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Day Two

Castle of Good

sunny

Refreshed after a much needed night's sleep, we set out to explore The Castle of Good Hope - the oldest building in Cape Town. On the way to the castle we walked past City Hall and the Grand Parade. The Grand Parade seemed to be home to many vagrants and homeless people - a reminder that Cape Town may look like paradise on Earth, but it has many problems.

The Castle of Good Hope was built by the Dutch East India Company in the seventeenth century. It was originally situated on the coast of Table Bay, but is now quite far inland due to land reclamation.

The Castle of Good Hope is a pentagonal shaped building surrounded by a moat. We visited on a Sunday when there is no changing of the guard ceremony or ceremony of the keys. Entry on a Sunday is 25 rand.

Once inside the castle, it is possible to walk all the way around its walls, visit some rooms filled with period furniture, see the statues of three former African kings: Cetshwayo, Langalibalele and Sekhukhune and seventeenth century resistance leader, Doman. These three African kings were once imprisoned here for fighting against the colonialists. Its also possible to visit the bell tower, former prison cells, store rooms and a torture chamber.

Cape Town on route to the castle.

Cape Town on route to the castle.

African kings.

African kings.

Castle of Good Hope

Castle of Good Hope

Robben Island

In the afternoon we visited Robben Island. We walked from our hotel to the waterfront. We had pre-booked a boat to the island. On arrival at the Robben Island museum and ferry building, we joined a long queue. I thought we would have to wait for a later boat, but by arriving thirty minutes early we timed it right for boarding our pre-booked boat. The views back towards Cape Town from the boat were beautiful.

Robben Island lies around 7km from Cape Town. Its name comes from the Dutch word for seal. Robben Island is oval shaped and very flat. In its eventful history it has housed a leper colony and a prison. Nelson Mandela was imprisoned here for eighteen years.

On arrival at the island we were ushered onto a bus for a tour round the island. We saw the prison building and its visitor center, the lepers' graveyard, the quarry where political prisoners used to work, Robben Island village, two churches, a school, a clinic, Robert Sobukwe's house. He was the founder of the Pan Africanist Congress and was considered so dangerous by the Apartheid government that he was imprisoned indefinitely and forbidden from speaking to anyone.

As well as sights we saw a lot of wildlife such as: African penguins, a tortoise, fallow deer and on our way back on the ferry a humpbacked whale.

After the bus tour we were taken around Robben Island's former prison for political prisoners. The tour guide had himself been imprisoned here charged with terrorism. The most interesting part was seeing the cell where Nelson Mandela spent eighteen years of his twenty-seven year prison sentence.

Looking towards Capetown.

Looking towards Capetown.

Lepers Graveyard Robben Island.

Lepers Graveyard Robben Island.

Robert Sobukwe's house

Robert Sobukwe's house

Quarry.

Quarry.

Fallow Deer.

Fallow Deer.

Nelson Mandela's Cell.

Nelson Mandela's Cell.

Posted by irenevt 02:03 Archived in South Africa Tagged and of island castle good hope robben Comments (2)

Day Five

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

sunny

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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