On Monday, January 9, we enjoyed a full day tour of the Cape Peninsula with African Eagle Tours. I cannot say enough about this company as their comfortable tour vans and excellent tour guides added much to our experiences in South Africa.
While I am not a beach person, I found the seascape as we traveled south from Cape Town all the way to the Cape of Good Hope absolutely breathtaking. The rugged coastline is fraught with perils as the waves constantly crash against the shore. There are spectacular, white sandy beaches to enjoy but few people swim as the water is extremely cold and there is the ever constant danger of Great White Sharks. There are many points along here that are a surfers paradise — if you dare.
We traversed Chapman’s Peak and wound along a road cut into the mountainside. The scenery was truly breathtaking.
At Hout Bay, I joined the optional tour of Seal Island while Lenore enjoyed a look round the shops. The wind was quite high and the small ferry pitched and rolled across the waves to journey us out to an island totally covered in seals. There must have been 1,000 of them. They were sunning themselves, swimming and frolicking alongside our boat and it was an amazing site to see.
Further along our journey brought us to an ostrich farm. This beautifully landscaped farm looked as though it should be a Kentucky Horse farm with its beautiful pole fenced paddocks and perfectly manicured lawns. A quick lesson on ostrich (man they are weird birds) and time to browse the gift shop where many beautiful articles made from ostrich skin were available and we were on our way again.
We stopped at Boulder’s Beach to view the penguin colony there. Again, there were hundreds of them. Cute as buttons. Smaller than I expected but adorable as they waddled across the stony shore.
We travelled right down to the southernmost point of Africa where the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian Ocean meet. There is a lovely restaurant there which overlooks the bay. The wild baboons are a constant threat there as they continually approach the tourists and the restaurant to scavenge food. In areas were baboons have become accustomed to people, they are an extreme problem. They have even been known to break into peoples houses and accost people to snatch their food out of their hands. They are large animals with savage teeth so best to steer clear of them.
We enjoyed a wonderful meal there. Lenore had traditional fish and chips and I had a fish called Kingklip served with Calamari on a bed of artichoke and vegetables. Absolutely fantastic! Kingklip is a thick, solid white fish — delicious — but the big surprise was the Calamari. Calamari is not something that I enjoy at home. When we get it it is usually so tough it is like eating rubber but this !!! Absolutely devine. Very gently cooked, moist and tender and absolutely delicious.
It was interesting to sit and hear the stories of the many shipwrecks of the Cape. It’s treacherous coastline has claimed many a ship, including the Lucitania. It was only through the heroic efforts of one man that only four of the 450 people on board were lost.
Our return up the eastern side of the Cape finished with a tour of the spectacular Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. Although it is summer here, and strangely, the dead season, there was still much beauty to be seen in this pastoral setting. Magnificently tended and landscaped gardens of native trees, flowers and succulents were beautifully displayed along peaceful pathways and alcoves. A very tranquil and beautiful place.