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Penguins and Ostriches and Baboons, Oh My!

Cape Town, South Africa

We're finally staying at a true Bed and Breakfast here in Cape Town. It is called Tintagel and is terrific. A full English breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon, sausages, mushrooms and tomatoes, not to mention a bowl of fresh local fruit and some yogurt was a great way to start off a day of exploration. Today on the agenda - heading to the Cape of Good Hope and the wineries of Stellenbosch.

We were met promptly at 9:30am by a man named Grant who was going to be our driver/tour guide today. When I was trying to plan out where to stay in Cape Town, I had an idea of the neighborhoods and landscape from Google Maps, but I was completely taken by surprise when we actually arrived in the city to find that the scale of the city is much smaller than I had assumed, and the mountains are much more prevalent than I had thought. Our drive down to the Cape of Good Hope showed us this, as we drove through a lot of hilly areas when I thought it was all going to be low-lying.

The drive down the coast was absolutely gorgeous. Very similar to the Pacific Coast Highway of California. Winding roads, an ocean on the west side, mountains, beautiful landscapes - it had it all. It took about an hour to get down to the park, and as we got closer, we passed a German ostrich farm. We weren't able to stop and get pictures, but there were many, many ostriches hanging out in fenced-in areas. Very ugly birds. As we continued on, we started to see warning signs about baboons. Apparently baboons have learned how to open car doors, and will steal things from people if the doors are unlocked or the windows are open. As we pulled in to Cape Point, we saw one such baboon with a baby right next to the path up the hill. After it bounded away, we made our ascent to the top.

The view is absolutely breathtaking. You can see both oceans from the top, along with the suburbs of Cape Town and the other nearby mountains. I've taken some panorama shots and a video or 3 to try and capture the feel, which will get posted later. It was a nice hike to the top, and we hadn't had any real physical activity like this since our days in London, so it was great to use the legs again. After we descended, we waited for the same baboon to move away from the car (but not before getting great pictures), and then we went over to the Cape of Good Hope for the photo op. It's much lower than the other peak, so there was no need to go up it.

Leaving the Cape park, we passed some more baboons and ostriches on the side of the road that people were getting quite close to for pictures. One such car had their doors open next to some baby baboons, and I was just waiting for an adult to jump in and terrorize them. I might be a horrible person. Our next stop was a place called Simon's Town, home of penguins. Known informally as the Jackass Penguin because of its braying noises that they make, we got to get pretty close to a couple of the little guys. So that's 3 new animals we've seen today to add to the litany that we saw on the safari.

As it was getting quite late in the afternoon and we really wanted to get back by 4pm to watch the South Africa and Mexico matches, we just grabbed lunch at, what else, McDonalds, and drove off to Stellenbosch. We made it to the Warwick winery and had a tasting of 6 of their wines. 2 whites - a sauvignon blanc and a chardonnay, and 4 reds - a cabernet sauvignon, a pinotage (South African specialty), and 2 blended wines. All were quite tasty, and as we tasted the last glass, the person who was taking care of us told us we were going to go on a wine "safari". We took our glasses into a Land Rover that was similar to our safari vehicle, and went up the hill into their farm area. Once again, the view was just phenomenal. We learned a bit about the winery's history, as well as which grapes grew on what vines and all the different conditions required to make each wine. We finished off our last taste and headed down the hill to go on home.

We missed the first half of the matches on tv, but were able to get the radio feed on the drive home. Listening to soccer on the radio is quite confusing, especially considering that they were flipping back and forth between the two games without much notice. South Africa needed a combination of a 5-goal swing between them and Mexico, and as the first half ended, Mexico had given up 1 and South Africa had scored 2. It was quite exciting in the car, and as we got home, we rushed up to catch the 2nd half of the matches. Unfortunately, Mexico didn't give up any more goals and South Africa allowed France to score 1, so their time at the World Cup came to an abrupt end. They should be proud though, for beating France if nothing else.

We hopped over to a rich area called Camps Bay to get some seafood, at a restaurant called the Codfather. Yes, it's a horrible pun, but the food was fantastic. They have no menu there. There is a choice of appetizers, and then you are taken over to the display case to select which cut of fish you want. There were roughly 6 or 7 different fishes to choose from, and you are able to tell them how much of it you want to eat. Then they cut it, weigh it, and tell you the cost. They also had 2 different types of prawns, and we got a couple of each. The fish comes grilled, and is served with 4 different sauces - lemon butter with garlic, sweet apricot, lemon butter with no garlic, and chili sauce. All were great, although the chili sauce was freakin' HOT! And I like spicy things, too!

Following dinner, we thought about going to the bar next door to watch, but it was crowded and they were charging cover to get in. Instead, we headed back to the hotel to watch the night games, which were pretty boring.

Tomorrow is a day of high adventure with mountain biking and rappelling down the mountain to follow before we watch the US take on Algeria for the right to move to the Round of 16!

permalink written by  nucappy on June 22, 2010 from Cape Town, South Africa
from the travel blog: London and South Africa - World Cup 2010!
tagged SouthAfrica, CapeTown and WorldCup

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