Cape Town, the Mother city of South Africa. The Dutch East India Company set up a base here in the mid nineteen hundreds. The locals didn’t like it and shunned them. The Dutch imported slaves from elsewhere in Africa, India, Malaysia and Indonesia to help with their labour shortage and also for the colonists to have sex with, creating a whole new race of people who are nowadays referred to as ‘coloured’. Hence, Cape Town has a rich multicultural history. They don’t call South Africa the rainbow nation for nothing.
District six was a thriving area of Cape Town which housed mainly coloured Muslims but also Xhosa speaking blacks and white Afrikaans. The apartheid regime ripped district six down as their philosophy stated that interracial interaction bred conflict. The district six museum gives moving insight into life during the apartheid.
The colourful neighbourhood of Bo-Kaap is the Malay quarter of Cape Town. This former township was originally used to house freed slaves. Now the streets resemble last season’s Ikea showroom.
The Company’s Garden originally started out as a vegetable patch for the Dutch East India Company. Now it’s a beautiful city garden with many trees, small animals and birds. It is also a place where hoards of Cape Town’s homeless and drug addicts come to try and make money with one scam or another. Ranging from selling stodgy muffins to pay for a child’s education or collecting donations for a make believe syringe clean up program, I heard it all. The best one had to be if I’d like to invest into a man’s ingenious idea ‘the homeless suitcase’. Acting as a suitcase through the day his blueprint explained how it converts into a bed at night – I’m in!
Robben island means ‘seal island’ in Dutch and it’s where Nelson Mandela spent the majority of his incarceration. After a 45 minute boat ride which smelt like pickled onion space raiders, you’re ushered into a coach and driven around the island to look at some rather dull sights, but can’t leave the bus. You’re then shown around the prison block by a former inmate. He doesn’t tell you much interesting information, just bangs on about freedom and how great Nelson Mandela is. It’s a very a touristic experience, but almost essential for any visit to Cape Town. The highlight was looking into Mandela’s cell, which is identical the all the others. I really hope his feet weren’t too bad when he was locked in there with no access to his chiropodist.
Boulders beach Penguin colony is the permanent home to thousands of cute African penguins. It started when a breeding pair rocked up here in the 80’s, the perfect bay sheltered them from the wind and the surrounding seas offering the perfect penguin diet, so they had no reason to leave.
Table Mountain is the most iconic landmark in Cape Town and can be seen from almost everywhere in the city. Unfortunately going to the peak was the one thing I didn’t do. It looked far too cloudy at the top, it will be a cold day in hell you’ll catch me paying £20 to go up a cable car to look at the clouds. Instead I got a decent view of the city from the slopes of signal hill next the noon canon which is fired everyday at 12 noon, great view and the best thing about it? It was free.
Duiker island is the real Seal island of Cape Town, set on the opposite side of the cape to False Bay. After spending half an hour on a yacht with dozens of seasick Chinese tourists I was expecting too see the man himself performing such hits as ‘crazy’ and ‘kiss from a rose’. Instead all I got was a giant rock covered in some big barking water dogs. False Bay? False advertising more like.