So, you have been to Around About Cars, the best car rental Cape Town has to offer – actually, the whole of South Africa provides – and now you are ready to be out and about? I am quite sure that you won’t have problems to put together a list with places to go to and landmarks to awe at, that you know where to walk on the wild side and where to reward yourself at the end of the day with sundowners and exquisite meals.
Where do you go?
Where do I think you know all the places from? More than likely some of your friends have been to the Western Cape, been to the car rental Cape Town too, been out and about and finally told you everything about their favourite spots. You might also have surfed through some of the many websites the internet dedicates to the Western Cape, and maybe you have browsed some printed travel guides. So, wherever you got your information from: You know where to go.
For this reason, why should I tell you the same, recommend again all the treasures you find in this beautiful region? Don’t worry – I won’t. But I will give you some information about all the must-sees you might neither have provided with by your friends, nor by the internet or your travel guide.
If you have booked a long-term car rental Cape Town, take the chance and try to get to most of the places you will find mentioned below – each single one is worth a visit! For a shorter car hire, still jump in your comfortable transport and choose whichever spot suits you most. I was talking about your friends.
Which takes me to the topic of this article. Maybe you call some of them by nicknames? Others might be named after someone famous, or their names have a meaning. For example: In Xhosa, one of the eleven official languages of South Africa, the unisex name Akhona means “gift” or “present”. In English, Kimberly represents “a wood of a royal forest”, and Jasper is defined as “a treasure bringer”.
In the following we will have a look at the names of a few of the places you should be driving to in your hatchback, sedan or whatever category you chose from your Around About Cars car rental Cape Town and find out what they mean or where they derive from. Just in case they are new to you and I am off the mark with my guess of you knowing them all, I will furthermore provide you with some hints about what to do there and why they are so special.
What’s in a name?
Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet does not lack lines we almost quote daily, refer to in different situations, recite simply because their poetic sound is music to our ears. One of the famous sayings comes from Juliet, trying to argue that it is not the name that matters but the – in this case – person behind it. You remember, Romeo belongs to her family’s rival Montague: “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”.
No silver in Silvermine
Let’s start with silvermine, a beautiful nature reserve about 40 minutes in a southerly direction from the city centre.
Where the name originates from: A good 350 years ago, people from the Western Cape believed the mountain range were built up of silver, arranging all in their power to find it: Sinking shafts, digging tunnels, ready for retrieving the precious metal… But there was none. Obviously, they didn’t want to let it go for no earthly use, so at least the name has remained up to today.
Why you should drive there: The fynbos also survived, fortunately! The abundance of this indigenous plant species is one of the reasons you should steer your vehicle from your car rental Cape Town to the beautiful reservoir, dangling your feet in the fresh water, enjoying a picnic in the shadow of the age-old trees, sitting next to some Egyptian geese, awing at the spectacular scenery.
Don’t be surprised to meet a number of other adventurers up there, as the spot is a popular starting point for mountain bikers, rock-climbers and hikers of every fitness level.
Sounds good, want to give it a try too? Deciding on a hike yourself, why not getting ready for the Elephant’s Eye Cave?
The eye of the tiger I
Not yet a tiger, but an eye.
Where the name originates from: And also not deriving from some mistake, not like Silvermine: No one – at least as is known – ever thought this part of the mountain range would be a real Elephant’s Eye. Simply, the name stems from the fact that from a distance, it resembles the shape of an elephant’s head, with the cave perfectly positioned where the pachyderm’s eye would be.
Why you should drive there: Well, you are already in Silvermine. To make it to the Elephant’s Eye, you don’t have to conquer steep inclines or to face difficult stretches in between. Even with unfit companions you will make it there and back comfortably. Don’t forget to take some water, sturdy shoes – and a camera of course! Your smartphone will more than likely also do it. But it would be a shame to not capture the views from the lookout points en route and the sights of gemsboks, baboons and porcupines for inimitable memories!
The eye of the tiger II
Not yet an eye, but close to a tiger.
Where the name originates from: At first sight, the Lion’s Head’s ancestry does not seem any more complicated than the Elephant’s Eye’s: The mountain is shaped in the silhouette of a reclining lion, gazing towards Table Mountain. But: It used to have other names. Even a few!
For the English, it used to be “King James His Mount” – the possessive meaning was an attempt to keep the Dutch from annexing Table Bay. Unfortunately, their trick did not do it: It didn’t take long for the Hollanders to take control, renaming the huge rock into Leeuwen Kop.
Other records reveal the alleged wildlife of animals such as hyaenas and elephants, leopards, even hippos – and of lions, our eponym. The last of the latter’s pride was supposedly shot in the early 1800’s …
Why you should drive there: … so, why not trying to at least find some traces of the African cat? You will definitely not run into them anymore, which makes bringing some pepper spray obsolete. If you decide on walking up at full moon, be aware of a crowd of other people having the same idea, and still bring a torch for the way back.
So, you noticed: Lion’s Head is another recommended hike, not hourly long, but also not as easy as it looks at first sight. With the peak only 670 metres above sea level, you have to overcome some steep parts, granite rocks and an iron chain ladder. Parking your vehicle from your car rental Cape Town is much easier: There are plenty of spots right at the bottom, along the way up Signal Hill, just behind the round-about that would take you to Table Mountain’s cable car on the other site.
12 Apostles: But neither Johannes nor Judas
Another mountain range … it does not stop! This stretch between Camps Bay and Oudekraal is dominated by a series of buttresses.
Origin of name: Try to count them yourself – you will more than likely end up with a number between thirteen and eighteen. Still, the mountain range is called “Twelve Apostles”, with every peak having its own name.
But don’t be mistaken: Instead of Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James, Thaddaeus, Simon, and Judas, they answer to Kloof, Fountain and Porcupine, Jubilee, Barrier and Valken, Kasteel, Postern, Wood and Spring as well as to Slangolie, Corridor, Separation, Victoria, finally Grove, Llandudno Peak, Llandudno Corridor and Hout Bay Corner. Yes – eighteen: The managing body of South African national parks SANParks has decided on naming every single pinnacle one can catch sight of from the bottom.
Before they did so, under Dutch occupation the mountain stretch was known as Kasteel- or Gewelbergen.
Why you should drive there: Luckily, you have decided on taking up a car rental Cape Town. Like this, you can drive along Victoria Road with stunning views to the ocean as well as the impressive mountains with their crags and ravines.
The beautiful coastline remains undeveloped with the exception of the Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa. But before you indulge in its 5-star-restaurant Azur, you should – I am sure you won’t be surprised – park your hired car for a good few hours and explore some of the buttresses by foot! Different hiking paths offer some manageable walks for every fitness level and every mood.
The devil is in the detail
Well – don’t worry, nothing satanic awaits you at Devil’s Peak right next to the flat top of Table Mountain.
Where the name originates from: Originally known as Windberg, this mountain part was called Charles Mountain before the British translated Duivels Kop from Dutch to English. The story behind the name traces back to a folk tale about the pipe smoker Jan van Hunks who was thrown down to the gauntlet by a mysterious stranger about the numbers of pipes they could smoke at a stretch. Only later he found out his contender being none less than the devil himself.
And sorry to admit: I can’t tell you who won. Just that all the smoke had apparently covered the whole mountain area in clouds, falling over the top like a tablecloth.
Another explanation finds its source in the Venetian cartographer Fra Mauro who named this Southern tip of Africa “Cabo di Diab”, based on stories from Portuguese explorers around 1500, accusing the cape of being devilish, with the Southeaster howling through the mountain’s peak, swirling the waters in stormy weather.
Why you should drive there: To appreciate the jaw dropping views from the summit, overlooking Table Bay and Robben Island, Sea Point’s promenade and Green Point stadium, far off on the horizon Bloubergstrand and the Atlantis sand dunes. And don’t worry: This time, you can get those stunning views without hiking too. Just drive along Table Mountain road up to the end, stop the engine of your hired car from car rental South Africa and awe at the scenery right before your eyes.
Bloubergstrand – no reason to feel blue
If you do not only want to overlook Bloubergstrand but spend some time on the idyllic beach, nothing easier than that thanks to your car rental Cape Town! Get behind the steering wheel and head towards the West Coast. Not long and you will have hit the popular surfer spot.
Where the name originates from: As not only surfers enjoy this part of the Western Cape but also countless tourists from all over the world as they wish to ban the famous postcard view of Table Mountain on their smartphone cameras, one might tend to think it is Cape Town’s landmark being responsible for the beach’s name. But far from it! The “blue mountain beach” stems from the nearby hill Blaauwberg with its impressive hight of 231 metres above sea level…
Why you should drive there: Whatever your preference: You will find something you like in Bloubergstrand. As a water activist, you will feel like in heaven with the strong winds that make windsurfing, surfing and kitesurfing a real challenge. Preferring to buy yourself some fashionables, enjoying some live music or relaxing with a cooldrink at the beachfront, drive your vehicle from Around About Cars’ car rental Cape Town to Eden on the Bay. The fairly new seaside mall with its variety of shops, entertainment and restaurants has something in stock for every taste and in every season. And with a bit of luck, you can spot seals, dolphins and even whales gamboling in the waters of the deep blue ocean.