Monthly Archives: August 2011

August 25th 2011 – Mr. Killer

Met up with a friend today… Steve Killer (cool name) who lives up in Montague, two hours north west of here…wine country no less! Steve gave us an impromptu tour of Cape Town and enlightened us on the languages and politics of the country. He’s lived here since the 1970’s and is fluent in Afrikaans, French and Zulu… amazing!

He and his wife run a garden centre in Montague and so of course his passion and knowledge of the plants around here is obvious. I’m no plant person (at all) but it always impresses me when people demonstrate a huge ability to catalogue and remember things… like plant names. Where as I barely remember the day before yesterday! πŸ™‚

He showed us around Green Market, which is a concetrated area of cool stalls with vendors from far off nations… and Yes, Steve conversed with them in thier own language… amazing!

It was good to finally meet up with Steve, considering it was our first ever meeting face to face. We usually communicate via email or skype back in the days of Intellego… Intelli-who?

Good day!


August 24th 2011 –

Today we headed for Table Mountain. We packed our bags with Biltong (beef Jerky) crisps and apples and headed out from the Civic Centre… mistakingly believing it would be an easy walk to the cable car. In fact is was only 3 miles… but… 3 miles of steep uphill walking!! I was knackered when I got there!! And Jane, as usual was like a spring lamb! Full of anticipation and eager to get on top of the mountain. I sometimes think that I’m the older of the two of us!

We paid our money and grabbed a spot in the cable car next to the window. As we ascended, the cable car guy announced “please keep your hands off the railings as the floor of the car will now rotate”. So we had an amazing 360 degree view of the whole of Cape Town including close-ups of the mountain.

The top of the mountain was a little cooler, so out came the coats. The sun was shining though and the views from here were amazing! You arrive at the Western side and have unspoilt views of the Atlantic ocean (if you kept going from here the next stop would be South America!

There’s a series of short walks on top of the mountain and one long one… I’ll give you three guesses which one we did! That’s right the long one! It’s quite a good walk though, taking in views of both the east and western cape which are breathtaking! Atlantic Ocean and Indian Ocean in oneΒ  spectacular panorama!

The terrain “on top” is rocky and grassy with clear paths for you to follow. We were accompanied on our walk with the sounds of clicking frogs, hundreds of them… all of them invisible. Couldn’t spot one…not one! We followed the path round to the Table View side (west) where we met a few interesting birds. One crow-like bird that sounded as though it was trying to mimic something…like a miner-bird or parrot (couldn’t work out what though… probably in Dutch) it was a cool and fearless bird. The next was called a “sugar bird” which is a bit like a hummingbird only larger.

The track back to the cable car was pretty close to the edge of the mountain, and let me tell you it’s pretty leg wobbling stuff when the wind is blowing and you’re literally a foot away from certain death, with a straight drop… there are no railings up there! One wrong move and it’s ta ta dougieladd!

Me on Table Mountain

Me attempting a base jump... as if!!

On the way back to the visitor centre/cable car (on the easy tourist paths) we happened upon the final scene of a Bollywood Movie being filmed. The last thing you would expect right? (see pic).

Bollywood image

Hooray for Bollywood... mind yer step there Elvis!

We had half an hour to wait until the last cable car down to earth, so we popped over to the east side to say hello to the “Dassies”. Dassies are kinda short, fat, angry looking Meerkat things – about the same size too, only fatter. They live on Table Mountain and dart around the rocks avoiding sheer drops like it was nothing… dare I say it…”simples”.. groan… sorry!

Simples but fatter πŸ™‚

Another short trip down to earth and yet another hike back to the Civic Centre (to catch the bus home)… if I didn’t walk for a week I’d be happy! Can’t see that happening with Jane around though… can you? πŸ™‚ Totally knackered, but what a cracking day… except for the walking of course!!!

August 22nd 2011 – Shark Teeth

Today we walked for miles!! We left early and decided to walk further down the coast and take advantage of the break in the rain πŸ™‚ Waves were
pretty huge! A surfers paradise (Ash from work would love it here).

We had done some of this walk a day or two earlier but decided to keep going until we got about as far as we could without me whinging too
much (walkings not my forte), or until we ran out of beach.

Bumped into a guy on the beach (Alf) who was collecting fossilised shark teeth! He had a bag full of them, some as big as your hand! He said,
with the weather being the way it was, the waves kick up the bedrock and release the fossils from underlying stone and deposit them among the
pebbles on the beach. He handed us a couple of teeth for us to keep… nice bloke!

We continued on for a couple more miles (groan) and found ourselves in Great White Shark waters. Signs on the beach warn you to surf in groups, and if swimming, stay in waist height waters and NEVER swim if you have a cut or you are bleeding!! Cool!!

We walked as far as a Nature reserve further down the coast. It was pretty much deserted but it’s posters of the wildlife made very interesting reading. Everything from Penguins to Southern Right Whales can be spotted here. There’s even signs telling you to leave the whales alone… and if they come close to shore, not to disturb them… “Oi you… get orf my Whales!”

After a drink and an apple we headed home, on the understanding that we were to have Hake & Chips on the way home! The seagulls here are like the SAS. They see you leave the fish shop and you can almost hear a radio crackle….

“Cccrrrrrrrrrrr……Red leader, red leader subjects have left the fish shop…Ccrrrrrrr……..”

“Subjects heading for beach front seating area… over”

“Ccccrrrrrrr…. this is Red Leader…. can you confirm package is armed with Hake and Chips?… over!”

“Red Leader… package is armed with fish and chips!Β  over!”

“This is red leader… join formation and engage annoying sqwark devices… over!”

“Copy that red leader…. Sqwark! Sqwark! Sqwark! Sqwark! Sqwark! Sqwark! Sqwark! Sqwark! Sqwark! Sqwark! Sqwark!

“The female is a pushover…er…over… continue offensive action in her direction… over…Sqwark!

Headed home and chilled in the kitchen with some of the volunteers from the Penguin Rescue place. Had a laugh and beer and went to bed knackered!!

August 20th 2011 – Cape Town City

Feeling a bit adventurous today! Decided to take a bus into the centre of Cape Town. They have a bus route which they built for the world cup… unfortunately they finished it AFTER the world cup πŸ™‚ Seems England isn’t the only country that can’t be arsed sometimes. On this clear sunny morning We travelled along Table View into the city Centre. We got to explore the town as we walked to a place called the Waterfront. The Waterfront…wow!.. there must be lots of millionaires living round here. The boats moored in the marina were easily worth in excess of a million each! And the apartments around the marina were fantastic!

Me just checking me boat's still there

Cape Seals - It's a hard life for a seal!!

We explored the bustling Waterfront area including a vibrant market place and shopping mall (very posh), and then followed the coast road for an amazing sea walk. It was at this point we saw a whale jump right out of the water… not kidding… a massive Southern Rightwhale leapt out of the ocean on more than one occasion. Fantastic! We’re really lucky and we know it.

We had lunch and then headed back to the marina, past all the sunbathing Cape Seals. This is where we discovered an indoor craft market (damn! the foods cheaper here and we just ate!). There was a stall in here that was selling guitars! But these were no ordinary axes… they were made out of old petrol cans! And let me tell you they sounded as warm as any Les Paul! I need to go back and ask about how he builds them! Cool!

August 18th 2011

Weather was a bit bracing today, although the sun did actually shine. At one point Table Mountain was completely covered in
cloud, you would think it wasn’t really there! We set off into the local wetland park… all kinds of birds again. Huge
Pelicans and Spoonbils, and giant Cormorants and Egrets (Janes told me). And the frogs all sounded like a weird kinda
glockenspiel. Highlight of the day was finding a wild Tortoise!! (see pic), If indeed a toroise can be wild! Just as well I
saw it clearly I nearly booted it into the lake/inlet. Good walk. Good day.

A wild tortoise... cool! Say hello to the ladies & gentlemen!

Rain was forecast so we went to the movies to see “Super 8” – as we sat in the theatre waiting for the movie to start we
could hear the rain pounding on the building. Luckily the walk home was dry and we had the sense to buy the wine BEFORE the
film (because everything was shut at the end of the movie! πŸ™‚ South African pinotage… yum! And the movie was good too!

August 17th 2011

27 degrees today! Walking to the beach! It’s quite away from the lodge to the beach (about 30 minutes) but it’s worth it! Pure white sands and shells as big as your feet and the blue/green atlantic crashing onto the shore. Table View (the area where we’re staying) has a huge bay from which you can see Table Mountain with Cape Town nestled below and Robin Island just off shore (this is where Mandella was locked up for years and years).

It’s the whale season here in SA and they come in to give birth in the warm waters… haven’t seen any today but we will as they come right into the bay and you can see them from the shore. We did see a Cape Seal fishing though which was cool.

We walked along the sand for a while and marvelled at the size of the mussell shells being thrown in by the tide. These things are huge! Mussell and Chips Mmmmmm as opposed to Mussels (plural). Further down the coastline it gets more rugged and eventually you end up at another village which is a bit posh… we stopped for a bite to eat in a posh restaurant with an amazing view!. Jane collected shells. Then I told her to put them back – we only have a 23kg baggage allowance (and Yes I did see the one you put in your pocket!).

Look at the size of these... the Mussells are huge too..! πŸ™‚

Spent the whole day on the beach walking for miles, came home knackered but happy. Chilled a bit then bed.

August 16th 2011

“Coffeeeeeee!” “Teeeeeeeeeea!” was the morning alarm at around 7am, after a freezing night in the cabin… although Jane –Β  who wanted to stay up all night staring out the window – slept soundly (probably dreaming of african fairies or summet).

Terrain today is pretty mountainous and we’ve seen a few antelope – gazelle and springbok (we think). We’ve gone through some serious tunnels… the first was easily 10 miles long through the mountain! The other side of it is awesome! The lanscape is really beautiful and full of vinyards thousands of them completely bare of fruit as it’s winter here. This landscape reminds me of Canadas’ rolling hills, mountains and crystal clear rivers… a green and fertile land indeed! It’s like a garden valley, growing grapes, olives, fruit and thatch for the house roofs… this is a lovely place.

Wine Country

27 hours later here we are pulling into Cape Town with Table mountain looming above us. Already we can see the stark contrast between the two cities as Remo (our host) drives us to the Elements Lodge. Our room is very comfortable and contemporary with patio doors out onto the garden (with pool). The area we’re in is really well looked after and very safe. We’re very close to a large water wild fowl park, and just down the road is a Penguin rescue centre. All the other guests here are volunteers at the centre. We have a view of Table Mountain (which is spectacular!). Sunset was amazing today! Especially with the mountain in view.

Walked out to the local shopping centre for supplies but haven’t been as far as the coast yet (which looked cool from the trip into the lodge).