Cape Town Is The Most Lekker

South Africa is so lekker bru! I lived in Cape Town for my last month of Remote Year, and it was the perfect place to close out the unreal experience of living and traveling throughout five different continents in 2018.

These are some of my lekker mates embracing lekker van culture

What does "lekker" mean? Ah, good question. It's Afrikaans slang and I'd say the closest equivalent in the USA would be "awesome" or more recently "lit" (is lit dead in 2019? if so, please clue me in to it's replacement?). Anything can be lekker - people, places, events - and pretty much everything in Cape Town is lekker.

As seen from the top of Table Mountain

If you read my Marrakech post, you are aware that I was flat out exhausted coming into December. My travel adversity tolerance level was very low and my patience in general was nearly non-existent.

Thankfully, Cape Town has SO many lekker features that could lift any person's spirits, even RY Month 12 Me, who just wanted to eat Wheat Thins in my Longmeadow bed while cuddling with my parents' cats. In a surprisingly small radius within South Africa, there are spectacular beaches, a mountain range chock full of hiking routes, one million vineyards and wine estates, and wildlife reserves boasting the Big Five (lions, elephants, leopards, buffalo, rhinos).

I personally think giraffes should be part of the Big Five. Millipedes should not, but holding one is still pretty wild.

It was mid-summer in South Africa as well, which meant daily 80 degree temps: ideal for morning hikes, beach days, and wine tasting on vineyard verandas. It physically pains me to type this as I sit inside during Massachusetts winter, looking outside at the dismal gray sky and the light coating of snow on the ground. But hey, at least I came home with a tan!

average Tuesday in Cape Town

During my time in Cape Town, I engaged in all of the aforementioned activities, but not at the level I would normally like to. My friend Heather and I had a joke that I had a battery (like a phone battery) that required A LOT of down time to recharge, but that it only had the capacity to recharge to around 18%. So I was functioning on low battery at all times. After a couple hours of any activity, no matter how fun, I was drained and needed to go back to my apartment to recharge.

I will always find energy for vineyards / wine tasting

Cape Town was not all beautiful views and cool animals, though. I would be remiss if I didn't mention that there were safety concerns in the city, restrictions on resources, a glaring gap between the rich (primarily white people) and the poor (primarily black people), and other lasting impacts of apartheid, which only just ended in 1994.

Such issues affected our lives in a variety of ways. There were specific streets within the neighborhoods we lived in that we were directed to avoid at all times, which led to us taking Ubers to most of our destinations, even those a short distance away. We collected our shower water buckets which we then poured in to the toilet basin to refill the toiler water, due to the water shortage. There were 2.5 hour power outages at different times each day, called "load shedding," as part of a city-wide energy conservation effort. When I went on a safari, my guide was the nicest, friendliest white man, and he shared that marrying a black woman has led to a strained relationship with his biological family (who still has more traditional views dating back to the apartheid days).

Here are some Cape Town sunset pics to break up the heavy stuff

I don't think I would have been aware of any of these challenges had I visited as a tourist. I'm grateful that throughout the Remote Year experience, even though we usually lived in the safest neighborhood in each city, we were more exposed to the local culture and real life challenges than what we would most likely encounter on a vacation.

Final consensus: Cape Town is outstanding. What a place. I need to go back when my personal battery can recharge to 100% and I can fully appreciate it in all of its splendor. If you haven't been to South Africa, GO (but Americans beware, the flight is many many hours, so if you can't handle long flights, maybe don't go).

see? New York is a trillion kilometers away

To the readers who have tuned in to this year-long journey and all of my silly thoughts, thank you so much for your support and feedback along the way! Can you believe it's over? I can't. I'll confess I am SO HAPPY to be back in the USA. I wouldn't trade my 2018 for anything, but it feels really good to be back in the States. I'm already recharging way beyond 18% on a regular basis.

I'm planning to write another post or two that will be a more holistic reflection on the entire year (stay tuned!), but I wanted to share my final city reflection first. <3

Where should I go next?!

Comments

  1. Loved seeing you on your stopover in L’meadow. Your last year was an amazing experience. You are very fortunate to have that opportunity. Thanks for sharing with us. See you soon!

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