So I'll try to make this beginning a little different. But really the first paragraph of the last one belongs here! In fourth grade we drew maps of Africa. I remember mine, because after I drew the map, I cut it out, pasted it on another piece of paper, and cut out a border around it. Even then I was doing borders on things......
When the opportunity to visit Capetown was presented to me, I said that the three most important things for me were the penguins at Simons Town, the Cape of Good Hope (because of 4th grade geography) and Robben Island. That last part will be the subject of it's own post -- it was a very powerful experience that deserves standing alone.
Drew and Sara's friend Deidre arranged a full day tour that went to both the Cape of Good Hope and the penguins, as well as other side trips during the day. It was a very full day -- I was picked up at the hotel at 8:30 in the morning and didn't get home till 6:30 at night, dead tired, but with a night of partying with Drew and friends still to go. Oh well, I'll sleep on the plane home, maybe.
There were 10 of us on this tour, in a white van, not much bigger than my minivan. We were an international group -- there was a couple from Switzerland, one from Greece, one from England, one from China, me, and another man doing what was called an educational tour (he was preparing for employment as a guide by the company).
The first stop was to see a place where seals hauled up on the rocks -- mostly male seals waiting to mature enough to mate with the females. Kind of like a fraternity house! The waves at Seal Island in Hout Bay were pretty fierce for the boats, but the seals didn't mind at all!
Next was a leisurely drive down the coast to the Cape of Good Hope. That part of South Africa is sparsely populated (by people at least, but there were lots of signs warning of baboons who would steal your food, open your car doors, and cause all sorts of mayhem, but we didn't see them), mountainous, but with fairly flat beaches. Some of the beaches are sandy, some are rocky. It is an undeveloped coast, and is now part of the Table Mountain National Park, so it will stay that way.
|On the way to the Cape of Good Hope|
My 4th grade geography says that the Cape of Good Hope is where the Atlantic and the Indian Oceans meet, but this is not quite true. That takes place a little farther around the coast to the east and a place called Cape Agulhas. But I'll stick with my 4th grade geography and say -- close enough!! It was a calm day, the ocean was a beautiful blue, the sun was shining, and I couldn't imagine ships having a hard time getting around the cape. What a day to make it to the Cape of Good Hope, destination of my imagination.
|With flat Owen -- a project for my grandson Owen's class at school.|
|Cape of Good Hope coastline|
|Cape Point, with Cape of Good Hope just over the far cliff.|
I added this attraction to my life list when I first made plans to come to Africa; who could resist the opportunity to see penguins in their natural habitat? And what a habitat it is. They live on a sandy beach, surrounded by rocks, scrubby bushes, and the most beautiful blue water that I have seen since the Mediterranean. The most fun was watching them swim toward the shore, ride a breaking wave in, and emerge from the water. There was quite a colony there -- perhaps 150 or more penguins just in this protected spot.
After a stop at the Kirstenbosch Gardens (I had tea there with the English couple) and a stroll through some of the exhibits, we came home to horrific traffic, and a one hour trip to drop people off at their hotels. Tired, but happy, Drew and his friends Deidre and William met me, and off we went for a lovely dinner overlooking the beach and the sunset, a pomegranate mojito, and several glasses of wine. Dead tired, we arrived home at 11:30 and collapsed into bed....zzzzz.
|The sun sets on Deidre and William, and another beautiful day ends.|