Cape of Good Hope

Today (Thursday Nov 6) we toured around the cape area, driving along a spectacular oceanside road, boating out to a seal colony, walking to a beach littered with penguins, and siting wild ostrich and other animals near the most southwesterly point of land, once thought to be the southern tip of Africa, the storied Cape of Good Hope. There were shopping opportunities, countless photo ops, a great lunch in Simon’s Town and then dinner back in Cape Town at a tapas bar called Fork located on the dreaded Long Street.

First on the agenda were the seals. Thousands of them in and around a smallish rocky island a short boat ride out of a very picturesque town called Hout Bay.

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Hout Bay’s harbour is just out of sight to the right and the seals were on the flat rocks just beyond the point.

We then travelled along a twisting cliffside roadway with nothing but ocean and sky beyond. Rarely do we have the chance to see so wide a stretch of horizon that the curvature of the earth can be discerned. Now it may be rare, but it makes a pretty boring picture unless there is a bit of rock or something involved so I have nothing to share on this point.

Next was a chance to splash around in some shark infested waters. This was at the beach in Fish Hoek. Any splashing that occurred was done behind the shark net. The warning system involves flags of different colours flying and an air horn should any beasts be sighted. There were no horns sounded while we were there and the black flag was flying. It was a beautiful beach and it was nice to dip our toes in the Atlantic. Tomorrow we will have the chance to do the same in the Indian Ocean.

Next was lunch at the Harbourview Restaurant in Fish Hoek. Hake and chips washed down with a pint of local beer was just the ticket at this spot although there was lots to choose from.

Next on the agenda was the penguins and I couldn’t help comparing this African experience with our only other penguin siting which was in New Zealand in 2012. There we saw Blue Penguins along a rocky coast line far from any human habitation. As I recall we were there for a couple of hours and saw maybe ten other people during that time. Not so here as the penguins are a major tourist attraction within easy walking distance of the town. These African Penguins were just starting their moulting season which is why so many were on the beach. Apparently they are in decline. Apparently tourists are not and I really hope the two are not related.

Next came the Cape of Good Hope. The first European to round it was a Portuguese sailor in 1486. It is not actually the southern tip of Africa but is the point where ships would change from travelling southward to head eastward. Neither is it the the point where the Atlantic and Indian oceans meet. The southern tip is another 150k in a south east direction on the other side of False Bay.

Regardless, there was nothing but ocean beyond and despite the throngs of people it is a special place.

This last photo looks out across False Bay to Agulhas Cape, the very tip of Africa and the Indian Ocean beyond.

Many heads were nodding on the drive back to Cape Town. The Fork was another success that night. The delicious tapas kept coming and coming and two and a half hours later Roger, our driver, was patiently waiting for us. Long Street was alive with people, tourists and locals alike, and I must confess that I was happy to be climbing onto the bus at that time of night rather than braving the streets. Our last night in Cape Town, we pack up and move on tomorrow. Something about wine country, I think.

Location: Cape Town

This entry was posted on Thursday, November 6th, 2014 at 11:32 pm and is filed under South Africa 2014. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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