We started the day by going to the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town as the Ocean Volvo Race was expecting its first arrivals on the first leg of this round-the-world regatta that morning. They were expecting the Ericsson team to be the first to arrive from Europe and, sure enough, when we got there, the crew was already packing up sails, etc. It was neat to see them getting with their families after however long they had been in the ocean. It was then time to leave to go see the famous Cape of Good Hope which is NOT the southernmost tip of the continent (I felt taken in!).
Leaving Cape Town and heading south passes through beach areas that I only wish I could have enjoyed!
Driving from Cape Town to Cape of Good Hope is a neat drive. The peninsula is rather small so the distances are short. There seem to be 2 main roads going down, one along the west coast and another further east. We decided to go down one and come up another. As we trekked down the beach towns south of Cape Town, we greatly enjoyed the views of the bays, mountains and beaches along the way. The drive around Chapman’s Peak has to rank up there among the most beautiful coastal drives in the world (http://www.chapmanspeakdrive.co.za/). Unfortunately, the final part of the drive for us, south of Hout Bay was closed to traffic (not sure why but maybe rock slides?) but the views were breathtaking and we even got to see whales pretty much near the rocks at the bottom of the cliff we were standing at. It was a beautiful day to be driving around (early November). Due to the crossing we had to back track up to Hout Bay but that allowed us to drive by Constantia which seems a neat area to visit some time.
We decided to head straight to Simon’s Town and stop there for lunch.
We also realized it was known for the penguins so we decided to take a look at them too. We had lunch at a great hole in the wall called the Salty Sea Dog [good eats] where we had fantastic fish and chips. There were many choices on the fish and it was all very fresh. The penguins were, as promised, perched on the rocks but I felt, as the tourist restricted to a wooden pathway, as the wildlife under observation!
The landscape south of Simon’s Town got more beautiful the more we drove. We saw different types of wildlife along the way. We entered the park and soon found ourselves at the Cape of Good Hope. At first, it seemed just a big old pile of rocks. However, soon the colors from the late afternoon soon, the wild waves, and the hike up that pile of rocks began to yield truly magnificent views. We hiked up and set up our own rock pile atop the Cape where others had done the same. As soon as we began walking further at the top, it started raining so we had to make a run back down in the rain. Too late, we were drenched. Fortunately, it wasn’t too cold!
We then drove over to Cape Point, right next door and probably a walk over had it not been raining, and STILL not the southernmost point of the continent (Cape Argulhas is) though you are informed it is the southwesternmost point on the continent (I wondered about whether such a distinction is necessary; what is the southeasternmost point? maybe Port Elizabeth?). We hiked up Cape Point and then all the way down as far as you are allowed above the lighthouse. Cape Point was far more spectacular than its more famous neighbor in terms of the views. You can look north and see the peninsula with the Atlantic Ocean on the west and False Bay on the east.
More info on the capes at http://away.com/features/south_africa_cape_point_1.html.
As we drove back up the west coast after nightfall, one of my favorite views was a lighthouse that we looked down upon from the road we were driving on. It was between Kommetjie and Scarborough, I think. Due to a road accident that killed 5 in Kommetjie, we had to backtrack a good way and ended up driving up the east coast (got to see the lighthouse again!).After a few misses in small towns north of Simon’s Town, we finally found a town that looked like it had places to eat (it was Sunday night so maybe many places were closed, hence those towns looked like there were no eateries…). In Kalk Bay we found an eatery called the Brass Bell right by the train station on the water. It was a pub/seafood place – it was great! Basic as it was, the food was quite good, the setting pretty cool, and the beer nice and cold! Maybe we were just too hungry??
After dinner we just went due north past Muizenberg to our hotel to get ready for our visit to wine country in Stellenbosch.
Does anyone know of interesting towns in the peninsula or good places to eat in that area?