A little wondering around Cape Town

Wed, 3 Apr 2002 11:42:29 +0800

I had time to kill in Cape Town before my next flight, so I did a little sight seeing.

Cape Town isn't exactly high adventure. The tourist areas, at least, are as modern as anything in Europe or the US. No lions or leopards here. Junk food and not so junk food is plentiful.

Nonetheless, there are things worth seeing. Table Mountain is a huge rock overlooking the city. On a clear day, the view of the waterfront and the cape peninsula are quite extraordinary.

The Cape Peninsula itself is nice. Nice beaches, with crashing waves. A few places look vaguely like Great Ocean Road. A small island hosts a good size colony of cape fur seals.

And there are penguins. About twice the size of Australia's fairy penguins, African penguins are just as cute and cameras are allowed.

One thing about South Africa: just because the touristed areas look clean and modern, doesn't mean that the whole populace lives like that. Most of Cape Town's population live outside the city in townships. These are desperately poor compared to the tourist areas. And violence, at least in the past, has been extreme. I went on a township tour a couple of days ago. I suppose many people find the conditions shocking. But, aside from the high fences and razor wire, it actually looked better than what I am used to seeing in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda.

The trip to Robben Island was also worthwhile. Robben Island was the apartheid regime's most infamous political prison. Nelson Mandela spent many years there. It lacks a little in visual impact but listening to the guides talk about the conditions are their experiences (they are all ex-inmates of the prison) is quite enlightening.

Images of the Cape Point peninsula
Images of the Cape Point peninsula
Images Table Mountain
Images from Table Mountain
Images from a Cape Town area township
Images from a Cape Town area township
Images from Robben Island:
Formerly, an infamous political prison