Last couple of days in Cape Town
Well it seems such a long time ago that I was in South Africa even though it was only the end of last year and I think that’s because so much has happened around the world and we had dreadful long and devastating bushfires here throughout our Aussie summer. In my current isolation I thought I would peruse my photos of my trip and compile a travel post, so here goes…
My itinerary for Cape Town and surrounding areas was very full as I knew I wanted to see as many places as I possibly could but with not a great deal of time. And of course I wanted to make sure I could relax in the afternoons with a book and glass of great South African wine.I knew I had quite a few kilometres to travel one day around different parts external to Cape Town so I hired a driver/guide for my ultimate destination of Cape of Good Hope. My guide was lovely and took me to a few places I did not have on my itinerary. It’s always lovely to see and hear about a local’s perspective of his/her city.
Our first stop was Muizenberg Beach, about half an hour drive from Cape Town. It’s a delightful beach and one of the main surfing spots in Cape Town albeit there was no surf when I visited.It was a lovely day so we took a walk along the boardwalk. A lovely surprise was to see the many coloured beach huts. My guide told me that the huts are based upon a cart like structure from the 1800’s which allowed ladies to change into their chin-to-ankle bathing wear and dip their toes into the water. I could picture this (amusingly) in my mind and found a couple of interesting pictures on the internet of the carts and also ladies’ bathing suits over the years. Boy have bathing suits changed! I don’t think these lovely ladies would feel comfortable on Bondi Beach.Our next stop was Fish Hoek Fishing Town which is only a few kilometres drive. This was an unexpected stop and whilst I certainly did enjoy looking at the lovely homes and the waterfront area plus the seals, there were a lot of fishermen scaling fish which meant lots of fish blood and guts; not my scene.But did love the fat seals; some with babies!We then drove a little while to Simon’s Town, a naval base and one of South Africa’s oldest towns. In particular I wanted to see the Penguins at Boulders Beach Penguin Colony. This is a great set up with boardwalks along the hillside and no access to the beach area where the penguins live – this means no-body can touch the penguins. These little cuties were either waddling around or just sleeping in the sun and of course you have to smile every time they walk.And how cute are the fluffy babies and interesting these ones are bigger than their parents…And the lovers (or ones that look like they are holding flippers)…So after that lovely stop off, I walked back to the car and passed some great markets where I bought a few gifts for friends in Australia. I like to have fun bargaining but genuinely never mind paying a little more at international local hand-made markets.
Then back into the car and we were off to our last stop of the day; Cape of Good Hope. There is quite a high fee to enter the national park which I paid but in the end was worth it as during our drive I was able to see spectacular views of the ocean. We hopped out of the car at the beach area and I was told by my guide that this was the southern most tip of Africa. However after a bit of internet research I found unfortunately it is not…contemporary knowledge is that Cape Agulhas is the most southern point. Actually this didn’t worry me one bit as it was such a beautiful area to see.
My lovely guide did point out a connection in the sea where the currents of two great oceans meet; Atlantic Ocean and the Indian Ocean which I could see. Now that to me was also worth the visit! And that was the end of this fabulous day; back to my hotel then off to, of course, drinks and dinner!
My last day in Cape Town was a special event that I had booked prior to leaving Australia. I had read about taking the ferry over to Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned. I arranged my ticket on the internet from Australia as had read that ferry tickets sell out very fast. From my hotel in Cape Town I was able to walk to the ferry and take it over to the Island. We were met by a guide who was a previous political prisoner and we heard his story – very sad I must say and then you see their cells – so small; our guide spoke so highly of Mr Mandela and his belief in what he did and stood for. I really enjoyed this visit. I didn’t take any photos of the cells or inside the gaol. I just wanted to listen to this ex-prisoner who was talking from his heart. But I did take photos of the island from the bus. A little bit of background: Robben Island is located 6.9 kilometres west of the coast of Bloubergstrand, Cape Town and takes its name from the Dutch word for seals, hence the Dutch/Afrikaans name Robbeneiland which translates to Seal Island (thank you Wikipedia).
It really is a lovely island with great water views, beautiful wild flowers and small animals including, surprisingly, many tortoises. And before we departed for the ferry to return to Cape Town, we visited the limestone quarry which goes back to the mid 17th century and is also where Mandela and other prisoners worked for thirteen years apparently for no other reason than to keep them busy.I really love Cape Town and its surrounds! A fabulous place to visit.