Earlier this month I spent 10 glorious days in Cape Town, South Africa. Innovations for Poverty Action, my employer, was holding their semi-annual training for its new employees at the University of Cape Town. It just so happens that the plane tickets from Malawi to Cape Town were cheaper if I stayed a few days extra before and after the training - a fact I was very happy about as I had more time to tour!
The first day in country, a couple other early training arrivals and me took the cable car to the top of Table Mountain. Looming over the entire city is this mountain that is very flat in one area (hence, like a table). You can walk around all the edges of the table and see one amazing view after another of the city, ocean, moutain range, etc. I couldn't stop taking pictures. Oh yeah, and there was some bio-diversity significance to the area but I was just too impressed with the views to take much notice.
This little guy hopped right into my photo!
The cable car, with rotating floor so that everyone in the car gets 360 degree views
One afternoon of our training was devoted to sight-seeing and our group elected to visit Boulder Beach, where you can see lots of penguins. There were probably hundreds of birds throughout the beach, and most of them unintimidated by humans walking around flashing pictures at them.
My attempt to get a picture with a penguin
After the training was over, I had an extra couple days to explore Cape Town. I was very excited to dine on sushi, go bar-hopping on Long St., and eat a ginormous mexican burrito (for three meals). I also went on a wine tour of the Paarl and Stellenbosch areas, 45 minutes outside of Capetown where hundreds of wineries are located. We went to six.
The first winery we went to (at 9:30am mind you) was Fairview, which to my delight also was a cheese maker. I probably had about 30 cubes of brie, camambert, provolone, and blue cheese.
A few of my wine tour buddies: left, Boon works in Kenya and middle, Colombine works in Liberia. The tour guide gave us all funny hats to wear to help keep track of us. I was happy to oblige since it kept me a little bit warmer - note we are standing next to the fireplace here. This was the case all day. Cape Town is cold!
Cape Town was a nice escape from Malawi for a bit. The city was like a blend of San Francisco and London, unlike any othe African city I've been to. I'd love to come back - I found the people to be incredibly nice and learning about post-apartheid SA culture is fasinating.
Random note: the hostel I stayed in offered "township tours," essentially guided tours of the slums of Cape Town. Really?? Can you imagine if tour companies in Chicago took you to see Millenium Park, Sears Tower, and finished the tour off with a drive through Englewood? Weird and very exploitive.