MY FAVOURITE PLACE
CALLUM SKINNER, OLYMPIC CHAMPION CYCLIST
WHY DO YOU GO THERE?
It’s the perfect base to explore one of the most naturally beautiful cities and coastlines in the world. Travel 30 minutes one way and you can get to a national park and swim with penguins (no Sea World here). Five minutes the other way and you’re in a vibrant city.
Nestled behind Table Mountain, Camps Bay looks a bit like Beverly Hills. My favourite time is sunset. Camps Bay faces west and when you have the clouds spilling over Table Mountain behind you and one of the best sunsets you’ll ever see in front of you, while sitting cocktailin-hand at a rooftop bar, there is nothing better.
HOW OFTEN DO YOU GO?
I’ve been for the last two winters (their summer).
HOW DID YOU DISCOVER IT?
The first time I went was with the British Cycling team for a training camp. Cape Town is the only place I’ve been with British Cycling that I’ve since visited (twice) out of choice. It has an edge, history and vibrancy that Europeans can sometimes feel is missing from Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
The city has a troublesome reputation with regards to crime; it might be merited given the endless electric fences and private security guards who outnumber the police. Even so, Cape Town has some of the friendliest people you will ever meet.
They are aware of the reputation their country has. As a result, they do their utmost to challenge that reputation and make you feel welcome. I love the vibrancy and diversity of the city, every time I go I see a new side, be it LGBT bars (a rarity in Africa) and the house club scene with my brother, artisanal markets with my mum, or cafe culture with my stepdad.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE MEMORY?
Last time I went with my mum, stepdad, brother and granny. Having my granny there was special because she hadn’t been out of the UK for 30 years and had never been outside Europe. She had an almost child-like fascination with things I might dismiss as the mundane. I remember her becoming quite positively, emotionally overwhelmed with the people, landscape and atmosphere.
WHAT DO YOU TAKE?
My bike. From Camps Bay you can ride along to Chapman’s Peak, a location that has featured in many car adverts. You can see why: it is a beautiful and challenging road to ride.
WHAT DO YOU LEAVE BEHIND?
My winter blues.
SUM IT UP IN FIVE WORDS.
Beautiful. Vibrant. Free. Diverse. Cultured.
WHAT TRAVEL SPOT IS ON YOUR POST-LOCKDOWN WISH LIST?
I’ve been meaning to go to South Korea for years; when I was backpacking in Japan, I heard endless good things about it. I’ve also had a campervan trip booked for the west coast of Scotland. It was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, but I’ll be doing that as soon as I can.