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We all know that Cape Town is a thriving city, filled with opportunities for adventure and African experiences, and I certainly felt the buzz last weekend! After a busy week in the Human Rights Office, a group of volunteers and 2 staff members met at Mzoli's for a relaxed afternoon around a huge bowl of meat, a bag of bread and a mountain of napkins.
Volunteers Darlene Sainvil, Pamela Kechter and Laura at Mzoli's
With music blasting and people dancing all around us, we were more than happy to soak up the atmosphere, eat way too much and, as Ellie mentions in her blog on Mzoli's below, enjoy our "This is Africa" moment. A taxi ride home with Archi completed the day, as he regaled us with stories of his life in Cape Town and his work as a paramedic.
Steenberg Wine Farm Tasting Room
On Saturday morning, I joined a friend for a morning of wine tasting along the Constantia Wine Route, the oldest wine growing region in southern Africa. Steenberg set the tone for the day, impressing us with beautiful gardens and water features, a stylish tasting area and of course, excellent wine. Constantia Uitsig was next on the list, followed by Buitenverwachting (not an easy one to pronounce after an hour of wine tasting!) and a hearty lunch at Peddlars on the Bend.
The afternoon saw us shopping in Cavendish and then meeting friends for an evening at Active Sushi on Strand Street where we aimed to score highly in the "all you can eat" stakes. At only R99 per person, it's a bargain but remember, you will be charged R5 for every piece of sushi left at the end of your meal! Happily, we incurred no extra charges but despite eating a mountain of sushi, our waiter scored us a rather disappointing 6 out of 10. There's always next time...! After a day of good food and wine, I decided to walk off some calories on Sunday and after a wonderful service at Harfield Church, I set out to conquer Devil's Peak. I had climbed Table Mountain on a previous visit to Cape Town so I was eager for a new challenge and standing only 100 metres lower than Table Mountain, Devil's Peak promises beautiful 360 degree views of Cape Town. At the top of Platteklip Gorge as the paths split, I soon understood why people refer to Devil's Peak as the poor brother of Table Mountain as it is not climbed nearly as often - it's steep, exposed and unforgiving! In 28oC heat and without a breath of wind in the air (where is the wind in Cape Town when you need it!), it was a challenging hike but well worth it. As we hit the beacon at the summit, the beautiful views were overwhelming. Cape Town was spread at our feet like a child's Lego set and surrounded by the clear blue waters of the two oceans. The views were outstanding and as we sat in the sunshine gazing at the surrounding mountains, the vast oceans and the clear blue sky, I enjoyed my second "This is Africa" moment that weekend.
Back in the office on Monday morning, feeling tired and nursing aching muscles, I promised myself a quieter weekend to follow. Who was I kidding? By midday, the infectious buzz of life in Cape Town had surfaced and I had already planned a trip to The Old Biscuit Mill, an afternoon in Simons Town and a hike up Lion's Head... be warned, once you fall in love with Cape Town, you can't sit at home and be quiet!
by Laura Rodgers (UK, Human Rights)