Today was supposed to be a half day orientation tour of Cape Town in the morning then the rest of the day at leisure. But the group has decided to do an optional extra trip to the Cape Peninsula, so the morning orientation tour is to commence tomorrow instead, after which we will go directly to the airport! Talk about fitting things into the last.
On looking out the window of the hotel first thing, it's grey and dreek. The wind is blowing and the rain is banging off the pavements - not the best of starts! The group climbs onto the bus at 7.45am and the mood seems sombre, which I put down to bad weather, the trip fast approaching its end, and people getting weary from what has been a hectic couple of weeks. But Rudy the tour director is there, trying to keep our spirits up!
Off we head to Cape Point. We are travelling along the coastline of the Cape Peninsula and it really is beautiful, even with the cloud! Our first stop is Maiden's Cove - just enough time for a quick photo stop really. We then make our way through Sea Point and Camps Bay, with its glorious views of the Twelve Apostles, and on to Hout Bay. And what do you know - the sun is starting to peek through the clouds and the temperatures lift a little! Houts Bay is a nice little fishing port, with little market stalls lined along the harbour. We stop off for 45 minutes, enough time to get a couple of photos and grab a quick cup of coffee!
Back on the bus and we make our way into Cape Point Nature Reserve. It is beautiful and we are afforded more wildlife viewings - mongoose, ostrich, rock dassies etc. Never could I have imagined we would have seen quite so much wildlife here - it really has exceeded all my expectations.
Next stop is in the Cape of Good Hope and the most South Westerly point of Africa, before we make it to Cape Point. At Cape Point the skies are blue and the sun is shining! I would never have believed it when looking at the weather this morning, but it is. I am absolutely delighted as this wouldn't have been a good trip in the rain. Situated at the junction of two of the earth's most contrasting water masses - the cold Benguela current on the West Coast and the warm Agulhas current on the East Coast, the Cape of Good Hope is popularly perceived as the meeting point of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Geographically, however, the Indian Ocean joins the Atlantic Ocean at Cape Agulhas National Park.
There is a little train that goes halfway up to the lighthouse of Cape Point which we all board. Getting off the train the views are simply stunning.
For the more energetic amongst us, it was possible to climb the rest of the way to the lighthouse by stairs. I decide to give the misaligned knee caps a final push and make my way to the top. I am not sorry that I did - it is incredibly beautiful. And hey - there's even the chance for some wildlife photography up here, with a little basking lizard sitting on the rocks!
On the note of wildlife, I have one final highlight to experience. Nestled in a sheltered cove between Cape Point and Simon's Town is Boulders. Boulders has become world famous for its thriving colony of African Penguins and magnificent wind sheltered, safe beaches. Although set in the midst of a residential area, it is one of the few sites where this endangered bird can be observed at close range, wandering freely in a protected natural environment.
From just two breeding pairs in 1982, the penguin colony has grown to about 2200 in recent years. I get camera happy, snapping away from from boardwalks which take us to within a few metres of the birds!
Last stop of the day is the much anticipated trip up Table Mountain. Whether we would make it up the mountain or not was in doubt, given the weather and cloud, but the Weather Gods are on our side and gave us a beautiful clearing just at the very time we reached the mountain.
We took the cable car to the top and, well the views really speak for themselves..... Cape Point from the top of the mountain......
..... and Cape Town......
Quite a sight to behold!
Another fabulous day, and our final full day....I will be sad indeed to leave this amazing place...