week one: Tomboerskloof, Cape Town, South Africa

On January 30th at around 8 am, Muzzamil and I landed in Cape Town, South Africa. We left London the evening before and were lucky enough to have an empty flight where we could enjoy the 12 hours across four seats each- basically first class!

Our first day was a welcome breath of fresh air. The warmth greeted us openly as we had spent the last month in Toronto and London. For our first ten days in South Africa, we stayed in a charming neighborhood called Tomboerskloof. Set at the foot of Table Mountain, the hilly landscape and the vibrant restaurants and shops made for the perfect first “home away from home”.

And thus began the Ahmed Adventures. Newly married and with an equal thirst for adventure and travel- my husband and I embarked on a journey to see the world.

In this blog, we hope to capture our experiences and show you through our eyes what we are seeing in this beautiful world of ours. We hope you will follow along and always keep us in your thoughts and prayers.

Here are some highlights from our first ten days:

Favorite Restaurant: We ate at a place called Kauai at LEAST 8 times. It’s a small chain in South Africa and it had the healthiest, best food we have ever tasted. Ironically, we honeymooned a month earlier in Kauai, Hawaii. We were obsessed with their superfood smoothies, diary free options, and plenty of organic and free range ingredients that made every meal incredible.

Favorite Experience: This has to be a two way tie. We went skydiving, sand boarding, and quad biking while in Cape Town. But skydiving and sand boarding take the cake. Skydiving is hands down the most exhilarating experience. Falling from 9,000 ft above the Cape and tip of South Africa overlooking deserts, mountains, and oceans was absolutely unreal. I even went through a circular rainbow in a cloud. Sand boarding was unreal but also a killer workout. We traveled to the Atlantis Dunes and sand boards in hand, got a quick lesson on how to fall down the dunes gracefully. Once our boards were waxed, we strapped ourselves in and teetered off the edge of dunes over 100 ft. tall. I definitely wiped out more than a few times. Muzzamil made it look easy.

Serendipitous Moment: We were dying to get into a restaurant called Mama Africa on Long Street in Cape Town. This place is known for its amazing food and live music every night. Knowing they didn’t take reservations, we went and waited to try and get in. We were greeted by a very no-nonsense bouncer like individual who basically told us to get lost, there was no way we were getting a table. But serendipitously- a waitress popped her head out and needed to fill a table for two. We were in! We had some delicious melt-in-your mouth chicken wings and then shared a roast chicken meal that came with polenta, butternut squash, tomato relish, creamed spinach, and lentils. It was bomb. Not to mention that in between courses we were able to enjoy the live music and warm ambience of the restaurant.

Hardest Workout: Muzzamil and I decided to check out Table Mountain after days of deliberation and procrastination. The heat in Cape Town is unreal though- so I had the idea that we could take the cable cars up the mountain and then hike down Platteklip Gorge. This was not the best idea. We got to the top and were shocked as to how cold and windy it was. We fell into the tourist trap and purchased hats and fleeces in order to keep warm. We then ventured to the edge of Table Mountain where we would find the start to Platteklip Gorge. It was absolutely breathtaking. This windy steep path went down the whole side of the mountain, and we were about to climb it. Having short legs, the giant gaps between each slippery stone on the way down proved to be very difficult. I was often crouching and scooting my way down. While down is normally a lot easier, after about 0.5km (which took about an hour- that’s how slow we were going), we decided that we should go back up. Props to everyone who can complete this hike- because man did our quads burn when we got back to the top.

Encounters with Nature: The most gorgeous gardens we have ever been to has to have been the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. We spent half a day walking around and enriching our souls with the beauty of the outdoors. The sun was bright and hot but the flowers, plants, and paths were too enticing to notice. Nestled at the foothills of mountains, this garden is a central hub for South Africans to come and enjoy a beautiful afternoon. There were kids running and playing, a concert in the park, and elderly couples enjoying a nice stroll together.

Spirituality: Muzzamil and I were lucky enough to meet my mom’s cousin and their family while we were in Cape Town. On Friday, they took us to the local Ahmadiyya Muslim Community mosque, Baitul Awwal Musjid. It was so wonderful to be greeted by our brothers and sisters from all the way around the world as if we were family. The feelings of brother and sisterhood were truly humbling.

Other Stops Along the Way: We also ventured to Camp’s Bay one evening to watch the sunset, the moon set, and eat a delicious meal. We traveled to Hout Bay to explore the wharf and eat fresh seafood. We walked Long Street and the Waterfront many times and had amazing food at each place we ate. It really is true- you cannot have a bad meal in Cape Town.

 

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