasn’t frightening or coerced to believe. South Africa is bright, colourful, and filled with life. I didn’t feel unsafe for a moment. Rather than being targets, we were welcomed with open arms.
It’s a shame this country and its cities have such a bad name. I genuinely have never seen anything quite like it. I was moved by the raw beauty of graffitied townships, alive with music and culture pouring into their food and art.
The town has a rich diversity in culture, history, and environment, not usually found in one place.
This spot is near Simon’s Town and is home to a vast colony of Africa’s penguins. You'll find dozens of fluffed-up baby chicks chirping away to their mates. The view of the beach isn't too bad either!
Chapman's Peak Drive
We chose to take a roadie along the breathtaking Chapman's Peak Drive on the west coast on the way back to the city from the Cape Peninsula in the bright afternoon light. The 9 km of road that runs between Noordhoek and Hout Bay is quite beautiful.
Imagine massive cliffs that descend to a turquoise sea, as well as a maze of turns and bends with more lookouts and views than you could ever imagine. The sun started to shine through the mountain peaks as we rounded the corner to head back to Cape Town, illuminating the homes below and forming light beams that leave you dazed. Be prepared to exhaust your iCloud photo storage.
The hike up Lion’s Head serves up incredible views. The trail winds around the mountain, meaning you will see every side of Cape Town from above along your walk. We decided to hike in the late afternoon to catch the sunset over the incredible city. We, along with many others, sat there thoroughly grounded and wowed by its beauty. Finally, we soared down the mountain before it got too dark, and the threatening wildlife came out to feast (kidding).
Kalk Bay is a quaint seaside town that’s hard not to like. Faded fishing boats bob in the harbour, and various restaurants, cafés and antique stores line the easily walkable streets. We went down incredibly well with $15 steak meals and $6 Margaritas. I could have sworn we had just spent the day in some Greek seaside village. The architecture, art, shopping and overall vibes were epic — definitely, a spot I can see myself retiring in.
There are endless hikes and wineries covering the mountain sides. You’ll discover emerging neighbourhoods with street art, food markets, and over a hundred options for breathtaking sunrises and sunsets. Travelling to Cape Town and South Africa is a great idea as long as you use common sense and stay in safe areas. I will absolutely be back and dragging along my lovely friends who have unfortunately been scared off.