Trip Report – Cape of Good Hope and Cape Peninsula Tour, Part 1

After the great experiences on Robben Island and Climbing Table Mountain, I again called upon the tour desk at the Westin Cape Town for a Cape Peninsula tour.  It arranged for a day-long tour with a private guide.  Although private guides are more expensive, they provide important advantages when trying to see a lot of things in short period of time.

Other posts about this trip to South Africa.

Pictorial Trip Report — Robben Island Tour, Cape Town, South Africa

Climbing Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa

Trip Report – Cape of Good Hope and Cape Peninsula Tour, Part 2

Cage Diving with Great White Sharks – Dyer Island (Shark Alley) Gansbaai, South Africa

Review – The Westin Cape Town, South Africa

Priority Pass Lounge Review – Bidvest Premier Lounge Domestic Terminal Cape Town, South Africa (CPT)

Camps Bay and the Twelve Apostles

Heading south from central Cape Town, the guide made the first stop at Camps Bay.  Camps Bay, a small, picturesque portion of Table Bay, sits next to a wealthy community of the same name.  The Twelve Apostles is a series of prominent cliffs and peaks that are part of Table Mountain National Park and the mountains that form the spine of the Cape Peninsula.

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Camps Bay and the Twelve Apostles

Hout Bay and Seal Island

Proceeding south down the coast, the next stop was Hout Bay.  Entering the town, we passed through one of the townships that are home to the vast majority of Black South Africans.

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Typical township housing.  In addition to crime, one of the many hardships of township life is an extremely hazardous electrical distribution system.

Hout Bay is known for great fishing, including Yellowtail and Longfin tuna, and a variety of leisure and tourist activities.  On my journey down the peninsula, I had just time enough for a boat ride to Seal Island for an up-close look at Cape Fur seals.

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Seal Island trips depart from the harbor at Hout Bay
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The fur seal are a big attraction for tourists from all over the world. The short boat trip to Seal Island cost less than $5.

Seal Island is a grouping of wave-lashed rocks near the entrance to Hout Bay.

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The seals were having a great time and seemed unconcerned by potential dangers lurking below.

After the seal viewing our route down the peninsula took us along Chapman’s Peak Drive.

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Chapman’s Peak Drive is cut into the face of the mountain which is a straight drop to the bay. Nets serve as some protection from rockfall.
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Hout Bay from Chapman’s Peak Drive
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Vista along Chapman’s Peak Drive.  Breaking waves on Seal Island (just left of the headland) are visible in the background.

Noordhoek and Scarborough Beach

Rounding the mountain, the road descends into Noordhoek, a seaside artistic community.

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Scarborough Beach and part of Noordhoek
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This beach is wide with soft, fine sand.  On warmer days I would not be the only visitor.

Scarborough Beach looked like a great surfing spot.20170704_142413

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These waves are nothing compared to what can be found at Dungeons on Sentinel Reef near Hout Bay.  At certain times of the year those waves are said to reach 14 meters.

Simon’s Town African Penguin Colony

The next stop was in Simon’s Town, home of a major South African Navy base.  Simon’s Town is on False Bay on the opposite side of the peninsula from Noordhoek and Hout Bay.

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Simon’s Town naval base

The colony of African penguins is at Boulders on Foxy Beach.  The site of the Boulders Colony is well within the city.  In fact, it is only a very short distance from the downtown business district.

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African penguins at Simon’s Town

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There are about 2,500 penguins in the colony.  A visitor’s center and boardwalk allow up- close viewing without disturbing the birds.

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Wings have become flippers allowing swimming at up to 15 miles per hour.
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Cute little fella

Simon’s Town is reported to be the only place in the world where people can swim with penguins.  This colony is in a nature preserve that bars human swimming.  The penguins, however, didn’t get the segregation memo.  They often invade the surf at nearby public beaches.

The next stop was the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point.  That report will be covered in Part 2.

Trip Report – Cape of Good Hope and Cape Peninsula Tour, Part 2

Steenberg Winery Tour

The last stop of the day (good thing) was at the Steenberg winery.   The winery is part of the Steenberg Farm, the oldest on the Cape.  The farm was established in 1682.  Wine making began there as early as 1695.

This was my first visit to a winery.  Shocking in this day and age.  And it was my first wine tasting in a long time.

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Wine tasting bar

Instead of sitting at the bar, I retired to a lounge with comfortable couches where a server brought the menu.20170704_144123_resized

So as not to offend my highly cultivated palette (ahem), I opted for the flagship tasting for 70 Rand or about $5.40.  This tasting included 5 different wines.  I assumed the glasses would be small or that there would be a place to pour out or spit out the wine.   Wrong!

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The tasting started with a sparkling chardonnay that he added to the wines on the flagship menu.
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The tasting included four other glasses of wine of various varieties.

The server poured each glass as if he were serving at a restaurant.  I only drank a portion of each glass.  At the end of the tasting, after consuming all or part of five glasses of wine in 30 minutes, I was pretty soused.  The wine tasted good, but then again, I’m no connoisseur.

 

 

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