3 flights & 8,817 miles
My goodness, it's been a while --and I know I should've wrote this when I got back from South Africa four days ago but I got assigned a three day trip the day after I got back and haven't had time to rest or relax. It honestly feels like a dream that I even went and I have to remind myself that it was something that happened.
I really was planning on going to Cape Town next year but one of my friends finished his service in the Peace Corps and invited me to come down and hang out so this trip was kind of last minute thinking and planning. Actually I flew in with no expectations or any type of itinerary, other than wanting to hike Lion's Head. I flew from Minneapolis to Atlanta, Atlanta to Johannesburg, and Johannesburg to Cape Town; total travel time including layovers: 24.5 hours, hence the title of this post. Due to the time difference, travel time is essentially two days because Cape Town is +8 hours ahead from where I live. Because I work for an airline my domestic travel is covered and I only pay a small fee for international travel, though, I wasn't sure how to travel once I landed in Johannesburg. I ended up buying a full fare round trip ticket (JNB-CPT) for $150 on SafAir. They ended up messing up my flight and I had to pay an additional $100. I later learned we have a partnership through South African Airways and I could've did stand by on a flight for only $50. Anyway, lesson learned for next time. I'm just happy I made if safely.
Where I stayed: I really wanted to be in the heart of the city and where everything was either near walking distance or taxi/uber friendly. I stayed at a hostel (HomeBase Cape Town Backpackers) right near Long St which is famous for shopping, restaurants, and bar district. Personally I wouldn't stay at this hostel again because it was extremely loud, overcrowded rooms, no privacy curtains, no outlet to plug your electronics, and the bathrooms weren't the cleanest. I guess it was my fault for not really reading into the reviews and going the cheapest route. For this hostel being only one year old, I would've expected it to be nicer. I probably would stay here again though, because it really wasn't that bad. Next time I'm definitely either trying a better hostel or booking an AirBNB.
What I did: I met my friend for breakfast at his place and then we walked over to the V&A Waterfront to look around. My goodness it was so beautiful there. There was so much food and shopping, I really just wanted to touch and see everything. Have your wallet ready to buy your souvenirs here. Towards the end of the waterfront there's the Canal Walk Shopping Centre; a massive mall filled with your normal American stores (H&M, Zara, Nike, Gucci, ect.) plus many other South African boutique shops! We went to this awesome comedy club near the entrance of the waterfront that's called "Cape Town Comedy Club" which is pretty much dinner and a show. I really can't remember much of the show or the rest of that night because I got super drunk at dinner and at the club. Let me tell you, those margaritas served in martini glasses will creep up on you --and I'm one that can handle tequila. The following day I stayed low and had a day to myself. I ubered to the beach from where my hostel was and it was about $13 round trip even with prices surging! Clifton 4th beach is absolutely stunning. The water was so clear and the sand was so white. People are constantly walking around to ask if you want a Coke, water, or ice cream --so there's no way you can be parched. You can rent a chair and umber for 100 rand for all day use. Being at the beach was exactly what I wanted to do that day. I walked down to the next beach (Camps Bay) which was more touristy but had lost of restaurants facing the water and felt livelier. Maybe next time I'm here I'll rent a place near the beach. Lastly, hiking Lions Head was incredible. Personally I didn't think that the hike was difficult at all. Going up is definitely easier than coming down. Total hike time going up was about an 1.15. Bring lots of water and enjoy the view! I know I'll be back to Cape Town again so I'm saving Table Mountain for next time.
All in all, Cape Town was everything I could've wanted in a place and more. I can't wait to be back and go wine tasting, explore, get lost, hike, eat, and relax. Five days here wasn't enough time.
- Current currency: 1 USD to 14.15 ZAR
- Cape Town is Uber friendly and extremely cheap! Use my code: kevini10 for your first free ride.
- They drive on the left hand side of the road.
- Unlike most of Europe, you leave a tip at restaurants.
- Walking alone near Long St is unsafe and should be avoided.
- If you're an FA, you can ZED on SAA at the gate, but be careful traveling at their peak season in summer because flights are payload optimized. I had to book the jumpseat coming back home but luckily there was a seat for me.