Cape Town Tour Day

Kirstenbosch and Constantia

Beach Road Walk in Cape Town

Winelands Tour

Penguins and Cape of Good Hope

South Africa: Cape Town, Winelands and Garden Route

October 2012

After our photo safari in Botswana and Zambia, Kathy and I returned to Cape Town to visit Charlotte, Kyra and Joe and to do some sightseeing. On our first full day Lloyd, Kyra and Joe's driver, drove us along Chapman's Peak Drive, one of the most spectacular marine drives in the world. The drive takes you from the town of Hout Bay, to above Hout Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, to the town of Noordhoek. At the end we went to the Imhoff Farm where we walked Charlotte through the petting area and had lunch. It was a very pleasant day.

View of Hout Bay from Chapman's Peak Drive Beach on Hout Bay

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The next day Lloyd took us on a tour of Cape Town. He took our picture overlooking one of the beaches and then we went up Signal Hill for a view of the city. We drove past the stadium where the 2010 World Cup was held. Then we went to the Malay slave area known as Bo-Kaap. It is the historical center of Cape Malay culture in Cape Town. After that we went through District Six, by the Parliament Buildings and to the Castle of Good Hope, a fort that was built between 1666 and 1679. It is the oldest existing colonial building in South Africa.

We went to the V&A Waterfront to shop at the craft market and to have lunch overlooking the water. On the way home we visited the Cecil John Rhodes Memorial. It has a good view of the Cape Flats. Here are some pictures of our day in Cape Town.

Kathy and Brandon Overlooking the Beach

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On Friday it rained and I took the day off. Kathy went with Charlotte and Kyra to gymnastics. She is quiet the little gymnast.

Charlotte on the Balance Beam Charlotte on the Balance Beam

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On Saturday we went to the botanical gardens and to a wine estate. Kyra drove Charlotte and us to the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens. We walked around for about an hour - very beautiful. Then we drove to the Groot Constantia Wine Estate to have lunch at the Jonkershuis Restaurant. They have both normal food and Malay curry dishes (not very spicy). After lunch we explored the grounds. The estate was founded in 1685. It is the oldest wine estate in South Africa.

Kirstenbosch Sign
Birds of Paradise

After Constantia, Kyra took Kathy and I back to Kirstenbosch and dropped us off. We took the 3:00 PM shuttle tour of the gardens. It was well worth it. We learned about many of the plants and flowers. After the tour, we bought a stone carving of 3 giraffes eating leaves from a tree. It is all carved out of one piece of stone. It was handmade in Zimbabwe. We had it shipped to us. Here are some pictures of our day at Kirstenbosch and Constantia.

Three Giraffes Sculpture

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On Monday, Joe and Kyra drove us to town and dropped us at Sea Point on Beach Rd. They went to run errands and we walked past the huge swimming pools and along the beach about 3 miles to the V&A Waterfront. We had a snack at the Cape Town Fish Market restaurant. Then we did some shopping. This was a good way for us to get to know Cape Town better on our own. They picked us up at 1:00 PM and took us to the Wakane restaurant overlooking the water for lunch. It was very pleasant. Here are some pictures of our walk along Beach Road.

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Tuesday we had our Winelands tour. Lloyd first drove us to Fairview near Paarl. There we tasted both wines and cheeses. Fairview is the winery that makes the "Goats do Roam" line of wines (they have a large goat that climbs a tower in the front yard). But their other wines that we tasted were better. Next we went to the Stellenbosch area to the Dellaire Wine Estate. It was beautiful there. We had a wonderful lunch overlooking the vineyard. After lunch we tasted their wines - very good. We drove into town where Kathy bought trinkets at an open air market. Finally we went to the Asara Wine Estate for our last tasting of the day. Exhausted, we headed home. Here are some pictures of our Winelands tour.

Goats Do Roam and La Capra Wines The Actual Goat

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Wednesday was our day to see penguins and The Cape of Good Hope. Lloyd drove us to Simon's Town on False Bay (on the Indian Ocean side of the Western Cape) where there is a penguin colony. Along the way we stopped at a surfer's beach near Muizenberg. Joe, Kyra and Charlotte came in a separate car. Charlotte played on the beach and in the water for a while. Then we had lunch at a restaurant overlooking the water. After lunch the 3 of them went home for Charlotte's nap and we stayed to take pictures of the penguins.

Charlotte, Kyra and Kathy South African Penguins

Next, Lloyd drove us to Cape Point where we took a bus to the top of the hill and then climbed to the lighthouse. It was very windy but the view was great. Then we drove to the Cape of Good Hope. This is actually not the southern most cape in Africa - that is Cape Argulhas, over 100 miles to the southeast. But this is an interesting place: we saw a baboon, a number of ostriches, some rare mountain zebras (with brown stripes), and the point where the first settlers came ashore. Here are some pictures of our Cape of Good Hope day.

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On Thursday we went to Table Mountain and downtown again. Kyra drove us to Table Mountain. It was VERY foggy - you could not see down or up. But Kathy and Kyra went to the top in the cable car anyway. I stayed below and bought a shirt. They were lucky - after they got to the top, the fog cleared and they enjoyed the great views. When they came down, we drove to Victoria Wharf and had lunch overlooking the harbor at Africa Cafe, a restaurant that serves African style food.

Cable Car Bringing Them Down Kyra and Kathy at Africa Cafe

After lunch, Kyra and Kathy did more shopping while I waited. That night Kyra and Joe got a baby sitter for Charlotte (one of her teachers) and we went out to dinner. Kathy treated Joe for his birthday. We had the tasting menu with a bottle of wine and the tab was quite reasonable. We found all the food and wine excellent and very reasonable in South Africa.

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Our final adventure was a tour of the Garden Route, an area of beaches and mountains about 300 miles east of Cape Town. Lloyd drove us to the town of Knysna and we checked into the Protea Knysna Heads hotel about 4:30 PM. Our room overlooked the lagoon and docks. We explored the waterfront shops and had dinner in the "34" restaurant. I presume it is named that because Cape Town (and Knysna) are at 34 degrees south latitude - not as far south as one might think; Cape Horn is about 20 degrees further south (and Dallas is about 34 north latitude).

The next day we drove west past Plattenberg Bay and visited Monkeyland and Birds of Eden. The guided tour of Monkeyland was very interesting. We saw 6 of the 10 types of monkeys (and lemurs) that are there. They roam wild in the forest but they do come down to feeding stations. Monkeyland is the world's first multi-species primate sanctuary. Birds of Eden is the largest single free-flight aviary in the world.

Black-and-white Ruffed Lemur Golden Pheasant

After the tours, we went to Enrico's restaurant for lunch. It is on the beach at Keurboomstrand just west of Plattenberg Bay. We had great pizza while looking out at the waves. On the way back to the main road we stopped to watch some kite surfers. We stopped at the elephant park, but the elephant rides were booked for the rest of the day. Back in Knysna we booked a sunset cruise for that evening. The cruise of the Knysna Lagoon was peaceful and relaxing (sunset below).

Kite Surfer Sunset over Knysna Bay

The next day we headed back to Cape Town with stops in Victoria Bay and Mossel Bay. We also stopped at the airport to change our flight home. The day after that we flew home, but via London and Houston rather than via Washington, D.C. due to Hurricane Sandy. October in southern Africa (4 countries) had been an amazing month.


C. Brandon Jones
email: Brandon "at" cbjones.info
updated February 11th, 2013