Melanie’s South African Travel Story, part 2

Day 2 – Tuesday

Following an early wake-up compensated by honey waffles, we went to the V&A Waterfront with Blane and Hannah.

To get there, we took the car and drove on mountain roads bordering the sea. The landscapes are paradisiacal and contrasted: imposing mountains mix up with vast stretches of sea, the villages are surrounded – or even isolated – by wild and majestic nature. The way up was vertiginous! From the heights, we could see Hout Bay. In the past known as Wood Bay, this beach used to be a gigantic forest that the settlers destroyed to build their ships. 

Recent and very touristy, the Waterfront is home to the town harbour and to many small, colourful shops. Lively and convivial at all times of the day, it is an ideal place for a little walk, lunch at one of the numerous restaurants, ride on the Ferris wheel or shopping in the huge mall located at the seafront. Thus, we strolled on the streets and visited the V&A Waterfront Market. It is a pleasant, vivid market with a very friendly atmosphere. You can find food stands and artisanal products there, sweet, savoury, culinary specialities. I loved the atmosphere and the food that was really delicious.

Then, we went to the well-known neighbourhood of Bo-Kaap, located on the flanks of Signal Hill. This Afrikaans word, meaning ‘above the Cape’, is a picturesque spot where each house is colourful. Today, mainly a Muslim neighbourhood, in the past its inhabitants were slaves from Malaysia, Indonesia and India, brought by the Dutch in 1780. As parking is hard to find, we only passed by.

Lastly, we visited the Castle of Good Hope. Built by the Portuguese, it testifies to part of the history of the colonisation of South Africa.

After returning home at around 4 pm, I did my English lesson with Gary, and then we had a calm evening. 

It was a super day!

Day 3 – Wednesday

Today, Renée and Blane took me to ZEITZ MOCCA, Zeitz Museums of Contemporary Art in Africa. It is a former gigantic silo that has been renovated and refurbished into a wonderful contemporary building. The exhibitions that you can discover there are sublime!

After visiting the museum, we had lunch there and once again, I was in for a treat. The food was absolutely delicious and the ingredients of quality – the vegetables and fruit were so tasty! After our meal, we accompanied Blane to his university where he took me for a mini-tour.

On our way back, Renée showed me the townships of Cape Town from the car. Straight and long, the road shelters on its edges thousands of dwellings that stretch far beyond. Approximatively 80% of the population of Cape Town still live in these neighbourhoods today. According to Renée, the number of people living there is constantly increasing.

Historically, during the implementation of the apartheid, the black population were confiscated of their properties and land and moved to the outskirts in these townships. Even today, 20 years after the end of the apartheid, a large majority of South Africa’s black population lives in them. It is a real problem in South Africa where there is no true way to make it out of that life. Moreover, there are gangs and living there is very dangerous.

You should not ignore these habitations because if you visit South Africa with your eyes closed to its history, you will miss some essential elements that will enable you to understand what the country has become today.

Towards 4 pm Gary took me to a little restaurant in Muizenberg. We did my lessons while enjoying French fries, facing the sea… That day, I really felt my progress in English. Despite a rather strong migraine, I was starting to think in English.

Afterwards, we joined the rest of the family when returning home.