Oh South Africa… you stole our hearts. We were fortunate to visit Cape Town on the tail end of a magical African Safari. We flew on a little hopper plane from Limpopo airport to Cape Town, picked up our rental car, and headed to our hotel on the Wharf.
After weeks of meticulous planning and endless research, I felt confident that with our jam-packed itinerary we would discover the magic of Cape Town.
Both boys wanted to shark dive in Cape Town so desperately, yet the mom voice in my head said “are you freaking crazy?” Regardless, at our family meeting, I was unanimously outvoted, and we had shark dive in Cape Town as a line item on our itinerary (gulp). We (they) felt that if we were in South Africa, we just HAD to take this opportunity and cross off our family bucket list.
To experience this as a family was incredible… was it scary as heck…. YES!
Would I do it again? Probs not… but I’m so glad I took the plunge into the ice cold bay in Simon’s Town, South Africa. Read about the complete experience here.
After shark diving we headed to Boulders Beach, to see hundreds of African penguins in their natural habitat. It was the cutest thing ever, although the smell was quite ripe!
We saw these sneaky little fellows as we were walking down to the beach just minding their own business!
You cannot visit Cape Town without taking the 2 hour drive from the wharf to the Cape of Good Hope. The drive was staggeringly beautiful with beauty, and there are lots of little towns on the way to explore.
We decided to hike to the summit of the Cape of Hope – and while it certainly tested our limits, the breathtaking 360 degree views that were waiting at every turn, made it all worthwhile. You would not want to miss these views.
We were fortunate to be there on a clear day, and could see across the whole cape.
We were at the end of the world. Literally. The southern most tip of Africa!
As we made our way back to Cape Town, we braved the daring roads of Chapman’s Peak Drive. This is a road that hugs the cliff face at a dizzying 500 meters above the sea. It’s an adrenaline-inducing experience, but the stunning views of the ocean below made it a drive we’ll never forget.
Chapman’s Peak Drive is a 9km route from Hout Bay to Noordhoek full of hairpin bends, sheer drops, and is widely regarded as one of the most scenic stretches of road anywhere in the world.
The sun, fog, height and narrow roads with no barriers, are definitely not for the faint hearted of drivers!
You probably wouldn’t want to have a tire blow out on this road either! Hot Hubby is a pretty seasoned driver, but even he was sweating a little on this road with the sun shining into his eyes – one wrong move and we’d be over the edge.
We visited the Langa Township. Langa is one of many areas in South Africa that was designated for black Africans before the apartheid. Townships in South Africa are usually underdeveloped segregated urban areas that were reserved for non-whites until the end of the apartheid.
Under apartheid, black South Africans were forced to live in these townships that were built as far away as possible from the city centers, and were very run-down.
This lady cooks sheep heads all day to sell. She shared with us that the tongue and the cheeks are the best part, but Jules didn’t want to try her free sample!
The boys played soccer with some local kids and we gave them all of Julian’s clothes from his bags and left him with one outfit to fly home in. We often do this when we travel, and it’s always fun to see the boys around the world in Hermosa Beach t-shirts!
The children play with a flat ball, and the goal posts are two rocks in the road. No private coaches, matching backpacks, or turf fields here… but these kids didn’t care. They just wanted to kick a ball around with their friends and laugh.
We are fortunate that our boys can experience other cultures and we hope we are raising global children. For this brief moment in time, it’s just a bunch of kids hanging out together doing what kids do. I spent time chatting with their mom in her 10 x 10 room that her family of 4 shares with another family. For that hour it was just two moms, with the same worries and concerns, talking proudly about their kids.
I always want to bring home each and every sweet face with me… seriously, those faces get me every time!
We felt safe and comfortable the whole time we were in Cape Town. We found the people to be welcoming and as curious about us as we were about them. We wandered through local food and craft markets, art districts and found many local restaurants to sample delicious local food.
We drove to Table Mountain on a clear (ish) day, and since the cable car was closed until the fog cleared, we decided to hike up the mountain.
Important to note that the cable car ascent to the mountain’s summit is often closed due to fog. But don’t let that deter you, even if the cable car is out of commission, there are lots of other ways to experience this iconic mountain. I’d recommend you check with your hotel whether the cable car is running before you make the 40-minute drive to the entrance.
The cable car opened up as we were halfway up the mountain… as we were hiking up Platteklip Gorge – figures!
We had a few hours to kill before our loooooong 32 hour journey back to Los Angeles, so we decided to visit the Cheetah rehabilitation center since it’s close to the airport. The boys learned how cheetah’s live, and were able to get up close and personal with them.
I’m a travel and health writer, digital and brand consultant, breast cancer survivor, and supermom to two active boys! I keep it real and share stories of raising teenage boys, family life after a cancer diagnosis, and family travels around the world! Each story is shared with my dry, and sometimes naughty sense of humor.