We asked our Cape Town guide Doug Thompson, pictured here with his wife Sarah, to tell us why Cape Town, and why Cape Town with a guide.
Why Cape Town ?
Cape Town is the perfect gateway to Southern Africa. It's a gentle landing for those travelers who are on their first adventure to Africa. Many guests are surprised at its cosmopolitan feel , its vibrancy and the Mediterranean atmosphere. It is unmistakably Africa, but for those heading into 'darkest' Africa on safari , it offers a colorful arrival that often takes ones' breath away. Cape Town has the variety of settings that few other cities offer. Within a radius of 40 minutes drive, one can experience spectacular coastline, majestic mountains, semi-arid ecozones, and the beautiful winelands. As far as cities go ( 4.5 million people) , we can get out of the city onto the beach, into the forest, up the mountain or into a vineyard incredibly quickly. Our guests say that a trip to Southern Africa would be a lot less rewarding without a visit to the 'Mother City'.
Cape Town offers so much for everyone. One Wildland traveler said, "Cape Town has beaches - like Miami on steroids. Cape Town has beautiful drives - like Italy on steroids. Cape Town has cuisine - like New York on steroids. Cape Town has winelands - like Napa on steroids" .
This pretty much sums it up . Where on earth can you visit a city and see one of the new 7 natural wonders (Table Mountain) , visit world class vineyards and beaches, and at the same time have the chance to see whales, sharks, baboons and many other species of animals. Cape Town is a perfect extension to any trip to Southern Africa: a perfect start to a dream safari experience, or a great way to wind up before heading home.
Is a guide in Cape Town really worth it?
Many of our guests debate this question before booking Cape Town with Wildland Adventures. Once you come and experience the efficiency with which I share such a variety of sites and activities, you'll conclude a guided trip is the way to go. I have guests that have met other travelers on excursions around Cape Town and when they start swapping stories they realize how much more they experienced, in a shorter time, and with a great deal less stress! Above all else, on Township tours and all around town, I make sure our guests have the opportunity to engage with real South Africans, often with my own family when schedules allow! I always take into account the individual interests and preferences of Wildland travelers, like the time when I took a family of soccer fans to the pub to watch a match. And many guests tell me how much they were moved when I recount the day in the main square watching Nelson Mandela's first public address out of prison. I was so proud of my country, and all of us there together, blacks and whites, were full of hope!
One of my goals is this: When guests leave Cape Town I want them to feel as if they have just been shown around a city by a friend, as opposed to a guide. That's when I feel I have done my job well. One can easily visit a city and see the sights, but it's not so easy to immerse oneself in the culture, or get to know the people. With Wildland Adventures, that will never happen!