6.06.2013

South Africa: Day 6 (Cape Point)

Prior to Cape Town, we had never stayed at the same hotel for more than three consecutive nights, and that has only happened once or twice. Day 6 of our South Africa trip was our fourth day in our hotel, and we were getting used to the new routine. Here we are in the lobby, waiting for Steve to pack up the car for the day:


These pictures show the little restaurants on the lower level:


On the agenda for the day was Table Mountain National Park. We didn't get very far before we had to stop to admire the view:


That's Camps Bay Beach behind us:


But every city has two distinct sides to it. The shacks are difficult to photograph because there are often people out selling things on the side of the road. I took this picture from a stop sign:


The vegetation here is really unique; sometimes I wish we had our old supervisor, Linda Smith along with us so she could teach us about all of the trees and plants.


We pulled over into a rest area, overlooking Hout Bay:


There was a couple who approached us as soon as we got out of our van, trying to sell us handmade crafts. We told them we weren't interested, and the man said, "But we have little children to feed." I held my ground and said no, but that sort of thing is very difficult for me. 

I think this might be my favorite picture of the day:


Please note that Lucy's braids were out by Day 6. That means they only lasted a total of eight days. Not the best idea to get braids done right before a long flight. . . too much tossing and turning on the plane.


The other side of Hout Bay:


Adam climbed up a tree to get a better view: 


Absolutely breathtaking: 


We continued driving on Chapman's Peak Drive, which is considered to be one of the most beautiful marine drives in the world. The road has 114 turns and has been the setting for many movies and TV commercials. Since it first opened as a gravel track in 1922, it has wowed increasing numbers of tourists. But not without casualities. Rockfalls were a major problem until the road was closed in January 2000 for a major upgrade. It reopened in December 2003 as a toll road. Rocks and boulders can now roll right over travelers as they drive under the protection of this overhang: 


This view in this picture, taken by Rachel, is kind of crazy: 


Rachel took all sorts of fun pictures:


We drove through Simon's Town, which Rachel thought looked like Main Street in Logan:


Our first official stop of the day was at Boulders Beach, which is part of Table Mountain National Park. Adam looks so big in this picture:


We walked along the wooden boardwalk and learned about the colony of African Penguins, which has grown from just two breeding pairs in 1982 to about 3,000 penguins. We learned some interesting things: 

The African Penguin is an endangered species. 

African Penguins are commonly referred to as "Jackass" Penguins because they sound like donkeys. (Rachel and Lucy laughed hysterically about their nickname. And I laughed hysterically when I finally heard the penguins braying. It really is funny.) 

Penguins can stay submerged under the water for up to two minutes. 

Their distinctive black and white coloring is a vital form of camouflage, white for underwater predators looking upwards and black for predators looking down onto the water. 


Boulders Beach is the popular recreational area, but the best place to view the penguins is from Foxy Beach, shown here: 


Adam, overlooking False Bay, had all sorts of things to tell me about the penguins, "Look mom, that's the emperor of the colony!"


And "That's how they kiss, they put their beaks together in a heart shape." 


All of the other tourists at Boulders Beach were Asian. And they all wanted to take pictures of Kaleigh. Rachel went ahead and took some pictures of that:


Rachel's pictures of the penguins at Foxy Beach turned out to be better than mine: 


We got back in the car and continued driving towards the Cape of Good Hope. But the ocean was calling our name, so we had to stop and play: 


Again, Rachel's camera (my old Leica camera) captured the vivid colors of the water far better than mine: 


I set up the timer on my camera for a group picture (Derrick and Gcobisa were spending the day with family):


Rachel quickly snapped this picture of me: 


Seriously. Look at those colors. . . maybe I need to switch back. 

Here we are. Round One: 


Round Two:


I was a little bothered with our experience at the entrance gate. . . When we went to Boulders, we asked about purchasing a Wild Card, South Africa's version of a National Parks pass. They told us that they weren't available there, but that we could get one at the Cape of Good Hope. When we arrived at the Cape of Good Hope, they told us their line was down, so we couldn't buy one there either. But we had just spent $20 to get into Boulders, and the Cape of Good Hope was going to cost us another $40. We still had four more national parks to visit, and the Wild Card only cost $75. Of course, if there was a situation like that in the United States, they would just tell you to save your receipts and then they would apply what your had paid towards the cost of the membership when it was available to purchase. But not here. Our next opportunity to buy a Wild Card was at our fourth national park, and by then we figured we were better off just paying separately for the last few parks. But I'm not sure . . . and I'm clearly still bothered by it. Customer service is not one of South Africa's strengths. 

There were two tour busses at the Cape of Good Hope, so we had to wait for a few minutes before it was our turn to take a picture. Photos taken by strangers rarely turn out very well: 


So then I hurried and took one of just the kids:


The signs were in English and Afrikaans. Sometimes road signs are in English, and then sometimes they are in Afrikaans.


Notice that the sign said that the Cape of Good Hope is the most south-western point of the African continent. There is a common misconception that the Cape is the southern tip of Africa, because it was once believed to be the dividing point between the cold current of the Atlantic Ocean and the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. Cape Agulhas, located some 90 miles southeast is actually the southern tip of Africa. And the meeting point of the currents fluctuates, usually occurring between Cape Agulhas and Cape Point. The meeting point produces no obvious visual effect. There isn't a line in the ocean where sea changes colors, and the water doesn't look different in any other way. There are, however, strong and dangerous swells, tides and currents around the point and in adjacent waters. Freak waves have swept countless boats and fisherman to their deaths into the troubled sea. 

By the time we drove over the Cape Point, it was starting to rain. We decided that was a good time to eat lunch. We ate at the Two Oceans Restaurant: 


Steve had the fish and chips. The fish wasn't quite what he was expecting:


Lucy had her very first ostrich burger and loved it:


I had some sushi:


And Rachel had the gnocchi:


None of our food was especially good. Which was too bad because it was the most expensive meal we had eaten on our trip.

Cape Point was one of my very favorite things we saw on our first trip to South Africa, so I was excited to show the kids:


The sun was back out, and you never know how long that will last. So we bought one way tickets to ride the Flying Dutchman Funicular closer to the top of Cape Point. (We really wanted the kids to have a clear view from the peak of Cape Point.)


Rachel told me she doesn't like the profile picture I have on Blogger and that she wanted to take a new one for me. Here is is. I doubt I'll use it: 


We still had a little bit of a walk to the top of the peak: 


Look at that beach down below. Steve totally wanted to hike down there and go for a swim:


There are some incredible trails along the Cape. You can hike along the Hoerikwaggo Trail from Table Mountain to Cape Point in five days. But with the kids, a short walk to the lighthouse was about all we could handle:


There were beautiful views in every single direction: 


This plant, called Krantz Aloe, grows everywhere in South Africa. The Afrikaans word "krantz" means rocky cliff. It is one of only a few species of aloe that is found growing from sea level up to tops of mountains: 


The peaks above Cape Point are much higher than the peaks of the Cape of Good Hope: 


At the top, with the historic lighthouse in the background:


This cast iron lighthouse was erected on Cape Point Peak 249 meters above sea level in 1860. The white flashing light of 2,000 candlepower could be seen by ships 67 kilometers out to sea. But the lighthouse proved to be ineffective because it was often covered by fog and mist. And when it was visible, ships actually saw it too early and started their turn too soon. After the wreck of the Portuguese boat Lusitania in 1911, it was decided to erect a new lighthouse on Dias Point below, only 87 meters above sea level. 


Steve was pretty sure that some of these signs were pointing in the wrong direction:


Look at all of that water:


And look at these four happy kids, still willing to pose for pictures. This is exactly why we rode the funicular.


And then we hiked back down: 


This was a secret radar station, used in World War II:


Rachel told me to take this picture and send it in to Mini Boden and ask them to put it in their catalog. . . too bad they weren't wearing their Patagonia jackets or maybe her plan would work.


It was a slow hike down. . . we kept stopping to admire the views: 


Adam needed to do some cool poses: 


Did I mention it was pretty?


And then we started back home. There are signs for baboons everywhere


Probably because there are baboons everywhere. We used to stop and take pictures of every single one. But now, it's kind of like seeing a brown bear or a moose in Alaska.


This picture is what I think of, when I think of Africa:


As we drove home through Table Mountain National Park, we saw a rainbow. Steve said, "Too bad there isn't anything cool in the background." And then we saw four zebras!


Lucy took the best photo, with my iPhone: 


I'm going to talk Steve into using this as his new facebook profile picture:


We drove home a different way and came across a beautiful ostrich farm:


And more baboons, of course:


We saw the surfers coming in, near Scarborough:


And then we drove the rest of the way home.

Just in time to get some Chicken Lo Mein from Yum before they closed for the night.

Penguins, zebras, baboons, ostriches, surfers. 

3 comments:

The Ballard's said...

I am loving these posts as you go through your adventure.

Kayli said...

Amazing amazing amazing. Gorgeous place. I just love the ocean! And those baboons are crazy!

I will be in Logan/Ogden area until August 7th. Will you be back before then?

Melissa and Mitch said...

Everything is so awesome it doesnt seem real. thanks for the posts.