September / October 2013
01.10.2013 - 01.10.2013 20 °C
On our way we stopped off at several places. First was Gorden's Bay where we were going to be whale watching. All of us watched and, except for Troy, saw no whales. Troy claimed he saw the tail of a whale twice and fin once. Next was Betty's bay to see Penguins. We didn't stop at Boulder's Bay as everything I read was that there were more tourists than penguins so I have nothing to compare, but I can say that Betty's Bay was quite populated with penguins. For R10 you walk along a nice boardwalk to see thousands of penguins and are not over populated by tourists.
We then drove down to Cape Agulhas, the most Southern Point of Africa which is also the convergence of the Indian and Atlantic Oceans. This takes some time as there is no ocean route between Betty's Bay, Danger Point and Agulhas National Park so you have to drive inland quite some distance and then back to the coast. While there we ran into a couple we saw at Table Mountain yesterday. We took some pictures and worked on convincing Charlottle that you could actually see waves coming in from the Atlantic from one direction and waves from the Indian Ocean from the other direction. She wasn't having any of it so we were off to Mosel Bay and dinner. It was now after 2:00 pm and we hadn't eated yet. Randy had a small bag of peanut M&M's that we rationed over 300 kilometers to get us to our dinner destination in Mossel Bay. The goal was to make it before the sunset, which we did. Dinner was at a place call Cafe Gannett. From the outside it didn't look like much, but from inside it was quite beautiful. Today I had the Kingklip which was very tasty, Randy followed suite. Troy and Charlotte had the seafood platter which had a variety of seafood. Troy had his grilled while Charlotte went with fried. Charlotte commented that she hadn't met a Calimari in the country yet that she didn't like.
After dinner we drove 45 minutes to Villa Afrikana where we are staying in Knysna. It is a beautiful B&B at the top of the hill looking down over a large estuary home to hundreds of indigenous birds ultimately reaching out to an inlet from the Indian Ocean.
30.09.2013 - 30.09.2013 24 °C
Today was a mix of tour and wine tasting. We headed out at 8:30 am for Table Mountain. Being early and a Monday we thought the queue would be shorter, and having pre-purchased tickets online we we thinking this would be easy, but we still waited 50 minutes to go up on the tram. The floor of the tram rotates so there is no bad view during the ride up as it goes a full 360 degrees. The tram ascends about 700 meters, starting around 300 meters above sea level you dock at over 1000 meters. Once on top the views were beautiful. It was a clear day so we could see everything. There is an easy walk at the top that gives you views from all sides of the mountain. When we descended and exited the queue was far worse. Note: buy online and go very early. The first tram ascends at 8:00 a.m.
On to wine tasting. Our first stop was Antonij Rupert for a noon appt. We were a little late due to the que at Table Mountain, the cow crossing the road and a stalled tour bus, but we made it around 12:20. It was a private tasting where we got to each have our own flight. I had 4 different white wines while everyone else had different reds. They were all very good. Next up was Fairview where we stopped first at their restaurant, "The Goatshed." The food was quite delicious, but the service was extremely slow taking up a good portion of our afternoon so we didn't have time to taste any more wines. So we decided to go to a wine store (Caroline's) in town. While we were able to find some wines for the trip, the drive back to the house was a nightmare. Our very skillful driver Troy got us through it unscathed. Upon return to the house I only wished we could stay home, but I had booked us on a Jazz Safari. So out again we went.
The driving gods continued to be against us when Troy's phone stopped working and we didn't know where we were going, but somehow the Garmin got it right and we were only 10 minutes late. We were driven to a Jazz musician's house, Hilton Schilder, where his wife served up a very delicious meal of curry chicken, dal and rice. We listened to him and his friend play several instruments and sing. We learned of how certain music was influenced by and even banned due to apartheid. Hilton was in a rock band in the eighties who were deemed very influential, but their music was also banned. One of the jazz movements in S. Africa is influenced by Goema, which forms the music structure in a framework of a very hypnotic backbeat rhythm that is deeply rooted in S. African culture. After Hilton's place it was then off to a Jazz bar where we listened to some very good jazz music. Hilton decided to accompany us and by the first song he was up on stage with the other musicians. It was a late night, but a very worthwhile and fun experience.
29.09.2013 - 29.09.2013 18 °C
No wine tasting today. Instead we went site seeing. Other than the wind it was a nice day. Sunny and probably in the low 60's. The cool weather has brought a new meaning to Africa hot. Today's travels took us down to the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point. It was a beautiful drive. We stopped on our way down and had lunch in Fish Hoek at Galley Restaurant right on the beach. It had a much simpler fair, but was still very good and fresh. Kim, our tour guide from two days ago, told us to try Kingclip if we saw it on the menu. Since it was on the menu at the Galley restaurant everyone had it but me. I decided to be different and get the Yellow Fin. Wish I would have gotten the Kingklip as it was a very tasty fish. As it turns out, Kingklip is actually a member of the eel family - quite ugly, but damn tasty. We also started with one crawfish, which was really a rock lobster. Again very good. During our meal the waitstaff sang happy birthday to someone at another table and then also sang for a couple celebrating there 50th wedding anniversary. Afterwards they sang a local song accompanied by a drum. They were very good.
We drove through Simon's Town on our way to the point. Simon's Town looked like a fun place, but we didn't have time to stop. On to Table Mountain National Park and Cape Point which is the farthest south in Western part of South Africa. It is also 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. However, geographically it is not where the Atlantic Ocean joins the Indian Ocean. That is at Cape Agulhas National Park which we plan to visit on Tuesday. The point was very beautiful and being spring the flowers were blooming everywhere.
We then drove back the alternative way than we came, stopping to see the Lighthouse at Kommetjie and to watch the beautiful sunset as there we no clouds. We then spent a quiet evening putting together a light dinner of cheese and crackers. Troy has now declared the "rule of N-1". The premise is that we must not drink any more than one less bottle of wine than we have people. As an example, there are four of us, so we cannot have more than three bottles in one session. Last night we had close to N+2. Randy is currently arguing the wisdom of Troy's rule.