Today has been perfection, and it’s not even anywhere close to being over. We woke up to breakfast prepared in the villa (made to order, which means eggs benedict for me – duh) and then all split up depending on what we wanted to do with our free day. For the past few days, it sounded like everyone BUT me wanted to hike to the top of Table Mountain. I was distraught since there’s a perfectly good cable car system and me hiking up a MOUNTAIN is not on the top of my to-do list. Never has been, probably won’t ever be. I have an extreme fear of heights and a severe case of klutziness. The thing is – heights don’t bother me if I’m in someone else’s hands. Someone else is controlling the cable car, roller coaster, airplane – whatever. I’m fine with that. However, if I have to trust my own two feet to keep me from hurtling down a mountain, I can’t. My legs literally freeze in place.
Fortunately, Kristen was interested in sightseeing more than hiking, so we made plans to take the hop-on-hop-off bus to explore the city. We saw the waterfront area, including the V&A craft market, where I went on a photo safari to find tacky souvenirs for my friends and family. My favorite was what I found for my little cousins, Lauren and Alli:
After strolling around the waterfront area and even swinging by Cape Grace (a totally different feel than the One&Only – it’s excellent to have those options so close to one another), we took the 2-hour hop-on-hop-off tour through the center of Cape Town.
The tour was a good way to see the major highlights in one fell swoop. The most powerful part of the tour was District 6, the area where residents were forced from their homes during the Apartheid. I haven’t been to a part of the world with such fresh wounds. The area is desolate and still very obviously a reminder of the terrors brought upon it. With that being said, it was the only time that I haven’t felt entirely comfortable riding in an open-air sightseeing bus. The juxtaposition between the bright red tourist vehicle with the overgrown, weed-infested fields and tired, deserted homes was not easily ignored – it’s amazing how far this city and these people have come in the past 40 years, but cultures still take centuries to fully heal from such an event.
From this point, we rode the bus to Table Mountain, where we took the cable car to the top. Once we got to the top, I was SO relieved that I didn’t try to hike with Jamo and Beth, who had set off this morning to conquer the mountain by foot. It would’ve been a long way down and, knowing me, I probably would’ve gotten stuck mid-way, paralyzed by fear.
After coming down from the mountaintop, we ran into Beth and Jamo, who had just completed the hike to the top/car to the bottom option of exploring. I am so glad I didn’t even attempt climbing just because of Jamo’s reaction to the whole experience. I’m sure I’d still be stuck on a ledge somewhere otherwise. We all came back to Ellerman for lunch and a little sunbathing on the deck – it was the most relaxing afternoon I’ve had in a while.
I haven’t gone into a ton of detail about Ellerman, but it’s mostly because I can’t put the experience into words. Ellerman is the perfect getaway, and the villa is the most amazing place I’ve ever stayed in. It’s two stories, three bedrooms (can be made into 5) and almost every room has a direct, stunning view of the ocean. The villa comes with a private chef and butler, as well as additional staff that come in and out throughout the day. We have truly been spoiled and are so grateful to everyone at Ellerman (shout out to Caitlin!) for hosting us. I couldn’t imagine a better experience in Cape Town and have several videos that I plan on uploading once I get back to the states – it takes a virtual tour to truly appreciate how AWESOME this villa is.
Tonight, we’re celebrating Cassie’s birthday and celebrating our gracious hosts at Ellerman – another fantastic dinner in the villa awaits us, and we’re so excited to see what the evening brings. We plan on going out in Camps Bay to enjoy our last night Cape Town. Tomorrow, we’re waking up bright and early to catch our flight back to Johannesburg, then we’re off to Singita Pamushana!