Thursday, January 6, 2011

Penguins, Ostriches and Baboons (Oh My!) in Cape Town (Nov. 20, 2010)

We were getting close to Cape Town and our team got together for our last trivia game. We won once during the cruise…not bad! Kersti was a fountain of knowledge!

It was our last formal night and our dinner mates were going in style. When in Africa... We bowed to Stan the Chief and his good wife, Marilyn!

Gary and Diane from outside Montreal, and Stan and Marilyn from Florida, have been our table mates for the last 3 weeks. We would still have been at the same table on the next leg of the cruise, except we decided to switch to the early dinner sitting. Not that we loved either…our only complaint about the ship was the set dining times. Hmmm...did we miss the memo on African dress?

Roy and Adelin were our waiters…they were wonderful.

And here is the South African flag...

Arriving in Cape Town a couple of hours ahead of schedule…go, Captain!

The bowl-shaped structure is the stadium that was built for the 2010 World Cup.

Yikes! We decided to avoid the tomatoes for a couple of days. Something must have shifted in the truck and when they opened the doors, they got a tomato surprise!

Table Mountain is a Cape Town landmark, but it was hiding behind the clouds…

We saw lots of signs for Table Mountain and our plan was to go up there on one of the three days in Cape Town.

We were doing a private tour today, going to see the penguins and also going to Cape Point and through the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve. This landmark on the right is the Time Ball Tower. The ball on the tower would drop every day at 1:00 and sailors would set their watches by it.

Beautiful beaches…Cape Town is very windy!

We arrived at Boulders and by now the clouds had turned to rain…

But we were still going to see those penguins!

Here they are…penguins mate for life…

Our tour guide, Patrick, talking to Jim…it was windy and rainy but you wouldn’t know it by looking at them!

A penguin strolling…


You can see that some of the penguins were moulting. They don’t go in the water during that three week period and also don’t eat during that time…

Don’t they have a great view! 

Now that’s neat…the flag on your rear view mirrors!

Beautiful bougainvillea…something tells me they don’t use their garage.

Next stop…the Cape of Good Hope game reserve in Table Mountain National Park. It was still raining.

It was spring in Cape Town and the flowers were beautiful.  This is the national flower, the protea. There are over 1100 species of indigenous plants in the Cape of Good Hope, some of which are found nowhere else on earth.

We got to Cape Point where there is a funicular to take you partway up to the lighthouse. We debated whether it was worth it to go up there as it was rainy and foggy, and we wondered how much we would be able to see. Patrick said if it was him, he would go for it, so we did.

Good safety record on the funicular…

Until it crashed to a halt and we limped back to the station…

Whatever the problem was, it was quickly fixed and we made it to the top. It was beautiful!! It had stopped raining and the views were spectacular. 

Jim and Kim at Cape Point…

From here, you could walk up to the lighthouse…Jeff was hoping to see baboons as he had smuggled out a banana in his backpack. We were hoping he didn't!

One step at a time…the original lighthouse was built in 1860 and was 249 m above sea level. It was ineffective as it was covered by cloud and mist much of the time. After the wreck of the Portuguese liner Lusitania in 1911, this lighthouse was built on Dias Point 87 m above sea level.

We couldn’t believe what a break we got in the weather!

Signs to everywhere!

Here comes Jim…doing good!

Only 12,000 km to New York!

A dassie, which is Dutch for badger. They are slow moving and have padded feet which produce a sticky sweat that allows them to cling to rock faces. They also have a collapsible ribcage, allowing them to get into rock crevasses to escape predators.

This is what the guys did while the girls checked out the gift shop…Rich, Jeff, Jim and Bob.

As we continued our drive, we spotted some wild ostrich on the side of the road.

Then we were amazed at how many….seals? penguins? birds? were out there. What was this stuff? Patrick says in his thick French accent, "It eez kelp." Seaweed? Gotta love those tourists!

The Cape of Good Hope…the most south-western point in Africa…

Our Mercedes van for the day…we’ve had great vehicles…

We stopped by an ostrich farm…

They are very curious and this one guy sauntered over to check us out…you can hear Patrick’s nice accent. He has been in South Africa for 24 years!


Jeff got his wish…sitting on the side of the road were two baboons. These Chacma baboons have lived on the Cape Peninsula for a million years! The one by the bush is holding a baby under one arm. Jeff wanted to get out his banana and Patrick just about had a fit. No feeding the baboons!! They are very strict about this. Patrick could be fined and the baboon could be put down as they become too aggressive.

Yikes! Check out those teeth!

That’s what he thinks of us…

Seriously, are you still here?

Momma and baby…

We drove back to town along scenic Chapman's Peak. The road hugs the nearly vertical face of the mountain.

It's a very windy road with lots of nets to catch falling rocks…

And here we are back in town. This is the Lutheran church, one of the oldest Protestant churches in South Africa.

We were docked on the Victoria and Alfred waterfront…a beautiful setting…

It was the last night of this leg of the cruise and they had the traditional carrying in of the baked Alaska. Gone are the sparklers…replaced by battery operated candles! Adelin looks quite pleased with himself!

The entertainment was really good. It was called African Marsala and was a mix of everything…here comes the first group…


Loved the older guy on the right…he was having a great time!


The gumbooters did double duty…

This lady could move…


This group was really great…

We said goodnight to Ricky, Laelin and Julio, our favourite bartenders. The crew was very excited to be in a port overnight as they get to go out on the town. Laelin and Julio tried to convince us to go with them, but going out at 12:30??? We left that to them!

We had a great day in Cape Town, but were sad because Nancy and Joe were leaving the cruise in Cape Town. We have enjoyed their company so much.

1 comment:

Randy Sharp said...

Ricky was my favorite bartender also. I told him my favorite cocktail (a "Ricky Martini") was named after him but, alas, I think it was someone else. :-) But you should try it: grey goose orange vodka, quantro, and a splash of cranberry juice. That's a Ricky!