We woke up this morning to a beautiful blue sky and were quickly up and ready to get out the door. Our first stop was Simon’s Town, the famous home of the African penguin. As you know, I am very fascinated with animal encounters, and so when I heard there were penguins in Africa, I absolutely had to go see them!
Only five places in the world are home to penguins: Antarctica, the Southern tip of South America, the Galápagos Islands, Australia, and South Africa. From all my penguin research I learned that penguins only reside in the southern most regions of the world (as polar bears only live in the northernmost regions of the world).
We took a metro and then a bus to get from Mowbary to Simonstown, and then began our 2km hike to Boulder Beach, the famous beach for the African Penguin. The hike was short (I think mainly due to the fact that I was so excited to see the penguins), and soon Andrew and I were both exploring a beach full of boulders and LOTS of penguins. The African penguin is much smaller than the Antarctic penguin, but they sure are cute. We had a great time getting up close to them, snapping photos, and observing home they live.
As we began making plans for what we should do post our penguin excursion, we ran into a young german couple who were also backpacking and couchsuring through South Africa. What actually happened was that I asked them if they would take a photo of Andrew and I and then offered to take a photo of them, asking them questions about where they were from and what they were doing in South Africa.
Come to find out, they were planning on driving out to Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope just after they finished with the penguins, and they offered to take us along with them in their car rental. This is an excursion that Andrew and I wanted to do, but we were unable to because we did not have a car rental. Andrew and I never ceased to be amazed at the small miracles we have seen time and time again during our travels.
We set off for the Cape of Good Hope with Marcel and Anna, and ended up spending a lovely afternoon hiking near Cape’s Point where so many navigators came on ships with goods from Europe and the Far East. If a European ship could make it around the Cape of Good hope, it could make it anywhere. Over 1000 shipwrecks occurred at the Cape of Good hope during the 400 years of Navigator expeditions because of the dangerous rocks and strong Atlantic winds.
Hiking around Cape’s Point and the Cape of Good Hope reminded me of my time in Portugal when I visited the school of the Navigators on the Southern most tip of the European Continent. Portugal is the place where so many navigators left for the Cape of Good Hope, and only a few made it. If I were a navigator, I would be glad to consider myself one of the few (except for the fact that I traveled overland rather than over sea).
Our time was not only spent enjoying the beautiful nature, but also enjoying the wonderful company of our new friends from Germany. They shared with us their travel stories and life dreams, and by the end of the day we had made two very good friends that I am sure we will one day visit in Germany.
One our way back to Cape Town they decided to drive past Chatman’s peak to watch the sunset over the ocean and the city. I already knew that the African sun was beautiful, but I did not realize that it could be THAT beautiful. The German’s kindness did not end there, as they offered to not only take us into town, but also to drop us off at the restaurant that we had made dinner reservations for earlier that day, Gold’s Restaurant.
If you ever go to Cape Town, make sure you go to Gold’s restaurant. You will receive a 14-course tasting menu from countries all around the African continent, and be treated to three authentic music and dance performances highlighting traditional music and dance from the south, central, and northern regions of Africa. I cannot even put into words how fun the evening was. We spent over 3 hours at the restaurant enjoying the delicious food, music, dance, and we even left having made many new friends. While words can’t describe how beautiful the experience was, I think sharing the dinner menu with you will give you a small taste…
Winter Menu 2015:
1. South African Tomato Soup
2. Zambian Kandolo Balls with Sesame Seeds
3. Congalese Spinach
4. South African Chutney
5. Ugandan Bean Bratuat
6. Cape Malay Ostrich & Lamb Bobotie
7. African Creamy Pap with Grilled Corn
8. South African Smoked Fish Frikkadies with Apple and Mint Relish
9. Zanzibar carrots with Star Anise
10. Ghanaian Groundnut Chicken
11. Mozambican Masala Spiced Bread Twists
12.Cape Malay Boeber
13. South African Tea biscuits
14. South African Fresh Fruit Salad
Today Kylie and I had the chance to explore Cape Town! We’d heard so many wonderful things about the area that we had to get out and see everything it had to offer us!
In the morning Kylie and I went out to Simon’s town to an area called boulders beach since they have penguins there. Kylie was super excited and hopeful that they’d be around the beach area despite our late departure.
We boarded the local metro (which everyone told us was a bit scary- it’s not) and made our way to Simons town.
The ride was beautiful and all along the way we saw evidence of Dutch influence in many of the buildings. The old style structures that lined the streets not only were beautiful, but also were a strong indicator of the history of Cape Town.
Cape Town was originally a hub for the east india trading company as they made their way around the tip of Africa on their way home from trading in India. As such, Cape town is located near the waterfront and the harbor port is bustling with activity.
The walk to boulders beach (home of the Penguins) was very pleasant. Cool weather and pretty scenic homes dotting the street made for a good walk.
As we arrived at the beach Kylie and I were greeted by 40 or so penguins! They didn’t seem too fussed with what everyone was doing, but went about their regular day to day lives. They were pretty cute and I think Kylie left wanting to take one home with us…
While visiting the Penguins we ran into a German couple that we’re going to backpack all of South Africa together!
As we chatted with them they asked what our plans were. We mentioned that we were figuring out how to get to the cape of good hope (the edge of Africa… Or at least, one of them), and wanted to know how much the bus ride over cost. Instead of telling us the bus fee, they offered to take us since they were going that way too!
That was a huge blessing since there would’ve been no way for us to get to the cape without an extremely high cab fare, or tourist company fare.
I was so grateful to this couple since Kylie always wanted to see the cape of good hope, the western tip of Africa!
We ride in the car with the couple to the spot and got out. The view was stunning! The four of us walked to the lighthouse together chatting all the way and taking photos. They were a lot of fun!
After the four of us hiked out to the edge of the cape a little more north from the edge of Africa. The hike was a quick 30 minutes and we had a lovely time laughing and chatting with them.
Unfortunately along the way they lost their go-pro camera! It had been left behind at one of the hike turns as they stopped for photos. I really hope they find it!
After, Kylie and I had an entertaining meal at a restaurant called Gold. While the food was quite traditional, I found their performances better than their cuisine 😛 it was a lot of fun though to have an ‘African sampler’ at the end of our journey.
We returned to Kavetos home exhausted but very pleased with everything we accomplished!