Gadabout's Corner

Bird of passage

Tag: winter

Things to do during Winter in CAPE TOWN, South Africa

Cape Town is surely many people’s dream paradise, especially surfers, hikers, backpackers or lovers (a honeymoon, maybe). It offers a great variety of services, from budget hostels to beachfront luxury villas.

Visiting Cape Town or Kaapstad in Afrikaans during Winter is actually quite nice. It’s not that cold, except the sea that’s always a bit cold. You could still do everything that you should when in Cape Town, like surfing, shark cage diving, whale watching, sailing or visiting wineries. If you don’t mind a bit of light rain then we are good here. Plus, it’s a lot cheaper and also less packed. If you’re not sure what to do during the trip, then you might wanna keep reading. 😊

Firstly, getting around is really easy, you could just walk or use the MyCiti Bus. You’ll need a bus card for that, which you just add some credit into the card, tap and go. You could get the card from many places, like the Airport. I got mine at the Cape Town Tourism Office on Burg Street.

Actually, I wanna talk a little bit about their Tourism Office. They are really helpful. I went to Cape Town with no idea about what I should do and see. Fortunately, one of the staff introduced me to Baz Bus, which offers really cool tour services around South Africa for great prices. Tours are specifically designed for backpackers. These services were amazing and I also met loads of cool people as well.

Things you shouldn’t miss when in Cape Town:
  • District Six
    • Muir Street Mosque
    • District Six Museum
  • Bo-Kaap
  • Victoria & Alfred Waterfront
  • Signal Hill
  • Lion’s Head
  • Table Mountain
  • Chapman’s Peak

Firstly, I’m going to kick it off with things you can do around the City Bowl, which is the central business area of Cape Town. It’s packed with history, especially at District Six. The district is the result of discrimination, where only white residences were allowed to stay and the others were forced to leave. It left the district abandoned. Years later, Nelson Mandela returned the district to everyone but some areas are still visibly abandoned. You could just walk around the area, visit the District Six Museum and Muir Street Mosque to know more about the story.

Not far from District Six Museum, stands the Castle of Good Hope, which is the oldest building of South Africa. It’s a good place to relax as there is a small kiosk that you could grab some warm drinks. I had my breakfast there, with the view of the castle’s garden in front of me. Tea and food was warm, perfect for the winter morning.

A bit further from the castle, you’ll find the colorful neighborhood of Bo-Kaap. You’ll notice the cobble stoned streets once you’re in the area. It’s a good place to walk around, take pictures with them colorful doors and houses. Also, check out the Nurul Islam Mosque there as well.

The next stop is Victoria & Alfred Waterfront. There is so much to see in the area. So, if you wanna fill up your tummy first, definitely check out the V&A Food Market. It’s an international food complex that sometimes plays live music as well. Otherwise, have a walk around the harbour, get the bird-eye view of the town from the Cape Wheel, shop at the mall or book yourself a ticket to visit the Robben Island.

Robben Island was used for the isolation of political prisoners, including Nelson Mandela. Apart from history aspect, it’s the kingdom of African Penguins as well. On the island, you can take pictures, but for personal use only and tripods are not allowed.

Now for those who like mountains, camping and hiking, Cape Town is your place. There are many peaks and mountains for you to conquer. We’ll go from North to South and the first one is the Signal Hill (Lion’s Tail). You could just drive up the summit through Signal Hill Road. It’s great for the city’s view and the Atlantic. I also spot couple of campers there as well.

Otherwise, the one next to it is the Lion’s Head. The walk up to the top is only about an hour. So, it’s quite nice.

The next one, the landmark of Cape Town, Table Mountain is a must. It’s called Table Mountain simply because of its flatness. You could get up the top by either hiking or by using cableway. By hiking, there are many routes to choose, depending on how long you wanna spend and how fit you are. Though, a spot that you shouldn’t miss is the Devil’s Peak. The view is crazy! You just gotta see it by yourself.

Moving on to the Chapman’s Peak. This place gives you both the view of Hout Bay and Noordhoek Beach. To get here, you could simply take the Chapman’s Peak Drive and you’ll find many hiking trails up here as well.

Between Chapman’s Peak and the stunning Noorhoek Beach, there is a really cool place called Monkey Valley Resort. It offers a really sweet stay. Hidden among the trees of Milkwood Forest, with the view of the beach; each rooms are designed with massive windows for the infinite view, farmhouse kitchen and stone fireplace. It’s just really cool! 😎

Save on your hotel - www.hotelscombined.com

Cape Town’s shorelines, from North to South:
  • Sea Point Promenade
  • Clifton
    • First Beach
    • Second Beach
    • Third Beach
    • Fourth Beach
  • Camps Bay
    • Witsand
    • Glen Beach
  • Hout Bay
    • The Dungeons
    • Hout Bay Harbour
  • Noordhoek Beach
    • The Dunes
    • Wreck of Kakapo

About half an hour walk from Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, close to Green Point Lighthouse, you’ll see the start of Sea Point Promenade. It’s really nice to walk along the Promenade as there are many different beaches, some are smaller and some are rockier.

Though, if you are looking for a bigger scale beach, then definitely check out the Clifton area. Here, there are 4 beaches, from First Beach to the Fourth Beach. For surfers, the First Beach has the strongest and the Fourth Beach has weakest waves. The Third Beach is the smallest one but it’s a very busy beach. This place is awesome and beautiful!

For divers, you might wanna check out Camps Bay. Here, there is a famous dive site called Witsand. However, this bay is also good for surfers, especially for those who like a bit of challenge. At Glen Beach, it’s one of the harder beaches to surf as the take-off area is quite small.

The next stop is where I spent most of my time while in Cape Town. It’s Hout Bay! It’s the place for big wave surfers who wanna ride the 14-metres Dungeons. The place itself is beautiful and colorful, with cute fishing village and Hout Bay Harbour.

Lastly, it’s the one we’ve talked about for a bit, the Noordhoek Beach. If you want to relax, then this 8 kilometres of peacefulness is your place. You might wanna visit The Dunes, take a horse out and enjoy the ride by the beach or explore the Wreck of Kakapo.

What else?
  • Cape Winelands
  • Cape Peninsula
    • Simon’s Town
    • Boulders Beach
    • Cape of Good Hope

Apart from Cape Town itself, you could also explore the area around it as well. I’d recommend few places. Firstly, Cape Winelands is the region where many famous wines are made. Wines are sooooo cheap and sooooo tasty! By the time you’re having lunch, you’d already be tipsy. It’s a joy! 🍷

Apart from the beauty of wineries, you could also join the search of South African’s Big Five. If you are keen on spending a day with animals, you could book yourself a day trip and head to Worcester. I’d recommend horseback safari because it’s a lot more exciting. Otherwise, try any styles of Game Drives.

Most importantly, since you are in Cape Town, you have to visit the Cape Peninsula. To do so, you might wanna start at Simon’s Town, which is a Navy Base Town.

There is a cute history here too. It’s about Just Nuisance, which is the only dog enlisted in Royal Navy because he was a loyal dog that always travelled with seamen by train. He was enlisted as a Royal Navy so that he could travel freely on the train. He was somehow a moral booster for the town during the World War II. His statue is by the town’s main street.

Another cuteness here is the African Penguins at Boulders Beach. The place is so cute! What penguins live by the beach of blue water? This place is so heart-warming. 😍

Next, you should definitely visit the Cape of Good Hope. To explore the whole place, which is also a Nature Reserve, you could just drive around, hike or go around with bicycle. I did cycling and my companies were some ostriches, baboons and couples of deers.

You might wanna stop by the Cape Point first because it’s higher than the Cape of Good Hope so it offers a greater sight of all peaks and ocean. The view from the lighthouse is the best! You also don’t have to worry much about the weather, all the walking will heat you up but the wind won’t let you sweat.

The final most important stop is the Cape of Good Hope. It holds so much history and the area is stunning. The shore is great for taking pictures and to be there is just great!

 

 

 

 

 

OXFORD on Foot: Must Do’s List

Matthew Arnold addressed the amazement of Oxford in his Thyrsis way back in 1865 in which the beauty remains until today, despite over 150 years later.

Oxford is probably the best city to represent the civilization of the Victorian Era, with early establishment back in the 12th century. The result is an architectural masterpieces that keep inspiring artists, writers, fantasists and we travellers for years.

Every corners of this city is awakening, so it’s best to take your time and explore it at your own pace and on foot. Please, let me show you how you could easily wander around Oxford, from my own experience.

How to get there from London?
Must Do’s List (On Foot)

Exploring and covering the whole major scenes in Oxford takes time, not because it’s big but because you’ll stop and be amazed by what you see every 5 minutes. I’d suggest you use this list as a guide, because it’s organized by putting places in the same area together.

I. Magdalen College
  • Punting along River Cherwell
  • Addison’s Walk
  • Magdalen Chapel
    • Daily from 1PM – 6PM
    • Daily from 10AM – 7PM in Jul – Sep
    • Admission fee: 6£

Let’s start by heading East toward the farthest spot; the Magdalen College. Once you arrive here, the first thing you could do is punting along the River Cherwell, which you can hire from the Magdalen Bridge. You could also keep going to the Addison’s Walk, which is a trail that goes around a small island that is surrounded by the river. From Addison’s Walk, you’ll be able to see the Deer Park, the Magdalen Tower and the Magdalen Bridge.

After this, you might wanna have look around the College’s buildings and spend some time at the Magdalen Chapel.

II. Queen's Lane to Catte Street

Radcliffe Camera

  • Queen’s College
  • University Church of St Mary the Virgin
    • Mon – Sat from 9.30 AM – 5PM
    •  Sun from 1PM – 5PM
    • No entrance fee
    • 4£ to climb the tower
  • All Souls College
    • Mon – Fri from 2PM – 4PM
    • No Entrance fee
  • Radcliffe Camera
  • Hertford College
    • Daily from 2PM – 4.30 PM
    • No entrance fee
  • Bridge of Sighs
  • Trinity College
    • Mon – Fri from 9AM – 4PM
    • Sat – Sun from 1PM – 4PM
    • Admission fee: 3£
  • Sheldonian Theatre

Sheldonian Theatre

Five minutes walking from Magdalen College, you’ll ended up at the Queen’s Lane and the first thing you could see is the elegance Queen’s College. You could only go inside if you make an appointment in advance at the Visitor Information Centre. It’s free!

Then from Queen’s College, keep walking along the High Street and you’ll see the University Church of St Mary the Virgin. At this church, you could go on top of the tower and get the best view of the Radcliffe Camera.

After that, turn right to the Catte Street and you’ll be at the Radcliffe Square, where there are so many things to see; All Souls College, Codrington Library, Radcliffe Camera, Bodleian Library, Hertford College and its Bridge of Sighs.

All Souls College

From Bridge of Sighs, you might wanna turn left to Broad Street and check out the Trinity College and the Sheldonian Theatre.

III. Turl Street
  • Exeter College
    • Daily from 2PM – 5PM
    • No entrance fee
  • Brasenose College
    • Mon – Fri from 10AM – 11.30 AM
    • Sat – Sun from 9AM – 10.30 AM
    • Admission fee: 2£
  • Covered Market

From Broad Street, turn left onto Turl Street, then take another left to Brasenose Lane and stop at the Exeter College and maybe have a look inside their Dining Hall and the Chapel.

After that, make your way to Brasenose College and have a look around the Covered Market. There, you could buy souvenirs, and get some food.

IV. St Aldate's Street
  • Alice’s Shop
    • Daily from 10.30 AM – 5PM
  • Christ Church Meadow
  • Christ Church College
    • Mon – Sat from 10 AM – 4PM
    • Sat from 2PM – 4PM
    • Admission fee: 7£ – 9£
  • St Aldates Church
  • Carfax Tower
    • Daily from 10AM – 4.30 PM
    • Admission fee: 2£

View from Carfax Tower

From the market, get yourself to St Aldate’s Street and you might want to make your way down first so you could slowly make our way back up.

Continue the street until you reach Alice’s Shop. This is the place that inspires Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland way back over 150 years ago. It’s right next to the Christ Church Meadow, which is a perfect resting place.

From there, you could make your way up by visiting the Christ Church College and have a look inside their Dining Hall, which is the same one as the Hogwart’s. You also don’t wanna miss the Christ Church Cathedral and the Tom Tower. Then you cross over to Christ Church Cathedral School and St Aldates Church.

Keep walking along St Aldate’s Street until you see Carfax Tower on your left. You definitely have to climb this tower as it will give you one of the best Central Oxford skyline view.

V. Cornmarket Street
  • St Michael at the North Gate
  • St Mary Magdalen
  • Martyrs Memorial
  • Gloucester Green Town Square
  • Wesley Memorial Methodist Church
  • Nuffield College
    • Mon – Fri from 9AM – 5PM
    • No entrance fee
  • Oxford Castle
  • Castle Mill Stream

From Carfax Tower, take the exit to Cornmarket Street and keep walking until St Michael at the North Gate is by your right. Not too far, you’ll also see St Mary Magdalen and Martyrs Memorial.

From there, turn left onto Beaumont Street and left again at Gloucester Street. If it’s Wednesday, Thursday or Saturday, you definitely have to check out the Gloucester Green Town Square. During these days, there will be the open air market that sells everything! If you can’t find it, it’s exactly where the National Express Bus Station is.

From there, you should keep walking along New Inn Hall Street and stop at Wesley Memorial Methodist Church. Next, walk toward the Nuffield College, explore the Castle Mound until you reach the Oxford Castle.

From the Castle, turn into Tidmarsh Lane and find the Hythe Bridge. By the bridge, you’ll see a small walking trail that will allow you to walk next to the Castle Mill Stream in which you can choose to turn or stop however you want to. This trail is wonderful! It’s a perfect place to relax and call it a day.

Where to eat best pub meal?

A lot of walking will be done, so there will be a lot of eating as well. Here is the list of where you should eat in Oxford.

  • The Eagle and Child
  • The White Horse
  • Turf Tavern

Where to stay?

  • YHA Hostel
  • Airbnb
    • Unique Artist’s Riverside Studio
    • Narrowboat on idyllic Oxford Canal (Ben the Boat)

 

 

 

 

 

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