20151223_155803Cape Town? What’s so great about South Africa? For several years I’d heard stories about people picking up and moving to South Africa and I just didn’t understand. In fact, my neighbor across the street went on a trip to Africa, came home and promptly starting making plans to move back. In less than a years time she’d rented out her house, there was a HUGE container parked in our neighborhood in which she loaded her belongings to be shipped and she was on her way. Leaving her boyfriend of several years behind.  I didn’t get it. What’s so special about Africa? Isn’t hot? Aren’t people poor and suffering? Don’t you have to get shots? Well let me just tell you. Now I get it!

It really isn’t something that you can even put into words. I know that because I keep trying to explain it to people and they keep looking at me like I’m crazy. But I’ve told you before that people look at me like that all the time any way so I’m used to it. But I digress. Cape Town isn’t something you can explain. It is something you have to feel.

Let’s address the elephant in the room, the plane ride. Yes people, Africa is FAR. I left Los Angeles at 7pm on Sunday, December 20th and arrived in Cape Town at 3:15pm on Tuesday, December 22. I had a 9-hour flight (thanks to gusty winds) to London, an 8-hour layover at Heathrow, a 10-hour flight to Johannesburg, and a 2-hour flight to Cape Town. And then I got to do it all over again on the way back. And yes, I flew economy the whole way. But I was on Virgin Atlantic all the way to Joberg which was really pretty comfortable. Not as comfortable as first class but better than Southwest. If you are afraid to fly or just one of those people who are really annoying on a flight, this probably isn’t the trip for you. By the way, movies and liquor are free on international flights so that helps a lot. So do sleeping pills.

Let’s start with the basics. The weather. We were there during the summer so the weather was beautiful. For the most part it was 80 degrees during the day and cooler at night. Some nights it was down right cold. It is very windy most of the time. It did rain one or 2 days while we were there but nothing major. Toward the end of the trip the temperature got up to 104. We were not prepared. I returned home with quite the tan. Cape Town is a beach city but they say the water is freezing, I wouldn’t know. But there were plenty of people surfing or boogie boarding or parasailing or doing whatever active, water-loving people do in the Atlantic Ocean. We stayed in Bloubergstrand which was about 20 minutes outside of the city. Our townhouse was a block from the beach. It had that Santa Monica/Malibu feel. I live in California so I pretty much felt like I never left home.

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The food. This is probably the question I get asked most often “how was the food?” I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

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I would however like to highlight one restaurant that you NEED to visit if you are ever in Cape Town and that is Gold African Restaurant. I happened to mention in passing to our tour guide that we wanted to try an authentic African restaurant that we’d heard about. I was actually talking about another restaurant but she mentioned this one. She called and was able to get us reservations for that very night.  Gold offers a 14-course set menu that gives you the opportunity to sample African cuisine from across the continent. The food and the show were amazing. What an unforgettable experience.

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The sights. I can’t even keep up with all the activities we did. All I can tell you is I lost 3lbs on this trip. That’s how busy we were! There are certain “must see” tourist activities in and around Cape Town: Table Mountain, Robben Island, Victoria & Alfred Waterfront and Boulder Beach. We did all that plus more. If you plan to go during the height of tourist season which is December – February I HIGHLY recommend you contact a tour company well in advance. We started working on our tours at least 12 months in advance and put down our deposits about 8 months before we arrived. Most of the attractions and tours were sold out when we arrived or the lines were just unbearable. We used PG Tops and everyone that we worked with were more than accommodating and professional. I left my tablet and camera in the car on the way from the airport and they went out of their way to make sure that it was returned to me. We also had an amazing day tour to Cape Point with Day Trippers. It was a last-minute tour that was arranged when the shark diving trip was canceled due to bad weather. Bennett and his brother Ricky were amazing guides. It actually turned out to be a 15k bike tour down to the southern most point of the African continent. Needless to say I stayed in the van!

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Visiting Cape Town, South Africa was the trip of a life time and I’m so thankful to have shared this experience with my cousins Tammy, Melina, James (Photographer Extraordinaire -thanks for getting all the shots that I missed), Melesa, Bryce, Stacey and Robert. We met incredible people who have touched our lives in ways they cannot imagine. I hope they are able to say the same about us.

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” – Nelson Mandela

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