They say every journey begins with a single step. As you step onto the road to begin the Cape Camino, the route might be planned, but the journey is left entirely up to you. It’s definitely a journey worth taking.
The Cape Camino is not the first of its kind. The idea came from the Camino de Santiago in Spain, but while it follows a similar format, the journey is as different as Cape Town is to Santiago, pulling in the diversity of the region, both in terms of natural beauty and culture.
The full route is seven days long and forms the figure ∞, the symbol of Infinity, but ‘pilgrims’ taking on the Camino do not need to do it to completion, allowing for ease of movement and for a trip that is more about you than the road you walk. It’s your walk, so you get to walk your way.
I recently got a brief taste of the Cape Camino with a half day ‘Wine to Water’ Pilgrimage. The full day is a 17km route from Constantia to Muizenberg, essentially forming one of the legs of the full pilgrimage. Unfortunately I was only able to commit to the half-day experience, but it was enough to get insight into what is on offer. And if the teaser is anything to go by, the full experience is well worth the time on your feet. The Camino in its entirety even more so.
The Half Day Pilgrimage is 12km, running from Schoenstatt Retreat to Pollsmoor prison, while the Full Day Pilgrimage is 18km and runs into Muizenberg. Both are very doable and incorporate diverse terrain with everything from vineyards and greenbelts to backroads and forests. The scenery is incredible and even for me, born and raised in Cape Town, there were plenty of spots I had not seen before – all hidden in plain sight.
During our walk, we visited a beautiful Catholic church, a Karamat on the unlikely grounds of Klein Constantia and a herbal garden, run by a Rastafarian, in Tokai. Within that 12km journey, we were given an insightful look into a city that is alive with a vast mixture of cultures.
It’s one of the greatest joys of the Camino – seeing things from a different perspective. And it will be unique for everyone. It allows you the time to mix with and understand different cultures and lends you the space – and time – to get lost inside your own head. It’s a special journey and one that everyone should take.
Remember it all starts with a single step. It’s up to you to take it.