And their sense wasn't wrong thankfully. As it turns out Capetown really does have it all starting with an unrivaled geography. Capetown is the most visually stunning city I've had the pleasure of visiting. The backdrop to the city - the azure blues of the Atlantic Ocean, cut by the rugged lines of Table Mountain, the lush green of Signal City and the ever present white mist tumbling down from Devil's Peak and rushing to fill the City Bowl are all so vibrant you feel like you must be looking at a green screen and not the real-life backdrop of a modern city.
Mother Nature alone would be enough to keep you occupied during your time (they do honestly experience weather changes like I've never seen, "four seasons in one day" my Capetonian friend has told me) but that won't be necessary because there is a rich (albeit often painful and storied) history complete with plenty of good eatin' and lots of activities.
The one thing I was often struck by in Capetown is the underlying sense of tension and struggle that belies a nation who is really quite young in her modern history. It's only been 18 years since Nelson Mandela was elected and the country began to heal the wounds of apartheid, the effects of which run deep and still in many ways determine peoples lives. Though it's heartening to know that the other feeling that runs as consistent as the tension is an overwhelming feeling of hope and optimism - that the only way forward is together. And it's clear that the Capetonians, and all South Africans are committed to this path. It's hard to ignore the stunning natural treasure in the land they all call home and I for one can't wait to see them emerge to become the nation they all hope for.
It was extremely important for me that we tour one of the townships in Capetown. I've never believed in turning a blind eye to the plight of others even if I'm there to enjoy a holiday. We found a great company that allowed us the unique experience of riding around the township on bicycle.
In 2002 AWOL Tours initiated a bicycle tourism programme in the Masiphumelele community of Cape Town in conjunction with the Bicycling Empowerment Network (BEN) a non-profit organisation. This program evolved from BEN’s importation of second hand bikes and the establishment of Independent Bicycle Dealers (IBD) owned and operated by local residents. AWOL’s guests hire bicycles from the BEN IBD’s. Participating in this tour, spreads considerable financial benefit to the community. Much needed income has been generated and put into circulation in the local township as part of tourism services and fees paid to business owners.