Cape Town, South Africa

January / February 2006

The decision to take our main Winter holiday in Cape Town had actually been taken before our decision to get married, but what better location for a honeymoon at the end of January than South Africa?


Our home for the fortnight was an apartment belonging to some friends, our stay being their wedding present to us (many thanks Phil, Richard and Gordon).  It is located in the central suburb of Gardens, full of fashionable restaurants and bars and nestling under Table Mountain.  Unfortunately, the mountain suffered its worst fire in recent memory the day after our arrival - all clearly visible from the apartment's balcony - as well as from across the bay, spoiling the traditional view..   View of Table Mountain from the Apartment View from Apartment of Lion's Head Mountain Phil on the Balcony
Fires on Table Mountain Fire on the Lion's Head Fire at Night
Smoke as Seen from Across the Bay



The apartment was about a fifteen minute stroll from the city centre, although the only reasons for most tourists to venture downtown was for Company's Gardens and the V&A Waterfont.   Steve at the V&A Waterfront Phil at the V&A Waterfront Steve in Companys Gardens


Tour of the Cape Peninsula

The mountainous scenery continued over the pass between Table Mountain and the Lion's Head with Cape Town's stunning beach suburb of Camps Bay.  Further south lay Hout Bay and then the scenic Chapman's Peak Drive.

Finally, at the end of the peninsula, we drove down to the Cape of Good Hope - where the cold Atlantic waters meet the warmer Indian Ocean.

Then, returning up the other side back to Cape Town, we stopped at Boulders Beach where there was a colony of penguins.


Camps Bay

Steve Overlooking Hout Bay Steve Overlooking Hout Bay Steve at Cape Point
Phil at Cape Point Phil and Steve at Cape Point Steve at Boulders Beach
Boulders Beach Penguins Boulders Beach Penguins


The Winelands

We gave ourselves a day to explore inland from the Cape, into the Winelands.  These are known as the gastronomic centre of South Africa, a reputation confirmed by a fabulous lunch at a restaurant with a great view over the valley!  We also had a wine tasting and a cellar tour at the Boschendahl estate.   Boschendahl Estate Wine Tasting Boschendahl Estate Tour La Petite Ferme - After Lunch Coffee

La Petite Ferme - View


Table Mountain

It wasn't until the second week that the fires (and the winds that fanned them) eased, allowing the cable-car to start operating again.

The wait was worth it, as we were rewarded with our fantastic views of Cape Town from the top of the mountain which dominates it.

  Table Mountain Cable Car Steve on Table Mountain Phil on Table Mountain
Steve on Table Mountain Phil on Table Mountain Table Mountain's 'Table Cloth' i.e. its Cloud Cover


Robben Island and Township Tour

It would be difficult (for us, at least) to visit South Africa without trying to understand something about its history.  And it's current reality.  We took the trip to Robben Island, where political prisoners (including ex-president Nelson Mandela) were held during the Apartheid era.  And the next day, starting out from the District Six Museum (which documented the history of a once-lively 'mixed' community whose residents were shipped out when the area was declared 'white'), we made a visit to Langa, one of Cape Town's black townships and saw the improvements being made.   Boarding the ferry to Robben Island

Cape Town from the Boat to Robben Island

Cape Town from the Boat to Robben Island Steve on Robben Island Steve on the Return from Robben Island
Steve on the Return from Robben Island Steve Trying the Beer at a Shabeen on the Township Tour Steve Making a Friend in a Nursery on the Township Tour


Signal Hill

Signal Hill is the traditional place for Capetonians to celebrate sunset with a chilled bottle and a group of friends.

We joined them one evening (without the bottle - Steve was driving!) to enjoy the colour changes as the sun dropped below the horizon and, later, the lights of Cape Town at night.

  View from Signal Hill Phil on Signal Hill Signal Hill at Sunset

Signal Hill Sunset Panorama

View from Signal Hill at Night



Cape Town's beautiful botanical gardens are situated in Kirstenbosch, on the side of Table Mountain.  We visited two days before the end of the holiday, on the only overcast day we had.   Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens


Preparing to Return Home

A meal watching the sun set over Camps Bay on our last evening was followed the next day (before our overnight flight) by a final trip around the bay to view the Cape Town skyline - this time without the smoke.   Blues Restaurant in Camps Bay View of Cape Town from Blaubergstrand Phil on Blaubergstrand beach


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