Africa/Middle East 2014:
Day 4 - Cape Town, South Africa


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Africa/Middle East 2014: [Day 1 - Virginia] [Day 2 - Senegal] [Day 3 - South Africa] [Day 4 - South Africa] [Day 5 - Zimbabwe] [Day 6 - Botswana] [Day 7 - Zambia] [Day 8 - Tanzania] [Day 9 - Qatar] [Day 10 - Abu Dhabi] [Day 11 - Dubai] [Day 12 - Oman] [Day 13 - Bahrain] [Day 14 - Jordan] [Day 15 - Jordan] [Day 16 - England]

Tuesday, November 18, 2014: Here's the entrance to our hotel. It was attached underground to the University of Cape Town's Graduate School of Business. Above ground, it was just across the driveway from the University.
To get to the hotel restaurant, we had to walk through the University, which was housed in a building originally built as a prison. It is now a large, bright, square facility with an enclosed courtyard.
Stonebreakers Restaurant featured protea blossoms on every table. They matched the fireworks on the table card nicely.
Once again, we had a beautiful view of sunny Table Mountain, so we got a photo of Orchy with the view. Then we went down to the lobby to meet our tour guide, Allie.
We had booked Allie through Tours By Locals for a full day tour of the Cape. We started with a look at Robben Island from Green Point.
We drove through the city to get to Camps Bay. This time, we were able to get out and really enjoy the scenery.

Tom got this beautiful panorama of Maiden's Cove at Camps Bay with the Twelve Apostles.

At the far left of the panorama is the edge of Table Mountain and we were able to spot a cable car making its way to the station at the top.
Debbie got a couple of photos of the native flowers here ...
... and here.
We drove further south to Hout Bay, where we boarded a boat to go out to Duiker Island, nicknamed Seal Island.
Here's the marina at Hout Bay.
Perched on the hill overlooking the bay is Lichtenstein Castle, a replica of the real thing located in Germany. This one is used as a venue for weddings and conferences.
The short boat trip took us out into open water around the corner from Hout Bay.
Duiker Island is a tiny, uninhabited pile of rocks just off the coast.
It is absolutely covered with Cape fur seals.
The water is teeming with them too.
They are playful and adorable.
This photo was taken from the north/far side of the island. You can see Chapman's Peak in the distance on the right.
After plenty of time to enjoy the seals, we headed back.
The town of Hout Bay had a couple of Maersk containers if you knew where to look.
Allie was waiting for us back at the dock and we got back on the road. We stopped at a scenic overlook and enjoyed the view looking north back toward Hout Bay.
There's little Duiker Island on the left in this photo.
We drove along Chapman's Peak Drive for a while.
Here was a protective tunnel to keep the roadway safe from rockslides.
Here is lovely Long Beach at Noordhoek.  We turned here and went inland to our next destination.
Below the drive is Monkey Valley Resort, featuring buildings with thatched roofs.
Horses! We're guessing that these are some of the horses used for horseback riding along the beach. Just a guess though.
We arrived at our next destination, Cape Point Vineyards, to do some wine tasting.
We drove past rows and rows of white grape vines.
Rosebushes are frequently planted at the perimeter of vineyards because they require the same type of soil and sun requirements as grapevines and can serve as an early warning system for diseases that might affect the vines. Here, there was a rosebush at the end of each row.
The grounds of Cape Point Vineyards feature other beautiful plants as well. This was a protea bush.
Check out its beautiful blossom up close.
We headed into the facility ...
... and were seated on the patio outdoors.
Over the course of a half-hour, our wine tasting host brought us five samples to enjoy.
We tasted the Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Sauvignon Blanc Reserve 2014, Isliedh 2013, Chardonnay 2013, and the Cabernet Sauvignon 2012. We agreed that the Reserve was our favorite.
Allie joined us for a few minutes toward the end of our tasting. He gave us plenty of time to be by ourselves at the various stops.

Here's the spectacular view ...

... and here's the patio where we were seated.
We meandered slowly back to the car, enjoying the plants in the winery's extensive gardens. This is a gorgeous silver plant (Leucadendron argenteum).
Here's a pretty flower ...
... and another one.
We headed further south past more beautiful coastline at Misty Cliffs.
As we passed through Scarborough Conservation Village and the surrounding area, we saw ...
... bontebok ...
... and wild ostriches on one side of the road, ...
... and an ostrich farm on the other side of the road.
Here's a male ostrich on the farm.
Next, we entered the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, part of Table Mountain National Park.
The scenery is pretty ...
... with white flower bushes in bloom everywhere.
We saw several herds of bontebok, ...
... including this pair with their baby.
We spotted the Cape of Good Hope and noted that we'd see it more closely after lunch.
Next, we were headed to Cape Point.
We entered the Two Oceans Restaurant for lunch.
It's a large restaurant overlooking False Bay, with indoor and outdoor seating. It was very crowded, but Allie was able to get us a table for two at the far end of the restaurant.
Look how happy Tom is.
And who wouldn't be with views like this? Here's Cape Hangklip across False Bay.
We splurged and got the Two Oceans Signature Seafood Platter for two, consisting of Cape rock lobster, Mozambique langoustines, Cape seafood curry, line fish, black beard mussels, crispy calamari, croquettes, and rice.
There was far too much food for two people to eat, even as hungry as we were. They were out of Cape rock lobster, so they gave us more langoustines as a replacement.
Next, we went right next door to the Cape Point Funicular Station ...
... and waited in line for the next available car.
Here's the view looking back down the hill at a car that we had just passed on its way down.
Along the funicular tracks is a path for those who choose to walk either up or down. We had very limited time so we took the funicular both ways.
At the top, you're still not quite at the top. Again, with so much more to see, we couldn't spare the time to go all the way up, but there was plenty to see at this level.
From here, we could see the Atlantic to the left and False Bay to the right, with the Two Oceans Restaurant and Funicular Station parking lot in the center of this photo.
Looking further to the left, the Cape of Good Hope was looking beautiful.
At an overlook further south, we could see Cape Point.
It was really, really windy here, even by Cape Town standards.
There's the lighthouse just above us.
We returned to the parking lot by funicular and before driving away, we got a photo of False Bay looking to the left (northwest) ...
... and right (southeast). That's the restaurant under the awning there.
Next, we drove back to the Cape of Good Hope and spotted several wild ostriches along the way.
We stopped at the Cape of Good Hope and there was a very long line to be photographed with the sign. Fortunately, we aren't the type of people who need a photo of ourselves by a sign, so here's a stranger next to it. The sign reads: The most south-western point of the African continent. 18° 28' 26" East, 34° 21' 25" South
Allie took a picture of us nearby instead. Did we mention it was windy?
We drove back through the pretty landscape of Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve and stopped to get a photo of this protea bush.
The zoom function on our camera can only do so much, but here's the blossom of the bush, taken from at least 20 feet away.
False Bay is huge. From here, we drove along the bay toward Simon's Town.
Signs warned us about baboons but we didn't see any here. Not a problem, though, because we saw plenty of them later in our trip.
Our next stop was the penguin colony at Boulders Beach near Simon's Town. Shortly after our arrival, we saw a US Navy bigwig being escorted through the park by South African naval staff. We should have given him the American secret handshake but we didn't.
This park is home to hundreds of endangered African penguins.
They are all over the park, standing next to the walkways and boardwalks, ...
... or just chilling, like this one was.
We walked from the south end of the park ...
... to the north end via a spacious boardwalk, constructed to protect the penguins and their homes from the many tourists who visit each year.
Here are some penguin homes, half-submerged in the sand and numbered on top.
The majority of the penguins are at the north end of the park.
There were penguins as far as the eye can see -- or at least until the next set of very large boulders obstructs our view.
So cute.
Back on the road, we drove through Simon's Town and looked back toward Boulders Beach, ...
... then passed this possibly-military facility near Dido Valley where some cannons were located. We strongly suspect that this is the source of the cannon fire we had heard several times during our visit with the penguins.
This is the beach at Fish Hoek. Great white sharks are occasionally spotted here so there are often shark spotters on duty during the summer season.
We drove back to town and got another Maersk sighting not long before we arrived back at the hotel.
Back at our hotel, we finally got a picture of the sign noting that the lounge on our floor was reserved for the Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing team. They were staying in our hotel while in town for the Cape Town leg of the round-the-world Volvo Ocean Race.
Table Mountain was still looking beautiful from our hotel room. We freshened up and then headed right back out to get a snack and do a little more sightseeing.
It was just a short walk through the Craft Market to get to this building that housed numerous snack and food kiosks. We bought some gelato since we were too full for a full dinner.
We enjoyed our gelato while sitting on a bench in Nobel Square.  This series of sculptures depicts four famous South African Nobel Prize recipients: Albert Luthuli, former president of the African National Congress and the first African to win the Nobel Peace Prize (1960), plus Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu (1984), FW de Klerk (1993) and Nelson Mandela (1993). 
Debbie scored big when she spotted this Maersk logo on a Volvo Ocean Race sign.
We saw this dragon boat team row by.
On our way back to our hotel, we stopped in the Craft Market and bought a business card holder from this store. The ostrich shell designs were very striking and seemed a very fitting souvenir of our day.

Good night, Cape Town!

Day 5 >


Africa/Middle East 2014: [Day 1 - Virginia] [Day 2 - Senegal] [Day 3 - South Africa] [Day 4 - South Africa] [Day 5 - Zimbabwe] [Day 6 - Botswana] [Day 7 - Zambia] [Day 8 - Tanzania] [Day 9 - Qatar] [Day 10 - Abu Dhabi] [Day 11 - Dubai] [Day 12 - Oman] [Day 13 - Bahrain] [Day 14 - Jordan] [Day 15 - Jordan] [Day 16 - England]

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