The approach for landing on my flight to Cape Town from Johannesburg was one of the most memorable that I have experienced.
Not because I was fearful, but because the scenery was so dramatic. Suddenly, these tall, craggy mountains rise up and as you descend become even more impressive. There is a ruggedness about them that is quite inspiring.
Cape Town is an enigmatic City, one that is full of surprises.
On the drive into Cape Town you pass these sprawling townships, some filled with tiny shanty houses, all with satellite TV dishes, and other townships consisting of more solid apartments and townhouses. As you follow the freeway you ascend an overpass and suddenly, and dramatically the city centre, and bay beyond, is revealed.
And that view is stunning.
Cape Town sits on the Atlantic Ocean, and the waters are cold. The city has many great beaches, many of which are unsuitable for surfing due to the rough seas, rocks and low water temperature.
When you head east, you drive through canyons of tall apartment buildings, restaurants and bars. Still with this dramatic backdrop of mountains. The suburban streets are narrow, steep and winding. One of the things you notice is that the houses have all been rendered secure with tall fences topped with electric wires. Security guards are visible on some streets. Those are the signs that you are in South Africa.
The city also has a fantastic vibrancy, beachside promenades are filled with joggers, cyclists and people just out for a stroll. Cape Town bursts with life. Citizens seem to be cheery, and are certainly very friendly.
The V&A Waterfront, the V&A stands for Victoria and Albert, is alive with activity. This wharf area boasts many hotels, shops, restaurants and entertainment. There is much to do there and prices are surprisingly cheap by international standards.
This is not a tourist precinct, although tourists are indeed numerous, but is popular with the locals who fill the shops, or amble along the piers enjoying the ambience.
Cape Town is a busy port, and a wonderful place in which to discover the heart of the city.
Of course, Cape Town’s most famous attribute is Table Mountain which towers over the city like a medieval citadel. The mountain is ever-changing as clouds pass, cling to the mountain for a while, then disappear.
Cape Town is much like those clouds, always active, unpredictable, and full of surprises.