How South Africa Became My Home

When I came to Cape Town, I knew I would get some great work experience and meet some new people. I expected to see some nice scenery, but I didn’t have much of an expectation. The truth is,  it was so much crazier, so much more emotionally exhausting, so much more physically draining…

and so much better.

As I write this, most of the people I’ve met here have left Cape Town. I have seen off five people, every single one an emotionally draining experience. It was nice knowing that I could share these last moments in Cape Town with these people; and a strange knowing I would be the last to leave with no one to see me off. But, I’m lucky. My best friend is coming to visit me from London and we will be flying back home together at the end of my stay.

I find it strangely poetic that one of my oldest friends will be coming to take me home after I had seen everyone else off.

I’ve been revisiting some of my favorite local spots and appreciating the scenery all over again. Having become familiar with Cape Town,
I’ve managed to locate areas that aren’t populated with tourists.  Signal Hill is one of my absolute favorites, as you can see the bright city lights behind the silhouettes of trees, all dwarfed by the grandeur of Table Mountain and Lion’s Head. I never thought you could fall in love with a location, and perhaps my time here has made much more sentimental,

but I am definitely in love with this city.

I must admit after the majority of my friends had left, for about a week I thought I was ready to leave and move on, but settling further into an average day to day routine, I realized that I could call Cape Town home.

To give you some travel tips, hiking Table Mountain is a definite must. You’ll see the iconic shape of the mountain decorating t-shirts and artwork everywhere, and there are multiple viewpoints from which to see the mountain, dotted all around the city. You can’t go home without having been atop of it at least once!

There are several routes up the mountain, but the hardest (and also possibly the most fun!) route is up Skeleton Gorge. The easiest way to access Skeleton Gorge is through Kirstenbosch Gardens. My advice is to wake up early and have a stroll around Kirstenbosch before starting the hike. Have a wander around and if you get the chance,  go to a yoga session! There is an entry fee of ZAR 65 (at the time of writing this), to aid in the upkeep and conservation of the gardens, but the scenery and walk are well worth the money.

It’s a difficult climb up, but between walking and climbing through forests and up waterfalls, all the while being mesmerized by the view of the city far below, your mind is so busy that you’ll forget to feel tired.

If you time it right, you can get to the summit just as the sun is setting, making for some awesome views.

After the long hike, if its late or you’re just not feeling the hike down, head over to the cable cars and take those back down to ground level.

It’s coming to the end of my stay, and I’ve started to realize that I don’t think I’m ready to leave just yet. My friend’s coming over soon, and when he arrives we’ll spend just over a week exploring more of the city and possibly beyond it, and I’m so looking forward to it.

Despite it only having been a quarter of a year, its felt like a lifetime in itself. I have met people who can be described as nothing short of inspirational. Coming here I thought it would just be my intern work that would help me gain a step up on the ladder, but meeting these people and hearing their stories, so much more seems possible now.

Not because they provided me with any kind of advice or specific skills, but there is some change being made in me after being in South Africa. Admittedly, one of the changes is that I have become far more sentimental, but I quite like that; though I think I always have been, I am just less afraid to show it now.

The strangest realization I have come to is that after all the mountains you will climb, the views you will see, and the jumps you will make, the greatest wonders of the world are probably only a few feet away from you; forcing you to pose for a selfie, making a joke, laughing at some hilariously diplomatic story about toilet paper, or crying on your shoulder, telling you their secrets, and holding you in their embrace.

I’ll miss you, South Africa.