Cape Town, South Africa

Thursday, November 4, 2021

After about 2 years of planning our honeymoon to Africa, it seemed surreal to actually be going on it!!

We flew KLM from JFK to Amsterdam and then Amsterdam to Johannesburg.

Thanks to the incredible travel agents at Classic Escapes, we were escorted off our flight in Johannesburg, taken safely through customs, and driven to a hotel near the airport for a quick rest before our flight from Johannesburg to Cape Town the following morning.

The hotel near the airport was way nicer than expected. And, they knew it was our honeymoon and surprised us with rose petals all over the room!

Saturday, November 6, 2021

After sleeping soundly, we woke up, had a quick breakfast at the hotel, and then we were escorted back to the airport in Johannesburg for our flight to Cape Town. After a quick 2 hour flight, we landed and were greeted by another driver who took us to our boutique hotel, Gorgeous George.

Upon entering our room at Gorgeous George, we were surprised to find an incredible welcome present from our travel agent, Natalie, from Classic Escapes!

After unpacking and having a quick bite upstairs at Gigi Rooftop, we met our driver, Abdullah, who took us to the waterfront. We spent the rest of the afternoon and evening exploring the waterfront. Some people compare Cape Town to San Francisco and, we must admit, the waterfront area of Cape Town very much reminded us of the waterfront area in San Francisco!

We also made sure to stop by the Lindt store. In the car ride over to the waterfront, Abdullah told us that this store is only one of seven in the world that has chocolate making classes! While we don’t have time and aren’t super interested in attending a class, we still enjoyed visiting the store.

We got to our dinner reservation at The Silo Hotel early, so we decided to enjoy some drinks and bites on the rooftop!

When it was time for our dinner reservation, we went to take the elevator down and the power went out! Luckily it went out while we were waiting for the elevator (and not while we were in the elevator!!!), but either way it was quite scary. We learned more about daily power outages later during our stay in Cape Town (stay tuned)!

Luckily, after a few minutes, the generator kicked in and we were able to take the elevator down to our reservation at The Granary Cafe. The staff were beyond friendly to us and, when we sat at our table, we were so surprised to find an incredible wedding gift from Jessie and Aaron!! Not only did they treat us to our first dinner on our honeymoon, but they also treated us to a bottle of champagne from La Lude, which is one of the vineyards we plan to visit later on in our trip when we are in Franschhoek!

The dinner and drinks were delicious and a perfect start to our honeymoon!! The waiters were incredible, so friendly, and explained that the ginormous pink flower on our table is a king protea, which is the national flower of South Africa.

After our dinner, Abdullah picked us up to bring us back to our hotel. On the ride home, he explained that he writes poems in his free time. Before we left the car to go into the hotel, he gifted us a book of his poems! What an incredibly nice gesture, we can’t wait to read his book!

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Unfortunately, our jet lag got to us and we woke up early after a restless night. After a nice breakfast at Gigi Rooftop, we met our tour guide, Wayne, to explore Cape Town for the day. We don’t typically hire tour guides and pride ourselves on researching and booking everything on our own, but it’s our honeymoon so we decided to hire a guide this time around 🤗!

We started the morning by hiking Signal Hill, the smallest of the three distinct mountains in Cape Town. Signal Hill is one of the best view points in Cape Town. On every day of the week (except Sunday), canons are fired from Signal Hill. This has been happening since 1806 to relay the precise moment of 12:00pm to enable ships in the bay to check their chronometers, which are crucial for navigating rough seas.

After taking in the views of the city, we drove to Truth Coffee Roasting, which was named the World’s Best Coffee Shop three times. We enjoyed some of their signature blends and cold brew. While sipping our coffee, we told Wayne about the electricity going out while we were waiting for the elevator at our dinner the night prior. Wayne explained how this electricity outage is recurring and is called power shedding. The increased demand for electricity in South Africa over the past two decades has led to a shortage in electricity production and the government needs allocate electricity to avoid outages. Citizens here check an app each day to determine when the power in their neighborhood will be out. While we there, the country entered Stage 4, which meant the power was out for about 8 hours each day. Wayne explained how the app is helpful because he and his family can look at it each morning (similar to how we look at our weather app) and plan out their day around the power outages.

After an exciting morning, we headed next to Table Mountain and took the cable car to the top. Although it is a hikable mountain, our driver the day prior mentioned that Table Mountain claims more lives each year than Everest, so we skipped the hike and jumped on the cable car.

After spending some time at the top of Table Mountain enjoying the beautiful views, we got back in the car with Wayne and drove to Hout Bay Harbour Market. This market was extremely authentic and Wayne assured us that we were the only tourists there. We enjoyed a late lunch and Cody purchased some locally-made sunglasses.

Then we went to Camps Bay to enjoy the beach and have some delicious juice shots from Kauai.

On our way back to the hotel, we stopped in the Malay neighborhood of Cape Town which is filled with many colorful houses!

Wayne insisted that, while in the Malay neighborhood, we try koeksisters. They were basically fried dough balls and absolutely delicious!

Then Wayne took us back to the hotel and we met our travel agent, Natalie, for a drink at Gigi Rooftop. It was so great to meet Natalie in person after rescheduling this trip so many times during COVID and Zooming with her often!

After drinks we just stayed at Gigi Rooftop to have a low key dinner and head to bed early to conquer our jet lag!

Monday, November 8, 2021

We started our morning early by ordering room service and making sure to meet our guide, Clive, in the hotel lobby by 8:00am. Once in the car with him, we drove along Chapman’s Peak Drive, which is one of South Africa’s most famous scenic drives. Along the drive, we made some stops at beautiful overlooks and also in a bohemian town for coffee and bathrooms.

After about 2 hours, we made it to the Cape of Good Hope Nature Preserve. There was absolutely no line to get in and barely anyone it the park (one of the silver linings of COVID impacting tourism right now). We stopped a few times within the park to see the many types of flora and fauna unique to South Africa. For example, Clive showed us beautiful white flowers that felt like dried out paper!

Clive also stopped along the road to show us a bunch of ostriches! Supposedly their vision is so good that they can see clearly for 3 miles. That being said, their brains are so tiny that they tend to be extremely dumb. Clive also let us know that ostrich meat is very popular in South Africa.

After a few stops with Clive, we parked the car at Cape of Good Hope.

After taking a touristy picture in front of the Cape of Good Hope sign, we hiked up for about 10 minutes. At the top, Clive told us to take a quick break and enjoy the views while he prepped a surprise…

When we turned around, Clive handed us glasses and was ready to pour champagne to congratulate us on our marriage and honeymoon!!

While drinking our champagne, we encountered our first (of what we will assume will be many) baboons!

After our baboon encounter, it was time to keep trekking on to enjoy the beautiful views of Cape Point!

From Cape Point, we made our way back along False Bay to Simon’s Town to view the African Penguins. We got right up close to the adorable creatures that populate the beach in hundreds.

After penguin viewing, it was time for lunch! Clive gave us a few options in the area and we decided to go to a spot in Kalk Bay called The Courtyard Cafe. The food was delicious and we tried Rooibos tea, which is very popular and made in South Africa. It was yummy!

From lunch, we made our way to visit the world renowned Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, which were breathtaking!

After visiting the gardens, Clive dropped us off at the hotel. We relaxed and then went to our dinner reservation at The Potluck Club. The restaurant was in a very bohemian, newly developed food market and was on the top floor. While in the elevator heading up to the restaurant, the song Everywhere by Fleetwood Mac started playing!! This is the song we listened to throughout our 2017-2018 backpacking journey anddd it was our first dance at our wedding! We both started cracking up when we heard it playing and the other couple in the elevator looked at us like we were nuts! Not only did the elevator ride exceed our expectations, but so did the dinner!!

Tuesday, November 9

We FINALLY had a good night’s sleep and slept over 9 hours! We took our time getting ready and then had a leisurely breakfast at Gigi Rooftop.

We then packed up, said goodbye to the friendly man at the front desk and the security guard, and hopped in the car with Clive to head to wine country! 🍷

About 30-45 minutes outside of Cape Town is Stellenbosch, which is a historically Dutch farming town, home to a large university, and contains many wine “farms” (yes, they call vineyards “farms” here 😁).

Clive dropped us off for our lunch reservation at Delaire Graff Estate. Wow was it incredible!! We made sure to order Cap Classique, which is a sparkling wine that is similar to champagne!

After lunch, we walked around the Delaire Graff wine farm and then Clive picked us up and drove us to La Clé Des Montagnes! The staff greeted us with open arms, we unpacked, and then we soaked up the sun until dinner time. 🌞

For dinner, the staff at La Clé made us a traditional South African braai. Traditionally South African braai are meats and vegetable dishes cooked over an open flame and served with salads. Not only was the food delicious, but the table setting was beautiful as well!

After dinner, we enjoyed the gardens and relaxed ❤️.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

After a very, very good night’s sleep, we woke up and had breakfast on the patio right outside our room 🤗.

We then walked 5 minutes into downtown to explore and check out the local shops.

After our walk into town, we hung at the pool at La Clé until it was time to head to our lunch at Le Lude Estate and Orangerie Restaurant. This wine farm is famous for their champagne (or rather “Cap Classique”) which is the bottle Jessie and Aaron gifted us during our first meal in Cape Town!

After lunch, we relaxed back at La Clé until it was time for dinner at La Petite Ferme!!

We cannot begin to describe how beautiful the views were and how delicious the food and wine were for our final meal in wine country.

After dinner, we packed up and took our malaria pills because tomorrow morning we head to Zimbabwe for our first safari!!!

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