Saturday, September 28, 2013

Day 6 - Cape Town & Cape Point

We started off this morning on our way to the southwestern most point in Africa.  However, before we left our guide checked to see if the cable cars were running up table mountain (the group still hadn't been up there) but when we left it was still closed. As we made our way down past the coastal neighborhoods we saw that the mountain was clearing. By the time we reached Camps Bay we saw the cable cars were running and immediately changed course and went straight to the mountain. It was nice to go up again, but I have to say that the time of day I went on tuesday was so much better as far as light goes. Still, it's a gorgeous view no matter the time of day. 

Our drive to Cape Point took us all the way down the peninsula, hugging the cliffs along the ocean most of the time. The most spectacular part was the drive along Chapman's Peak. This road hugs the cliffs and is so narrow at points that buses are only allowed to travel in one direction on the road!  It really was spectacular. 

As we turned into the Cape Point nature reserve we were treated to our first wildlife sightings. First, we saw a pair of ostriches along the side of the road, and then a troop of baboons wandered down the side of the road and into the fields. It was quite cool. We then saw another pair of ostriches along the coast, just before we made it to the Cape of Good Hope.  We all lined up to get our pictures taken behind the sign stating we were at the most southwestern point in Africa when a large group of South Africans barged in front of us. We were all annoyed until they began to break out in song, protesting the poaching of rhinos. It turns out they were a choir of staff working at a Kruger National Park camp. They had won some award and sang in front of parliament yesterday. I managed to get it all on video. It was pretty cool! 

Many think that the Cape of Good Hope is the southernmost point in Africa, but that is really 150 miles to the east at Cape Agulhas where the Indian and Atlantic oceans technically meet. However, it really is more like they meet at Cape Point because that is where the cold Benguela current of the Atlantic on the west coast meets the warm Agulhas current of the Indian Ocean on the east coast. 

Afterwards we drove over to Cape Point where there is a funicular up the mountain to the lighthouse. Some of us went further and walked up to the lighthouse itself where we were rewarded with unbelievable views of the point and Cape of Good Hope. Gorgeous!

We had one more stop on the way back up the peninsula and that was at Boulder Beach to see the penguins. These were African penguins that looked a lot like the Magellan penguins we saw in South America. I must admit, while a beautiful location, it wasn't nearly as impressive as Magdalena Island in Punta Arenas, Chile. 

Tonight we had a nice dinner at a local home in one of the townships. It was nice to interact with some locals and learn about them and what it's like living in South Africa. 

Tomorrow, we leave Cape Town for Hermanus. I am sad to leave. There is so much here to do, and 4.5 days are not enough. I could easily spend all 19 days here and still have things I didn't get a chance to do. Guess I will have make it a point to come back!

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