Tag Archives: summer in cape town

South Africa Part 9: Our last day in Cape Town

Our last day in Cape Town we spent the day at Green Market Square. The day before we had asked one of our servers  where was a good place for us to purchase South African souvenirs at a cheaper price. He said Green Market Square was the place to go. Since we only had a few more hours left in Cape Town until we departed, we ate a small breakfast and made our way to Green Market Square. We called an Uber and he dropped us off right by the square

Once we walked up, there were several different vendors and most of them were selling the same things. Initially I thought that each vendor had hand crafted, painted or sewn each item, but as I walked around I realized that they all had the same exact items. But this was not that big of a deal to me because the items were very nice nonetheless.

What is good about Green Market Square is that you can negotiate prices with the vendors. What is bad about Green Market Square is that you can negotiate prices with the vendors. What do I mean? Well first off it is always a good thing when you can talk down a price but some times this can lead to vendors haggling you, giving you their life story about how much they are struggling or even you feeling guilty that you asked for a cheap price on an item (this was my case, I felt really bad asking for lower prices). It was a bit overwhelming when we were walking around the different booths trying to decide what to get. I wanted to get everything, but of course I could not. It was also overwhelming because as soon as I would go up to look at an item more closely I was then bombarded with the vendor asking me a ton of questions or saying things to me to try and make me buy it. I mean I get it. This is how people make their living and as a person from a third world myself I respect the hustle, but sometimes I just want to browse and decide on my own.

Nonetheless we ended up getting some real good items to bring back to America. Some of the vendors actually take credit cards, but most only take cash. We ran out of cash at one point in time so we had to go to a local ATM to get some more. Since Green Market Square is in a busy part of Cape Town finding an ATM was not hard at all.

 We purchased kente clothe bags, necklaces, cups, dashikis, key chains, and so much more. Here are just some of the items that we purchased. Unfortunately I did not think to take any pictures of Green Market Square myself (still trying to get use to documenting everything) but I went ahead and googled some images of the square so that you could get the idea of what it was like.

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South Africa Part 8: Discovering Cape Town

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After our tour of Robben Island we decided to go  to lunch and walk around Cape Town a bit. Unfortunately I did not take as many pictures as I should have during this leg of our day. We stayed down by the water front and took in the atmosphere of this tourist town. We walked around and grabbed lunch at a restaurant right by the water front. The wait staff was very polite and was very attentive. As I said in other posts, service in South Africa is top notch and the people who work in service seem to be extremely grateful to be serving customers.

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People walking around the water front of Cape Town

After we ate we proceeded to walk around and take in the atmosphere. We went to the mall and saw how similar the mall in Cape Town felt to the malls in America.  We also got a chance to take a picture with one of the signs that says “Table Mountain”, with the back drop obviously being Table Mountain. These signs are actually sprawled out around Cape Town for tourists to take pics with.

The first thing that I would say that I didn’t not expect while in Cape Town was the obvious European influence in its architecture (obviously if you know the history of South Africa this isn’t that surprising). Even though I haven’t been to Europe yet, I could imagine, that this is how some places there would look. Although there are a lot of Black people in Cape Town, I would say I was also surprised at the diversity. There were Indians, Chinese, and White people. It felt a little bit like Trinidad to me.

South Africa Part 7: Robben Island

We had one more day in South Africa and we were going to use that last day discovering Cape Town and visiting Robben Island.

We purchased tickets to Robben Island prior so that we knew for sure we would have a place on the tour. They offer about 3 tours a day. Each tour takes about three hours. An hour each way to and from the island and an hour touring the island. We took a small boat to Robben Island.

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On the boat from Cape Town to Robben Island

The first part of the tour was the bus tour around the island. We had a guide who gave us the history of Robben Island and its many uses. Unlike what most think, Robben Island was not only for prisoners, it had many other uses including a place for leapers to live. The views from this island are amazing and breathtaking.

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Robben Island main entrance

The final stop of the tour was the prison where Nelson Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years imprisoned. The tour started in a holding area where prisoners would first be brought to be booked and processed. While we all found a place to sit, a man came to the front and began telling us some of brutal history of the prison, and he revealed that he himself was also a prisoner for many years with Nelson Mandela. The tour continued as he walked us around the prison grounds telling us about the different sections of the prison, and some of the things that prisoners were forced to do. The tour finally concluded with us passing by the cell that was designated to Nelson Mandela.

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Entrance of the prison that held Nelson Mandela for 18 years

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Holding cell of prisoners

 

Grounds of the prison

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Mandela Prison Cell
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Our tour guide was a prisoner here during the same time as Nelson Mandela

Being on this tour was a great way to end our trip to South Africa. Walking the same steps of one of my heroes was a transient feeling that I will never forget. Walking the grounds and thinking of being imprisoned behind those walls for years was a sad feeling that reminded me how much people had sacrificed all over the world for black rights.

South Africa Part 5: The Wedding

The morning of the wedding I woke up after three hours of sleep and headed to my sisters cottage to begin the prepping for the day. I got my makeup and lashes done and all of us bridesmaids began doing what we had to do to get my sister ready for her big day. It was December 31st so this meant that we would be bringing in the new year with family and friends and celebrating my sisters big day!

 

My sister’s wedding was extravagant. It was truly a dream wedding. From the flowers, to the food, to the Rolls Royce that was sent to pick her up, everything was perfect. Her wedding was held at the Val De Vie Polo Club. As mentioned before ,this place is most well-known for Prince Harry taking part of polo matches. This club is in the wine lands and is surrounded by beautiful mountains and made for a beautiful backdrop for my sister’s wedding day. There was a cocktail hour where servers passed around an array of fresh cooked foods (so fresh that I burned my tongue). The servers were also taking requests of any drink that one wanted. Champagne was flowing as a marimba band played. There was also a caricature artist who was drawing pictures of guests. Once the wedding space was opened up to guests we were met with a beautiful place setting with our names on it. We also had a three course meal and an open bar that seemed to be stocked with everything and anything. The servers were amazing. I can not stress how grateful I was to those who worked my sister’s wedding because their kind nature, willing spirit and overall good attitude made the evening that much more pleasant. As midnight struck we all entered the new year together. It definitely was a magical night.

South Africa Part 4: Wedding Mode

The afternoon after we arrived to Cape Town, we were on the move again. We traveled via private bus to Val De Vie Polo Club. Val De Vie is most notably known for housing Prince Harry and hosting his polo matches in South Africa.

Val De Vie is located in the wine lands outside of Cape Town and is about a 35 minute drive from the city.

Once we arrived to the estates we entered full blown wedding mode. The wedding rehearsal took place shortly after we arrived at Val de Vie and after that there was a braai (The word braai is Afrikaans for roasted meat) at a nearby country club. This BBQ was open to all guests of the wedding and not just those in the wedding. The foods that were included were traditional South African foods that I can not recall the name off. The meats that were roasted included steak and lamb (I am one for a good lamb). The service at this country club was amazing. The wait staff was extremely accommodating and were very kind. This gathering went on for about four hours and during that whole time the wait staff was there serving alcoholic drinks, coffees and lattes, ice cream floats, deserts, and anything else that we would ask for. I have never been anywhere in the United States where the service was as good as the service I experienced my whole time in South Africa.img_2682img_2617img_2702

After the dinner my boyfriend and I went to our designated cottage located on the Boschendal Wine Estates. This was about ten minutes away from the country club that the dinner was held. My sister initially rented these cottages for all the bridesmaids but some of them could not stay so this meant that my boyfriend and I had a cottage to ourselves. These cottages were sooooooooooo cute. The aesthetic was that of a country farm house. The bedroom and bathroom decor matched the living and kitchen area. My favorite part about the cottage was the bathroom. It had an all glass infinity shower, a stand alone bath tub, and mountain views.

View from the bathroom window
Boschedal Cottages
View of pool and valley

For some reason we could not sleep that night and decided to stay up to see the sun rise. I am not one to miss sleep. I probably was still stuck on east coast time and could not fall asleep (maybe it was all the coffees I drank while at dinner) but either way I was down by default. Getting up and seeing the sunrise at 5am was such a treat. It was so beautiful being surrounded by the mountains, exotic sounding animals, and the beautiful views of Franschhoek Valley.

The sun starting to rise
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Sun Rise at Bonschedal Cottages

After watching the sun rise I finally fell asleep at around 6am. Considering that was the same day as my sisters wedding perhaps it wasnt the wisest thing to not get a good nights rest before that day but I was up within three hours getting my life together for my sisters dream wedding!

South Africa part 1: The flight

Prior to heading to Cape Town, South Africa I had to get myself mentally prepared for the flight there. The flight is not for the faint of hearts, and if flying isn’t your thing, this trip can be difficult. The total time of travel was 24 hours. My boyfriend accompanied me on this trip and I don’t think that I would have been able to do that long trip by myself.

The itinerary that we had, had two parts. The first being a 14.5 hour flight from Washington DC to Dubai, and then  a 9.5 hour flight from Dubai to Cape Town. While traveling to South Africa, we had to spend an extra hour in Dubai’s air space due to fog that delayed all flights from landing and taking off. Luckily for us we did not miss our connecting flight as many other people did.

We flew Economy Class on Emirates. This was my first time flying with Emirates and I must say that even in Economy class on this airline I felt extremely comfortable. As soon as we were in the air the flight attendants gave each person a pouch that included a sleep mask, a tooth brush, toothpaste and socks. Each passenger has a tv screen on the back of their seats and this allows passengers to stayed entertained while in the air. There is a plethora of movies, radio stations, and tv series to choose from.  About an hour and a half into the flight we were fed lunch. I had the lamb, and I swear this was the best meal that Ive had on an airplane. A few hours after that we were fed a “snack” which was a small, one person, cheese pizza. Then a few hours after that we were fed breakfast. Alcoholic beverages were also included with meals. Needless to say between DC to Dubai, we were fed very heavily. The same occurred on our flight from Dubai to Cape Town.

In all the flight wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. There wasn’t much turbulence and all the flight attendants were very accommodating. After our flight was over it was almost as though I was sad to get off of the plane because it was so comfortable.