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Friday, August 31, 2007

Cape Town 4

DAY 4, 31 Aug 07

We started our journey early in the morning, brought along our jackets, map and we drove slowly at the seaside suburbs. We passed by exclusive residence of the rich & famous and most beautiful beaches : Clifton, Camps Bay & Bantry Bay. Then we headed to the Hout Bay. It was 31st of August, the Independence Day of Malaysia!


HOUT BAY

This is a fishing village and a satellite suburbs with lots of fresh fish and restaurants. At the harbour, there were loud seagulls and seals. There was also a local craft market and they offered boat trips @ cruise to see the seal colony.



We reached there too early and the shops were not open yet. The beach was quite empty with only a guy taking his dogs for a walk. The cruise to the seal island only starts to operate at 9.15 am.


LLANDUDNO BEACH

We decided to drive to a few beautiful beaches nearby while waiting for the cruise counter to open. On the Suikerbossie Hill, there is a posh Llandudno beach. It is an Antartic beach. The water is near freezing during summer and warm during winter. Since it was very early, we have the beach all to ourselves.




Shark encounters!


SANDY BAY

Then we headed to the Sandy Bay, which is a nudist beach.



We love the beach houses!


Then we went back to the Hout Bay, to board the cruise to the seal island.


CRUISE TO THE SEAL ISLAND





The cruise was a 35 minutes trip, and it departed at 9.15am, 10am, 10.45am and 1.30pm at a fee of R50 per pax, with a minimum of 12 pax per boat. There were 5000 Cape Fur Seals at Duiker Island. We were quite wet from the splashing sea water and it was drizzling! It was so COLDDDDDDDD



The seals were comfortably relaxing on the rocks in this very very cold weather. A few of the seals were sliding from the rocks and playing in the sea.





After the cold trip, we had a juicy, fresh & delicious lobster and chips with hot chocolate. We found a spot near to a heater as we were so desperate for heat. The lobster & chips was R125 per plate and the hot chocolate was R7 per cup.



We had fun going to the local craft market and we bought shark teeth necklaces and a few other African goodies.


CAPE POINT

We continued our journey to the Chapman’s Peak, but the road was closed. So we turned back and used another route, passed by the beautiful beaches again towards Cape Town. Alhamdulillah there was an alternative road to go to the Cape Point. We drove through Constantia and passed by many vineyards.

Then we reached Muizenberg which is 20km from Cape Town. It is at the False Bay Coast and popular for surfing with big waves. There are colourful beach houses and there is also a Muizenberg Mountain.

We passed by a few other places like St James, Kalk Bay (an old fishing harbour), Clovelly and Fish Hoek. Fish Hoek is a beautiful town and it is famous for it's safe swimming beach. We didn't have any pictures since Tosh was driving and Tawaf was recording video of our journey.

Next was the Simon's Town. A historic town and a port. It is an ex-royal navy base of 200 years. A few attractions here are the Simon’s Town Museum & South Africa Naval Museum.

BOULDERS BEACH

We spent about an hour with the penguins even though it was drizzling all the way and cold! It is best to come here early, either in the morning or afternoon. This beach houses the famous colony of the African Penguins, the Jackass Penguins. It is smaller, secluded and a safe beach. It is open daily at R25 per pax.








FOXY BEACH

There is a wooden walkway near the penguins and the penguins are in their natural habitat. It was still drizzling and we were getting wet. Foxy Beach is just beside the Boulders Beach.















CAPE OF GOOD HOPE NATURE RESERVE

Our journey continued to the Millers Point and Smitswinkel Bay. Along the way, we enjoyed very beautiful view. At the end, we reached the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve. This reserve is 100km from Cape Town, which is about 1 - 1.5 hour journey. It is open at 7am-5pm and 7750 hectare in size.

This reserve is the second most visited park after Kruger National Park. We will be visiting Kruger Park when we go to Joburg in a few days time.

There were plenty of parking spaces and we went straight to the counter to buy our tickets for the Cape Point at R55/pax & Funicular R32/pax return. There is also a pathway for people to walk up, but it is quite steep.




CAPE POINT

Cape Point is the highest sea cliffs in South Africa. It is famous for the Great white Sharks and it is also said that you can watch the 5 whales in False Bay, visible without binoculars at the Cape Point. There are many rare plants fynbos, antelope, cape mount zebra, bontebok, eland, ostriches, chacma baboon, dawdling tortoises, 1800 plant species and snakes here.





 

The lighthouse:




CAPE OF GOOD HOPE 

Next we drove to the Cape Of Good Hope.



The wind got stronger & it started to rain.







600m from the National Park entrance is the Cape Point Ostrich farm. We did think of trying the Ostrich ride, but it was raining so we decided to move on.






We started our journey back to Cape Town and on the way we spent some time at Muizenberg to watch people surfing and we reached Cape Town at dusk. It was raining all the way and the wind was strong.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Cape Town 3

DAY 3, 30 Aug 07

This was the view from our room at 6.30am. Sunrise at 7am while sunset at 6.30pm. We love the view from our room.








TABLE MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK

 We drove up the hill to the Table Mountain.
Directions: from Buitengracht Street go to Kloof Nek Road, go up the mountain until the top of the road and turn left to Tafelberg Road. There you'll find the Lower Cableway Station.

This was at the foot of the mountain.

There was a 'Table Cloth" (cloud) on the Table Mountain. Table Cloth usually appears during summer and in the afternoon. From far, we could see the cable car going down, Alhamdulillah it was open :) . The cable car would normally be closed on very windy days. It is 1km high and 6 minutes on the cable car. There is a cable car every 10-15 minutes and the 1st car up is at 8.30am, last up is at 5pm and last down is at 6pm.

We went early to avoid the queue and we brought our warm clothes because it'd be cooler on the summit.

It was R240 for 2 pax to go on the cable car and to enter the Table Mountain National Park. Table Mountain is open daily, if weather permits. The cable car is big and it rotates 360 degrees, so we were able to take pictures from all angles. We spent 1-2 hours here.






As soon as we exited the cable car, the temperature abruptly dropped and it was very cold! Being on a high summit which was covered by the thick cloud, we couldn't see anything at the edge. On a clear day, we should be able to see the view of Cape Town, Table Bay, Robben Island, Cape Flats and Cape Peninsular.

There are many Dassies @ rock-rabbits, which are from the elephant family on this mountain, but we didn't see any. There are 2 km pathways to explore:
  • Dassie Walk: it has a beautiful view of the North, West and South
  • Agama Walk: this walk is popular and it has the 360 degree view of Cape Town and Cape Peninsula. 
  • Klipspringer Walk: it has a wonderful view along the plateau edge



 



There is a restaurant on top of the mountain. Yummy hot choc & muffin :)


Tawaf bought a unique ring at the gift shop.


The cable car may close if the wind is strong and the visitors may have to walk down which will take a few hours. So we decided to cut the trip short and took the cable car down.

There was a group of school kids visiting the Table Mountain as well and we got into the same cable car with them to go down.









Then we went past the Table Mountain station and continued to drive on the Tafelberg Road. It has an astonishing city view and fresh air! There was still a thick cloud on the Table Mountain.
There are 2 peaks nearby; the Lion’s Head and the Devil’s Peak.




The Lion's Head.










KIRSTENBOSCH BOTANICAL GARDEN

Africa is rich with many types of plants and flowers and there are 5000 beautiful flora in this 528 hectares garden.

The picture here is a real flower!

Entrance to this Botanical Garden was R54 for 2 pax. From here, we could walk to the Table Mountain but it will take us 3 hours.


 

It is a must-see! It's a great place for picnic and to relax. It is open daily from 8am-6pm. This is one out of 7 magnificent botanical gardens in the world. We spent a couple of hours here.





RHODES MEMORIAL 


This is at the base of the Devil's Peak, as a remembrance of Cecil John Rhodes. It is also behind the University of Cape Town (UCT), which is 175 years old. It has a beautiful view of Stellenbosch & Somerset West. The statue of a man on a horse is the exact copy of the one in Hyde Park.

The wind was blowing very strong this afternoon. Then we passed by the Groote Schuur Hospital, where the world’s 1st heart transplant was done.




ROBBEN ISLAND


We drove towards the V & A Waterfront to catch our ferry to the Robben Island. It was R300 for 2 pax for a 3-4 hours tour. The tour included a 30 minutes ferry ride each way, an island bus tour and a tour at the Max Security Prison.

Our ferry departed from the Nelson Mandela Gateway near the Clock Tower Shopping center. During the bus tour, we had a tour guide who explained about the histories during the apartheid era.








It is a 400 years old political prison and this was where Nelson Mandela was kept for 20 years. It was the notorious prison in the world. During the trip on the island we could see many jackass / african penguins, bonteboks, springboks and ostriches. It was also said to have fallow deers, elands, lizards, geckos, snakes and tortoise. We always thought that penguins live in cold places, but there were many here. Maybe they came from across the sea, from the Antarctic. There are only a few houses on the island. On the island there is the Cape Town Karamat, a shrine of Sayed Abdurahman Matura, a prince of Ternate Imam.






Across the sea is the Table Bay Boulevard, Cape Town. Many prisoners tried to escape from this prison by swimming across the freezing sea water.
The highest point of the island is the 24m Minto's Hill.








We toured the Max Security Prison with an ex-political prisoners as our guide. He was imprisoned along with Nelson Mandela. He was very young back then, about 16 years old. He brought us to the Nelson Mandela's prison cell. The cell was actually closed for renovation, but since the door was open, our guide brought us in :).

Then he brought us to the general cell where he was imprisoned for 7 years. During winter, there was no heater in the cell and the windows were open. They only had their shorts to survive the winter. The prison cell accommodates 80 people!




It was time to go back as it was getting dark and even more windy.











We saw some seals before we took off :)