Kidnapped in Cape Town and other capers….


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Africa » South Africa » Western Cape » Cape Town
September 29th 2018
Published: October 1st 2018
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Let's go swimming boysLet's go swimming boysLet's go swimming boys

They waddle, dive and swim. Who doesn't love a penguin?
As a bit of background, this is part of a very special trip as we are celebrating MJ’s milestone birthday (albeit a couple of years late). As a result, we’ve gone and made it even more special than some of our others. We enjoy using a travel agent to assist us when traveling as they have a wealth of knowledge we’ve never been able to glean from other sources. Angeline, who was our travel agent for many years and seemed like a good friend, ran off and retired. We are happy for her but will continue to needle her about her retirement.

Nadia our new travel agent lives in Seattle but South Africa was her home during her youth. We had brunch with her in Seattle not long ago to discuss this trip and as luck would have it she was in Cape Town on business so she picked us up after our arrival and took us to lunch at the Twelve Apostles. The views were spectacular and we enjoyed our first sampling platter of South African foods and a Pinotage wine that had been recommended by our friend Linda who is also South African, now living in the UK. The trip is off on a grand start….. thank you Nadia, and if this trip is any indication we will have a long and lasting friendship.

Even the most experienced travelers will tell you that on occasion, some wacky things can happen on the road…..and usually do. The solution? Smile, laugh and move on…after all, you’re travelling, not working. Our first full day in Cape Town provided such a scenario.

We were still a bit fuzzy from 23 hours of flights over two days and had already had a wonderful morning tour which included visiting Khayelitsha, the largest black township in Cape Town. It was a fascinating tour where we learned more about how the townships evolved during apartheid to the present-day challenges of the denizens. We were privileged to visit a pre-school, a community center which teaches skills to women and a senior center. At each stop we were greeted warmly and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Dave even got to participate in a djembe drum jam-session. The djembe looks like what most westerners might call a conga drum. The children were full of joy and the seniors loved sharing tidbits of their life with us.

Poverty is
Bo-KaapBo-KaapBo-Kaap

Known as the Malay Quarter
ever present in some of these smaller communities. The houses are mere shanties of corrigated metal that appear to be leaning this way and that connecting walls to ceilings. We are told most of these shanty areas got power and plumbing in the early 90’s. Strings of power lines drape from power poles hand full at a time.

The newer communities are made of stucco and brick and seemed to have had a development plan. It is evident people are trying to find jobs to make a better life for their families. This area of the world has a high crime rate in part due to the 25 percent to 40 percent unemployment rate, depending on who you talk with.This is in part due to migration from other African nations to South Africa. Throughout the Cape Town area, we are pleasantly surprised by the lack of graffiti and the cleanliness of the streets. Even the shanty areas had a cleanliness and neatness about them. They must take great pride in their residences, despite the poverty.

Kidnapped in Cape Town

After a quick lunch, we were picked up for our afternoon tour by Cecil. We had anticipated a
African DancingAfrican DancingAfrican Dancing

Performer at Gold Restaurant
city tour of Cape Town, but Cecil started driving us south on the coast road and began to speak of penguins. We didn’t think much of it as we had been told that based on the weather, the order of the tours might be adjusted. It was a dry but windy day and Table Mountain was covered in a white “table cloth” of clouds. Somewhere south of Hout Bay, Cecil took a call from his tour company. He then asked us what our name was……only to discover that he had picked up the wrong couple for a tour! Our name was not Walton and the front desk staff had mistakenly told him we were his afternoon tour. Several phone calls ensued before all of this was sorted out. We retreated back towards Cape Town, where we met our “real” guide Faizel and the real tour began. We had quite a laugh over this. We’ve learned that not all plans work out as they should and you have to go with it….Next time we will attempt to get our guides name so we know who we are looking for.

Our plans definitely changed the next morning due to weather. We’re in Cape Town in early spring and the weather can be quite challenging. Almost everyone will tell you that there are four seasons in a day in Cape Town. This morning, it was windy seas and fog that changed our plans. We were scheduled to go to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for many years. We really looked forward to it. Mandela of course, is well….. Mandela and this prison is on an island just a twenty minute boat ride from Cape Town. We’ve been to Alcatraz and also the prison in Tasmania and were keen to see this one as well. Former political prisoners guide some of the tours, so the chance to hear their stories would have been great. Rough seas cancelled our ability to visit Robben Island.

Over the course of a few days in Cape Town, Faizel was able to take us to all the places we missed on the day we were kidnapped by the wrong guide. We are really enjoying our time with Faisel. We’ve heard so much about Cape Town over the years so it is great to finally visit. A smaller city than we were expecting nestled in the
Fog rolls inFog rolls inFog rolls in

Cape Town waterfront
foothills of the surrounding mountains and stunning bay. Due to recent rains the city has become green again which adds to its beauty. Cape Town is on a craggy coast with zig-zaggy roads and million-dollar mansions over-looking public beaches. A lot of the action is on the waterfront where you’ll find multiple hotels, malls and over 80 restaurants.

As promised the weather was ever changing because of the location, winds and such. The mountain and water views never the same moment to moment. The fog rolls in and out the way it does in San Francisco and adds an air of mystery.

Malay Quarter

The Bo-Kaap neighborhood of Cape Town is often referred to as the Malay Quarter due to the blend of Malaysian, African, Indian and Sri Lankan cultures. The area is full of vibrantly colored houses and businesses. We felt like we were back in the Caribbean. We are told that Dutch imperialists brought a mix of cultures with them to assist in development.

Cape Town is multi-cultural, so it will not surprise you to find various churches and mosques within the city. We visited the historic Castle of Good Hope which is not
Brutus visits South AfricaBrutus visits South AfricaBrutus visits South Africa

Yes.....he's along with us again!
really a castle by our definition but an old fort. We enjoyed walking the grounds and visiting the museum inside.

District Six

We visited two other museums, The National Museum and the District Six Museum which was our favorite. District Six is the heart of the city and has historic significance because the land was taken from an entire community and they were displaced. It is a small museum but packed with historical information which takes time to absorb. The residents of this area (some 30,000) were literally just told to pack up and leave over a dozen or so years after an apartheid decision was made in the mid 1960’s. It was determined that it would be a “whites only” part of town. Turns out, after they moved all the people and razed all the houses, hardly anyone wanted to live there, so even though it has become somewhat of a “hip and trendy” neighborhood, the past still looks them in the face.

Table Mountain

Table Mountain is a famous flat head mountain that stands over the city. Our first few days it didn’t make an appearance for more than a couple of minutes at
Full of personalityFull of personalityFull of personality

Visiting his pre-school
a time. Our last morning, she was visible and we headed to the mountain to take our planned tram ride to the top. Often the trips are cancelled due to high winds. The trips had been cancelled all week so when we got to the top we joined several thousand people in the line. As it turned out the views of the city were pretty terrific from the line so we enjoyed taking pictures. We soon learned that our place in line would be more than two hours until we made it to the top. We decided to forgo the tram ride and called Faizel to rescue us from this wait. He took us to the top of nearby Signal Mountain where we took many city photos and watching a couple of people take flight from the top of the mountain on parasails.

Penguins!

Our favorite day in Cape Town was our full day Cape Point & Peninsula Tour…. For two reasons… the weather cooperated and we saw penguins!!!! And lots of them.

In coming to South Africa, we knew that our knowledge would be broaden by all the history, development and racial strife this country and
Speak to meSpeak to meSpeak to me

He had a lot to say.
people have endured, and this turned out to be true, but in all honesty, we came to see animals and the penguins were on the list. We (MJ)literally squealed in delight over these flightless birds, who stumble around out of the water, but can swim up to about 15 miles per hour under the water. “Torpedoes in tuxedos” we were told.

Sunny beaches, amazing coastline and beautiful nature preserves filled our day as we went from venue to venue, drinking in the amazing sights. The western Cape is chock full of wonderful things to experience…… Outdoor activities abound as we saw a few bicyclists, motorbikes and weeks of hiking could occur if you had the time.... nature abounds.

Foods and Wine

It was suggested to us to go to the Gold Restaurant in Cape Town for a sampling of African foods and entertainment. In between dinner courses they provide African singing and dancing. Yes, this is commercial and aimed at the tourists but it was enjoyable. The dancers were full of energy and the costumes colorful. We were given a taste of two appetizers, four different African street foods, five entrees and two desserts. Sadly, we wasted a lot of food as we could not eat even half of what they gave us. The foods were a cornucopia of selections from Zanzibar, South Africa, Zambia, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Morocco, Kenya, the Congo and Nigeria.

Where we stayed: Victoria & Alfred Hotel, Cape Town

Contact us if you want Nadia Eckhardt's contact information.

Restaurants recommended:

The Twelve Apostles

Gold Restaurant – local foods and entertainment

Truth Coffee House


Additional photos below
Photos: 54, Displayed: 29


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Nelson Mandela StatueNelson Mandela Statue
Nelson Mandela Statue

Placed at City Hall... representative of his first speech after release.
Yellow pin cushionsYellow pin cushions
Yellow pin cushions

Vibrant and beautiful
Adorable school kidsAdorable school kids
Adorable school kids

They love visitors.
African penguin African penguin
African penguin

Adorable.... and they walk funny.
Gold RestaurantGold Restaurant
Gold Restaurant

Lovely faces
Baboons?Baboons?
Baboons?

I guess we didn't study enough... we were not expecting to see baboons.


1st October 2018
Up close

Up close
Glad your trip has started off so spectacularly! The penguins are funny and charming and I too was surprised to see ostriches . Wait til you come upon hundreds of flamingos! Enjoy!
1st October 2018
Up close

Hello Marsha,
Great hearing from you! Yes our trip is starting off on a positive note. There is so much to learn and understand about this part of the world. Plus it is beautiful. Thanks for sending a message.
1st October 2018

Penguins!
Lovely writing and compelling pictures. I'm looking forward to more.
1st October 2018

Penguins!
Thank you Sheila. We are having a wonderful time exploring and I could not get enough of the adorable penguins. Thanks for following our travels.
1st October 2018
Enjoying face painting

Love this
Darn, you look so good, so happy, so Merry Jo!!! I love this picture
1st October 2018
Enjoying face painting

Thanks Brendan
I’m sure the wine had something to do with it. Thanks for commenting.
1st October 2018

What a great start
Well, not so much heading off with the wrong driver, but the rest of it has been awesome. I am sorry the tram was such a long line and that the prison island was not doable. Can't wait to see where you are off to next.
1st October 2018

What a great start
Even with all our mishaps and derailed plans we are having a great time and Faizel ensured that we saw many other things and continued to tell us the history of his country. So much to learn in South Africa.
1st October 2018

Cape Town
Weather will always call for a change of plans, but experienced travellers like you two will always get the best from it. Sounds like you’re having a great time. Keep smiling! David and Janice
2nd October 2018

Cape Town
David and Janice, you are correct that we can easily go with the flow. There are many things to keep one entertained in this part of the world. Thanks for following along.
1st October 2018

The Waltons
I remember the TV show and I have no doubt you tried to pass off as the Waltons. Not surprised you risked a pseudonym as you are living the dream where others fear to tread...but the Waltons!!!!! Really!!!!
2nd October 2018

The Waltons
We discovered later that the Waltons never actually showed up for their tour, so John Boy must have backed out. No pseudonyms here, just a simple, but funny mix up. Turns out our second guide was a great one! Cheers!
2nd October 2018

Mistaken identity
Quite hilarious how you two were kidnapped by your tour guide! Sure you wasted a bit of time, but you got a free ride along the coast line! South Africa is in my radar screen and to travel other countries from there. So, Nadi's contact would be very helpful MJ...will contact you. My two favourite photos 'Hello from Cape Point' and 'Dave the drummer' ( I tweaked the name a bit) for sure... I think the theme of the movie of District 9 was inspired by the events of District six...Thanks for taking us to this beautiful city through your post.
2nd October 2018

Mistaken identity
It really was funny... we told the gentleman at the desk our name, room number and where we would be sitting. The guide arrive and gave him the correct name and room number but evidentially the gentleman didn't listen carefully and assumed only one couple had someone coming to pick them up. Faizel got everything sorted out for us and we had a marvelous visit. Thanks for commenting.
2nd October 2018

Jumping in
Appeared that you recovered nicely from the jet part of the trip. I always like when you give us local histories, and the photos. Outside of the abduction, you seemed to cover a lot of sites. Loved the penguins, must have been great to just immerse yourselves with their way of just being.. And Dave, you were excellent on the drum, you got the rhythm!
2nd October 2018

Jumping In
We're recovered from the brutal jet lag and bouncing forward. Thanks for the nice comments....we aim to provide some good information along the way. I enjoyed banging on the drum.....big fun!
2nd October 2018

Off to a good start...
Happy birthday and glad to see you're grand tour is off to a good start. Your recommendations show that this really is a special occasion! Only the best. Looking forward to all the upcoming adventures!
2nd October 2018

Off to a good start
I can’t remember if you’ve been to Cape Town but you should consider it if not. We are having a grand time.
2nd October 2018

Only in Africa (or South Africa, to be more specific)
Glad you made it to my country and the city of my youth - it is a beautiful place, but the weather can be temperamental - yet on a good day it is fantastic! So pleased to hear you weren't really kidnapped - it would be a sad state of affairs, but not unlikely, unfortunately. Luckily you are seasoned travelers. Your next visit should be in Johannesburg - then we could meet up!
2nd October 2018

Only in South Africa
Good hearing from you. We will be in Jo berg on this trip. Are you in town? Having a great time and ready to head out on Safari
2nd October 2018

Beautiful place and beautiful people
We enjoyed reading your blog. It brought back so many amazing memories of our fantastic time in this region. It is one of the most beautiful areas in the world. And nowhere have we seen so many different and beautiful people than in Cape Town. Have a wonderful trip through Southern Africa - a fascinating region.
2nd October 2018

Beautiful place and beautiful people
So glad our blog brought back pleasant memories for you. We enjoy reading blogs about places we've been as a reminder of those good times. Diversity is rampant in Cape Town and is so lovely.
2nd October 2018

Only in SA
I am in town. Let me know when and where you're in Joburg and maybe we can meet up. You're welcome to send me an email or message and I'll give you my contact details. Enjoy your safari!
2nd October 2018

Only in SA
I will send you a private message in the next day or so. Let's see if it works out to meet.
2nd October 2018
Hello from Cape Point

I've been to the westernmost point
Last year we went to Senegal and there we visited the westernmost point on the African mainland. They made no advertising at all about it and they even started to shoo us away when we wanted to go down and take pictures. /Ake
2nd October 2018
Hello from Cape Point

Westernmost point
You've had a real achievement. Few people have visited the location you are speaking of. I know that was a real experience.
3rd October 2018

What a Wonderful Experience!
We are amazed at the history, scenery, and wonderful experience you are having! Love your pictures of the penguins. Mary Jo - you are indeed having a birthday you will remember.
3rd October 2018

Wonderful experience
The two of you would love this trip. So rich in history..
4th October 2018
Fast swimmers

Little cuties!
I read an article about how the practice of eating penguin eggs was a massive threat to these guys, but I think they've managed to reverse the damage done. And I would have squealed with delight too :) Sorry the fog and wind hampered some of your plans, but it looks like you got some nice sunny days too. Looking forward to more food and wild life photos!
4th October 2018
Fast swimmers

Little cuties
The are endlessly adorable. I could have watched them for days. Yes we learned about the egg issue but they believe it has been resolved. We enjoyed the museums and other things we did due to the weather so no problem. Travelers must be flexible. MJ
4th October 2018

Djembe.
I love the djembe drum. I can hear it beating. Cape Town, and indeed all of the African nations I visited have a place in my heart. Not long after Theresa and I met I was stationed in Cape Town, my stomping ground of Green Point, I am always delighted to read about this area. Squealing in delight at penguins - awesome! Dave
4th October 2018

Djembe
I’m happy if our blog provided you any memories. Your time in Africa seems to have been a good time in life.... plus you and Theresa met so that is very good. The people are incredibly nice and who doesn’t love a penguin.
6th October 2018

Loved this Blog Entry
Hi Dave and Merry Jo - I loved this blog entry. It makes we want to go to South Africa just to see the penguins!
7th October 2018

This blog entry
Yes please come to Africa and see the penguins. So much fun.
7th October 2018

Cape Town
What a wonderful and inspiring read, great to hear your travels have seemingly got off to an amazing start. Cape Town looks wonderful, and I look forward to reading more on your adventures 😊
7th October 2018

Cape Town
A lovely city on the water, rich in history. We are learning so much. As expected the people are so nice. Having a great time. Thanks for commenting.
8th October 2018

Adventures already!
Loving that you guys are having an adventure straight off the bat, when the best laid plans don't go quite right you know you're a traveller by how you deal with them
8th October 2018

Adventures
We go with the flow.No reason to be bothered by it.We are having a great adventure.
1st December 2018
Ok.. just one more

Penguin party
It must’ve been great to see them frolicking about in day time too!
1st December 2018
Ok.. just one more

Penguin party
We really were fortunate to go to some amazing places and see some amazing things.
27th December 2018

Late but here now :)
Hello M & J! I’m totally late to reading your African adventures, so I’m getting caught up now and I’m loving your experience, especially since its bringing back so many fond memories of our own time in Capetown. the kidnapping part must have been quite confusing, but I’m glad you bounced back from it! I agree that the coast is truly the gem of Capetown’s beauty. -Jen
28th December 2018

Late but here now
Thanks! Glad we could provide you some good memories. We had a great time. It is an amazing coast.

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