Monday, October 11, 2010
Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, Western Cape, South Africa
WHAT A GREAT NIGHTS SLEEP! Only 1 trip to the toilet .. I think this is breaking 🙂
As I am up before Colm and Caitlin I decide to sit out on the patio and enjoy the morning sun shining through. It is definitely brisk in the 50’s but it is beautiful. With the South African Navy based just across the harbor and the marina for pleasure boats right across the street from us I have a beautiful view that just makes me smile. Finally the crew is all awake and as we chit chat about the day to come we are serenaded with chants by the crew of Navy boys on their morning run rather interesting morning.
But now its time to explore, something about Simonstown just feels familiar and I can’t put my finger on it. I guess it just feels like every seaside town I’ve been in but with a colonial dutch flair. Finding a lovely cafe, we decide to have breakfast on the deck overlooking the marina. Following breakfast we take a great walk through the town exploring the shops and the town. At one point Colm manages to talk some yacht club member to let us into the club and walk around checking out the boats. There is even a US registered boat from San Francisco!
But then its off to visit the penguins.. yes you heard me right, penguins! I didn’t know until a day or two ago that there were even penguins in South Africa but there you have it. I cannot miss my chance to see penguins! What a beautiful sight, sunning themselves on the boulders, nesting in the bushes and generally just waddling around for us all to see. The experience was a bit zoo-like I’ll admit as we were on a wooden walkway that went straight through their habitat AND we were unlucky enough to get there just after a bus load of Asians with their NIkon’s and Cannons! Nothing like getting an elbow to the ribs from a little old Japanese lady who wants to be standing where I am because she needs her picture taken NOW!
Back in the car we are on the way to our southernmost destination and the completely of my tip to stern journey in Africa… the Cape of Good Hope. Of course we must remember TIA, and sure enough crappy weather rolls in just as we drive up to the beginning of the hike to the Cape lighthouse. But thats OK because I am hungry and craving good seafood and there is a highly recommended restaurant right there. Coincidence I think not! So as I enjoy a lovely glass of Stellenboch grown Chardonnay and a beautiful whitefish meal, we watch the clouds and rain move through. Finally lunch is over and the clouds are clearing and we start the hike up to the lighthouse.. well lighthouses really. There was the highest point there which was the old lighthouse, but they found that there was consistently too much fog and clouds that they eventually moved operations to a new lighthouse lower down on the cliff.
The hike was WINDY, cold, rainy and simply stunning. There I am watching two oceans colliding on the southernmost reach of a continent 9000 miles away from home and I am simply stunned to silence with the beauty and magnitude of it all. Looking back over the bus rides in Tanzania, the pyramids in Egypt, the chaos of Nairobi, the migrations of the Masai Mara, the remoteness of Madagascar.. its hard to believe I have ended up here and my journey is almost over. I think Colm and Caitlin think something is wrong as I haven’t talked for quite a while 🙂
Finally we are done exploring Cape Point and Cape of Good Home and we begin the drive up coast along scenic cliff hanging route. Finally Colm has adjusted to my driving and is relaxing and that makes the trip that much nicer. The route hangs on cliffs with 1000 foot drops and passes the tallest lighthouse in africa. We are treated to scenic vistas of surfers riding 3 meter waves while the sun breaks through with its golden reddish rays as it sets over the water. Its hard to describe the peace and relaxing feeling that is starting to wash over me after the chaos of the previous 7 weeks of this trip. To be back in relative civilization where enjoying such beauty is so easy is certainly something to be appreciated.
But then the hunger hits. Where do we eat? What do we eat? No seafood but we want to eat on the water. Strange to find out that in all of these idyllic little seaside towns that while peppered with beautiful seaside architecture there is next to nothing in the way of restaurants on the water. This results in a never ending (seemingly) search through town after town for somewhere to eat. As it ends up we finally stop in a small outpost on the edge of Cape Town itself for a beautiful sushi meal overlooking the beach. The weather has turned a bit rainy and cold but nonetheless its a beautiful experience. .. well apart from a resurgence of my stomach issues which have me interrupting our meal every 30 minutes again.
After the meal we have a shortish drive ahead of us backtracking a bit to the wine region in Cape Town known as Stellenbosch. After a few miscues on directions we arrive at the hotel where I am crashing on the floor of Colm and Caitlin.. well that was the plan, there was not much time spent on the floor as my Africa Arse resurged with a vengeance that evening.. will it ever end.. I’m actually starting to worry at this point that I have a parasite.. that would be BAD!
I am very much looking forward to some wine tasting tomorrow so lets hope all gets worked out!
Pictures & Video
Sailboats at the Marina
Sunning on the Rocks!
Couldn’t get any closer 🙁
Hey.. whats back there?
God was shining his light down