Do it like a local: A princess and her Caravan in South Africa
Lottie Reeves is a Self proclaimed princess, whose castle is a caravan and her reign… the wildest and unknown tracks of South Africa, and she tells about her adventures on http://princessinacaravan.com
Her Court is made up of a boy and 2 dogs and an entire Country. Today, for my DO IT LIKE A LOCAL post, she’ll guide us in Cape Town and its outskirts.
Read carefully and “behave like a good traveller” (not like a tourist)! Today, all her wishes must be fulfilled, as I proclaim her as QUEEN!
Where do you live now and where do you come from?
I am from London, England and currently live in a small village called Pringle Bay just outside Cape Town, South Africa.
What was more difficult for you to get used to, as a kind of cultural shock, coming from
London and the UK?
There are such huge differences between life in Africa and life in England! I would say the biggest culture shock has been trying to get used to the divide between black and white people here in South Africa. It is a fascinating country with a history that is full of conflicts.
It is hard as an ‘outsider’ who didn’t experience Apartheid first hand, to really understand and sympathise with the attitudes and opinions that are still much more common here than I anticipated them to be.
What are the essential rites you have, linked to this city?
- Sunday afternoon drinks and sundowners accompanied by live music and over looking the view of Table Mountain from Doodles bar in Blouberg.
- Friday night tasty, home cooked foods and locally made crafts at Bluebird market in Muizenberg.
- Coffee at Root Bar in Newlands.
Where do you like to have shopping/spare leisure time and why?
I enjoy going to new areas of the city to explore and get a feel. I particularly like the vibe Woodstock has going on; hip and trendy while also being down to earth. I love visiting new markets and sampling locally made food and wines!
Could you tell me the name – and address is possible – of a place where they serve good wine / beer / cocktails made to art or a typical alcohol drink where you like to go and that is very popular among locals?
This is tricky! Being home to so many great vineyards, the city and areas around it are full of wine bars all popular with different crowds of people.
If you like wine, you might like to read about
4 best winter wine destinations
Could you short list me the most ‘touristic’ things to see? Do you like them?
I am a fan of tourist attractions as I think it’s a great way to see how a city represents itself and they always make a good starting point for exploration, usually giving you some background to the city and an understanding of its history.
However, I think to really get to know a city and experience it as a traveller rather than a tourist, you must take time out to discover places that are ‘off the beaten track’ and away from the crowds. Cape Town has some great attractions that are unique to the city and it’s heritage:
Table Mountain: You can’t come to Cape Town and not go up the mountain! Whether you hike up or take the cable car, the view from the top of this iconic mountain is not to be missed.
Robben Island: Take the ferry over to the island where Nelson Mandela was kept captive.
District 6 Museum: Explore the history of the city and try to comprehend the daily struggles people used to experience.
Take the train out of the city to Simon’s town to see the Penguins that congregate here. Make sure you get off on the way there or back and explore Kalk Bay, a beautiful small town set in the cliffs of Table Mountain national Park.
Could you tell me if there is, in your opinion, something that is overrated by tourists?
The V&A Waterfront is filled with shops, restaurants, stalls and live music. It’s a great place to people watch and is a popular spot for people from all over the world. However, there is nothing Capetonian about the area, every time I have gone I felt like I could be anywhere in the world, any harbor or shopping mall.
I don’t think it reflects the culture, customs or history of Cape Town or even the Western Cape.
Do you know any ‘mysterious’ place populated by legends and strange stories?
Cape Town Castle is apparently the most haunted place in South Africa! I have yet to visit it…
Are there any places that you think it’s worth visiting and that are not part of the common tourist routes?
I think everyone should get out of the city and drive along Clarence Drive (voted the most scenic coastal road 2014!) It makes a change to the popular Garden Route and takes you out into the Overstrand area where you can surf, sand board, horse ride, hike, whale watch and more. It’s a great area in which to get familiar with the traditional Afrikaans cultures and is far less touristy.
In addition to heading east away from the city, going north up the west coast takes you to a rural and rugged, unexplored coastline.
At the right time of year (South African spring) you can see the Namaqualand flowers, vast expanses of wild flowers that turn the usually baren landscape into a sea of colour.
The Elgin Valley is filled with vineyards, lodges, restaurants and crafts and makes a refreshing change from the busy Cape Winelands are where tourists flock to Stellenbosch to take part in wine tasting.
Don’t you think Lottie’s South Africa Experience is amazing? Read and learn more about her on www.princessinacaravan.com and follow her on