Day 3 – Cape of Good Hope and Robben Island

This morning we are planning to head south to the Cape of Good Hope, and Moses has worn a special ostrich feather cap for the occasion. Very stylish!

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Driving along a spectacular coastal drive called Chapman’s Peak Drive carved out of an almost vertical cliff face, with every turn revealing picture postcard panoramas.

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First stop at a lookout where you can get an idea of the coast we are driving along.

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Even had a local pop in to say Hi!

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Next stop was a penguin colony at Simons Town.  Very lovable little characters

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The locals here are big on recycling – nothing goes to waste.

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Also intrigued by the local products – not sure what spastic colon is but I hope I never get it!

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Next stop is the Cape of Good Hope, the south-western-most point of the continent. People were queueing up to have their piccies taken next to the sign and one large american tourist seemed to feel that she should have had the place to herself. “Demn forrners” she muttered as she walked away. Yanks – gotta love ‘em.

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No doubt she thought Big Bird was a foreigner as well – just realised that we ate him for dinner last night!

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There are not too many places on earth where you can see two oceans at once – here we are looking North, with the Atlantic on the left and the Indian Ocean on the right.

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<< Atlantic Ocean____________Indian Ocean >>>

This afternoon we are heading out to Robben Island where Nelson Mandela spent 18 long years. We were taken around the complex by “Sparks” who spent seven years here as a prisoner.

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We visited the room where Mandela spent a lot of his time when he wasn’t working in the quarry, and saw the exercise yard (Can’t imagine that he wasn’t having plenty of exercise breaking rocks!)

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At one end of the exercise yard was a garden that he created and in the corner of the yard he buried the manuscript of Long Walk to Freedom which he was writing at the time. Eventually the guards discovered it and it was confiscated and destroyed but Mandela was way ahead of them and had a duplicate copy which was smuggled out of the prison by an ex-prisoner who had come to visit. This prisoner was later appointed as Minister of Transport by Mandela as he had proved himself so adept at transporting goods!

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We saw the room that Mandela slept in for 18 years – just wide enough for him to lie down and not touch the walls on either side.

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I passed my camera though to my mate Nelson and he was good enough to take a picture of us from his perspective.

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It was good to see that the locals came dressed appropriately for clambering over the rocks.

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Day 2 – Table Mountain and Stellenbosch

Up early for our first day of our stay in Cape Town and the sun is struggling to break through the clouds.

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Today we are planning a cable car ride up to the peak – looking a bit dicey with the weather as the cable cars don’t operate when the wind gets too strong. So, at 8am we boarded our buses ably assisted by Davey Crockett, also known as Moses.

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We were lucky and managed to survive the trip in a circular cable car with a  revolving floor so everyone gets to see the view in all directions – clever! Pretty darn cold at the top – very misty and even a bit of snow on the ground from a snowfall yesterday. Fortunately the cloud cleared sufficiently for a few glimpses of the amazing view. Interesting fact: All the water used at the cafe at the top is brought up in tanks under the cable car and all the sewage is brought down the same way. This also serves as ballast when it is windy – who knew human waste could be so useful!

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We had gone up early to avoid the crowds and weren’t the only species enjoying the view!

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Next stop Stellenbosch, the Cape’s winegrowing region, where we stopped for a short walk around the township.

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This was followed by a visit to Blaauwklippen Winery  for some wine tasting followed by lunch. Have to say the wine was not a patch on what I am used to back home – give me a Barossa Shiraz any day!

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This gorgeous little squirrel was hanging out at the winery putting on a  show.

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The highlight of the day would have to be meeting  Joseph, an 11-year-old  cheetah brought in to the winery for us by the Cheetah Outreach organisation who told us there are only about 7,500 left in the world! Feeling his chest rattle as he purred loudly was an experience!

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Back to the hotel by 6pm way too tired to join the group for dinner and crashed!

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Day 1 – Sydney to Cape Town

Well we have just checked in at the Cape Grace Hotel in Cape Town and we are EXHAUSTED after 32 hours travelling from door to door! Managed to watch about six movies and  TV programs each. Emirates was fine – a couple of points for improvement – the ceremonial spraying of yoghurt across the front of my shirt was a little unexpected but certainly memorable! The passenger next to me enjoyed the same trademark spray all over his face, filling up his left ear which was fun! Turns out the two of them are on our tour! Another nice touch was when I ordered the duck entree and what I received tasted remarkably like salmon!
Dubai airport was enormous! To get from our arrivals lobby to the departure lobby of the Cape Town flight involved a ten-minute walk followed by a train trip and another 30-minute walk through small towns of shops selling silver models of some of Dubai’s major landmarks – so tempted – not! At the entrance to the lifts transporting us three floors to where we had to go was a waterful easily 200 meters long and 100m high. When we reached our destination there was another one so I imagine there would have been at least three of these in the terminal.
We enjoyed the use of the Emirates lounges at Sydney and Dubai and Ros took advantage of the groaning tables of every conceivable  type of food and drink – such a glutton! Couldn’t  believe that waiters were wandering around offering us Bollinger for breakfast!

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 Got to the hotel at about 5.30pm and took a quick snapshot of the view from our window (Click to enlarge)

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Then we had the welcome dinner with the three guides plus the doctor travelling with us – can’t take too many chances when you get to our age 🙂 Met a  few of our co-travellers … The hotel has a lovely-olde worlde charm with lots of interesting little knick-knacks in all the lobbies and hallways. Then to bed at about 9.30 and slept like babies!

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