Cape Town & Flight back home:

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18th – 23rd of June 2024 :

During our time in Cape Town, we walked a lot through the various and very different neighborhoods of the city. The Waterfront is very touristy with many souvenir shops, restaurants, and luxurious accommodations. This part of the city felt too inauthentic and sterile to us. The Long Street in the city center, on the other hand, represented the colorful mix of people from all over the world much better.

By chance, we found a restaurant called “Mama Africa” one evening on this street. The interior was beautifully decorated with African themes, there was live music and even the staff wore traditional clothing. The menu included dishes from West Africa, East Africa, and Southern Africa. We tried the Mopane worms, which were not particularly tasty to our palates, but in many countries, they are an important source of protein for millions of people. We liked the atmosphere in the restaurant and the variety of dishes offered. Unfortunately, the unrequested addition of a 10% tip and the small print on the menu about the music fee, which we hadn’t noticed, slightly marred the positive experience.

Despite the still-present separation of the four races introduced during apartheid (Black, White, Asian, and Coloured), poverty can now be seen even in the city center. Time and again, you see tents where people live right next to the four-lane main road. Additionally, we were often approached by beggars. Due to the few tourists in the city, there was little going on in the evenings, and the city center was generally rather quiet for a city of this size. For this reason, we stood out more on the streets and were more frequently approached.

Cape Town is neither the only capital of South Africa nor the largest city. There are three capitals: the government is in Pretoria, the parliament in Cape Town, and the highest court of appeal in Bloemfontein.

We still find it difficult to process the end of this gigantic journey, as we have been traveling and moving every day since our arrival at the Southern Cape. However, after a bit of reflection, we realized that we drove about 1,000 km on average in each country we visited during the trip. Additionally, we were curious about the shortest possible route from the North Cape to the South Cape if you travel through West Africa. In Europe, it is about 5,500 km, and in Africa about 13,000 km. This means that without the many detours, connecting the two points would have been possible with even half the distance we traveled.

On the first day in Cape Town, we booked a trip to visit Robben Island, the former imprisonment site of Nelson Mandela. Unfortunately, the tour was canceled the day before due to defects with the boat. This gave us more time to explore the hiking trails around the city.

From the 14th floor of our hotel, we had a sensational view of the entire city, including the mountain range. Before planning our day, we took the elevator up to check the weather in the mountains and the city.

Table Mountain, over 1,000 meters high and the highest peak around Cape Town, had long been a fixed item on our itinerary during our visit. We tried to choose the day with the best weather. Unfortunately, this is not easy during the rather wet and windy South African winter. On the selected day, it started raining on our way to the starting point, and we spontaneously decided on Lion’s Head. This mountain also belongs to the Table Mountain massif, but it was not shrouded in thick clouds and is lower than Table Mountain. The final ascent was so challenging that we needed both hands to climb the ladders and steep sections. In the evening, the clouds were blown away by the wind, and from Signal Hill, we enjoyed the beautiful view of Table Mountain and the sea, including the sunset, while having a delicious aperitif.

Our last full day was entirely dedicated to Table Mountain. Luckily, we had gambled on good weather, and we were rewarded! Already in the morning, the view of the distinctive rock face was clear, and we drove to the base of the hiking trail. The path started steeply right from the beginning and before reaching the plateau, it led through numerous switchbacks in a cut through the imposing rock wall. Once at the top, we enjoyed the view in all directions and were pleased with our weather luck.

Table Mountain boasts a great diversity of plants with about 1,400 species, which means more diversity than in all of Great Britain. The younger group chose a different, much more challenging route back down, while Lilo and Peter took the same path down. In the evening, we reminisced about the wonderful day and our time together, enjoying another delicious dinner with local wine.

One day before our flight home, we packed our bikes into boxes provided by a bike shop not far from our hotel. This allowed us to walk directly to the bike shop with the rest of our luggage and then take a taxi with the bike boxes to the airport. Using Uber, we tried to order a large taxi. The first one was much too small and the 180 cm long boxes would never fit into the car. The second driver arrived a few minutes later, but his vehicle was not much bigger. With his African calmness, the man, who had emigrated from the Congo, suggested we give it a try. We managed to fold down all the back seats, and the boxes barely fit in. The problem now was that there were only two seats left for three people. So, we had to share the one front seat and cover the roughly 20 km that way.

At the airport, we met Fabian’s parents again and went to the Qatar Airways counter. The check-in went smoothly, and we were able to drop off the boxes at a separate counter two floors down. After that, we were relieved and could relax and prepare for the long journey home.

Just before midnight, we arrived in Doha and walked into the huge transit hall at 34 degrees Celsius. We said goodbye to Fabian’s parents, as their connecting flight was earlier than ours. We thanked Peter and Lilo for their great support over the past two weeks, the time spent together and their incredible generosity.

We found a quiet spot, set up our air mattresses and slept until shortly after seven. After another flight, we arrived in Zurich with a slight delay. Fortunately, we didn’t have to wait long for our luggage and bikes, and we walked to the exit. There, we were surprisingly greeted by family and friends with homemade signs and an aperitif. It was a lovely welcome home, and we greatly appreciated and enjoyed the organized reception.

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