me Life and Times of the Fireflies: 2017

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Recipe - Mini Mango Cheesecakes



 
It's that time of year again! No, I'm not talking about Summer. I'm referring to the end of year mayhem and the relentless onslaught of back to back parties and festivities! School parties, office parties, birthday parties, Christmas parties, garden parties, New Year's parties, bridal shower parties - just a never ending list of celebrations and partying. And if you're like me, then at some point, you will even be helping someone else plan a party. Maybe even offer to contribute by making a dessert or two to take to one of these parties.
 
 Just like Winter owns the decadence of a hot, Malva Pudding; and Autumn possesses the rich and spicy aroma of a Carrot Cake; certain fruity flavoured desserts are seasonal and synonymous with the hot Summer months. From a Summer berry Eton Mess or Pavlova, to a light on the tongue Mango Mousse; typically Summer desserts tend to always have a fruity element as opposed to the more perennial chocolate flavoured counterparts. And it makes this fruity take on a classic cheesecake a big winner for the upcoming season!
 
This recipe is adapted from one out of the infamous Australian Women's Weekly recipe books. Before the time of the internet, I relied heavily on my collection of Australian Women's Weekly's for interesting recipes and I still turn to them for some of my all time favourites and old time classics. This recipe was originally meant to be an Apricot Nectar Cheescake, but I swopped the apricot with mango puree and the result is genius! Here's the recipe.
 
 
 
INGREDIENTS
 
  • 1 packet tennis biscuits

  • 75 - 100gr of butter, melted

  • 1 cups mango puree (I like to use the canned puree as it has the right amount of sweetness)

  • 1 tablespoon gelatine

  • 375gr cream cheese, softened

  • 1/2 cup caster sugar

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • 250ml fresh cream


METHOD:

  1. Process biscuits until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add butter and process until just combined.
  2. Press crumbs evenly over base (1 23cm size cheesecake or 15 mini containers like I used) and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, pour the one cup of puree into a small saucepan. Sprinkle gelatine over the puree, place over low heat and stir until the gelatine is dissolved. Leave aside to cool.
  4. Beat cream cheese and sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Add lemon juice and then mango mixture and mix together.
  5. Lastly, whip the fresh cream and fold into mixture.
  6. Pour cheesecake mixture into one big tin or individual containers - whichever you decide to choose.
  7. For the marble effect on top, you can dot the top of the mixture with some puree and pull a toothpick through it.
  8. Refrigerate overnight and decorate as desired.
  9. Any leftover puree can be frozen and used at a later stage.
 




 Thanks for reading!
 
 
Peace,
 
 
NAMU :)
 


Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Raising a Confident Child

 
 
As a parent, it's easy to observe our kids through rose-tinted glasses; to only acknowledge their positive traits as opposed to magnifying their indiscretions. And I've been wondering lately, if, for your entire life, this is how I have viewed you - if it is the illusion of those rose-tinted frames that parents wear that makes me see you as my eternally happy, jolly and self-assured child...or if it is those very same frames that make me oblivious to the range of emotions that may be hiding behind that smile. 

I've spent 14 years watching you grow and fine tuning your character, so I think I'm qualified enough to know almost every smile and every scowl that comes from you. I know when you narrow your eyes and knit your brows when I shout or nag or reprimand too much...I know the mischievous grin you have when you're guilty for ruining your brother or sister's mood and I know the way your lip quivers when you feel disappointed or angry or someone attacks your self-worth. And I know these things because I've invested quality time into nurturing who you are. I don't think I observe you through a filtered lens...but I will admit that I parent you slightly differently, especially when my mom intuition tells me that you only project one side of who you are to the world. 

It's impossible to describe you without using the words funny and happy. For a teenager; whose reputation is generally to be moody, sulky and sullen; your mood remains relatively unaltered and your sharp sense of humor and quick wit has been a constant fixture throughout these 14 years...amplified only by a willing audience. But that doesn't mean I'm entirely oblivious to your other "endearing" traits. You're lively...boisterous...humorous; in equal parts as you stubborn, bossy and strong willed. You like to take charge, be in control and lead; as much as your like order, structure and routine. You've remained consistently you in every single way. Unperturbed, strong, happy, confident. But there's another layer to you that's shrouded beneath this strong and stubborn sheath. 
 
 

 Being confident and self-assured are not bad qualities to have - gosh, some parents go their whole lives trying to build these qualities up in their kids to make them stronger and less likely to be swallowed by the world, and here you are with this quality already. I'm also aware that you sometimes use it as a front to mask your own insecurities. Rest assured I'll always be here to help you differentiate between the two and also to keep you in check so that your self-confidence doesn't spill over into something...well... a little less desirable! 

Sometimes, just when I think I need to come down on you a little harder and reel you in with a lasso, you surprise me with this other, softer, side. The side you hide behind you hard exterior and quick witted responses to   e  v  e  r  y  t h i n g!  The side that always has the defenses up because you're afraid to get hurt. Hidden behind this suave shell that you like to show the world  is the son I am most proud of! 
 


 

  I love that you can be razor sharp with you mouth as easily as you can be caring when we need you to be. I love how close you are to your sister and that, in your own unique way, you look out for her. I love that you make time for Zaydaan...even if it's sometimes for your own entertainment. I love that you will, without fail, bring me panados and water if I have a headache and that you would much rather cycle the promenade with your father, than have a  day out with your friends. I love that you can ruffle your feathers at the world, and that deep down you value your family most. But what I love most of all, is our open relationship that leads to important conversations - and that more than anything in the world, you value the opinion of your parents, what we have to say, and the way we see you. I love that, despite this happy bubble you like to keep yourself in, we matter.
 
And lastly...even though I sometimes give you a hard time about it...I am proud of raising a confident child too! Just always remember that your confidence is not a bad thing if it is coupled with empathy and compassion.
 
Rocky, you make me smile and laugh on a daily basis and my world is forever brighter because of you! You are indeed my not so little anymore ray of sunshine and I am infinitely grateful and proud to call you my son <3
 
 
 
 
 
 
Happy 14th Birthday, smarty pants!
 
 
I love you,
 
 
MOM <3
 



 

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Happy 2nd Birthday Aryana




I thought your first year flew by quickly, but the second sped by even faster. It seems like just the other day we were overcrowding the hospital waiting room, eagerly anticipating your arrival, and now you're already 2. And what a lot of growing up you've done in this past year!

A year ago, you could barely walk or talk; and now you string together so many words and sentences that it's sometimes hard to believe that you've only just turned 2. I'm constantly amazed at how intelligent you are; and how quickly you master doing things just by observing a couple of times. From one day to the next, I'm always surprised when I discover that there's something new that you can do. You know all your colours, love singing and role  playing,  and are obsessed with dolls...which I'm convinced you've inherited from me ;-)

  I'm truly amazed at how quickly you pick up a catchy beat and memorize song lyrics (definitely got this from your mom) - a real  superstar in the making! You're strong willed and know what you want...even domineer Zaydaan who's a good 6 years older than you.  You're always happy and content...except, maybe, when we pull up my driveway - then all hell breaks loose! You're a little firecracker of a personality and it's impossible not to love you <3

But my favourite thing is that I get to be a part of your life. That I get to fetch you from school and how you always direct me towards cuddles and watching dvd's on Naani's bed. I love how excited you get when you see your cousins and how you love all of them differently and uniquely. That you know all their names and no longer call all of us Appa - how, even though you've arrived right last (so far), you have crept into everyone's heart. And perhaps the crowning cherry on top is that you finally call me Jaan...well Jaani Appa, but I'll take it!

My dear little Ary, you came at a time when I thought I was done with car seats and nappies; but you have reopened my heart...and the hearts of everyone else in the family. You have a special place in all our lives, and we are absolutely thrilled that we get to watch you grow.




Happy 2nd Birthday Aryana!
 
 
Love Always,
 
 
JAANI APPA <3
 

Monday, 6 November 2017

WFOT Congress 2018 - Top 10 Hiking Trails in Cape Town








There's no place like home; especially if the place you call home, is Cape Town! There's a lot of things to love about this beautiful city, but perhaps the most popular of all is undeniably the spectacular views and scenery.

Now, there are various ways to catch a good angle of the city with no bad angles -  Whether you're lounging on one of our spectacular beaches or taking a drive around the famous Peninsula; but if you want to be a little extra while on holiday, then pack in a pair of hiking boots, because the views from the peaks of our most famous mountains are just beyond iconic!

I'm not going to lie; I enjoy the occasional hike, but I'm certainly not the hiker of the family. That title goes to my sister. But if you're looking for an inexpensive way to get out and enjoy a different perspective of the city away from the hustle and bustle of the normal touristy spots, then hiking is probably the best way to do it. Whether you're a seasoned hiker or an aspiring trail blazer, there's a walk or hike to suit you! From an easy stroll through lush, green forests to some more challenging climbs; you will be sure to find a route that suitable for you. Here's a list of a few of the most popular hiking trails.


NEWLANDS FOREST

 Wide, inclined paths; shaded by lush, tall trees makes this a really great trail for beginners. There are a few trails within Newlands forest...some leading to little streams and other offering some spectacular views. Either way, it's a pretty grand way to burn calories, enjoy the outdoors and see another side of Cape Town. Difficulty level : Easy






CECILIA FOREST

Similar to Newlands Forest, Cecilia forest is situated in the beautiful part of Constantia and offers a few captivating hours out in nature. If you prefer to avoid the heat of the day, then this walk through the forest is ideal. The walk sometimes features fresh mountain water streams and a waterfall.  Difficulty level : Easy to Intermediate


PIPE TRACK

If you're looking for something moderately easy, then this one's for you! The Pipe Track stretches from Kloof Nek (bottom part of Table Mountain) to Camps Bay. There's a varied terrain and has enough of an incline to make you a feeling that you're getting a workout without leaving you feeling exhausted. Also, as with all these trails...the views are amazing!  Difficulty Level : Easy



RHODES MEMORIAL

I remember coming here a lot as a kid and haven't done this trail in a while. You can start the hike from the parking lot at Rhodes memorial, but there's also a path that joins up from Newlands forest. I'd rate this trail as intermediate as there are some parts that requires a little more effort than others. Added bonus is that you can catch either breakfast, or a post hike bite at the Rhodes Memorial restaurant.




LIONS HEAD



It's supposed to be a quick hike with a short summit, but that really depends on your fitness levels. This hike offers panoramic views of the Atlantic seaboard and apparently the sunsets are spectacular! You also get some great visuals of Table Mountain, Signal Hill and Robben Island en route and makes for some great photo opportunities at the summit.  There's a little bit of climbing involved, but nothing too hectic. Difficulty level : Intermediate 






CONSTANTIA NEK

Your walk begins on the forestry road just above Constantia Nek. There are two routes to follow depending on how fit and strong you are. On the left hand side you will find some steep steps to climb which will take you to the last section of the climb. It's technically a "short-cut" but it is also slightly harder than the alternate route which is a slower and more winding route up the mountain. There is one ridiculously steep incline right at the end, but if you make it up, it gives way to a more even pathway that takes you to a dam. Truly spectacular! Difficulty Level : Easy/Intermediate


Woodhead Dam, Constantia Nek. Picture courtesy of @shaqct



KLOOF CORNER

Steep inclines and steps can be a challenge for some, but the panoramic views make it worth the climb! Highlights include views of the city, Table Mountain, Robben Island, the Atlantic Seaboard, Sea Point and Devil's Peak. Summer sunsets are also spectacular.

Picture courtesy of @shaqct (Instagram)


SKELETON GORGE

The name is enough to scare the living daylights out of you, but I promise it's not so bad! Skeleton Gorge is one of the more strenuous routes around (according to me) and covers a distance of about 6.2km and gains around 930 metres of elevation. I wouldn't say it's a struggle, but at the same it's not a walk in the park. I've seen some fit people cruise pass me on this hike even though I thought I was "managing", so if a casual stroll is what you're after then this is NOT for you!  The first half of the route follows a forest ravine and is well shaded (with lots and lots of steps and incline) but once you emerge from the forest as you reach the top, you will be bombarded with views from all directions! From here you could follow the pathway to Table Mountain and take the Cable car down, or you could head towards Nursery Ravine and return to Kirstenbosch Gardens. Difficulty Level : Moderate to Hard


PLATTEKLIP GORGE



Most people will tell you that the top of their bucket list when coming to Cape Town, is to go up Table Mountain. Now you could take the easy, clich├ęd, touristy route and go up the cable car...or, you could save yourself a good buck or two and hike up! The trail is basically a stairway of  1800 stone steps to the top of Table Mountain. I'm not going to lie...it's quite a climb; but the breaks you take along the way gives you plenty of opportunity to absorb the view. The route gains around 700 metres over a distance of only 3km making the gradient steep and relentless, BUT the views from the top is beyond amazing!! Plus, if you're too tired to hike down, there's always an option to take the cable car ;-)  The route is quite exposed so be sure to go early to escape the impact of the heat. Difficulty level - Difficult




INDIA VESTER

Now if you're really up for a challenge then this one's for you! I've haven't personally done it myself, but I've heard that it is relentless. This trail is for the adventurous!



And that's it! A few of the most popular hikes in Cape Town.


Thanks for reading!


Peace,


NAMU :)




Tuesday, 31 October 2017

School Holiday Vlog

 
About two months ago, my cell phone got stolen. I was out with my mom early on a Sunday morning and the next thing I knew my phone was gone. It's a tragic story actually - how quickly, easily and unknowingly you can be robbed of your possessions; but anyway, after the initial shock and anguish of losing my phone and being out of touch with what everyone was getting up to over the weekend (because...no social media access) - along with the trauma of losing all my contacts and other important information - what I was really sad about was losing all of my videos and photos. All my precious memories...GONE!
 
Lucky for me, about a week or so before this incident, I was trying to create some more space on my phone, so instead of deleting pictures, I transferred a lot (but not all) of  them from my phone to my laptop. But this whole incident just got me thinking...
 
I have lost so much footage over the years, a lot of cute and adorable moments while the kids were growing up because I was negligent with the process of archiving them properly. I either lost a phone or got a new one and didn't back up and save all my media at the time and now the moments are gone. I figured that I could be doing a better job of saving all the random little moments and making them into home videos for the kids to look back on one day.
 
Initially, I started making these videos as a way to document our family vacation that we took earlier this year, and since I'm doing a lot of the preserving on this blog already, I thought I'd add some of these videos here as well. They're not fancy or super creative or anything, but if you're keen to follow along, you can check out and subscribe to our YouTube channel over here  !
 

 
 

 
 
Thanks for reading!
 
 
Peace,
 
 
NAMU :)

Monday, 30 October 2017

It Takes a Village to Raise Kids


I was hiding away from the kids in the bathroom the other day even though it was a particularly good parenting day (maybe even a couple of consecutive days) - because hiding away is almost second nature to me now; even on the good days! I  seemed to have ticked all the relevant and required boxes of essentials in parenting (is there even such a thing) - my kids weren't hungry, I was meeting all their emotional needs, we were having fun together and enjoyed being in each other's company (a complete commercial scenario), and I had this false immense sense of satisfaction that I was nailing this parenting gig...even wanted to start an advice column on this little blog on how to do it. You know, just generally getting carried away with myself.


And as one does when you have had an hour extra sleep and a little too much time on your hands and things are looking fleetingly particularly good; my mind started to wander...and I was thinking how amazing I'd be from the get go if I were to have kids now. I mean, I know exactly what to expect, I feel completely Zen in my life right now, the teenage years aren't even such a nightmare like everyone said it would be - I could totally do this whole thing much more efficiently if I had to do it all over again! I had found the winning formula and I was feeling smug enough about it to plan an Agony Aunt column for parenting and an imaginary fourth child!! Colic, reflux, sleep training, tantrums and the teen years - pffft - I had it all covered...in my head of course.


And just as quickly as that thought popped up into my head, the bathroom door boomed with the impact of little fists almost simultaneously with me wanting to b!$ch slap myself back into reality. And there it was...the shrill voices of arguing kids that were missing for a few brief days? Hours? Hours that felt like days? Who really knows...but I felt that all familiar feeling of the life draining out of me and my reflection in the mirror verified that the scowl had returned to my face. Aaaah...the familiarities of parenting.


And when the noise eventually died down, I laughed at myself and wondered what the heck I was even thinking! Before having actual kids I might have had very similar ideas on what a fantastic parent I would be; but once you're sleep deprived and smelling of vomit and your boobs are the size of your sister's...and a year down the line you're saddled with two wailing babies...and next thing you know you're battling to keep up with a toddler whose energy is triple that of your own, and then the fights - oh the fights - all pleasantries fly out the window and you just try to survive any way you can!  And even though I had temporary amnesia in those few moments of silence while setting up fort in the bathroom, I know I wouldn't have survived even half as gracefully if it wasn't for the support of my village...my family.


I'd forgotten how many phone calls I made to my family in tears and frustration because I wasn't quite coping with the day. How many house calls they made to rescue me from the kid who was testing my patience. How many sleepovers they had just so that I could regain my sanity. I'd forgotten about the morning school drop offs when I was in the thick of things with my third baby and the after school pick ups if I was ever delayed somewhere or running late. I forgot how we took turns pushing the pram so that the other can shop...I forgot, briefly, that I didn't raise them entirely alone. That I had the support of my tribe!

And maybe, in those moments of quiet, I also thought I had escaped passed a lot of those initial struggles, that we've moved on to an easier phase...until the very next day I was buckling up for the early morning commute to school and then later on I was strapping and offloading a car seat from my car and carried a sleeping toddler up a flight of stairs...and then it dawned on me that it will never be entirely over because I am part of someone else's village too <3




Thanks for reading!
 
 
Peace,
 
 
NAMU :)

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

A 21st Birthday Message to my Nephew

 
 
Today you turn 21. That's 21 years of monumental moments and memories that make up your life as you know. 21 years of life around you unfolding in a way that has moulded and shaped you into the young adult you are today. But there's a lifetime of memories harvested in this heart of mine too...and I hardly know which one to pick out first about how our journey's collide.  
 
I was just 17 when you were born (it was the day before my matric accounting final)  but in my heart you held a position of so much more than just my sister's son. You were her first born, yes; but you were also the first for us all - first grandchild, first nephew - the first of everything for all of us and it was the first time I ever experienced a new kind of unconditional love!
 
So much of your formative years was spent in our home (technically Naani and Naana's, but we all lived there too. We all played a part), so many of those memories are housed in my heart and the hearts of your grandparents, uncle and aunts. For four years you were the only one. You filled the home with light and love and laughter. We all doted on you, spoiled you, showered you with love. Each one of us in our own special way.  
 
And then the others came one after the other. Life slowly started to change. You were no longer the only one and maybe felt like you were no longer the centre of our universe too. But you took on the role of big brother and cousin with pride and ease and built special relationships with everyone in the brood. But the one thing I'm most proud of is that the tight bond we have as aunty and nephew has always remained strong. It may have evolved over time; maybe even matured - but it's unmistaken that it's there! It's evident in our shared ditsy personalities...laughing at each others lame jokes...our out of key car karaoke moments...how we pick up random deep conversations in the school parking lot...our creative ideas...and it's in so many things that I can't even begin to expand on and explain. It's special to me, and whether I don't see you for a week or a month, I know that it's just there - without cause or reason or conditions!
 
It's hard to look back and not feel sentimental. 21 signals the start of your journey into adulthood. The day you get handed the metaphorical key to unlock your own destiny. But new beginnings always conjure up memories of times that have passed, and as silly as it sounds to have a whole group of people emotional about this day; it's only because we feel like we've always been part of the journey too. We've been there from day one!  We've rocked you to sleep, held your hand, and walked beside you through all the ups and downs, the highs and lows; and now we get to see you take flight, as you venture into this new stage of life too.
 
 21 is just the beginning. It's your foot in the door to your own future. It's a time for great discovery...of who you are and who you want to be. It is the beginning of you building your very own legacy. There's a lot of hopes and dreams that we all envisioned for you since the day you were born - to study hard and be successful in whatever you choose to do! We want  you to have a GREAT life and a bright future. But futures aren't built on the hopes and dreams of others; they are built on effort and actions and whatever steps we make in the present moment...so put effort into whatever you do in life, work hard, be kind and most importantly, always do what's right. Your future depends on it!   Every action can either be a building block or a sledgehammer, so act wisely
 
 
Lastly, I want you to know that whether you're 21, 31, 41 - for as long as I'm around to give it, I am always here to support you and I will always love you <3
 


 
 
Love Always,
 
 
JAAN :)


Monday, 9 October 2017

Our 16th Anniversary Staycation


2Cherries Photography

16 years can do a lot to a marriage...to a person. Far from the star crossed lovers of when we first met; the rose tinted glasses have fallen off. Life has altered us, bent and broken us, left us a little disillusioned; and yet here we still stand - together. We have laid our soul bare, are privy to each others imperfections, survived the initial teething stages of early marriage, the stumbling blocks of the adolescent years and now find ourselves smack bang in the middle of the marital teen years; which, strangely enough, involves a lot of eye rolling, witty one liners, hilarious metaphorical comebacks and enforced curfews (thanks to having kids and responsibility this time, and not our parents)... which kind of resembles a lot of the banter and real life engagement between my own teenagers at the moment! We have changed...our lives have changed. But I guess that's what marriage is - being together through a  landscape that is constantly changing.

We go through a big chunk of our youth imagining the perfect union, living up to false expectations and a skewed perception of what #couplegoals actually looks and feels like. Yet reality is so far off from the curated images that the media portrays. The reality is that there's a lot of work and effort that goes into keeping a marriage strong! Over the years our formula for that has had to change with our constantly transforming landscape...

We thought the early years with kids was hard to stay connected, but at least the kids had a fixed and early bedtime and we knew for a fact that we would have time for each other (and more importantly, some TV) after the kids were in bed and the chaos of the day died down.

We also had a lot of sleepovers at the Grandparents. A LOT! Like...almost every weekend! Needless to say, we looked forward to these kind of weekends (Hooray for family).

But then the kids grew up a little and we became snowed under with homework and projects and research and typing and printing then eventually, preparation for exams. And the 7:30pm bedtime shifted to 8pm...and the 8pm moved to 9pm; and I can't really keep my eyes open or mood intact after that!

So eventually we started to go on regular date nights. And this was quite cool, because never mind how disastrous and chaotic the week had been; or if we managed to live pass each other for a couple of days because we were too drenched in frustration and exhaustion; there was that little glimmer of light at the end of week that we always looked forward to. A chance to escape the drudgery of everyday life, dress up and have a chance to just be us - and it felt good!

And now, even though the kids are a little bit older and much more independent, an early bedtime is kind of non existent (for the older two...Zee still has a fixed bedtime); and "TV time" has evolved to comedic conversations and quality one on one time with the teens - which I love, because we get to have important conversations with them and it has created a strong bond that keeps us connected with our kids - but it's also left us with even less time for "us". And with date nights becoming more and more like a parenting strategy meeting instead of  a romantic rendezvous like it used to be, we knew it was time to change things up again.

So for our anniversary this year we decided to do something a little different by planning a mini staycation barely 30 (maybe 40?) minutes from home. In all honesty, I've been planning this whole thing in my head for months...but only in my head because I'm very last minute in real life; and in the end hubby took over the planning and we got this whole thing going a mere days before our anniversary. It was the first time in ages that we spent an evening away from home, and even though the kids are not little anymore, there was still a degree of mom guilt for leaving them behind...but not enough to make me cancel my plans!

There's a lot of things I've learnt about relationships during these 16 years, but I'd say that the best advice for this stage of marriage (any stage of marriage really) is to make time for each other. This may seem like it's difficult in the beginning years, but it really only gets harder. As the years progress, the outside noise only gets louder and life pulls you in a million different directions. Life with kids only gets busier and as important as it is to invest time in them, we also have to prioritise investing time in each other.

In the end, this whole idea of a staycation wasn't so much about our destination, but more about  escaping all the diversions that threaten to keep us apart, and kept the focus solely on ourselves for a change - and it was absolutely wonderful!

* In all the hasty last minute packing, I forgot to include a hairbrush so I had to finger brush my hair. My family would argue that it looks exactly the same as any other day!

2Cherries Photography









2Cherries Photography



Thanks for reading!
Peace,
NAMU :)



Wednesday, 4 October 2017

WFOT Congress 2018 - Welcome to Cape Town


Hello, I'm Namreen. Welcome to my Blog!
 
 
 
If you look around this space of mine, you will notice that I write a lot about family. Our lives are entwined and interconnected and inextricably linked in infinite ways, and a lot of it is documented over here - which may make you wonder how exactly I'm linked to the WFOT Congress of 2018. With two of my sisters being Occupational Therapists, and both of them presenting at the WFOT Congress next year - and since we've also never really outgrown doing almost everything together- I've hopped on board the WFOT Congress train as the official Blogger in an effort to showcase our beautiful city and all it has to offer during your stay here!
 
 
Cape Town is an eclectic city found at the very tip of the African continent with a rich history and a unique, laidback and quirky charm. It prides itself on its diversity and is one of the most multicultural cities in the world. If the WFOT Congress wasn't enough reason to visit our city, then maybe the fact that it is currently one of the top tourist destinations in the world could help lure you here. With the iconic Table mountain as its backdrop, some of the most cinematic landscape and views you will ever see, and the tranquil setting of the surrounding Cape Winelands; Cape Town is up there as one of the most beautiful cities in the world! If you're still doubting whether or not it will be worth travelling all the way to the tip of Africa for the congress, then maybe this list of the top 6 touristy things to do while here (and also in close proximity to the Congress venue) may help make your decision a little bit easier.
 
 
TABLE MOUNTAIN

 

 When you're living in one of the notoriously most beautiful cities in the world and the backdrop is one of the new Seven Wonders of the World; you tend to take things a little for granted! It's impossible not to gasp at the beauty that is the ionic Table mountain in all its glory and splendour irrespective of the season or time of day...Whether it's basking in the red and orange hues of sunset, or draped in clouds on a cold wintery day; like a seasoned model, it has the ability to look good in just about anything, any time of the year! 
 
For us living here, the site signals home; but for many tourists, visiting this landmark is a bucket list destination that they simply can't leave out! Table Mountain operates throughout the year (weather depending), and the panoramic views of the city from the top are just spectacular.



 
CAPE POINT
 
Known largely as being the tip of the Cape Peninsula and the African continent, it is also the point where the Indian and Atlantic oceans meet! Cape Point is a nature reserve within the Table Mountain National Park and is often referred to as the Cape of Good Hope. There's a lot of history revolving around this area that I won't really go into over here; but it's significant to us in more ways than just two oceans meeting!
 
 On the most part, the park is generally unspoiled and undeveloped. The main attraction here is to head up towards the old lighthouse and marvel at the spectacular views and obviously get to see the actual tip of the continent. If you're fit enough, there's a pathway and a couple of hundred stairs to climb - but the views make it worthwhile. Or you can save yourself the strenuous uphill climb by taking the Flying Dutchman Funicular. But for me, the best part of this reserve is the little hidden beaches! Cold Atlantic waters on the one side, and warm Indian ocean on the other...if you have the time, then a dip in either side of the ocean isn't a bad idea!
 
 
 



 


 
KIRSTENBOSCH GARDENS


Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens is up there with the best in the world and is frequented by both locals and tourists. It lies at the foot of Table Mountain and houses a wide variety of indigenous plant life and flora. Look out for labels on trees and plants with all the information you need to know about them and take a walk on the relatively newly added Boomslang  Canopy Walkway to get a panoramic view of the garden. Pack a picnic basket...or, put on your hiking shoes and tackle one of the several hiking trails leading to various parts of the mountain! You can get a better idea of what Kirstenbosch looks like from this video I've posted here .
 
 
 

 
 
ROBBEN ISLAND
 
South Africa is a country with a rich history and a dark past! Nelson Mandela is probably one of the most iconic and well known figures of our modern history, and his struggle to help end Apartheid is widely documented. It's for this reason that many tourist make the trek to Robben Island and visit the prison cell where he was kept for 18 of his 27 years behind bars. Believe it or not, I've never yet been there myself, but this is a picture I took from Signal Hill.
 
 
 

 
THE V&A WATERFRONT

Cape Town definitely has it's own unique, laidback charm, and one of the best places to visit when you're a tourist, is the V&A Waterfront. With all the luxuries of a general mall on the inside; and a host of fun activities on the outside; you will be guaranteed to always have a good time. There's the harbour where you can catch one of several different boat rides, the Cape Wheel where you get great views of the city, a wide range of eateries, live African music, The Aquarium, The Watershed and the Red Bus Tours also leaves from here...there's just such a vibrant and tangible energy about the place that makes it a compulsory stop off for tourists.
 
 
 
 
RED BUS TOUR 
 
Probably the best way to see a lot of the city in one day and also learn a lot of its history, is via the hop on, hop off  Red Bus Tour. Not only do you get to see a lot of the natural beauty of the city, but the commentary while on board is very educational. The commentary is pre-recorded and you listen at leisure via earphones while you get to relax and soak up the scenery (commentary comes in different language options as well). There's an option of a few different tour routes to take - a Winelands option or a trip around the Peninsula where Kirstenbosch is also one of the stops, and various others...but be sure to get an early start if you're keen to hop off and properly explore all the places en route.
 


 

 

 



This post only covers the top touristy, must see and widely known spots we have to offer! If this hasn't yet convinced you, then do follow along as I share some of the lesser known, but equally beautiful destinations we have on offer in our beautiful city; in future posts!



Thanks for reading!
 
 
Peace,
 
 
NAMU :)