My last weekend in Cape Town was spent revisiting some of my favorite spots in the city and beyond: Lionshead, Devils Peak and Stellenbosch. With such limited time left in South Africa, I have realized how much I will miss this beautiful city. I do not believe that there is anywhere in the world quite like Cape Town. I love that I can have the rich, diversity of the city along with the backsplash of the mountains natural beauty. Returning to East Lansing just in time for football season will be nice, but I will miss these hikes and adventures that I can take at whim.
Trying to soak up every last ounce of the natural beauty of Cape Town, I hiked up Lionshead on Friday for a sunset hike. Lionshead gives a great panorama of the city and ocean, and is a local favorite for sunset hikes. It is even more well renowned for the full moon hikes, but the full moon came and went, and I valued my sleep over a hike. We headed up right after work and were able to relax on top as a bright orange sun sank into the ocean. I had forgotten how quickly it gets dark, but thanks to my dad’s over preparedness with packing me a flashlight in case of an all-Africa blackout, I was able to get down the mountain in the pitch black darkness of night without a problem.
On Saturday we all boarded a train bound to the Stellenbosch winelands. Packing light, we found cheap accommodations at a backpackers hostel and I thought that I was back in Europe. In fact, Stellenbosch might as well have been Europe. Stellenbosch is home to Stellenbosch University, a highly acclaimed, conservative university. It is generally comprised of white Afrikkans, who are conservative by nature. Being more accustomed to the diversity of the city, it was interesting to see the homogenous white Afrikkans community. At a beautiful terraced breakfast in the morning, only hearing Afrikkans being spoken, it was hard to believe that we were still in Africa.
The highlight of the Stellenbosch trip was a trip to two different wine farms, Asara and Neethlingshof. As usual, activities rarely go as planned, and extremely high priced taxis left us at these wine farms, one of which we had previously visited. Luckily, the wine was amazing, especially at Neethlingshof, and the property was gorgeous.
The Sunday train ride home was long, but the day was perfect. This weekend was actually the first time that I was able to wear shorts since last summer in Spain. When I finally pulled out my shorts, I realized how blinding my pale complexion was, so I decided that I needed to be outside regardless of my exhaustion. This led to a four and a half hour hike up Devils Peak. Last time that we hiked Devils, we did not actually summit. For some reason, we stopped at a nice lookout about ¾ of the way up the mountain. We needed the real deal, and could not go home without seeing it, so we set off. The Devils Peak hike is strenuous, especially in the heat, but ultimately we reached the summit, which rewarded us with a phenomenal view of the city. Dragging ourselves down the mountain, we reached the bottom just in time for the sunset, which we could just see between the mountains. Not having eaten since breakfast, we immediately headed to a local favorite, the Fat Cactus for some revitalizing tex mex.
Overall, it was the perfect weekend. The African sun beat brilliantly on us all weekend, and I was able to revisit my favorite places. The weekend made me nostalgic. It is hard to believe that my time here is quickly drawing to a close– I’ll see you all in a little less than two weeks!