Posts Tagged ‘South Africa’

Flat Rock Viewing

Friday, September 7th, 2012

Cape Town city grows smaller the further our gondola gets from the lower station. We are on our way up to the top of Table Mountain. The small capsule we are standing in rotates as it ascends and this allows each of the passengers to get a stunning view of the city, Robben Island, the coastal plains and, of course, the imposing flat top mountain above us.

The smooth ride to the top of Table Mountain takes around eight minutes – much shorter than hiking up (an alternative).  Nearing the upper station you get a sensation of entering into the mountain.  It feels like something out of a James Bond movie.

Arriving At The Top

We exit the upper station and walk out into the brisk temperature.  We’re glad we bought out jackets with us.  The mountain is over three thousand feet  high and at this time of the year the temperatures can drop down to around 10 degrees C.  However, the cloudless day is allowing the sun an unlimited opportunity to warm this part of planet earth so we won’t exactly freeze to death.

It becomes immediately apparent that this is a very special place and it is easy to see why it is now one  of the New7Wonders of Nature.

We are looking forward to exploring this beautiful mountain top and soaking up the incredible views.

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Hout Bay Heaven

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

Sentinel Peak’s distinctive shape looms over the picturesque harbour of Hout Bay in the mid distance. A gentle swell rolls in from the southern Atlantic ocean, ending its journey on the bay’s white sand beach.  Van Morrison and other like artists’ songs fill the breakfast nook’s dining space as we “tuck into” another sumptuous full cooked morning feast at the Amblewood bed and breakfast.  Trevor, our gracious host, beams with pride as we “mmmm” and “ah” after tasting the perfectly cooked and wonderfully presented meal.

Themba, Trevor and June’s beautiful golden labrador, wanders in occasionally to check on our progress.  He knows that he will get to savour any left over delights and we are sure that he is hoping we will not eat all the food on our plates.  When Trevor comes out to top up our tea and coffee he gives Themba “the look” and Themba reluctantly exits the dining room.  He knows that it is only a matter of time before the left overs are laid before him.  He is the master of the house after all.

Patiently Waiting

The views, the atmosphere, the food, the hosts and the company of my Princess make the breakfast experience at Amblewood a very pleasurable experience indeed.

Life’s very good.

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Flustered Feathers In Full Flight

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

We are admiring the vastness of the Atlantic ocean on the drive toward the Cape of Good Hope when, all of a sudden, our attention is drawn to something on the road ahead of us.

Our minds try to make sense of the picture of a flustered female ostrich running at a pace straight toward the car.  Her stubby wings are flapping around as she wobbles down the road like a drunk marathon runner.  I stop the car and she stops in the centre of the road. Further down the road we get to see the reason for her running – an obviously horny male ostrich.  He also stops.

Flustered Feathers

The large female (standing well over 8 feet tall) sizes up the situation.  Our small Ctiroen car ahead of her and a large horny male behind her.  What to do?  After a brief moment she moves to one side of the road and runs around our car and sets off on a new escape path.

The chase is on again.  The over-sexed male is not going to let this one get away so he starts moving his gangly legs again and gets up to quite a speed as he passes us without stopping.

We look at each other in disbelief and start laughing at the comical scene we just witnessed.  Welcome to Africa!

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Rounding The Cape

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

The rather cold southerly breeze lets it’s presence be known as we start the steepish ascent of Cape Point. Nothing stands between southern Africa and the Antarctic so the wind is given free passage to where we stand.
Below and to our right is the infamous Cape Of Good Hope, the feared yet welcome landmark to many sailors.

The Princess is enjoying the display of coastal flowers that line the pathway leading up to the lighthouse and I am enjoying the views one gets to take in from this rugged peninsular.

Flowering Cape

Noisy seabirds dart across the sky above and below us – each of them on a mission.  Thousands of birds nest on the cliffs that tower above the Atlantic coastline below.  A precious piece of bird real estate.

In the relatively warm waters of the bay below us several humpback whales are enjoying the last of their annual migration.  No doubt the huge great white sharks that also call this bay their home are not too far away.

Cape Point – not the most southern part of Africa but certainly one of its best known landmarks.

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Coastal Views and Mountain Peaks

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

Looking out from the window of our plushly appointed bedroom at Amblewood B&B our eyes feast on the towering mountain peaks that surround Hout Bay.  The area is a geological paradise and we are keen to explore it more.  Today we are headed for the Cape of Good Hope.

After another sumptuous breakfast we “mount” our hired steed (read Citroen car) and make our way to the beginning of Chapman’s Peak drive .  We pay our entrance fee and set off on the scenic drive.

Coastal Princess

Chapman’s Peak looms above us and the picturesque Hout Bay drops behind and below as we head south on the winding coastal road known around these parts as “Chappies”.

It’s not long before we pull over to the first of many lookout parking areas – each offering their own unique view of the Atlantic coastline.

The white blossoms of coastal trees contrast beautifully against the azure of the inlets below.  Cold, gentle breezes rise up from the ocean below and cool us down as we capture this beautiful scene on our Canon SLRs.

The construction of Chappies started almost 100 years ago – an engineering marvel in its day.  9 kilometres and 114 curves carved out of the side of mountains high above the Atlantic ocean.  Another example of the ingenuity and persistence of mankind.

We stop frequently to take in the grandeur of the mountains and the vastness of the ocean. Sitting and admiring nature without taking any photo’s or video is one of life’s pleasures and we remind ourselves today that this must be done often.

For more great information on traveling in South Africa, check out our like minded friend’s reviews here “100 Best Things To Do In South Africa”  Jen Miller is an avid traveler and writes some great articles on her blog.

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Mountains and Sheds On The Cape

Monday, September 3rd, 2012

Our small Citroen rental car’s window is filled with the distinct shape of Table Mountain as we motor along the impressive freeway toward Cape Town.  It looks like someone has sliced the peak off a huge mountain and forgotten to put it back.  An incredible sight despite having seen it in magazines and on TV.

A glance at our watches tells us that we have been traveling for over 20 hours since we left Hong Kong however we are wide awake with the thought of spending the next six days in Cape Town.  We have only just arrived on the Western Cape however the aerial views of the rugged mountains, extensive vineyards and the southern Atlantic ocean have piqued our desire to explore this beautiful region in detail.

Flat Top Welcome

Our short journey to Hout Bay, a small town south of the city, takes us past several shanty towns – millions of people call this part of South Africa home.  This is our first close up look at these communities and we are quite shocked at the number of flimsy shacks that have been erected here.  It becomes painfully obvious to us that despite the demise of apartheid the black majority in South Africa are still a long way from living the dreams held by Nelson Mandela and other staunch anti-apartheid activists.  That day will come.

We follow the instructions sent to us by the hosts of the B&B we will be staying at and before long we are driving through the forested winding road that links Hout Bay to Cape Town.  Huge houses surrounded by acres of land are visible behind tall fences.  Electrified wires are strung across the top of the fences and warning signs send a message to those who have nefarious intentions.  This beautiful suburban area is a stark contrast to the sprawling shanty town landscape on the outskirts of Cape Town city.

Our history lesson begins.

Our fellow avid traveller Jen Miller (Jen Reviews) has written some great articles on “100 Best Things To Do In South Africa”  Please check out Jen’s excellent articles for some great advice on when visiting South Africa.

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