Is there anyone out there that hasn’t dreamed of going to Africa? I didn’t think so.
For Canadians, Africa is geographically and culturally on the other side of the world. This contrast was my motivation for going. And despite being an adventurous chap, I needed a destination that could ease my entry into Africa. With a fascinating history, a landscape rich in biodiversity, and an über-creative young generation, South Africa was a perfect introduction to a continent that seemed impossibly far away.
As I travel the world this year, my goal has been to exchange work for food and accommodation. But a synchronistic set of events motivated me to abandon my original plan (a work exchange at a mountain retreat). Instead I opted to stay in the city of Cape Town and help out with a local vintage clothing store/art space called Seventies 80s. And what a good decision it was to stay.
With the last minute change of plans, my first step was to find accommodation. I finally landed in a place that I loved, the relaxed Amber Tree Lodge. This backpacker’s haven has a well-designed layout (with stunning views of Table Mountain), spacious rooms and a crowd that is fun but mature.
When I got thirsty for a glass of South Africa’s famous wines, I would wander a to The Power & The Glory, a corner bistro where Cape Town’s creative thirtysomethings congregate. And since life is all about seeking equilibrium, to balance the wine, I partook in many hikes. There are many stellar options around the city, each peak providing breathtaking views of the Cape Peninsula. My favorite was Lion’s Head. From the 669-meter summit, one has a spectacular vantage point over downtown Cape Town, the Atlantic Ocean and Table Mountain.
This month’s video features my new friend Moses, who I met at the boutique. He was hard at work repainting the store when I nabbed him for the video. Moses ended up guiding me on many of my adventures in the Cape Town area. But since it’s (unfortunately) not always realistic to schedule “make friendship with local” into our itineraries, here, here, here and here are tour organizers to ensure that you’re able to tackle the places we mention when on your next Cape Town adventure.
Daniel Baylis is spending 2011 traveling the world. Each month brings him to a new destination where he’ll volunteer his services in exchange for food and accommodation. Where will he travel next? Check out his blog, The Conversationalist, and stay up-to-date with his reporting via Facebook and Twitter.