Thursday, February 21, 2013

Cape Peninsula Tour

OK, it's time to confess to being chronologically challenged bloggers at times.  We took a tour of the Cape Peninsula Tour on the first rainy Saturday after we arrived, but are just getting around to writing about it 10 days later.  The tour covered about 70 miles round trip, south of Cape Town.  The first part of the trip was on the Atlantic Ocean side.  In the afternoon, we drove back up the Indian Ocean side.

Cape Town is at the top of the map.  The Cape of Good Hope is at the bottom.

The first stop on the tour was in the Bo-Kaap area of Cape Town.  Bo-Kaap is a predominantly Muslim neighborhood, populated by the "coloured" Cape Malay people. Such color distinctions are still routinely used in conversation by locals of all races, twenty years after apartheid.  The Cape Malays are descendants of early slaves, who came from Indonesia, India, the West Indies and other parts of Africa.

Bo-Kaap neighborhood, looking towards Lion’s Head

Next we stopped by Camp's Bay, one of the nicest and wealthiest beach areas in Cape Town.  Leonardo DiCaprio, among others, has a large house here.  He must have been smitten while filming Blood Diamond.  We would like to go back to Camp's Bay on a sunny day, and have a sundowner on a patio or balcony at one of the many nice restaurants and bars in the area.

View of Camp’s Bay below the Twelve Apostles

Next up was Hout's Bay, an affluent suburb that is also home to a large commercial fishing fleet.  Then we stopped at Chapman's Peak, named after an early explorer to these parts.

Hout’s Bay.  The panorama extends for many degrees.

Fynbos and crystal blue water below Chapman’s Peak

After stopping briefly at an ostrich farm (a highlight for Sarah - of course), we moved on to the Cape Point Lighthouse and the Cape of Good Hope.  The Cape of Good Hope, which was originally more aptly named the Cape of Storms, is the most southwesterly point in Africa.  Other points are further south or west, but this was definitely an area that sailors wanted to avoid.  There are several hundred shipwrecks nearby.

Insert your own joke about a politician sticking his head in the sand.

View from the short trail to the Cape Point Lighthouse

View from Cape Point Lighthouse to Cape of Good Hope

Sarah with giant kelp, near cheesy sign for Cape of Good Hope

On the way back to Cape Town, we stopped at Boulder's Beach near Simon's Town. There is a colony of rehabbing Antarctic penguins here. They are pretty mellow dudes. The pygmy penguins at Philip Island in Australia seemed more fun.  But maybe these penguins were also bummed out by the rainy weather.  We might go back and swim and play with them on a sunnier day.  It's allowed.  Cool, huh?

Danny DeVito and Burgess Meredith have nothing on this Penguin

The penguins have a conference at the mound
Our favorite scruffy penguin.  We always like the underdogs.

Our final stop was at a winery in Constantia, which is a 15-minute drive from our host family's house.  Constantia was the original wine-making district in this region.  A Dutch governor made the first wines in the late 1600's.  The first wine he made pretty much sucked, but others did much better later.  We had some really good white wines at a free tasting, plus a few mediocre ones.  The room was elegant but welcoming.

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