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What To Do While The Ship Is In Cape Town

Before Picton Castle arrives in a port, the Captain always holds a muster in order to give the crew some guidance and instruction on what to do and what not to do, local customs, places to go, things to see and people to meet. These briefings are always in balance – giving the crew enough information that they’ll be conscious of safety, aware of any major social and cultural expectations and interested in getting past the first establishment with cold drinks or wireless internet while holding back enough that the crew still feel they have things to explore and discover on their own.

Sometimes the Captain puts together a list of things to do, reinforcing the muster and giving the crew something to refer to again. Here, from Captain Moreland, the list for Cape Town:

WHAT TO DO WHILE THE SHIP IS IN CAPE TOWN

The Republic of South Africa is an amazingly rich and truly diverse land full of joy, hope, optimism as well as wealth and grinding poverty. It is a beacon for all of Africa and even the world – RSA wears her dilemmas and contradictions openly and honestly – you will have a fantastic time, and meet wonderful folks of all backgrounds – don’t believe everything you have heard, yet travel safe, you ain’t in Kansas (or Bali) anymore…

- Start by getting past Mitchell’s Pub…

- Robben Island – a must, all should go. President Nelson Mandela spent many years in captivity there along with others in the anti-aparthied movement – now a museum and all the docents are either former inmates or former guards, just amazing.

- Walk through the botanical gardens where the first Dutch settlers put down in the 1600s

- Take a walk through the University of Cape Town campus – follow the roads sloping up the mountain and observe some of the Dutch Colonial architecture in this more ‘upscale’ part of town. The statue of Rhodes (in my opinion not such a great guy at all… in spite of the Rhodes Scholarship – so sez Dr. Livingston relative of Bronwen Livingston).

- District 6 – the Museum really explains it all. An area where ‘coloured’ people lived for generations. An area of music, life, vibrancy, artists – torn down as people were relocated (with bulldozers) during apartheid. Little has been built since, which is powerful in and of itself – but there are signs of people returning to take root once more. But how much different is this than “urban renewal” in the US and Canada? Food for thought.

- Original Dutch foundations and waterfront fortifications from the 1600s under nearby modern buildings in archaeology displays in the basements, very cool.

- Victoria & Albert waterfront mall, the best harbour and best mall you have ever seen.

- Wine tasting tour in beautiful wine country; Paarl and Stellenbosch – eat plenty food, bad on an empty stomach.

- Day trips or overnight to see wild game in reserves

- Addo Elephant Park, very cool

- Go up Table Mountain – beware the wily Rock Dassie!

- Take a trip to see the Cape of Good Hope – stunning – beware: baboons everywhere! Zebras and ostritch too.

- Visit seaside Simonstown right near by – penguins everywhere! Smelly but cute (reminds us of…)

- Camps Bay; near Lions Head, seaside town

- Oudtshoorn; Ostrich capital of the world (taste good too, and not like chicken!)

- Cheetah rescue center at the Spiers wine estate in Franschoek, pet a cheetah

- Township tours, simply amazing

- Long Street – amazing African arts – do not stay after hours…

- Various craft markets all around

- if you are really nuts, I mean totally whacked out, go shark diving in cages…

- take a drive along the Garden Route

- school visits

- Cape Town is pretty good but DO NOT WANDER ABOUT BY YOUR LONESOME on lonely streets or at night.

- GO IN GROUPS, of three or more

- TAKE CABS – if out late at a restaurant, order a cab, don’t wander the streets looking for one…

cable car going up table mountain cape town
colourful jewelery at the market cape town
Kolin gives a tour to his Christel House friends cape town
PC berth in front of the Cape Grace Hotel cape town
shark diving cape town
view of Cape Town from Table Mountain

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