Our adventures have begun – day 1 in Capetown was fantastic – 27 degrees and blue skies.  We can definitely begin to get used to this!  We took advantage of the clear weather to hike up Table Mountain – lucky that there was no “tablecloth” cloud that usually covers it .  Great views over Capetown on the way up, and a clear view down to the Cape of Good Hope from the top.

CDB top of table mountain Distance to home!! Top of table mountain

We finished the day relaxing in the Victoria & Albert Waterfront area – very slick newly developed dockland area.   In fact this area became a bit of a hang out for us – great shops and restaurants.

V&A waterfront & table mountain

A SA culture day followed, with a township tour and a visit to Robben Island.  Arthur, a township resident from Langa township, brought us on an eye opening and informative tour.  We visited the infamous District Six area, which was cleared of all black and coloured people during the apartheid area, and even now is still mostly vacant lots.  We drove through 4 township areas, visiting a “shebeen” bar, a kindergarten, old migrant labour barracks and an enterprising B&B in a shack!

Shebeen bar in Langa Township church Khayelitsha shacks

Shebeen St Langa

We were brought around Robben Island by an exprisoner, who was very entertaining and informative.  He was proud of having a “Funny man” – off with Bill Cosby, and having shown Hillary Clinton around the island. He had, in fact, also met Gerry Adams in the past.  Also had an obligatory peek at Nelson Mandela’s cell, where he spent 18 years of his life. 5 minutes was enough for us.

Murray’s harbour, Robben Island SA flag on boat to Robben ISland

Western Cape 29/9/07

We took a road trip out to the Western Cape, on a beautiful sunny day.  Drove past beautiful beaches and peninsulas, to the Cape National Park.  While avoiding baboons we walked out to the Cape of Good Hope – SW tip of S Africa.  We drove back via the penguins at Boulders beach, and fish and chips dinner at the Brass Bell in Simonstown.

Chapman’s peak drive First beach!

Penguins Boulders Beach Penguin sign

Stellenbosch 30/9 – 2/10/07

We headed northwest for the Cape Winelands.  we stayed in the very pretty Cape Dutch town of Stellenbosch.  Once you leave the cities, Afrikaans becomes the main language, as proved here!  We went on a wine tour with the enthusiastic Lukas of Easy Rider Tours, including a visit to the vineyard which produces the cleverly named “Goats do Roam” wines. Several years ago, the owner won a “passing off” action taken by the French wine folk, concerned it would be confused with the “Cotes du Rhone” label. He won his case on the basis that, well, goats do roam! 4 Vineyards proved to be most people’s undoing – the chat was very loud by the end of the day!  We also passed Nelson Mandela’s final prison, where he spent the last two years of his internment – albeit with his own villa, pool and personal chef. He later modeled the home he lived in on his release on that villa, so taken was he with it!

Dieu Donne vineyard Goats do Roam vineyard Stellenbosch architecture

Boschendal - jane Drakensburg prison

Franchoek also deserves a mention – very pretty Hugenot town near Stellenbosch – great food too!

Church at Franchoek

Hermanus 2/10/07

Hermanus, the Southern Right Whale capital of the southerns seas, didn’t disappoint.  We saw many whales breaching, their tails in the air, showing off and spouting water.  We went out kayaking to get up close, so close that in fact we got chased by a 60 footer!  Not to be recommended!

Whale Whale Tail

Route 62 – Swellendam to Outshoorn 3-4/10/07

We needed to escape the rain, so we headed inland from Swellendam to Oudtshoorn in the Klein Karoo – a semi desert area.  Once we went over the mountains, the climate changed instantly from wet and miserable to dry, dusty and windy!  They hardly know how to pronounce the word “rain”in this area.  We stopped to have a beer with Ronnie in his “sex shop” – although, disappointingly, it’s just a pub!  We passed through some places that time has forgotten – could be rural Ireland in the 1950s! Good marketing technique.

Like Ireland! Ronnie’’s Sex Shop Ronnie

Outshoorn in the Klein Karoo is the self proclaimed Ostrich capital of the world.  We of course sampled Ostrich fillet – a sort of steak gone wrong.  Our main activity in Outshoorn was a bike ride up the Swartberg pass. In order to do this, we had to kick off by lifting our bikes over a jack-knifed truck!  It was a fabulous cycle, a challenge to get up to the top, but a very enjoyable spin back through rolling hills, vineyards and villages.  We spotted many of our feathered friends and met a local family.

Cycle up Swartberg Pass Bikes over truck! Top of Swartsberg pass - 12k uphill! CDB & Outshoorn family

Local boys at their house CDB & Ostrich Ostrich head Ostriches

Wilderness 4-6/10/07

From Oudtshoorn we headed back to the coast at Wilderness for our first taste of surf – but it was just to rough to enjoy it.  We spent two days in the Beach House Backpackers (very Aussie vibe), learning local surf-speak with our host Toby.  “Shot Bru!!”  Very nice beach but “check” the surf was “crumbly”…and we had to watch out for the “big fish”!

The Otter Trail

We did the 5 day Otter Trail hike in the Tsitsikamma Coastal Reserve – this trek deserves a page to itself!!  Go have a look!

Otter Sign


4 Responses to “1 Cape Capers”

  1. 1 Trish Johnson October 6, 2007 at 10:23 am

    Hi Jane,

    Thanks for the great pics of my home country, feeling a little homesick, but that will pass, sounds like you are having a great time. The girls and gerry at the pharmacy are no help in telling me how you are getting along, so checked out your website. Great stuff and isn’t the internet a wonderful thing.

    take care and keep the pics coming.


    ps. your wedding looked absolutely gorgeous!

  2. 2 Monica October 15, 2007 at 7:48 am

    hey jane and cathal

    In a dull London trying to come to terms with it being Monday all over again! Great weekend watching rugby (Jim’s happy!) and chilling out.
    Great to hear from you. Web site’s looking brill – well worth the effort!
    take care
    M x

  3. 3 Margaret Matthews October 19, 2007 at 2:15 pm

    ‘Nearly couldn’t find your site – how could I forget that Jane comes first.(Starting as you mean to continue).

    In my desk at work I have a superb map of South Africa. So it’s now spread all over the desk as I follow exactly what you’re up to (maybe not) but at least where you are.

    Interestingly it doesn’t show the mountains, so your vicious bike-ride looks a doddle really.

    Have you missed the Bungie Jump, somewhere before Port Elizabeth? Or is that old-hat?

    Are you driving? Please mention if you stay in nice places (B’n Bs) too – I like all the details!!
    Love to both

  4. 4 linda o donnell November 4, 2007 at 8:32 pm






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