A tourist taught me how to appreciate my own city

2018-12-19 12:00
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PHOTO: Marisa Crous

Being rude and loud, overcrowding sidewalks, breaking rules at historic and religious sights and booking out restaurants during peak season - these are just a few reasons why many people hate 'welcoming' tourists into their city. 

But, if you give it a chance, perhaps a tourist could teach you a thing or two about your own city, never before on your radar.

Schooled by a tourist? Never, you say. 

Whether you meet in person at the beach or bump into each other digitally via Tinder, humbling yourself to the possibility that the master (you, a resident of your city), could become the student, is a good idea.

If you've lived in a city for a long time, maybe you were even born there, then you are bound to develop blind spots. Sure, a city changes constantly, but that doesn't always mean you change and grow with it in all aspects. Tourists often come in fresh, searching for the new, the vibrant and the up-and-coming.

PICS: Cape tidal pools open after R6m revamp, in time for summer

Here are a few things tourists have taught me: 

Seal or sea lion snorkelling for example, which I was told about by a traveller from France.

The top-rated activity in Hout Bay according to Tripadvisor, I had never heard about this superb activity where you are allowed to plunge into the cool Atlantic and snorkel with hundreds of playful Cape Fur seals.

Sounds magnificent, doesn't it?

Then there is the case of the tidal pool. Now, as a Capetonian we know tidal pools, but most of us are stuck on frequenting Bakoven Beach instead. 

But guess what, tidal pools are warmer than the blood-chilling waters that run to the Mother City's shores. Baking in the sun the whole day, it's still not anywhere near bathwater temp, yet diving in for a dip won't make you feel like you're in a cryo-chamber. 

I recently met a German guy travelling the Mother City for a week. He discovered a tidal pool, almost hidden from sight, only accessible via a tunnel running underneath the Kalk Bay railroad tracks. I set out to visit the same one, and it was just as beautiful and quiet as he said. 

TIP: Go to our Instagram to see more pictures. 

READ: 15 natural swimming pools to help you cool down all summer 


(Wooley's Tidal pool, Kalk Bay. PHOTO: Marisa Crous)

Then, another unique excursion in Cape Town itself is to the very edge of the Cape, Cape Point.

An avid diver visiting Cape Town from Holland told me about the possibility of licensed mussel picking in the reserve.

Get a mussel license (apply for one at the post office) and you'll be allowed to pick a small number of mussels about 50m into the ocean at Buffels Bay, set inside the Cape Point Nature Reserve.

You don't need any tools, just strong hands. 

Then cook and enjoy fresh-from-the-ocean seafood right there on the beach. It's bliss. 

Still think tourists can't teach you anything? Think again. 

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