Cape Town (August 31- September 3, 2016)

My first time setting foot on African soil. And I got to see wild penguins near Cape Town! Yup, that was probably my favorite thing here. We wanted to go see penguins in Chile, but because of price and the off season, we decided to be patient and wait for Africa.

The drive to Betty’s Bay, the gathering place of the Jackass Penguins at Stoney Point, goes along the beautiful coast line. On one side I saw blue, sparkling ocean and on the other hills, made up of red dirt which complemented the lush greenery and yellow flowers (I’m weird. I really like the red, complimenting dirt in South Africa). A family of baboons even crossed the street and caused a line of parked cars with desperate passengers attempting to snap a good photo. Arriving in Betty’s Bay, there are hundreds of penguins and you don’t need to pay money to see a few of them, but for a measly $1.40 you can walk on the boardwalk and see all of them and read interesting facts along the way. So many cute penguins! But we were forced to leave earlier than desired anyways. There was a light shower for a while, but then the rain poured down making further sightseeing quite disagreeable. With that constant water pressure, I could have taken a lovely shower if I had shampoo on me.

 Excited for seeing my first few wild penguin

Excited for seeing my first few wild penguin

The next day we went to the Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden: the biggest botanical garden I’ve ever been to. We spent multiple hours strolling around and admiring the various sections. The scent section, where we could touch the plants and discover various smell, some awfully similar to poop. The dinosaur section, where they had dinosaur facts and old species of plants. The annual flower section, which was depressing because the flowers haven’t grown yet, so I got to look at plain, brown dirt. And plenty more sections, we saw most of them, but didn’t have time for them all because the gardens’ vast size. We could have even taken a short walk through the forest. Though the gardens’ most prized possession is their bridge. On top of the bridge, we could get a splendid view of the surrounding garden and far-off Cape Town.

In general, Cape Town is an over glorified tourist place that has many visitors raving about its awesomeness. I, apparently, missed the reason why this spot is so fantastic. Though Cape Town offers great attractions (like penguins!) this city doesn’t seem any more epic than any other great city and TripAdvisor didn’t help me discover my missing link either.

 A small part of the Kirstenbosch gardens on a cloudy day

A small part of the Kirstenbosch gardens on a cloudy day

Maybe my awesome meter was stunted because of the mediocre couchsurfing match. Couchsurfing.com is a website where people can potentially find free places to stay at their destination. I did my due diligence reading the profiles of the people to whom I sent a stay request, but the end person accepting my request had a personality and interests opposite from ours. Nothing on his profile or reviews even hinted to his party personality. He (and his wife a little) was a 420 advocate and had a big mouth, over exaggerating everything. He would have scared any traveler newb out of further trips to the unknown. Not only did he stretch the truth with experiences, but also hard facts, such as all grocery stores in Cape Town being closed at 4pm. Extremely early. We found out on our second day that the grocery store closest to his home closes at 7pm.

Actually, his home was in Strands, in a premium location right at the beach front. I did enjoy the view of the sunset and promenading on the beach, but if we wanted to go anywhere, we had to take a costly Uber (cheaper version of a taxi). I’m not sure how true this is, but according to our embellishing host, public transportation is extremely dangerous in Cape Town, especially for us pale skinned. If you have taken the train or other public transportation in Cape Town, do you agree or disagree with his statement? Why? Please comment below in the comment section. We didn’t want to risk our lives in chance he wasn’t lying. Overall we did end up saving some money paying more on transportation and nothing on accommodations instead of sleeping at a hostel the entire stay.

 Sunset at Strand beach

Sunset at Strand beach

We did cut our time with him short and spent one night at the hostel in the heart of Cape Town, but mostly because our bus to the next town was departing at 6:30am. I was so excited for our next destination because I got to ride an ostrich! Read my next blog post to get all the details. People do fall off trying to ride these giant birds.


Cost breakdown of Cape Town (3 days with total cost of $77.91. Average daily cost is $25.97.)

  • Hostel: $10.21 (1 night which incl. breakfast)
  • Transportation: $45.61
    • Uber: $38.80
    • Gas Money: $6.81
  • Food: $16.65
    • Meals: $10.27 (2 meals)
    • Groceries: $4.00
    • Snacks: $2.38
  • Activities: $5.44
    • Stoney Point Penguin Colony: $1.36
    • Kirstenbosch: $4.08