130808 Cape Town

The Plan

Today is your included discovery of the south-westerly point in Africa, Cape Peninsula.  Enjoy an included lunch in a local restaurant before continuing to Boulder Beach, home to the protected land-based colony of African penguins.

Some Information

With its diverse habitats, ranging from rocky mountain tops to beaches and open sea, the Cape of Good Hope is home to at least 250 species of birds.  “Bush birds” tend to be rather scarce because of the coarse, scrubby nature of fynbos vegetation.  When flowering, however, proteas and ericas attract sunbirds, sugarbirds and other species in search of nectar.  Large animals are rare in the Cape of Good Hope, but there are some herds of Zebra, Eland and a variety of other antelope.  Baboons run wild in the region too.

How things turned out

We leave an hour earlier than yesterday for our coach trip to the Cape of Good Hope in the Table Mountain National Park.  Driving along rugged coastline even more spectacular than the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, we are told we may also see whales very close to the coastline.  We are reasonably early and the sun is still rising but some clear photos can be shot along this fabulous coastline and on towards the end of land from Cape Town.

On entering the Table Mountain National Park, it is noticeable that vegetation is very low and wild animals cannot hide in any bush.  We capture some photos of Eland and an ostrich lazily walking along the road.  Situated at the junction of two of earth’s most contrasting water masses – the cold Benguela current on the West Coast and the warm Agulhas current on the East Coast, the Cape of Good Hope is popularly perceived as the meeting point of the Atlantic and the Indian Oceans, although there is no line.

We make our way up the eastern side of the region towards a snug little cafe for a delightful lunch.  Most had fish.  It was interesting the way the fish was served as you can see in the photo; a long skewer hanging over the plate with ‘chunks’ of fish to be drawn down onto the plate.  Many folk had trouble consuming the amount of fish on the skewer.

Just north of our lunch break and nestled in a sheltered cove between Simon’s Town and Cape Point, Boulders has become world famous for its thriving colony of African Penguins.  Although set in the midst of a residential area, it is one of the few sites where this endangered bird can be observed at close range, wandering freely in a protected natural environment. In thirty years, the colony has grown from 2 breeding pairs to about 2,200 in recent years.

We zig-zag across the peninsular headed towards Cape Town arriving at Radisson Blu around 3:50pm, time enough to get back to the shops for some and for some to pack ready for our 4:00am get up and depart by 5:00am in the morning for our early flight to Johannesburg and on to Thorney Bush Reserve.

I mentioned in yesterday’s post that I would have a paragraph of the tour to Robben Island.  Anne has kindly written a paragraph.

“Nine members of our group boarded the ferry for the historical tour of Robben Island.  On arrival we climbed onto a crowded bus to travel around the 5 square kilometre island that was the home to violent criminals, political prisoners and lepers until it was closed in 1991, the same time that apartheid finished.

“The tour guides shared their excellent knowledge of the history of the Island and included many of the acts of racial discrimination that occurred, e.g. The political prisoners were treated the worst, especially if they were black.  While all other political prisoners (white, Asian and coloured) were able to wear long pants, long sleeved shirts and warm jackets, the blacks only ever had short pants and short sleeved shirts, even through freezing winter weather.  Of course, Nelson Mandela’s place of work (the lime quarry) and his cell and terrible living conditions were a highlight (?) of the tour.

“Quite amazingly, there are still about 160 inhabitants of the Island, including three of the prison guards and past political prisoners who lead the tour of the prison.  As the political prisoner who guided our tour said, there is no point in seeking revenge, we achieved our goals of a democracy and are now friendly.

“Our return journey by ferry was filled with screams of excitement/fear as the catamaran was pounded with waves and rose and fell into the deep swells of the sea.  Of course, Kath was right up the front revelling in it.”

Thanks Anne.

Senior Moment/s

All good on this front – nothing to report!!!

2 thoughts on “130808 Cape Town”

  1. Thanks Colin for doing a fantastic job of the blog and the pictures. Great to know you are all having a good time. Your blog of Sth Africa and also the one I just read of Dubai brought back many warm memories. Elaine shared the screaming with Lyn on the desert 4wheel drive adventure. Sorry you did not have clear skies on top of Table Mountain as the views are great. Safe travelling.

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