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Cape Town

Day One

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.

Delightful Dancers.

Delightful Dancers.

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.

The Company Gardens.

The Company Gardens.

The Company Gardens.

The Company Gardens.

The Company Gardens.

The Company Gardens.

Posted by irenevt 00:34 Archived in South Africa Tagged town. cape Comments (2)

Day Three

Kirstenbosch, Groot Constantia, Camps Bay

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Kirstenbosch

We did not have a car in Cape Town, actually we don't drive, so decided to use the big red hop on hop off bus. I'm generally not a fan of these. They are too touristy and too expensive, but I must admit I ended up being very much impressed with the service in Cape Town. It got us pretty much everywhere we wanted to go safely, comfortably and efficiently. The only safe alternative would have been the myciti buses which looked fine though we did not actually use them.

We had planned to start the day by taking the big bus red route to Table Mountain, but we awoke to find the table cloth was down, which means the mountain was absolutely hidden in a thick blanket of cloud, so we had to change plans. We hopped on a blue route bus and headed for Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens.

Kirstenbosch is situated at the eastern foot of Table Mountain. The gardens were founded in 1913 to conserve local flora. We spent around two hours here, but could have easily spent a full day. The gardens are stunning. We began by exploring the stone sculptures garden. I loved all the statues here and we had great fun posing for photos with them.

We eventually made our way to the boomslang or tree canopy walkway from which there are spectacular views. After that we walked through the cycad garden. Cycads have been around since prehistoric times so the gardens boasted several models of dinosaurs. We then strolled through the fynbosch and erica gardens. Fynbosch are plants with thin leaves found all over Cape Town, many have lovely colourful flowers. Erica is like heather.

There are concerts at Kirstenbosch on Sundays during the summer.

Kirstenbosch

Kirstenbosch

Kirstenbosch

Kirstenbosch

Kirstenbosch

Kirstenbosch

Kirstenbosch

Kirstenbosch

Kirstenbosch

Kirstenbosch

Groot Constantia

After Kirstenbosch we reboarded the blue route then swapped to the purple wine route at Constantia Nek. We went to Groot Constantia the oldest vineyard in Cape Town. Groot Constantia was founded by Simon van der Stel of the Dutch East India Company. He arrived at the Cape in 1679. He had already gained knowledge of viticulture at his vineyards in Muiderbergh and made full use of this knowledge to establish vineyards in the Cape.

We began our visit here by strolling through the vineyards. They were lined with rose bushes and backed by stunning mountainous scenery - absolutely breathtaking. When we had finished with the vineyards we strolled to the manor house. We paid to wander around it, looking at the period furniture and the garden with its huge bougainvillea bush and boisterous ducks. We then headed to the wine cellar where all the magic of creating wine takes place. Groot Constantia has two restaurants and a deli and offers wine tasting sessions, too.

Groot Constantia

Groot Constantia

Groot Constantia

Groot Constantia

Groot Constantia

Groot Constantia

Groot Constantia

Groot Constantia

Camps Bay

After Groot Constantia we took the purple route back to the blue route and continued past some wonderful scenery through Hout Bay to Camps Bay. I think Camps Bay must be one of the most spectacular places I have ever been. It has a long stretch of silver white beach washed by the ice cold waters of the Atlantic. I put my feet in the water and felt waves of pain go through my whole body due to the cold.

Beyond the beach there is a plethora of cafes and bars. Behind the town the Twelve Apostles Mountains stand guard over the coastline. In the distance it is possible to see the steep triangular shape of the Lion's Head. If I were to choose the most beautiful place in Cape Town, I think I would choose here and believe me it is up against some tough competition.

Camps Bay.

Camps Bay.

Camps Bay

Camps Bay

Camps Bay.

Camps Bay.

Posted by irenevt 03:59 Archived in South Africa Tagged town cape Comments (1)

Day Five

An organized day trip to Hout Bay, the Cape of Good Hope, Boulders Bay and Chapman's Peak.

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Hout Bay

Neither of us drive. We like to get around by public transport where we can. If that isn't an option, we have to do tours, which to be honest we only like to do occasionally. We booked this tour to the Cape of Good Hope before arriving in South Africa and then discovered that the big bus company had started a trip there too. I know the big bus isn't actually public transport, but the difference is: use them you can decide what to do with the time you have at a location, use a tour you are told what to do with the time you have at a location.

Anyway the tour was fine. It was enjoyable; we saw a lot, but it did feel rather rushed.

We began by going to Camps Bay for a photo stop. We had already been there so were not too bothered that it was just a very brief stop. Then we went on to Hout Bay. It's also possible to get here on the big bus, but we had not actually got off because we knew it was on our tour. Our tour though only had time to go to Duiker Island, an island famous for seals. We decided not to go to the island and to look around Hout Bay instead.

Hout Bay is a fishing port. Near the place where the ferry leaves for Duiker Island there is a lovely market. I bought a giraffe wood carving here. As we wandered along the waterfront we saw so many seals. They really know how to enjoy life and look like they are having great fun in the water. I loved the fact that there were several capsized boats. I know this isn't a good thing, but they certainly looked picturesque.

Hout Bay has a lovely long stretch of silvery white beach. Behind it on the mountain their is a luxurious house designed to look like Liechtenstein Castle in Germany. Hout Bay is famous for fish 'n' chips.

Hout Bay

Hout Bay

Hout Bay

Hout Bay

Castlelike home

Castlelike home

Seals

Seals

The Cape of Good Hope

From Hout Bay our tour went to Kirstenbosch, but only went inside for half an hour. This is way too short to see the gardens, so we just stayed outside. Next stop after Kirstenbosch was the Cape of Good Hope. We drove up the peninsula which was covered in fynbosch. We saw ostrich, some kind of African deer and baboons. Our photos of these were not great though as they were either taken from a moving car or a far distance.

We stopped at the Cape of Good Hope signpost for photos. Then we drove to the funicular and took it to Cape Point - the southernmost point on the African continent, famous for shipwrecks and storms.

We climbed up to the lighthouse at the top of Cape Point and admired the views from there.

The Cape of Good Hope

The Cape of Good Hope

Cape Point

Cape Point

Cape Point

Cape Point

Cape Point

Cape Point

Cape Point

Cape Point

Cape Point

Cape Point

Boulders Bay

After the Cape of Good Hope we drove to Boulders Beach. We passed a lovely craft market on the walk from the car park to the beach. I bought another giraffe here on the walk back.

Boulders Beach is home to a large colony of African penguins. These used to be called jackass penguins because of the sound they make. I had thought that it was possible to go right next to the penguins on Boulders Beach, but this is not the case. You stay on a board walk and observe them from behind a fence. This is probably better for the penguins.

There were hundreds of penguins: some sunning themselves, some swimming, some nesting, some fighting, some mating, some waddling from place to place. I could have happily watched them for hours.

The scenery from Boulders Beach is very beautiful. On the way back to the car, we stopped for some ice-cream.

Boulders Bay

Boulders Bay

Boulders Bay

Boulders Bay

Boulders Bay

Boulders Bay

Boulders Bay

Boulders Bay

Chapman's Peak.

After Boulders Beach, we drove back to Cape Down via the extremely scenic Chapman's Peak Drive.

Chapmanā€™s Peak Drive goes along the Atlantic coast between Hout Bay and Noordhoek. This road was originally constructed during the First World War It stretches for 9 kilometres and has 114 curves.

Chapman's Peak.

Chapman's Peak.

Chapman's Peak.

Chapman's Peak.

Chapman's Peak.

Chapman's Peak.

Posted by irenevt 22:51 Archived in South Africa Tagged of good cape penguins hope Comments (0)

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