6 Days on the Cape

US Wealth Napolitano |

I’m not talking about Cape Cod, we’re talking about 6 days in Cape Town, South Africa. On dear olde Cape Cod, we have many towns, each with their own unique personality. Cape Town, on the other hand, is one city surrounded by 3,000+ foot mountains on the Ocean with many different personalities and many neighboring regions as diverse as anywhere on Earth.

Cape Town itself is a bit like San Diego.  It is very modern and sits right on the ocean (which consistently throws 6 foot breakers), with many suburban communities up in the hills or down on the shore. As one of the busiest commercial seaports in the world, Cape Town taught me what is possible with many of the run down shipyards we have here in the U. S.  Typically in the US, the seaport shipping areas are not the kind of places that you want to visit – especially after dark.  In Cape Town, there are incredibly large, high end mixed use properties built right to the edge of the piers.  Multi-million dollar condos, high end malls and a never ending supply of bars and restaurants.  If you’ve been to the Faneuil Hall – Quincy Market area of Boston, imagine how cool it would be if it were 25 times larger, and right on the ocean.  Cape Town did a spectacular job with this area.

In downtown Cape Town, there is a fantastic aquarium, called the Two Oceans Aquarium.  An appropriate name in that Cape Town is basically the dividing line where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet. Can you identify this funky fish that lives in the Two Oceans Aquarium (to the left)?

The restaurants in Cape Town area were fantastic.  Imagine your favorite steak house, and a meal to include cocktails, appetizers, salads, entrée, desert and wine… all for about 750 Rand – or about $75 US. The wine in South Africa is easily as good as what you’d find in Napa or Sonoma, except it will cost you about 80% less than your favorite Cabernet from Napa.

We strayed a bit from Cape Town.  Our right side driver rental vehicle journeyed us to the beach-like resort areas (a whopping 10 minute drive from downtown) to the Cape of Good Hope and to their world renowned wine region all less than an hour away from downtown Cape Town. It took Joan a few days to get used to sitting in the front left seat with the driver to her right. En route to the Cape of Good Hope, we stopped at Boulders Beach to hang out with the African Penguins.  There were hundreds of these photogenic critters weighing between 5 – 10 pounds hanging on the beach, keeping their eggs warm and taking an occasional swim in the clear Indian Ocean.

Probably the best day trip was our visit to the Fairview Winery (www.fairview.co.za), where we were treated to a master wine and cheese pairing.  At Fairview, they make many varieties of top quality wine, cheese and bread that would even make my grandmothers brick oven bakery in the Bronx jealous.  Their sister vineyard, The Spice Route, is located just down the road a bit and featured wine and chocolate parings.  It may sound a bit unusual – but don’t knock it until your tried it; outstanding!  If you want to try some South African wines – rumor has it that two cases will be showing up on my front porch within a few weeks.

All in all, I would highly recommend a trip to South Africa.  While it is clearly a long way from the US, that too is the benefit.  It is very different than any place I’ve seen in the U. S. and your U. S. dollar will go further than it does here at home or in the Caribbean. Our total costs for the trip were less than renting a nice house on Cape Cod for two weeks in the summer. Would you expect anything else from a financial geek like me?

This article was written by John P. Napolitano.