Cape Peninsula tour with Revel Adventures
Revel Adventures kindly offered to host me on 1 of its Cape Peninsula tours, and even as a Cape Town resident, I was impressed with how much we manage to do in just 1 day.
It's 8am and I meet tour guide Alfred Minaar and 9 international eager-beaver explorers outside the Hilton Hotel at the foot of the Bo-Kaap. Among them are 7 volunteers, an exchange student and a New York lawyer with a 7pm flight to catch.
We begin with a walking tour of the colourful Bo-Kaap, and Alfred explains how the houses in this district were homes to slaves centuries ago, and how social and political dynamics have shaped the area since.
The group then descends on smiling samoosa-sellers to grab a passing bite to eat as Alfred gives an overview of the day ahead.
We fill up a mini-van and leave the city centre by driving up toward Table Mountain, and then down along Camps Bay Drive, stopping at Maiden's Cove for some scenic ocean photographs. Various sections we pass along 'played' the Caribbean in the 1987 film, American Ninja 2.
Chapman's Peak Drive, where some classic car TV commercials have been filmed over the years, is our next stop. It's a bit cloudy and the view isn't as magnificent as it would normally be, but the other explorers don't know this and many photographs are taken as members of the group get to know each other better. All of the volunteers are involved in humanitarian work and are humbled by their experiences so far.
As we continue down Chapman's Peak Drive toward Noordhoek and then onto Simon's Town, Alfred tells the story of Just Nuisance, the only dog ever to be enlisted in the Royal Navy. The huge Great Dane, who died in 1944, enjoyed the same privileges as any other naval officer, and a statue of him stands in Simon's Town harbour. The group is very taken with the tale and you can tell it is one that will be remembered for a while.
In Simon's Town the group discovers why Boulders Beach features in TripAdvisor's list of 10 Truly Unique Beaches, as it watches penguins waddling confidently but awkwardly across the sand. There's much talk about ocean adventures in the Western Cape, and an interest in shark cage diving and whale watching becomes clear.
As we continue down Chapman’s Peak Drive toward Hout Bay and then onto Simon’s Town, Alfred tells the story of Just Nuisance, the only dog ever to be enlisted in the Royal Navy.
Next stop is Cape Point, the most south-westerly tip of the African continent. We see several baboons as we enter Table Mountain National Park, and the weather starts to brighten up significantly, allowing superb views. Scores of tourists clamber to have their photo taken with the sign marking the GPS coordinates of where they stand, and they then queue to take the funicular (mini-train) up to South Africa's most powerful lighthouse.
Hunger gets the better of the tour group, and the staff at Kalky's in the fishing village of Kalk Bay have the solution with a very generous fish-and-chips offering. A lady from New Zealand is quickly running out of suitcase space with all the curios she is buying at discounted rates, but the friendly vendors aren't complaining.
The wine-tasting area at Steenberg Vineyards is thriving, but the few minutes we wait are worth it as 5 wicked wines are presented during our tasting. The lawyer with the 7pm flight gets in the taxi that Alfred has arranged for her and leaves, having done a huge amount in Cape Town on her last day.
For the rest of us there is still the township tour, a sobering walk around the Westlake informal settlement. It's early evening and there is a lot of drinking and partying going on. Mondi, the guide for this section of the tour, is refreshingly honest as he explains how many residents here don't fulfil their potential because of alcohol or drug addiction.
There is, however, a very warm and welcoming feel about the township as locals wave and pose for photographs.
Everyone in the group has a smile as they depart the tour bus back in Cape Town, having ticked a lot of boxes during the day.
Category: Routes & Trails