Cape Town

Cape Town Holiday

 

31 March, Tuesday

Just arrived in Cape Town and am so excited to be in this lovely and highly raved about city.  Table Mountain dominates the skyline, a spectacle I’ve witnessed only photos of and am thrilled to see in person.  My hope is to climb it at least once over the next week or so.  I’ve spoked with a number of people as I made my way here in a rather spontaneous fashion, who’ve all lavished praise upon this city and encourage me to spend even more time than the 5 night’s I have booked here.  Nice at least to know if I can’t find bookings for time in Namibia, there’s much to do to keep happy and busy here at the southern tip of the continent.  I’m thinking if Namibia doesn’t work out, then The Garden Route will be on my list for a few days.  Hiring a car is an option, but the roads seem a bit confusing as do the traffic laws, so I’ll do my darnedest not to resort to that on my own.  With the holiday weekend approaching any bookings may be a challenge, so I’ll keep marching forward and see what unfolds.  Seems that’s the way it goes traveling, things happen and one must remain open and flexible making alternative plans easily and perhaps alternative plans to that.

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Honestly though, I am hoping Namibia works out.  I write at the moment from a lovely old building in Sea Point housing an Italian restaurant to fill my hungry tummy.  The sky is blue and the air with a touch of coolness off the nearby Atlantic ocean.  Like back in OC, a bit of a fog seems to be looking to roll in later as the cool ocean air mixes with the warm air off the land and mountain behind.  My B&B (Loloho Lodge) looks to be delightful and homey as well as central to many good parts of Cape Town.  My room wasn’t ready upon my arrival, so a nice lunch break is perfect.  Delightful ladies are dining behind me, giggling and gossiping as ladies often do enjoying culinary snacks. A shadow quickly passes overhead steeling my attention, I look up to see brightly colored para-gliders soaring overhead having taken off on a areal trek down to the beach from Lion’s Head Mountain… looks like fun to me.  Perhaps a hike up and paraglide down… hmmm.  I hope they’d let me fly it a bit, having taken some classes a while back… I loved the feeling of being in such gentle flight, drifting gently on the wind like a bird.

 

Above this Italian eatery is a belly dance and yoga studio… I like it here!  The waiter said there are loads of yoga studios in this area… another thing to check out and enjoy here.  Gosh, perhaps a longer stay would be nice, I could begin to settle in here rather too easily, but that isn’t the point of travel is it?  Rather it’s to step outside ones comfort box for a while and see where it takes a gal.

 

It’s a nicely pedestrian street, utilitarian as well, nothing flashy, more neighborly instead. It seems school has let out recently as teens walk past in their school uniforms and back packs.  It’s nice to see the traditional uniforms on these young gents.

 

2 April

I’ve been winging it through Cape Town and so far have been successful filling the days, although not without a bit of juggling here and there.  Many things are booked leading up to this holiday weekend adding a bit of challenge, where I’m again reminded to chill out and plug away until things start to fill in a bit.  Yesterday I was able to get on a combined day tour taking me to the Cape of Good Hope, a visit to the darling penguins near charming Simonstown and an afternoon visiting a couple vineyards, the second of which had just closed it’s doors prior to our arrival in preparation for the long weekend. They did offer us some beer and cheese, which we made the most of.  The first winery had some wildebeest, springbok and zebras in a large field adjacent and a super friendly puppy named Jeffrey, whom I instantly fell in love with as he played tug of war with my ponytail.  He was a crawl-into-anyone’s lap and give kisses kind of guy, filling a bit of a longing I’ve had to be more personally involved with animals during my travels. I just may have to adopt a dog or two when I get home, I just love them!

Fun folks were aboard that day including 3 other Americans and two from Scotland.  I haven’t been around so many Americans since my time in Botswana.  One guy, Glen was traveling with his sister in law… an openly and obviously gay man preparing to lecture on a cruise ship for the next two weeks on the topic of Broadway shows… what fun he was, a delight to spend time with and so exciting to actually get paid to do what he loves aboard a Crystal cruise ship heading for South America.

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3 April – hike up Lion’s Head… a climb is more appropriate.  Folks said it’s an easy 1 or 1.5 hour hike on fairly flat surface.  I’m not sure what their reference is, but it’s quite a climb with a lot of rock scaling at the top, including the help of chains and ladders installed in the more inaccessible areas.  I was knackered!  Of course, I did begin the actual hike from the Lodge and lost the trail, so ended up hiking strait up to Signal Hill (the Lion’s rump) to connect with the actual trail.  I kept an eye out for a lazy puff adder or other potential critter who could easily spoil my whole trip.  The 1.5 hour time reference was from the upper parking lot to the summit only, not round trip!

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4 April -

Met a lovely gal named Nadia at the Info center at the V&A Waterfront.  She’s been so kind to help me sort out some booking dilemmas I had for the coming week. With Easter tomorrow, and businesses closed for the holiday, it’s been a challenge and friendly help was welcomed.

A lovely walk along the water front, enjoyed the day wandering around Waterfront area, red bus tour to Tram, but closed again due to high winds and 0 visibility at the top.

Tonight the winds are working on living up to their reputation here in CT.  They are known to become so strong a person has to hold onto a sign post to “keep their dignity.” The trees outside my room are dancing wildly as gusts surge through their branches. The resident pool was just cleaned of its leaves today… sadly a job that will require repeating tomorrow… or whenever the wind decides to mellow.  It’s exciting just to listen to the waves of wind, reminiscent of the large crashing waves that are likely pounding the sea wall just a few hundred meters down the street from Loloho Lodge.

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CT is considered to have perfect feng shui, sitting in an “arm chair” with Table Mountain as the back rest, and Devil’s Peak and Lions’ head the armrests. The wealth enhancing water of the ocean is protected and calmed by Robin Island (where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 17 of his 24 years).  What’s not mentioned, is that the location is facing the southern ocean famed for it’s massive winds and waves.  Most of the “bowl” that the city is built upon is actually man-made, having been underwater when the area was first settled. The various bays south of CT are more protected from the wind by the “12 apostles” (of which there are 17 or 18), that back Table Mountain.  The dutch call it “gabled” mountain… a more descriptive name for this dramatic coastline.  The bays are still hit by winds, though far less than here in CT. The trees growing nearly sideways are proof of the regular gales.

 

The weather here has been good mostly, except the windy summit of Table Mountain and “table cloth” that keeps the tram closed.  I was supposed to hike up there starting early Saturday morning, but glad that didn’t work out, as the only way down was on foot due to the closer of the tram, via a long arduous bouldered path.  I would like to hike up, but if that doesn’t work out I’m glad to have hiked Lion’s Head to have an idea of the terrain.  I’m booked with the same company to try again on Tuesday… we’ll see.

 

April 5 & 6 ~ Easter

 

A leisurely day of walking and wandering on Easter morning.  I was amazed at how much was open on that holiday.  I guess tourism never sleeps in beautiful locations, eh?  Nadia (the very nice travel agent) helped me to solidify plans for next week for a 5-day safari and stay in a tree house overlooking a peaceful river along Krueger National Park where animals visit regularly.  It was a luxury worth the small fee to have someone help me book travel so I was relieved of further hours researching on the internet and could get back out to enjoy the holiday.  Excitement is high as I look forward to being surrounded by nature’s sights, sounds, smells and experiences very soon.  Before that though, I thought I’d test my bod against the steep climb up Table Mountain on Tuesday… weather permitting.  The thing is, the weather has been so windy the tram has been closed, so there’s a chance we won’t have the luxury of taking the cable care back down the mountain and have to instead tough it out on the knees down the steep boulders and rocky trail.  That 5 days on safari is going to be a welcome relief physically, even if we will be doing some bush walking, that should be pretty mellow by comparison.  I’ll take a shorter hike up to Signal Hill tomorrow and find some healthy food to prepare for the exciting climb.

Have you noticed in the photos?  Not a single Starbucks in sight!  I haven’t seen the ubiquitous brand for over a month now!

 

7 April ~ Saving the best for last!

Finally it worked out to score a place with a guide to trek to the top of Table Mountain.  All seemed to be in our group of 7’s favor as the weather was perfect!  Not a cloud in the sky, a gentle breeze blew just enough to keep us refreshed and we started well before any crowds began accumulating for the cable car.  It’s a good trek to the summit and proved to be a truly special day.  Riaan was brilliant guiding the group up the steep rocky trail to the sheer cliffs requiring what turned out to be some really fun scrambling with increasingly stunning views.  There was such a sense of accomplishment scaling these ancient stones and making our way to the summit of the World Heritage Sight, known as Table Mountain.  The cable car was in full operation, so we all enjoyed our easy ride back into the flood of tourist waiting to take the car back up… about a 4-hour wait for them, ugh!  They should hire Table Mountain Hikes to walk them up.

I thought I’d be knackered afterward the 2,000’ ascent, but instead felt invigorated and wished I had time to climb another route another day.  Well, it’s always good to leave a place on a good note and with still more to do and see.  That is how it is for my time in this beautiful city of Cape Town.

Tomorrow is an early morning with a 6am flight back to Johannesburg where I’ll meet with a minibus shuttle that’ll drive about 6 hours through supposedly beautiful scenery to a Lodge in the Krueger National Park.  I’ll stay there a night then move to a treehouse overlooking a river where animals come to frolic and drink.  Back on safari and back to nature for me… yeah!

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Categories: Africa

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