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Cape Town: A Hiker’s Dream Come True? A Foodie’s Dream Come True?





White beaches juxtaposed against blue green seas and azure skies. The magnificence of surrounding Devil’s Peak, the Table Mountain and the Lion’s Head that take many a breath away. A city that bustles with activity yet is devoid of overcrowding. Yes, that’s Cape Town for I. I am in the least bit surprise that CNN honored Cape Town in a top ten list for the world’s most loved cities

It’s a warm July morning. The sun is bright. It lifts my spirits. I feel happy. I unleash my cool with sunglasses and hiking gear. It’s supposed to be winter but as I start off a hike up the Lion’s Head, I can’t help feeling that either Cape Town doesn’t have a winter, even a mild one, or other winters I have experienced deserve different names. It’s my first time questioning linguistics!

The trail is nothing too demanding. I am grateful for the smooth patches, challenged by the rough patches, and frightened or excited by the ladders and chains that seem to graciously appear wherever there are steep rocks. I stop to catch my breath at multiple times. Not because the journey is extremely demanding, but because the stunning view of the sea, the beaches, and the foliage below demands that I do.

I get to the top. I lift my arms and my face up to the clear sky, and deeply I breathe in fresh crispy air from an approaching cloud. Soon I will be engulfed, and it will most likely be my first time in a cloud, an actual cloud. Maybe even my first time or one of a few in cloud nine.

As I hike back down, I am certain that I will come back. Hiking Lion’s Head might just become my new gym routine. It was pleasant, it took me at most 3 hours, and I am now ready for the next wonder of the world. The Table Mountain. 

Before trying the Table Mountain, I will want to define the hiking experience I am looking for. I will want to select the hiking route based on whether I want views of the seas or the forest and jungle as I ascend, and based on the difficulty level. I choose wisely, I do want to have some energy left for wine tasting in Stellenbosch, for food sampling at the Earth Fair Food Market, and for some feasting at Mzoli’s. Not because these are things a tourist must do, but because I actually absolutely want to do them.

I finally end up in Bergkelder wine farm. And they bewitch me enough to make me carry a couple of bottles back to my hotel room. They are not selling some of the delicious cheese they serve along with the wine samples, but they treat me like royalty at an affordable price, and I absolutely love the experience.

Next I do go to Mzoli’s, a grilling place in one of Cape Town’s townships, Guguhlethu. No one treats me like royalty here, but my choices and desire for festivity are respected. They not only let me make the choice of the raw meat I want barbecued, but they also let me carry it to the kitchen. As soon as my roast is ready, I carry it to a selected table in a tent where a DJ is always mixing lively beats, and other customers periodically screaming or standing to dance at great music choices. Never has roast meat been so sumptuous. Never has an ambience been so festive. As I settle and blend in, I watch myself gradually get ready to dance and scream at certain DJ beats.

About the Author

Nkatha Gitonga is a travel enthusiast studying at Harvard. She currently works for a Legal Department Management firm in Boston.

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