Tag Archives: Alys Beach FL

What lives in Africa that’s Sharply Dressed Yet Endangered?

If you visit Cape Town South Africa, be sure to spend at least a day traveling around its southern peninsula. This is where you’ll find Cape of Good Hope, the tip of the peninsula, and you will be rewarded with incredible views of the Atlantic ocean.

Cape Peninsula

Cape Peninsula

As we began our journey around Cape Peninsula, we stopped for a quick photo opp where you can see the outline of the shore.

Cape Town Peninsula

One of our first stops on Cape Peninsula was Seal Island. You embark from a scenic marina at Hout Bay and make your way out to an area that is densely populated with seals.

Seal Island Marina

Seal Island looks like a sea of brown debris but closer inspection illuminates dog-like animals barking at each other, stretching, and clumsily making their way along the rocks into the ocean for their next meal.

Seal Island Cape Town SA

As we made our way to Cape of Good Hope, we found spots that give you a better view of False Bay.

False Bay

Views of False Bay

The southern most part of the peninsula is Cape of Good Hope. Along the way, you get panoramic views of False Bay.

Cape of Good Hope entry

Arriving at Cape Good Hope, you can grab a bit of exercise by climbing the stairs to the top of the lighthouse. They also offer a lift to the top if you prefer less exertion.

Cape of Good Hope Lighthouse

You’ll immediately be greeted by baboons that will happily accept any portions of food (feeding them is not recommended by the way).

Baboons in Cape of Good Hope SA

Cape of Good Hope Lighthouse

Once you make it to the top, you are rewarded with some really nice views.

Views from Cape of Good Hope

Cape Town Outskirts

As we left Cape of Good Hope, we saw an ostrich just hanging out by the coast, that’s not something you see every day.

Cape Town Ostrich

African Penguins

So what’s dressed to the nines but is on the extinction list? African Penguins!  As we made our way towards Simon’s Town, we came upon an interesting road sign. Not sure I’ve ever seen a sign like this before.

The Boulders Penguins

Nestled in a sheltered cove between Simon’s Town and Cape Point is a safe haven for African Penguins called The Boulders. It all started in 1982 when a pair of penguins made this area home and the population has catapulted to over 2,200 penguins.

The Boulders African Penguins

Here are a few facts about these penguins:

  1. They are on the endangered list.
  2. In 1910, there were over 1.5 million African Penguins but only 10% of that number by the year 2000.
  3. These penguins have an annoying braying call that sounds like a donkey. Some of the locals call them Jackass Penguins.
  4. They can swim about 5 miles an hour and can stay underwater for 2 minutes.

African Penguins

Our final stop around the peninsula was to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. Not as impressive as Buschart Gardens in Canada, but if you like plants, trees and anything that flowers, it is worth a look.

Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

Wine Country

The Cape Town wine country is worth an entire day of exploration. In fact, had we known ahead of time, we would probably have stayed a few days in Stellenbosch, the focal point of wine country.

The architecture is very Dutch, with white buildings set with beautiful mountains as a backdrop.

Stellenbosch SA


We live just off scenic 30-a, a coastal highway close to Panama City Beach, Florida. Only a mile into 30-a, you come to a beach community called Alys Beach. Below is a picture of houses from Alys.

Alys Beach FL

Here is a picture of a house in Stellenbosch. See any similarities?

Stellenbosch South Africa

During our wine tour, we visited several wineries including Waterford, Roca and Anura. We also stopped for lunch in Franschhoek at the Dieu Donne winery. If you are in the area, I highly suggest having lunch here, it is incredibly scenic, surrounded by colorful mountains.

This was also the first place I tried ostrich steak. You would think it would be white meat, similar to chicken but no so. It is red meat and tastes like a filet mignon. If you get the chance to try it, I highly recommend it.

Most wineries are set on sprawling lands of mountain valleys. As we drove up to our first winery visit (Waterford), this was our entry.

Waterford Winery

As we got closer, we could see our host awaiting us at the door.

Waterford Winery

We sipped on whites and reds and enjoyed the best of South African wines.

South African Wines



I hope you enjoyed this post on our trip to Africa. If you missed any of our other posts on Africa, you can see them here.

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I’ll leave you with a final picture of the menu we saw at a restaurant. You can choose from a list of wild game that they serve in South Africa. Would you be bold enough to order any of these?

South Africa Wild Game Meats


The Truman Show: Seaside, FL or Seabrook, WA?

Idyllic Town Fit for The Truman Show

When planning our trip to the Northwest US, we used the Internet to find this quaint coastal town called Seabrook.   From the pictures, it looked like a hip, upscale town, and it felt oddly familiar.  Many of my readers know we live in Florida but may not know exactly where.  We live on scenic 30-a, a beautiful coastal highway that runs along the emerald waters of the Gulf of Mexico, in a town called Seacrest.  Seacrest is nestled right between the trendy towns of Rosemary Beach and Alys Beach.

Only a few miles down 30-a is a town called Seaside, Florida.  This is where they filmed the 1998 movie “The Truman Show” (starring Jim Carrey).  In the movie, they called the town Seahaven, but most of the iconic houses, interior roads and shops were shot in Seaside. I think they chose Seaside as the location for this film because of the small beach homes with tin roofs and white picket fences.  Here are some pictures of Seaside (not all of these pictures are my originals).

If you wish to see a slide show, click here: http://www.webetripping.com/Gallery_USA_WA_Seabrook.asp

When we arrived in Seabrook, we talked to several of the locals and they all talked about how Seabrook was modeled after The Truman Show and Seaside, Florida.  We then knew why this felt so oddly familiar.  Since we stayed here a week, we formed our own opinions about how similar yet different the two communities are.

First, the houses in Seabrook are little more in the “New England Nantucket style”, with gray shingles and standard roofs.  We certainly have houses on 30-a in this style (think Watersound).  I think I actually prefer the look of these Seabrook homes over Seaside:

Score one for Seabrook.  

Seaside has lots of little shops and plenty of eateries.  If you haven’t been to Great Southern for the best cheese grits around, you’re missing out!  Seabrook has one eatery (Mill 109).  It has good food but it is small and limiting.  Seaside has lots of food choices.

Score one for Seaside.

Seabrook has some cool hiking trails that lead you around the community and it is set in a beautiful mountain setting.  Huge alpine trees and wonderful vistas.

Score one for Seabrook.  

We brought our bikes and found that Seabrook is not very bike friendly.  You can ride around the community, but you get about 10 minutes of biking time and you run out of places to go.  As anyone that has visited Seaside and anywhere on 30-a knows, we have over 28 miles of paved bike trails on 30-a.  And most of the way, it has beach views.  Simply awesome!

I took this picture from scenic 30-a while biking

I took this picture from scenic 30-a while biking

Score one for Seaside.

Seabrook is flanked by a small fishing town, Pacific Beach. This town is really small, has no movie theater, and has no endearing restaurants.  If you want to drive about 25 minutes, you can drive to Ocean Shores.  Ocean Shores does have a small theater that offers 3 different movie titles.  It offers a few touristy things to do (a casino, go carts, golf, and bowling).

But when contrasted with Seaside, it pales in comparison. In Seaside, you can take a quick trip to Pier Park with tons of restaurants, bars, fishing piers, shopping, and a proper movie theater.  Or you can jump in the car and visit Destin, who has a Bass Pro Shop, lots of restaurants, water parks, golf, mini golf and more than you can imagine to do.

Score one for Seaside.

The biggest difference between the two communities is the beach.  Seaside wins hands down.  In Seabrook, the beach has dark, mud-like sand while Seaside offers white, powdery, sugar-like sands.   In Seaside, you will see tons of people on the beach, building sand castles, swimming, surfing, snorkeling, and lounging under umbrellas.   In Seabrook, you may encounter 10 people on the beach, some flying kites and a few kids making mud pies.   With Seaside summer temperatures in the upper 80’s and low 90’s as compared to Seabrook’s mid 60’s, you can understand why.

Seaside, Florida

Seaside, Florida

Seaside, Florida

Seaside, Florida

Score one for Seaside.

The final contrast I’ll draw is the people.  People are friendly in both locations but you won’t hear that infamous southern drawl in Washington. For me, that is a good thing, I get tired of hearing my own southern drawl.   Now you know why these blogs are written and not in video form.  🙂

Score one for Seabrook.

Seabrook, Washington

Seabrook, Washington

With all that said, we think they are both great beach communities and we really enjoyed our stay. We highly recommend you visit if you travel to the Northwest US.  And of course, if you want stunning beaches, you gotta go to scenic 30-a.