making a visual impression


Cape Peninsula Tour cont.

After seeing the penguins at Boulder’s Beach, we get back on the coach to The Cape of Good Hope. Again, it is still early so we beat the crowds. But, Rob our tour guide, would have been willing to fight the crowds for our photo opportunity. (Any people in the picture are from our own tour group!)

We are there! At the most south-western point of Africa where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans collide.

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Some wild weather comes in rather quickly. It went from sunny to stormy.

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It is windy, too. But, another chance for a photo before it rains, briefly.

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We then take a short drive to Cape Point. This is a little further south. But wait, The Cape of Good Hope boasts that it is the most south-western point of the African continent. What, then is Cape Point? Although it is further south, I guess it is not further west!

We manage to get one photo of an ostrich sitting by the side of the road.

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It’s a long climb to the top of Cape Point.

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We are warned about the baboons, but we don’t see any. The only wildlife is a small gecko.

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Our next stop is Simon’s Town on the eastern side of the Cape Peninsula. We take a short boat ride out to Seal Island. The island is aptly named because it is home to hundreds of Cape Fur Seals.

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Cape Peninsula Tour

Our tour with Cape Convey Tours was the best! Rob, our tour guide, lived during his school years in Essex and he had a strong British/Essex accent. He was an absolute hoot! Knowledgeable, too and very concerned that we have the absolutely best day.

We leave the hotel at 7:30am. Early, but the purpose is to miss the crowds, which we did.

Our coach ride begins by giving us a view of Table Mountain. That view, with the clouds surrounding it is becoming familiar.

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We drive through the beautiful Camps Bay. A quick photo from the coach.

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Then it’s on to Hout Bay. We stop and get out of the coach to take photos.2014-01-10 Hout Bay

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It’s then back on the coach and excitement rises, as our next stop is to see the African penguins, also called Jackass Penguins because the noise they make is like a donkey braying, at Boulder Beach. However, today they are silent. Probably too early in the morning!

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The penguins are so cute!2014-01-10 pengiuns11

Quite a few penguins are fishing in the sea. They all come out of the sea and onto the beach at the same time. Then the next group goes fishing.2014-01-10 penguins8

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Quite a few of the penguins are sitting on nests.2014-01-10 pengiuns4

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We watch as a gull tries to disturb the penguins, taunting them, trying to get them to leave the nest. A second gull circles overhead, ready to dive and take the egg. The penguins roll their necks to frighten off the gull. Eventually, the gull gives up and flies away.2014-01-10 pengiuns3

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Day 4: Vineyard tour

We start our day passing the most vibrantly coloured houses I have ever seen. This is the Cape Malay area of Cape Town. Its occupants are the descendants of slaves from Malaysia, Indonesia as well as other areas of Asia and Eastern Africa. Our guide tells us that his ancestors came from Malaysia.

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Then we begin our journey to the Stellenbosch Winelands east of Cape Town. This takes us past an unfinished highway that hangs in mid-air. Construction of the highway halted because a shop owner whose establishment stood in the way of the bridge would not give permission for the construction to continue. The shop and owner have long since gone but, the highway still remains unfinished.

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Our first stop is the Simonsig Estate. The founder of Simonsig, was the first producer of Méthode Champenoise in South Africa when he made a sparkling wine named Kaapse Vonkel. It has a great taste and is at a great price, too.

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Our next stop is the luxurious Delaire Graff Estate. It is surrounded by a high electric wire fence and gated entrance with guards. The views from the Estate are stunning.

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The food in the restaurant is equally stunning.

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After lunch we return to Cape Town to  take a boat and tour of Robbens Island–one of the places where Nelson Mandela was held prisoner. However, by now we are running on South African time and we are late in arriving. We miss the boat!

Instead, two of us decide to visit the District 6 museum we had passed the other day while on our city bus sightseeing tour. We arrive with only a few minutes to look around before the museum closes.

Street signs from the destroyed District 6:

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Day 3: Sightseeing Cape Town

From the Mount Nelson Hotel we are able to take the Cape Town Sightseeing hop-on hop-off bus. We take the Red City Tour. The day begins with rain. But, the tour is great. Our tickets comes with headphones so we can listen to the commentary giving information about Cape Town.

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The tour takes us past the South African Parliament building.

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We travel through District 6 – an area that was once a vibrant multi-racial community in the early 20th century but then was deliberately razed and it’s people removed. Control and racial segregation were part of apartheid town planning. District 6 was deemed for whites. Approximately 60,000 residents were removed to townships but today the area still remains barren except for the original churches and mosques that were not destroyed. It’s a very sobering sight. I plan to come back later to visit the District 6 Museum.

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We pass the Castle of Good Hope – the oldest surviving colonial building in South Africa – built in the 17th century by the Dutch East India Company.

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We wind our way up Table Mountain to the cable car station. This is closed due to the poor weather. Nevertheless, we had a wonderful view of Cape Town and the coast.

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Then we drive through the beautiful and wealthy area of Camps Bay.

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In the afternoon we visit the Slave Museum located in the original Slave Lodge built by the Dutch East India Company in the 17th century. It housed slaves in appalling conditions. These people were imported to provide labour. The slaves were shipped from East Africa but I learned that many came from Madagascar, India, Indonesia and other parts of South East Asia. This is a very sad part of South Africa’s history.

Our day ends with a meal of langoustine at Baia Seafood Restaurant on the V&A Waterfront but, with thoughts and conversation about what are the evils in our world today that we need to work to eradicate.

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The final photo of the day – sunset over Table Mountain.

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tulipsEven though they’re past their best, these tulips still look beautiful.

Wish I were here

Where I wish I was right now. Instead, we have Winter Storm Nemo heading our way with 24-36 inches (61-91cm) of snow!

A rare sight this winter

We have not been accustomed to snow in New England this winter. That’s fine by me! Yesterday was our first major snowfall of the season. Snow, although it looks pretty, is usually accompanied by weather that is too cold, too much shoveling, and a lack of choice of footwear. Snow belongs only where one can ski and snowboard.