Cape Town is an eclectic city. It entertains, challenges, and invigorates me in more way than one.
“You’ll like Cape Town, guaranteed!”
“Cape Town is South Africa’s gem.”
“Oh, the Mother City!”
“Eish, Cape Town is paradise.”
“Cape Town, it’s like Africa and Europe pieced together.”
When I told local South Africans I’d be spending 2 months in Cape Town, these were the responses I got. South Africans love Cape Town. And that’s an underestimation. Yet I wondered whether the place was overhyped. Like the Frozen movie. It was good, but was it worth the constant rehashing of songs and scenes? Maybe not.
My first 2 weeks in Cape Town proved to me that Cape Town is spectacular, and in many senses of the word.
It’s South Africa’s answer to California.
Many people compare it to LA or San Francisco.
It’s a liberal, cosmopolitan, and modern coastal city with chic streets selling burgers, shakes, smoothies, and local fare. And its mountain scenery is breath-taking. Table Mountain and Lion’s Head overlook the entire city.
The area is also relaxed, I imagine especially since the legalization of weed in September.
Need more proof of its similarities to Cali? The 2018 romcom film The Kissing Booth was shot both in LA and Cape Town. Watch the movie and tell me what you see!
It’s a case study in race and language.
- Coloured (mixed racial descent)- 42.4%
- Black African- 38.6%
- White- 15.7%
- Asian or Indian- 1.4%
- Other- 1.9%
The term coloured has a bad connotation in the US, but in South Africa it’s more accepted. Racial categories are remnants of apartheid now used for affirmative action and other government purposes.
Here in Cape Town, most people’s first language is Afrikaans. Although Afrikaans was the language of the oppressor during apartheid, it’s almost universally spoken by whites, coloureds, and blacks here. Thankfully most people know English though!
Its media scene is up-and-coming.
The reason I’m in Cape Town is a journalism internship. However, I’m not aspiring to be a journalist. I just want to become the best writer possible!
I’m writing for the Sunday Times, the largest newspaper not only in South Africa but also on the continent. I’m assigned specific stories, and have already published 3. They’re about:
- Pregnant women drinking fertilizers when they can’t get abortions- based on a recently published University of Pretoria study
- Transport challenges for Capetonians with disabilities- involved me paying a visit to the Cape Town Society for the Blind
- Mrs. Deaf South Africa– I hung out with the pageant queen, learning how she seeks to empower the deaf community through her fitness and deaf confidence platform
Fitness freaks are welcome.
I love leading a healthy lifestyle, and thankfully Cape Town makes that easy! Lions Head, a mountain directly across from Table Mountain, is a killer 2-hour hike involving ladders and stairs. Table Mountain is itself a hiking hotspot, but it’s not just one trail. The mountain is absolutely massive and could take days depending on the paths you choose.
And of course there’s running here! I do the parkrun 5K every Saturday at 8 AM, which is a cool South Africa initiative where you:
- 1. Sign up for the parkrun online- you’ll then be able to download a free barcode
- 2. Go to a location near you where a parkrun is hosted
- 3. Wear your barcode and run- you’ll be sent your time after the run so you can improve next time
Since there’s hundreds of people who go to each parkrun, it’s like a race. Yet you don’t have to pay anything!
You have 0 chance of boredom.
Whenever I travel, I always try to befriend locals. Here I’ve already had some successes.
Once a week, my friend Craig teaches me to cook Indian food. Last week we made lamb bunny chow, and this week we prepped mutton curry with roti. He now calls me “Spice Queen.”
I also have a church family. Cape Peninsula Reformed Church is one of the most diverse churches I’ve ever attended, with whites, coloureds, and blacks; rich, middle class, and even beggars. And it’s only a 3-minute walk from my place!
So…if you’re looking for a city to explore, see a different side of Africa, and embrace your wild side, look no further than the Mother City. Take my word for it!
Now, in the spirit of my blog’s photo tradition, here’s some special moments from my last 2 weeks:
First, a new friend of mine…
Now for the food…