I landed in Cape Town late in the morning, the cold breeze and cloudy sky welcomed me to the Mother City.
On my 10 hours flight from Qatar, I sat beside the quirky South African guy, dressed in a pair of Hawaiian Shorts and a Blue Jersey T Shirt. He took my flight experience to a whole new level. He introduced himself as John and was excited that he was going back home after holidaying for over six months in Thailand. He started joking about how unworldly people are to believe that South Africa is an unsafe place to visit, he then started sharing some insights about the city and the ways I can experience the mother city as the locals do.
“People in Cape Town usually go out of the way to assist when they realise you are a foreigner” said John, which exactly is what I encountered right at the first point of contact with a Capetonian, while going through the Immigration and Customs check. Capetonians are extremely cheerful and welcoming people, its just our perception that tends to question their helpful nature.
I decided to rent a car as soon as I landed (which I don’t think was a good decision I took, after the 10 Hours of sleepless flight). I was quite thoughtful about driving through the infamous N2 highway, as I read several articles on how people were mugged and cars were hijacked there. A winsome lady behind the counter at the car rental office assured me that it was perfectly safe to take the route to get to the city.
As I drove through the street full of shacks lined up on both sides of the road, I did not sense any danger, however after driving for about 45 Mins, I realised that I took a wrong exit from the airport and now I was in the laid back neighbourhood called Somerset about 50Kms away from Cape Town.
After a nerve shattering drive for almost 3 hours, I finally managed to find my hostel in the centre of the Cape Town over looking the Lion’s head mountain.
What did I explore on my first day?
After a strenuous day of testing my driving skills on the streets of Cape Town, I decided to walk around the city. I stopped by one of the restaurants in Long Street to grab something to eat. Long street is a prominent locality in the city, it is filled with numerous restaurants offering cuisines from all around the world, bars, pubs… basically its a place where you must stop if you are in Cape Town.
After an evening walk along the neighbourhood, as the mercury level started dropping down, I walked back to the hostel and and got myself bottle of chilled Tusker Beer to get the invigorating feeling that I am in Africa.