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Published: June 23rd 2018
The marvellous view outside our window
- you know how we love lighthouses, even partially demolished ones!
Wow! When I start my blog i have to select the continent and then select the country -on this continent there are 57 countries!! 57!
What a great surprise this morning - when we arrived last night the receptionist said we had a view of the car park, and that if we wished for an ocean view room it would cost an extra $85/night. I had visions of a multi storey car park, and asked Tom if we could please upgrade but he said, quite rightly, that we would be out all day each day and so would not get the value. I was devastated. Imagine my joy this morning when we opened up the curtains and found an off- street car park surrounded by grass with the base of a now-demolished historic lighthouse next to it, with the powerful Atlantic Ocean crashing on the shore next to it!!
after our lovely buffet breakfast we returned to the foyer and were collected by our tour company, using a minibus with a collection of nationalities. There was a lovely family of 4 from Calcutta, a lovely Australian family of 4 living in Hungary for dad’s job, a honeymoon couple from
Bristol and 3 lads from California who’ve just graduated From uni. So off we set, heading south With our tour guide telling us info along the way. Cape Town is a huge city, having doubled its population just in the time since Nelson Mandela was freed. We saw the hospital where Dr Christiaan Barnard conducted the world‘s first ever successful heart transplant In 1967. I was only 11 but can still remember this.
We also saw street corners where lots of men from the black townships would gather, waiting for jobs With construction companies or anything at all. If you want your lawn mowed or your car washed you could find someone ther to do it.
Our first stop after leaving the CBD was a little fishing community where tourists have the opportunity to take a short cruise out to an island where the seals gather. The weather at the moment though has made the seas rough and this was not an enticing proposition so we just mosied around the markets.
The original native people of South Africa were the Khoikhoi people, also known as hottentots. The darker skinned people from the interior migrated later.
travelled down to the Cape of Good Hope, hearing the stories of the Portuguese discovering it, back in the day when man thought the world came to an end after the equator, all the water fell off into a ditch, the world was flat and all of those old myths. Our convict ships used to stop at Cape Town to take on board fresh supplies, make repairs to the ships, or wait for the crew to gain good health before continuing on to Australia. The Cape is NOT the southernmost tip of Africa, there is another cape nearby which is more south, but the Cape of Good Hope is seen as where the cold Atlantic Ocean meets the warm Indian Ocean. This meeting place actually varies according to the prevailing currents. The Cape is not terribly wide, and Phillip (the guide) was saying that you can be swimming on the Atlantic side, and then drive across to the bay side and find the water 20 degrees warmer! They have a funicula to take you to the top of the mountain (or you could walk it). There were lots of older English people on a tour and I heard one of
them saying their accommodation had an egg timer in their shower to remind people to be quick. The taxi driver had told us the government had installed “Weapons of Mass Destruction” in peoples homes - they were actually Water Metre Devices (same initials) that cut off your water after so many litres. At the tip of the cape the water is wild and rough. They originally built a lighthouse on the top of the cape but then found that it was regularly shrouded in cloud, so they had to build a new one half way down the side.
On the way down in one of the villages (which are regarded as suburbs of Cape Town) we saw a ranger standing guard with a rifle and a ranger van patrolling. Phillip explained that they were baboon rangers and the rifle would have an anaesthetising drug for the alpha male baboon yo take him back to the wild and all of his family would follow. The baboons are very troublesome if they get into your house, or even if you’re walking the street and they smell food on you (they will attack you). If you leave a door or window open
they really wreck your home, leaving it needing to be renovated or even demolished. They always go out the same way they came in, so you can’t stand between them and their exit, they will charge at you.
We also saw wild ostriches several times along the way, and also an ostrich farm. Last year they had very bad bush fires down on the cape, during their very long drought. One of the hills was totally denuded of the low growing scrub.
After the cape we made our way through some more upmarket seaside suburbs to the one that has the penguin colony. The government department has created great boardwalks down through the sand dunes throughout their colony. They put little yellow igloos over the exposed nests to stop the seagulls from stealing the penguin eggs. We walked through another market to return to our bus. All these market people know that Australians won’t buy timber products!
After the penguin colony Phillip took us to a waterfront restaurant overlooking the docks with South African navy ships moored, at Simon’s Town. We dined on grilled very fresh kingklip, one of the most popular eating fish in South Africa.
It was a lovely lunch, chatting with the honeymoon couple from Bristol, and the three American boys. And then another walk through another market where we were shown beads which are made with recycled newspaper, glued like papier mache, and painted with nail polish.
After lunch we drove on to the Kirstenbosch Botanic Gardens which were quite extensive, established on land donated to the public by Cecil John Rhodes, an English businessman and mining magnate (de Beers was his company) who was a prime minister and who the former country of Rhodesia (now Zambia and Zimbabwe) was named after.
And then back to our hotel where we had room service dinner (a Margherita pizza, a beer and a sparkling wine for $26!!) and a rest!
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