Gordon's Bay to Cape of Good Hope and All Points Between
Gordon's Bay Travel Blog› entry 12 of 17 › view all entries
Day 11 - Gordon's Bay and Cape of Good Hope
The early birds, Shinja, Alan and I got up and headed out to go shopping for the week, Shinja had everything we needed listed and Alan and I just dutifully followed pushing the carts. Shopping here as compared to Hazyview was definitely more cosmopolitan. An entirely different, not better or worse, just different experience.
By the time we got back and unload the van we had life signs in the apartment. The necessities taken care of, breakfast and coffee, we were ready to head to the Cape of Good Hope.
On the road again (sounds like a song I heard) and taking in the sites. Wow, this was a new site. We saw miles and miles of townships. Reading and seeing photos are one thing but seeing them up close and personal is another. We were unprepared. What really brought our attention to this was seeing children laughing and playing games right alongside the road running adjacent to the township. We saw kids line up in a field and stamp down the tall grass so they could play soccer. You know, philosophically speaking, if people would be happy with what they have the world would be a better place. We think we're happy with more material things and we always want more. They have their possessions and they are happy. We saw that time and time again in their faces, actions and conversations. Given that it has been about 15 years since apartheid officially ended and they have come a long way but they still have a long way to go. Hopefully they don't get caught up in the "me, mine, my world" out there.
We drove along the north end of False Bay watching surfers and looking at the beautiful beaches. The water looked so inviting that we could resist. Whoa there. The water was COLD. Well cold compared to south Florida.
We continued on through some really narrow streets on the R310. The homes and stores are right on the edge of the road. We often saw people stopped, pointing and taking photos on the bay side of the road. Naturally, as photographers we had to do the exact same thing but at what? Whales, whales and more whales. They were close to shore and remaining on the surface. Not camera shy at all.
We passed through Fish Hoek, Cairns and numerous other towns which showed the Dutch and English history. Finally we made our first destination at Boulder's Beach. This is the home of the Jackass Penguin. We followed the signs for their rookery and paid the very reasonable entrance fee. We're wondering if we needed the long telephoto to capture them but, wait, there's one less than 2 feet from us. There's another and a lot more. Nah, telephoto not needed.
We had seen a documentary called "Penguin City Slickers" by Trevor De Kock before we left for this trip. We thought we were prepared for the antics but nothing could prepare us for the hundreds of them so close and interacting with humans. They actually seemed to pose as the tourists, including us, snapped away. It was an experience not to be soon forgotten.
The beach and the surrounding area added to the experience. While not a particularly sandy beach it was aptly name Boulder's for a reason. We had to force ourselves to head out for the rest of the trip and, more important at this point, food.
We asked the gentleman at the entrance where, he as a local, would go for lunch and he recommended the Simonstown Country Club. That was our destination for food. Good food, great bar, great wine and nice people. We finished, paid our bill and headed out for the cape again.
Upon arrival and paying the entrance fee we opted to go to the cape first and the lighthouse afterwards. We did see a few whales in the Atlantic waters adjacent to the road but we were disappointed in not seeing any Chacma Baboons. When we made it to the cape, easily identified by the indigenous tour buses, we were in a photographers treat. The coast is, well, rugged, doesn't do it justice. It's very easy to see why the most south-westerly point in Africa is also the home of numerous wrecks and the names of Wreck Coast and Coast of Storms.. Even with modern technology we did see numerous large ships giving the area a very wide berth. While we were there, within 30 minutes the winds went from 5 to 10 knots to upwards of 30 knots. Once they backed to the southwest the temperature dropped also.
We made numerous attempts to take photos at the Cape of Good Hope sign but were jostled and pushed by the tourists so they could get their photos. We stood around until the tour buses left and took them. Amazingly, well not really, a lot of the rude people were not locals.
Now we're headed back up to the lighthouse. The original plan called for hiking but not in that wind and not in that cold. Remember, we're south Floridians and anything below 70 is freezing. As we were driving out two ostriches came walking towards the ocean across the road. The female went first and the male hung back. We saw why. Four ostrich chicks made their appearance. Not until they had crossed the road did the male bring up the rear. Understandable... Hmm, why did the ostrich cross the road? oops, sorry that was chicken.
When we got up to the lighthouse the tour buses had made their nest. Again, we waited until most of them cleared out. We did get tickets to the top using the tracked trolley they have. We were sure glad we did. When we got to the top it was very windy and very cold. It was a beautiful site and, as a mariner, it must also be a very welcome one to the ships passing here for Asia or points north. There is a sign indicating distance to various locations also.
We came down and collectively headed for the restaurant for warmth, internal and external. Hot coffee had never felt so good. We also bought a bag of Penguin Poop. I think its candy but really not adventurous enough to find out.
On the way out we did take a couple of loop roads. The land is so ruggedly beautiful. I have been to a lot of seaside locations but the vegetation and landscape were so different here. All of us were so glad we had cameras.
While heading back we again stopped along the road a few times to photograph the whales. They seemed to be very interested in the sea kayaks out there and would head towards them. We saw them on their side and spy-hopping quite often.
Back to the apartment for a quick shower, change of clothes and out for dinner.