Sunday, March 18, 2012

Cape Town Travelogue Part 1

Monday 12th March          After getting up at 5:45 am and because the baby's sleep schedule as soon as we arrived in Fish Hoek, on the peninsula outside of Cape Town, at our self catered chalet we all had a nap.  A neighbor stopped by to let us know that it was a bad idea to leave our balcony door open because baboons would climb up, enter the house and raid the refrigerator!  (I found out later that this actually occurred at the rental a couple of months earlier.)  That afternoon we went to the the first town founded by Europeans on the Cape, Simon's Town.  We started off at a little strip of white sand beach outside the train station. Much to my toddlers delight it is a great place to meet dogs since it is one of the few dog friendly beaches.   Much to my oldest boy's chagrin, the waves are just too mellow for body surfing in the bay.  My younger son combed the beach and found some treasures; a sea urchin, a shell and a bivalve.  We found out that there was a sewage pipe draining into the water and we decided to leave. 

It was time to go into town a pick up a few supplies.  The town is filled with old buildings and this photo is just an example of the buildings you find on the Saint Georges St.  It turns out we had to hustle because the shops close between 4 and 5 pm.  After the groceries stop it was time to grab a bite.  We had pizza and pasta at Cafe Pescados.  The music was US alternative pop and the decor was photos of old Hollywood icons. It felt like the US after living a year and a half in South Africa.  The food was tasty too.  We were warned by our waiter that Simon's Town gets pretty rowdy in the evenings with the visiting sailors from the Naval base and would not be child friendly much longer.  That's OK, we were going home anyway.  We have all been sick for the last two weeks and my oldest is still in the middle of it.  We needed our rest.

Tuesday, 13th March                 We began our day at the UNESCO World Heritage site, Boulder Beach, a nesting site for the African Penguin. The sand is fine and white and strewn with immense rounded boulders.  As soon as you pull into the parking lot you see the penguins waddling around.  In fact, you must be wary because they like to hide out under your car.  March is breeding season so the penguins were hanging out in pairs.  There were also Rock Dassies peaking out from the rocks.  I recommend visiting the penguins early while the beach is uncrowded. 
We then drove down to the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve.  The clouds stared rolling in and it began to mist so we ducked into the Visitors Center.  That was fun as there are a lot of hands on displays and elements the children could enjoy.  We learned a lot about the flora and fauna of the Fynbos, the rarest of the biomes. 
From there it was a quick drive down to the Cape of Good Hope and one of the tourists snapped our obligatory family photo taken from the the furthest south and western point on the African continent.  Boy, was it windy. We then headed to Cape Point to visit the light house and to grab a quick bite at the Cafe.  That is quite a climb up to the light house.  Too bad we had such poor visibility, I am sure the view of the ocean would have been magnificent. My littlest one needed a nap so we took the scenic route up north along the Atlantic road to Nordhoek for the beaches to get some big wave action for the boys.  Sadly, it was so windy there the boys did not get to body surf because the flying sand was scouring them.
Everyone agreed to go back to Boulder Beach and visit the penguins again after dinner.  The boys climbed all over the rocks and even swam through little crevices they found between the boulders.  My baby and I played Stomp the Wave, a game we invented which is pretty much entirely described by the title.

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