Welcome to the Cape: Part I

The beauty of the Middle East is that most of the world is really accessible to you. When deciding where we want to travel, we literally open the map and start dreaming up possibilities.

And that’s how we thought of Cape Town. Although not particularly close to Doha, its much closer than from Canada. It also fit exactly what we were looking for: moderate weather, incredible natural beauty, a rich and incredible history and culturally vibrant.

Our trip lasted just under week. We stayed at an incredible AirBnB with an absolutely majestic view of Cape Town’s most notable attraction: Table Mountain. The city is a rugged paradise – a mountainous landscape with white sandy beaches rounding out the coast and a rich diversity of plant and even animal life around the Cape. Literally everywhere you go, there is a breathtaking scene within walking distance.

But this trip was special in ways other than just visiting a beautiful city. It was the first time we have ventured off with Hayat (Ottawa to Doha and Doha to Dubai don’t count)! We were curious how well she would handle the overnight plane journey and travelling around Cape Town and its nearby surroundings.  Fortunately, she took it like a pro and managed to provide some wonderful highlights too, like feeding at pretty much every important historical site. We can proudly say, where Mandela laboured, Hayat fed :)

Here are some of the main highlights of this Part 1 post:

- Beaches. Coming from 45 degree, dusty and humid weather, Cape Town’s beaches felt like another planet. Particularly in May, they are cool, pristine and near empty. Massive boulders are everywhere.

- Driving. Cape Town’s roads cavern through mountains, forests and snake along side the coast. The most breathtaking desolate spots are usually on the side of the road. Driving was also a highlight because it was Ali’s first time with the right-hand drive car. The downside of that is it resulted in one near-death experience (caverning roads also do have right-hand turns) and we had two flat tires. African tires and curbs are an unforgiving mix. Luckily, whenever we had flat tires, seemed like everyone in the world came out to help and our second time we ended up stuck in front of a glorious beach. Not bad at all.

- Café’s and Food. Cuisine in the Cape is equally phenomenally. Given the incredible diversity of the city, you have pretty much find whatever cuisine you want. We particularly enjoyed the Cape Malay restaurants in the city’s famed Bo Kaap neighbourhood (more on this in our next post) that fuses Indian-Indonesian-African foods. Beyond the individual ethnic communities, the city hosts an eclectic mix of cafes and trendy brunch spots. Teeming with character and sporting incredible local coffee, breakfast/brunch was usually one of the best parts of the day.