On the days that it has been nice, I have tried to spend as much time outdoors as possible, as during the week most of my time is spent at home or at work. On a couple of different occasions I have walked the promenade which runs along the coast through the oceanside communities of Green Point and Sea Point. The promenade offers lovely views of the water to one side and Lion’s Head to the other, features an expansive park, and is dotted by interesting art installations. There is a giant set of glasses, a series of white horses sticking out of the grass at odd angles (It is an art installation commemorating a shipwreck the artist had seen there as a child. The boat had been filled with White Horse Whiskey, the signature being little plastic white horses attached to the necks of the bottle. After the shipwreck, thousands of these plastic white horses washed ashore, and this installation was interpretive of that.), and staggered metal parts of a rhino which, when you looked down what turned out to be like the scope of a rifle, formed themselves into the whole animal (which was a commentary on the devastating effects of poaching).
I have also spent time walking up and down the coast from Sea Point down to Clifton and Camps Bay and beyond. Camps Bay is a lovely coastal community, with one of the few beaches in the area (most are rocky shorelines). Getting off the bus, I walked out to some large rocks jutting out into the water and sat there for a bit looking out at the crashing waves. The day wasn’t quite living up to the good weather that the forecast had promised—it was grey skies with some wind gusts—but it was still just nice being out by the water, smelling the smell of the sea, listening to the crash of the waves, and gazing out at the beautiful shoreline. After sitting there for a bit, I decided to head further down the coast in what I thought was the direction of Clifton, another seaside community (and a playground for the wealthy), but ended up going in the opposite direction. I walked the coast line for over an hour and a half, thinking the town would be just around the next bend, but no luck. But I didn’t really care because it was just beautiful walking along the coast, looking up at the Twelve Apostles to my left and down at the crashing ocean to my right. During my meanderings I wandered down a steep flight of steps to a secluded bay below, Cosy Bay, which did not have much of a beach, but did have a number of interesting rock formations jutting out into the water. After more than an hour and a half of wandering, I came across a bus stop in the middle of nowhere (The day before I had passed a few of these stops in the middle of nowhere and wondered who uses them. Me apparently.) and decided my best bet would be to hop a bus back to Camps Bay and wander north from there.
Venturing further afield, I have visited the coastal communities of Simon’s Town and Muizenberg, and in the process was introduced to the train system, which is interesting to say the last. The train system is not very nice and can be dangerous at times, but if you go in the middle of the day and have an open mind, it makes for interesting people watching, as well as some entertaining reading, as the cars are plastered with advertisements. And on another day I visited Stellenbosch, an area graced with rolling vineyards and the mountains in the distance, and had the chance to visit a couple of wineries, as well as stroll around the charming town.
One of my favorite outings was to Kirstenbosch Gardens. I had heard good things about the gardens, and it was definitely something I planned on doing, but they ended up being even better than I expected. And that is saying something considering it is winter. I can only imagine how much better they are in the summer. Located on the backside of Table Mountain, the gardens cover a vast expanse of area and even progress partway up the mountain. It is topographically interesting with a mixture of vast grass expanses (perfect for a picnic or afternoon nap), desert like vegetation, more forested areas, and much more. There are a ton of smaller pathways branching off of the main ones, and we spent much of our time wandering down random paths that looked interesting. There was a lot of up and down and at one point we even found ourselves partway up the mountain before heading back down into the heart of the gardens. There is also a walkway through the tree canopy which offers wonderful views of the garden below, the mountain to our side, and part of the city in the distance. I just loved how diverse it was, how there were unexpected things around every corner (i.e. I was not expecting to find giant dinosaur statues tucked into the vegetation in one area), and if I lived here year round, I could easily see getting an annual pass and spending summer days exploring the many corners of the gardens and relaxing on the sloping lawns.