The Cape of Many Passes

This beautiful city we call Cape Town, or “The Mother City” is cloaked in lush vegetation, bordered by two different oceans and home to some truly unique mountain passes. Due to the diverse terrain in Cape Town and the surrounding Cape region, we are lucky enough to have one beautiful suburb or area after another, separated by mountain passes. Take Chapman’s Peak Drive for example. This insanely stunning mountain pass connects the picturesque Noordhoek valley with the sleepy seaside town of Hout Bay.

Chapman’s Peak drive is an incredible feat of road building and engineering. Hewn out of the defiant granite mountainside, this mountain pass is several kilometers long and perched high above the Atlantic ocean. The road was first built in the nineteen forties, using prisoners of war as labor to carve this magnificent piece of engineering out of the stubborn rock.

Our Beautiful Cape Beaches

Unfortunately we’ve had some muggings on the mountain slopes (Table Mountain) ,Signal Hill and Lion’s Head where hikers go for walks. Cape Town Routes Unlimited (our official destination marketing association), in conjunction with Cape Town Tourism (our official tourism association) has worked on contingency plans for an awareness campaign among tourists and to roll out additional security staff on the hiking routes.

table mountain

Things that you can do to avoid the worst:

  • Never walk alone on the mountain.
  • Do not take your passport and too much cash.
  • Be vigilant and make sure you park your car where security guards are visible.
  • Do not walk in the dark if you’re not with a tour group (e.g. for sunset walks etc).

Closed circuit television has been installed at certain points to monitor incoming and outgoing traffic to the mountain parks, but obviously it’s a large area to patrol. There are annually many thousands of people visiting the Table Mountain national parks incident free, so just like any city in the world, look after yourself and your belongings. A lot of these tourists stay in hotels, guesthouses or some of the many Cape Town backpackers. The choice for accommodation is extremely diverse.

I’ll write an update if there is any more news about this.

Just out of the buzz of the city lies a great stretch of beach. Often referred to as having some of Cape Town’s best surfing spots, Blouberg has lots a different spots to offer Capetonians and sun-loving travellers from abroad. Bloubergstrand is extremely kids and pet friendly. Even the restaurants (Ons Huisie and Blue Peter Hotel) are kids and dog friendly (dogs at outside seating).

The most popular stretches of beach for beach goers in this area are Small Bay and Big Bay, which is located in the old Bloubergstrand (sometimes referred to as Blaauwberg). It’s located 20-25 minutes north of Cape Town along the R27 road. At Dolphin Beach hotel (pointy roofs with bird sanctuary around it) turn left towards the beach and just keep going!

Small Bay is good for smaller kids, since it has a sheltered beach with smaller waves. It also has a small park for the kids to play in. Big Bay is a popular surf spot for learners of the sport and has a life saving facility and shop. The crowds are young and mostly surfer based. The beach is nice to lie on and gets quite busy during the summer season (around December). The nice thing about Big Bay beach is that you can walk for kilometers on end, towards Eerste and Tweede Steen. Besides the obvious choices there are several other options if you are more inclined to go seeking adventure and try out one of the adventure tours that are available – like shark cage diving or paragliding !

Blue Peter Hotel is one of Cape Town’s oldest sundowner spots and is packed on every sunny day around ’sundown’ time. It has awesome pizza and many tables outside as well as a nice big lawn for visitors to sprawl out on. There’s nothing like sipping a cold one and lazily gazing out towards Robben Island with the sun setting over the horison…Blouberg Strand (also known as Blaauwberg) is situated about 20 minutes drive up the West Coast from Cape Town on the R27. Long white beaches with perfect kite- and windsurfing conditions awaits the adventurous. From Blouberg you have a birds eye view of Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was kept prisoner during the apartheid years, a reminder of our colourful past and also of the good that has come from having our freedom.
If you haven’t totally fried yourself to a crisp this past weekend, here are a few useful tips when going to the beach in Cape Town.
• Go early! If you get to the beach after 11am, you’re going to battle to find parking.
• Take an umbrella or beach tent.
• Take sunblock of factor 30 or above.
• Try and minimise time in the sun between 10am and 3pm.
• Take a cooler bag with some cold water for rehydration.
• Don’t leave your valuables unattended on the beach, rather take turns to swim.
• Please do not consume alcohol on the beach, it’s against the law