I have finally had just enough wine to rekindle the passion, culture, and beauty that I found in South Africa. Before I go into all of the essentials, I think its best to tell you why you should visit …
Upon my arrival to Cape Town, something in my heart rejoiced as if I had had finally returned home. As a Black woman I have long desired visiting Africa, so yes one could argue this is why my heart pounded so excitedly (and is doing so right now as I think about it). But it wasn’t just my culture that made me excited, it was the insanely fresh air paired with the most amazing mountain views. The sound of white dusty sand blowing outside of our window, with the waves gently crashing in. It was the smiling people and the frequent statements “welcoming us home”. And of course, it was knowing that all this would be experienced with my best friend by my side!
There was something so serene about Cape Town, I tear up while thinking about it. A paradise with just enough reality to sell the dream.
But Finally, enough of me spewing at you, its time for me to show you some of the treasures we experienced in South Africa!
There are a ton of native languages spoken in South Africa including Afrikaans and a bit of Twi. However, the wide majority of locals in Cape Town do also speak English
The currency used in South Africa is the Rand (ZAR). 1 CAD = approximately 11.47 ZAR
Wall Plugs & Adapters
Most plugs in South Africa are 2-prong or 3-prong so be sure to bring both power adapter so you’re prepared wherever you go. Also within a variety of the newer buildings there may not be the highest voltage, so if you plan on using a flat iron / blow dryer definitely bring a high voltage converter!
Tours & Excursions
The most cost effective and time efficient method of touring Cape Town is to purchase a City Pass. This pass allows you to have unlimited access to a series of excursions for 2,3,or 5 days in a row. There is a premium option that allows you to more extravagant experiences such as helicopter rides around the mountains or driving your favorite luxury car along the coast of Cape Town.
Naturally South Africa is said to be very hot (with very little humidity) within its spring and summer months. Unfortunately for us, we traveled during the winter month of May which, while pretty warm, occasionally required the presence of a sweater.
Credit Cards & Banking
The majority of retailers in Cape Town accept debit and Credit. I would recommend exchanging your money at local ATM’s once in SA (as they have the best rates)
Cost of Living
The cost of living is pretty cheap in this amazing city. I found myself frequently drinking Caribbean Mochas for 35 ZAR which was equivalent to about $3.30 CAD at the time. When it came time for food, we often ate large meals for anywhere between $7 and $20 CAD (the latter being inside more expensive restaurants). We also did a bit of grocery shopping because we had a kitchen in our condo. But imagine a cart full of groceries (wine, beers, eggs, coffee, cream, bread, seasonings, shrimps, chicken, and the sort) for the equivalent of under $50 CAD to provide you with some added context.
Just as I mentioned the cost of living to be inexpensive, this was also reflected in the cost of transportation. Uber is one of the most effective transportation options especially because it is directly billed (less room for you to make cash mistakes or get ripped off); but most importantly, it is extremely cheap to get around. In our case, we rented a vehicle for 12 days at a cost of about $300 CAD. Renting a car for us was very beneficial because we were able to go everywhere and anywhere, including our very far destinations like Aquila Game Reserve. The only thing I will add is that unless you are from the UK or a “Britain colony” they drive on the wrong side of the road – I repeat – the wrong side (left side) of the road. So if you have not yet tried this, (although we did do what I am about to tell you not to ) do not attempt to here. The driving in South Africa is very fast paced, and while you may not find yourself stuck in any round-a-bouts you will commonly experience near-death encounters if you dare to drive on a green light without checking the intersection (Watch our YouTube Video to Learn More).
What should you do during your next visit to Cape Town?
Okay so you get it, not only is this place paradise, but it is relatively inexpensive and easy to navigate through. BUT now, to answer the question weighing your brain: here are a couple activities we recommend you try!
1. Visit the Cape Of Good Hope
Just a few minutes drive away from Boulder’s Beach you will find this amazing mountainous paradise. What will put you in awe may not be the height of the mountain or even the beautiful colors of the sky and the rocks themselves, but the endless view of natural blue waters from the most south-western point of Africa!
2. Take a Tour of Bo-Kaap
You can find a great amount of culture and colors in Bo-
Kaap. This predominantly Muslim community, some times goes
severely under-appreciated, and with many threats of gentrification
I’d encourage that you get there sooner than later. You can visit Bo-Kaap on a free walking tour or you can drive/Uber to the
neighborhood and walk through it on your own accord (this is what we did). At about 3:00 pm school is out and you will see families and children giving food to all the members of the community (we were lucky enough to have some of this food given to us as well). Throughout specific hours of the day you will calls and singing towards the mosque, at this time you may notice stores closing and many people leaving their homes to take part in prayer.
3. Check Out the Animals at Aquila Game Reserve
I loved this Safari because of its genuine animal experience intertwined with high class service. Upon arriving onto the Safari grounds we were greeted with champagne and guided to a beautiful glass mess hall to partake in a buffet-styled lunch. The safari ride itself was very bumpy, but it also served to be extremely informational. The driver often stopped to allow us to better observe animals and quite frequently brought us just close enough for great footage (without the risk of losing a hand, or two). You must book your slot at the safari in advance, but you should also know that it takes about 2.5 hours to get there from the heart of Cape Town. When purchasing your pass, you’ll learn that you have many choices from full to half day tours, including the ability to select overnight accommodations. We went with a half day tour in the afternoon which lasted about 3 hours, and once completed we spent some chill time around the luxury pool!
4. Hop On a Sunset Cruise
We were lucky enough to find this Sunset Cruise when selecting out Cape Town CITY Pass . This cruise was pretty frigid for us, due to our wintery travel. However, that aside, it was such an amazing tour, not only did we enjoy our glasses of bubbly; but we had such a soothing ride into the sunset. This is definitely a romantic outing but can serve you and your friends great pictures and videos!
“If I have ever seen magic, it has been in Africa.“John Hemingway