Two days into my Cape Town stay and I’ve experienced just about every weather condition possible except for snow and apparently they had snow on Table Mountain not long ago. Not that I’ve seen table mountain clearly yet!
Tourist trap waterfronts seem all the rage these days around the globe and cape Town has the area called the V&A Waterfront (Victoria and Albert). Hotels, shops and restaurants all around a pictureresque little harbour. Lots of souvenir shops, but also a nice area where local artisans and creatives can work and sell their wares from. Theres even a colony of seals hanging out on their own designated seal platform!
The main difference to other waterfronts is the plethora of people selling helicopter flights around the city and table mountain and down to the cape and back. The poor weather and visibility was bad for business it seems as there was no shortage of being asked did i want to go on a helicopter flight from the touts tucked safely in their stands, making them easy to ignore.
However a short bus ride away over in Camps bay the sun was shining, people were on the beach and beer in a cafe seemd to be all the go. The clouds attempted to clear, but soon returned.
Apart from Table Mountain, which was failing to appear, another tourist trail site, Robben Island, when Nelson Mandela was imprisoned is also proving to be equally elusive. The boat trip today was cancelled, so has been rescheduled in the hope for better weather. To fill in the day we instead did the walking tour double of the history of the city and also the Bo Kaap district walking tour.
The first walking tour featured a lot of information focusing on the apartheid era, as well as the older buildings in Cape Town. Some of the events like District 6 razing to the ground to be a whites only area (the inspiration for the 2009 scifi film District 9) as well as the slave trade were mentioned by the guide. The reality hits home when you vist the office for reclassification where children from mixed race parents were assesed as either white or non-white!
The second tour focussed on the area known as Bo Kaap. Its where the mostly skilled muslim workers from Malaysia and Indonesia lived and is known for its bright colourful painted houses. Unlike district 6 it didn’t get razed to the ground but the residents were forced out as they were rarely classified as “white”.
Sadly the current fight is against gentrification and developers, with only 19 sites heritage listed right now and the community fighting for more.
Tomorrow hopefully brings better weather as we head to the Cape and maybe a penguin colony also.