28.01.2017 - 03.02.2017
We had never been to Cape Town before; never been to South Africa before and, in fact, never been to Africa before, so it was all new to us.
The flight to Cape Town was very long. We first flew for nine hours from Hong Kong to Doha; spent three hours in Doha Airport; then flew another nine hours to Cape Town. We arrived fairly exhausted, but had fortunately pre-booked a transfer to our hotel, The Park Inn by Radisson, in the Foreshore area. The transfer was there waiting for us, so we got to our hotel with ease.
We did not want to waste our limited time so went for a stroll while it was still light. We walked towards the old town and were very pleased to see a large group of people, including many little children, performing traditional African dancing in the street near Saint George's Cathedral. We stopped and watched them for a while.
After watching the dancing for a while, we took a stroll in the Company Gardens.
Cape Town's European history began when the Dutch realized this area was an excellent place from which to take on new provisions for their ships sailing to and from Batavia. The Company Gardens were founded by Governor van Riebeeck of the Dutch East India Company in the 1650's. They were used to grow fresh vegetables and fruit for passing ships.
Nowadays the gardens are a beautiful place for a stroll. They contain lots of plants, statues and memorials. The parliament, library, Tuynhuys and several museums, such as the Iziko South African Museum, are in or next to the gardens. There are statues here of Sir George Gray, governor of the Cape Colony from 1845 to 1862, and Cecil John Rhodes among others. The Delville Wood Memorial commemorates the battle of Delville Wood in WWI where many South Africans lost their lives.