Tag Archives: cape town

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


Cape Town South Africa: 5 Things You Probably Don’t Know

As your plane descends into Cape Town South Africa, you are immediately mesmerized by the scenery. A bay town situated at the edge of the ocean and flanked by grandiose mountains, Cape Town is a very special place. During our stay, we learned a lot that most don’t know about Cape Town — more about that later.

View of Cape Town South Africa from the plane

As you can see, Cape Town is the at the southern point of Africa and has been a pivotable trade route for Europe and India.

Map of Capetown South Africa

Cape Town  Waterfront

If you love cities flanked by water, you will really love Cape Town. It’s clean, easy to navigate, and relatively inexpensive for Americans.

Cape Town Water front

With Table Mountain as a backdrop, you will want to explore the city to appreciate its beauty from different angles.

Cape Town Beauty

As a bay city, it offers lots of great restaurants that specialize in seafood. We had some of the best fish and shrimp dishes in Cape Town.

The mountain you see in the background is called Table Mountain. Aptly named, it has a flat top that resembles a table. Each day you get a different look from the mountain. Some days it is flat with no low-hanging clouds. Other days, clouds tend to hover just over the table top and locals call this the tablecloth.

Cape Town Beauty

Table Mountain

Seeing Table Mountain from below is inspiring but catching the view from the top is simply spectacular. You can board a gondola for a 5-minute ride to the top.

Cape Town Gondola

You are rewarded with incredible panoramic views of the city and seascape below.

Table Mountain Cape Town


Originally settled by freed Muslim slaves, Bo-Kapp is an area of Cape Town formerly known as the Malay Quarter. Muslims wanted the houses to be as beautiful on the outside as they were on the inside, so they painted the exteriors in pastel colors. This attracts lots of visitors each year. As we cruised these streets, we saw Muslim children playing and enjoying the day.

Bo-Kaap Cape Town

Juxtaposition of Wealth

As beautiful as Cape Town is, it has a checkered past. As we were riding from the airport to the city center, we noticed a sprawling area of shacks and shanties.  Our driver told us that over 2 million people live in the townships that are primarily filled with shanties. Five minutes later in our drive, we were surrounded by opulent homes and outward signs of wealth.

The all-white (mostly Dutch) Nationalist Party took power in South Africa in 1948 and quickly instituted Apartheid, a social system instituted to segregate blacks from whites.  In 1960, the government stormed the township called District 6 and forced the black residents to leave their homes, then bulldozed the homes. They were then relocated to less desirable areas of Cape Town and surrounding areas and were stripped of basic human rights and this was the beginning of the shanty townships.

One of our tour guides was forced from his home in District 6 and he told us of his personal losses in property and dignity. He said he has forgiven South Africa for this but he vows to never forget. The government is starting to make amends and plans to rebuild District 6 and give the new homes back to the families there were driven out.

Although Apartheid ended in 1994 and all South Africans were granted equal rights, we were floored by how families still live this way today. We took a bicycle tour of the shanty towns and it was truly eye-opening.

As you can see below, the houses are right on top of each other and most are made of tin.

Cape Town Shanty

Many shanties lack running water and we saw residents getting water from community wells. However, we were always greeted with a smile and a quick hello.

Cape Town Shanty

Our tour guide was a well-known philanthropist that built a community center that specializes in empowering youth from the community to ride bikes and live a more healthy lifestyle. His after school program keeps youth off the street, offers computer access and provides a positive influence during the critical formative years.

You might think the interior of the shanties would have dirt floors. Surprisingly, we saw nice furniture, flat screen TVs, satellite dishes, and nice appliances.

Inside of Shanty

Robben Island

Just a 30-minute boat ride from Cape Town is Robben Island, a prison island where Nelson Mandella was enprisoned from 1964 to 1982.  Nelson Mandella was an anti-apartheid revolutionary jailed due to influence in the anti-apartheid movement. As you enter Robben Island, you can see it was heavily fortified.

Robbin Island

The tour guides for Robben Island were actual prisoners that were incarcerated at the same time as Nelson Mandella, so they have first-hand knowledge of how it was. They explained their plight and showed us the jail cell Nelson Mandella occupied during his stay.

Nelson Mandellas Cell

It was a small cramped room with nothing more than a pad to sleep on. No pillows or quilts. They also explained how black inmates were given small rations of food while white inmates were fed more food.

Robben Island 07

Nelson Mandella was freed from Robben Island after 27 years and became South Africa’s president in 1994.

5 Little-Known Facts of Cape Town

Although Cape Town and South Africa has a difficult past, there is a lot of beauty in this place — we highly recommend you visit.  While there, we learned a few facts we would like to share:

  1. The first heart transplant was performed here – Dr. Christiaan Barnard performed the world’s first successful heart transplant here. However, the patient died 18 days later of pneumonia.
  2. There are 11 official languages in South Africa – While most South Africans speak English, their second most popular language is Afrikaans. As we spoke with people in the townships, we heard many people speaking a language that has “clicking or popping sounds” as part of the language – very interesting!
  3. The Castle of Good Hope had a sea view – The oldest colonial building in South Africa is the Castle of Good Hope. It is located about a mile or so inward of the ocean but when it was originally built, it was ocean front. Through the years, Cape Town’s landscape was extended out to allow expansion and the sea was replaced with land.
  4. Fountain of Youth – Over 43% of Cape Town residents are under 25 years old!
  5. Income Equality – Income wise, Cape Town has better income equality than all of it’s South African neighbors. Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni and Buffalo City are the worst regarding income equality.


I hope you enjoyed this post on our trip to Cape Town. We visited a lot more coastal areas surrounding Cape Town, I will be chronicling those visits in the coming weeks.

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I’ll leave you with a final picture of an interesting experience we had. We learned that a local delicacy of Cape Town (especially in the Shanty townships) is sheep’s head. Yep, you heard it right, sheep’s head. As we cycled through, we stopped and visited a place where you could buy sheep’s head. The lady in the picture below was using a hot wand scorches the hair off the sheep’s head. Once that’s done, they boil it, then serve it.

Would you eat it?

Sheeps Head