Tourist Hotspots: The Great Nomadic Mascot Launch.
My have we splurged on ourselves this Christmas. Yes, we know what you’re thinking; buying ourselves a present for Christmas, but it’s not like that, seriously. It’s about companionship and friendship and just plain old ships. Ships? OK, not actual ships but if we had to board one in order to circumnavigate the globe in much the same vein as Phillies Fog did then why not with a travel buddy. And better yet, what if said travel buddy could double up as our Mascot? Because everyone knows every great travel writing duo needs a mascot. And now that our adventure finding him has finally come to an end; and in an effort to break the ice and reinvigorate his travelling prowess; we decided to take him on a couple of his very first adventures.
So below you will discover a photo diary of all his travels so far.
All the places visited represent all the tourist hot spots that make the city of Cape Town an icon. And allowed us to show you how the city is an enduring, exciting and phenomenal place not just to visit but to live.
- Muizenberg Beach: Colourful beach houses.
- Boulders Beach: Penguin Colony
- Kalk Bay Harbour: Kalky’s Seafood
- Mzoli’s Place: Township butchery/ bar,.
- The Two Oceans Aquarium
- Bo-Kaap: the Cape Malay quarter
- Long Street: The nightlife
Muizenberg Beach: Colourful beach houses
The trouble with Cape Town is that there are so many damn beaches, they are practically everywhere. And when you’re made of leather, it can be quite upsetting when you’re expected to dip a corner in or such. Or so our mascot hinted at when we approached the pristine white and long beach that makes up Muizenberg Beach. He for whatever reasons was not going near the water, for other than the Great Whites (not to worry they have round the clock shark spotters on duty) the closet he managed was to chill under one of the numerous yet colourful beach huts that line its shore.
An icon in the simplest sense, the beach huts were and are still used as changing rooms and I would surmise a relief from the African sun. Muizenberg is also other than boasting a very long beach, stretching right up until Gordens Bay, (40 km away), is full of history. A shared sentiment our mascot quite enjoyed hearing a lot of, as I rattled off how prolific its history is. From an epic battle that shaped South Africa to the home and resting place of mining magnate Cecil John Rhodes, Muizenberg holds is a special place not to be missed when in Cape Town.
- Considered by some to be birthplace of surfing in South Africa, take a stroll to the famous ‘Surfers corner’ and you’ll know why.
- The water incredibly is significantly warmer than any other beach in Cape Town.
- If you get there early or rock up on a rather quiet day, then smash into one of the beach huts, for a nice hide to change into your beach ware or just to shelter in when the sun gets too hot.
- Historically Muizenberg is also home to one of the oldest buildings in South Africa, Het Posthys circa 1742. Commissioned by the Dutch East India Company, who used it to tax local farmers as they made their way to Simons Town to sell their goods to passing ships, it change faces many times over, even turning into a brothel at some point .
- The first post holder, Sergeant Muys (or “mouse) the town’s namesake was a disambiguation of its original name said in Dutch ‘Muys Zijn Bergh’ (Muys Mountain).
- A fort situated on the hillside overlooking Muizenberg Beach is all that remains of The Battle of Muizenberg fought between the Dutch and the British for control of the Cape Colony. Subsequently the former won and hence the expansion of the English into Southern Africa began in earnest.
- Another fun draw card for tourists to Muizenberg, other than its beach and history are to be found in the hills overlooking the town. It offers up amongst others excellent hiking trails and a fair amount of rock climbing fun.
- Fun activities to do while visiting Muizenberg Beach
- Rent a surfboard and wetsuit and learn to surf.
- Fly a kite at the annual kite festival held at Lakeside nearby.
- Take a walk along the railroad and find a secluded rock/ tidal pool to frolic in.
- Become a shark spotter, or just make your way up to Boyes Drive and see if you can spot one.
Some information was sourced from Wikipedia and us.
Boulders beach and penguin sanctuary.
Boulders as the name stipulates is covered in boulders. And if you’re anything like our mascot (who is considered, in some circles, to be quite the climbing aficionado) then you could be tempted, and forgiving for that matter, for wanting to scale the side of one. Only to encounter, like he did, a local Jackass penguin, who would, after inspecting you, most probably nip a finger or two off. Or in his case a strap or buckle.
And as traumatic as it all sounds, he very quickly came to realise that in truth it’s their sanctuary and they are now, an endangered species. So it goes without saying, they will protect it to the last flipper, but other than this it is a fantastic opportunity to view them up close as they waddle about their business. There’s even an exquisite beach nearby to frolic in and with a bit of luck you might even get the chance to swim with one. So as long as you’re not made out of leather.
- Boulders Beach is one of the only land based penguin colonies in the world.
- It consists of three beaches, one for viewing the penguins and the rest for leisure, but please don’t poke the little critters, they bite and I’m sure you wouldn’t much like it if someone just walked onto your home turf and started poking you.
- The beach is safe for the whole family to enjoy, just re-read the point above and you’ll be fine.
- The penguins themselves have unfortunately been reclassified from previously being a vulnerable species to an endangered species. We can only speculate as to why?
- Established in 1983, it saw a rise in the penguin colonies surrounding the area up until 2005, when it all changed and the colony has since been in decline. This is attributed to many things, such as pollution and overfishing. But with your help could alleviate the plight of the poor little tuxedo wearing critters.
- Fun activities to do while visiting the penguins include:
- Restaurants and B&Bs
- Picnics and fun in the sun while on the beach.
- And taking a photo with a penguin if you dare!!!
If you would love to help our dear penguin friends you can by contacting SANCCOB: +27(0 21 557 6155
Some information was sourced from Sanparks and us.
Kalk Bay harbour and Kalky’s
Kalk Bay more specifically Kalk Bay Harbour is a fish lover’s dream. What with the beautifully maintained breakwater, perfect for a spot of lazy fishing, the fisherman and their wives punting their daily catches and the ravenous seals, always on the lookout for a discarded fish or two, it really manages to transport one back to a simpler way of life.
A way of life our mascot is most accustomed too. Evident in his sombre demeanour as he lay on the harbour edge, enjoying the ambience while stuffing his compartments with some Kalky’s. The legendary and original fish and chip shop. It was in a nutshell and for him in particular a special place everyone should frequent, even if just for the chow. Especially if you posses a digestive system.
- Kalk Bay (pronounced ’cork’ in English) is derived from the Dutch word ‘Kalk’ or lime in English, due to all the mussels shells found there, which were burned in order to make lime by the early settlers.
- The foundation stone to the famous harbour was laid in 1913; the harbour today is used mainly by local fishing and private boats.
- The harbour is alive with wildlife, if you consider seagulls’ wildlife of which there are many. But also there can be found in mass, plenty of friendly seals, who if given half a chance will literally eat the fish out of your mouth.
- The famous Kalk Bay Reef, found just off the coast, when the conditions are right, is a very popular surf spot due to its barrelling waves.
- Fun activities to do while visiting the harbour include:
- Restaurants in particular Kalky’s.
- Fishing off the harbour wall.
- Feeding the seagulls and seals.
- And taking a photo with a seal/ penguin if you dare!!!
Some information was sourced from Wikipedia and us.
Mzoli’s Place: Township butchery/ bar
Oh, the smell of braaivleis (meat) wafting over the urban decay of a local township, just on the outskirts of Cape Town, might not be everyone’s cup of tea. But is definitely an opportunity to mingle with Cape Town’s diverse cultures all under one roof and to be honest is something every local and foreigner to Cape Town should indulge in. It’s none other than Mzoli’s butchery, butchery, you say? Well yes, started in 2003 by Mzoli Ngcawuzele as a humble sole owned meat market it quickly and surprisingly grew into a trendy yet value for money after works drink and eat buffet and regular weekend hangout. Famous now for its scrumptious marinaded braai vleis and happening DJ sets all based in the heart of a of one of Cape Town’s apartheid sanctioned townships, it’s the perfect place to indulge your senses. And indulgence is what our Mascot is all about, be it travelling, sleeping and especially eating, yes he might be an inanimate object but he sure loves a great braai (barbecue) once in awhile, Mzoli’s offered him all that and more. Especially since he was becoming a bit of celebrity himself as the locals and staff alike took a keen interest to his vintage appeal, all culminating into great afternoon at this proverbial diamond in the rough.
- Braaing is a South African national pastime, with even a public holiday held in its honour. So if you have yet to experience it or are just a fan then Mzoli’s is the right place to get acquainted with and appreciate this national heritage.
- Feel free to bring your own paper plates, serviettes and alcohol, or buy some at the local café next door to Mzoli’s. But bear in mind Mzoli’s is not a bar but butchery, so please respect the local alcohol consumption laws. (And don’t drink and drive.)
- Try to get there early or phone through a table reservation if you decide to go later in the day. For it gets really busy shortly after lunch, especially on Friday’s and weekends.
- Don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with a table next to you, the patrons are quite an eclectic bunch hailing from a variety of backgrounds and as we discovered, all just want to share their love of a great braai and a good time.
- Fun activities to do while visiting Mzoli’s meat market:
- Take a township tour, walk.
- Get involved in one of the numerous community upliftment projects.
- Mingling with locals and foreigners alike.
- Getting to rub shoulders with the braai masters and local trendsetters. (If that’s your thing.)
The Two Oceans Aquarium: Where Hot meets Cold
The Two Oceans aquarium situated at the entrance to one of the world’s most beautiful harbour Cape Town’s; Victoria and Alfred Waterfront; is a treat no local or foreigner should turn a nose up to. Featuring a collection of exhibits, primarily showcasing the diversity of the marine life in not one but two oceans, it is the perfect morning or afternoon excursion for even the most discerning of patrons.
And as our leather bound Mascot soon found out, it’s also place where you could even take a dip in one of their rather large display tanks. He did consider it for a little more over a second but came to the conclusion that he might seem like a tasty morsel to one of their ragged tooth sharks. He is after all made out of leather, which is a close relative of the common cow. He instead opted to squeeze himself into the clown fish coral display (he’s a fan of Finding Nemo) and once done proceeded to drag us to see a show at the penguin exhibit. Eventually he ran out of steam when he had a near miss sting with a sea anemone, and begged us to take for him out for a plate of his favourite meal; fish and chips; which we then ate at their very own self styled restaurant.
- Opened in 1995, the Two Oceans boast a rather unique collection of marine life specimens endemic to two oceans, the Atlantic and the Indian Oceans.
- Featuring not only the usual displays of glassed off aquariums; the Two Oceans also has various day time events, such as a penguin show and numerous talks by their in house marine biologists.
- Popular with tourists, and only if you retain a valid diving certificate, you could find yourself diving with the likes of loggerhead turtles, ragged tooth sharks and yellow tuna all in their impressive Kelp Forrest display tank.
- The aquarium commonly thought to be at the confluence of the two actual oceans, it is predominantly situated along the Atlantic Coast of Cape Town. The actual place being further down the coast at Cape Agulas. (Link to Story).
- Fun activities to do while visiting the Two Oceans Aquarium:
- Popping your head or any body part for that matter up into the Clown Fish Tank.
- Touching and prodding all their rock pool critters, such as star fish and sea anemone, in their interactive rock pool simulation.
- Going for a bite to eat at their fantastic seafood restaurant or ordering out a coffee and some fried chips to enjoy along the harbour pier, as the fishing and commercial boats come into port.
Bo-Kaap: the Cape Malay quarter
Another vibrant and strikingly colourful (literally) side to Cape Town has to be one of its oldest surviving suburbs: the Bo – Kaap. Also known as the Malay Quarter, it boasts the tastes and sounds synonymous with the fusion of Asian and Middles Eastern cultures in its food, drink, culture and style.
And proved yet again, to be a hit with our Mascot as he made his way down and up the numerous alleyways, dotted with the local’s colourful homes, frescoes embezzled walls, and breathtaking courtyards complete in some cases with a fountain. And not one to shy away from the spicy and often fiery tastes of the Malay Quarter soon found himself breathing fire and smoke through his brass locks as he tried to convincingly quaff down the local cuisine. It did bring us to the conclusion in that in his self proclaimed quest to conquer the frontier of travelling, he like the Bo Kaap is proud to challenge the status quo of convention and embrace the art of infusing a new identity through the amalgamation of the many. Even if his aged clothe interior suffers an ulcer or tow.
- Formerly known as the Malay Quarter, Bo – Kaap (above Cape) is one of the oldest suburbs in Cape Town situated on the slopes of Cape Town.
- It was where many, Asians, Middle Eastern and Muslim traders, craftsmen settled when they first came to the Cape in the 18 century.
- Sporting romantic cobblestone streets, colourful homes and restaurants, boutique stores and local craft shops, it is in some regard a window into a part of Cape Town’s history that helped shape the diversity of the city’s original inhabitants.
- Two of the most popular streets in Bo – Kaap, namely Chiappini and Rose Street, showcase its beauty in all its splendour and is most popular with local tourist walking tours.
- The streets also act, on certain nights of the week, as the practise space for the local marching bands, which sees the whole community come out and in support of this.
- Primarily a Muslim community, sporting some 18th and 19th century mosques, its inhabitants today are very much diversified yet hold onto the traditions and values of their culture with morning calls to mosque and beautifully restored neighbourhoods.
- The Bo – Kaap is also famous for it’s cuisine, evident in it’s many corner shops and restaurants, that stock all the tastes of the Middle East infused with the flair of local zestiness.
- Book a walking tour or just drive through, park and take a stroll through its heart and never be the same again, a truly inspirational treat.
Long Street: Cape Town’s main (party) vein
What can be said of clubbing in the Mother City that has not been said before? Well, for one thing try taking out your leather bound Mascot on his first pub crawl on the party strip of Cape Town and see where it lands you up, or how far you get before public drunkenness forces you home or in the arms of a loving embrace. (People love to hug each other on Long Street, especially as the night drags on.)
Famous for its numerous pubs and clubs, Long Street is considered the Bourbon Street or Florida Road of Cape Town. And is where if you’re a local or new to the Mother City and in the mood to party, is surely not going to let you down. All types are out and about and no venue is short on getting you and your companions ‘high’ on alcohol and low on cash. We had barley eclipsed the tip of the iceberg as our Mascot made it through a total of three clubs and pubs before he was slapping me across the kisser with one of his broken leather straps, (the result of making one too many friends at the bar), to hail him a cab home. But all in all if it’s a party you’re looking for it’s definitely the street to get to.
- Long Street as the name so eloquently states is a fairly long street, starting at the foreshore and ending at Kloof Street, nobody knows exactly how long it is but if you choose to you can find out for yourself if you make that far.
- Other than the numerous clubs and pubs, Long Street also sports a variety of restaurants catering to all tastes, boutique hotels and youth hostels and numerous backpackers.
- Popular in the 1970’s and 80’s for its theatres that showcased anti – apartheid screenings it is also well known for its Victorian style architecture and wrought iron balconies.
- If you’re into calendar events, then why not spend a New Years Eve party there or come join in for the festivities evident in the Annual Cape Town Carnival that is hosted with a parade on the street. (Link to Nomadex CT Carnival story).
- Fun activities to do while visiting Long Street:
- Eating out, partying and sightseeing.
- It also boasts many antique stores, book stores and boutique stores if you enjoy a spot of retail therapy.
- Attending a festival hosted on the street.
- Getting involved in a local initiative such as the #moonlightmass.
Hoped you enjoyed taking the journey with us here at the Nomadic existence and our Mascot. And if you have an adventure to share with our Mascot please feel free and post it in the comments box below.
Special thanks go out to all the people our Mascot and us met along the way during these travels.
By Slippery Joe Lyzard © (Writer for Nomadic Existence)
Photography: Nomadic Bug ©
Nomadic Existence 2015 ©
Explore. Conserve. Discover.