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The Cape, South Africa

Vineyards in South Africa's beautiful Franschhoek Valley
Vineyards in South Africa's beautiful Franschhoek Valley

South Africa is becoming a destination of choice for good reason.

We were happy to arrive in Cape Town, the mother city, after a very long flight: 24 hours across two continents on South African Airways. On average, a round-trip flight from LAX to Cape Town International runs about $1400.00. We rent a car for the week, knowing that to be without a car would limit our experience in this beautiful part of the world. City, mountains, wine country and beaches all beckon to be explored.

We spend a couple of nights in the city, checking into a hostel situated on Long Street in the center of town, Long Street Backpackers. From here we're within walking distance of wonderful restaurants, bars and shops. It's a vibrant part of town, filled with a creative spirit and a friendly, lively mix of people.

While in Cape Town, we book a tour with Sam's Cultural Tours ([email protected]) of Langa, one of the shanty towns you pass on the way in from the airport. Visitors can so easily get a false perception looking from the outside in when passing these makeshift towns. Experiencing a shebeen (a typical South African drinking spot set up in someone’s home) and visiting a dormitory and a day care allowed us to really meet the people that live here. What looks like a squatter town from the highway is more like a village – and a strong community – when experienced from the streets.

We drive around Cape Point, run from baboons and enjoy fantastic views of two oceans meeting violently at the tip of Africa. In Hout Bay we eat delicious fish n’ chips wrapped in newspaper. We finally head out to the oasis that awaits us in the quaint little French colonial town of Franschhoek, Gooding’s Groves Olive Farm and Guest House.

View from Gooding's Groves

Arriving pretty beat up from the late nights on Long Street, we welcome the calm of this little farm, complete with olive groves and chickens cock-a-doodle-ing. They greet us with a glass of red wine and homegrown olives. The room and its views take our breath away; my only thought is, I want to stay here forever.

We enjoy fantastic farm-style omelets at breakfast and wash them down with freshly brewed coffee. After breakfast, a spectacular hike through the vineyards and up the mountain gets our heart rate going.

In town, dining out is its own experience: each restaurant in this culinary heaven of a village offers an award-winning chef and its own style and ambiance. We had a blast visiting galleries, wine tasting, taking in awe-inspiring mountain views, and enjoying the warm hospitality of everyone we encountered.

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Vineyards in South Africa's beautiful Franschhoek Valley
Vineyards in South Africa's beautiful Franschhoek Valley

South Africa is becoming a destination of choice for good reason.

We were happy to arrive in Cape Town, the mother city, after a very long flight: 24 hours across two continents on South African Airways. On average, a round-trip flight from LAX to Cape Town International runs about $1400.00. We rent a car for the week, knowing that to be without a car would limit our experience in this beautiful part of the world. City, mountains, wine country and beaches all beckon to be explored.

We spend a couple of nights in the city, checking into a hostel situated on Long Street in the center of town, Long Street Backpackers. From here we're within walking distance of wonderful restaurants, bars and shops. It's a vibrant part of town, filled with a creative spirit and a friendly, lively mix of people.

While in Cape Town, we book a tour with Sam's Cultural Tours ([email protected]) of Langa, one of the shanty towns you pass on the way in from the airport. Visitors can so easily get a false perception looking from the outside in when passing these makeshift towns. Experiencing a shebeen (a typical South African drinking spot set up in someone’s home) and visiting a dormitory and a day care allowed us to really meet the people that live here. What looks like a squatter town from the highway is more like a village – and a strong community – when experienced from the streets.

We drive around Cape Point, run from baboons and enjoy fantastic views of two oceans meeting violently at the tip of Africa. In Hout Bay we eat delicious fish n’ chips wrapped in newspaper. We finally head out to the oasis that awaits us in the quaint little French colonial town of Franschhoek, Gooding’s Groves Olive Farm and Guest House.

View from Gooding's Groves

Arriving pretty beat up from the late nights on Long Street, we welcome the calm of this little farm, complete with olive groves and chickens cock-a-doodle-ing. They greet us with a glass of red wine and homegrown olives. The room and its views take our breath away; my only thought is, I want to stay here forever.

We enjoy fantastic farm-style omelets at breakfast and wash them down with freshly brewed coffee. After breakfast, a spectacular hike through the vineyards and up the mountain gets our heart rate going.

In town, dining out is its own experience: each restaurant in this culinary heaven of a village offers an award-winning chef and its own style and ambiance. We had a blast visiting galleries, wine tasting, taking in awe-inspiring mountain views, and enjoying the warm hospitality of everyone we encountered.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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