Sunday, 7 January 2018

Gate 1, South Africa - Day 1, Cape Town cont.

After leaving Hout Bay we drove along a very narrow, twisty road beside the Atlantic that is often closed due to landslides. It was Saturday and there were many runners and cyclists enjoying the opportunity to train for an upcoming cycle race and marathon that will be held on that route in the next few months.
My pictures are not very good for this section as the clouds were rolling in from the ocean and creeping up the headlands.
There was an ostrich farm just before the turn for the Nature Preserve and we had a brief opportunity to take pictures. As it happened we did actually see a wild ostrich in the preserve.
There was a huge fire last year in the Preserve and thousands of acres are currently rock and burnt bushes with some areas beginning to green up.
Beside the road, baboons. We had to take pictures through the bus windows as they are clever and quite aggressive. Renier said that they can open car doors, get in and close the door. He once had one get onto the minibus he was guiding and had quite the time getting rid of him.
They equate humans with food and will not only get into vehicles but will also get into homes, making quite a messy nuisance of themselves.
The weather began to clear and the Atlantic took on a beautiful blue.
Our next opportunity to get of the bus was at the Cape of Good Hope (originally named the Cape of Storms by the first Portuguese navigator who declared that it was impossible to reach India that way). Two currents collide here creating storms and difficult navigation.
Foliage here is low to the ground and scrubby due to the frequent strong winds.
It was low tide and we could see extensive kelp beds,
and Greater Crested Terns
Next stop; Cape Point
and a walk up to the original lighthouse.
After one too many shipwrecks it was determined that this lighthouse was too often shrouded by clouds and one was built lower down.

From up there, there were lovely views up the coast and in to False Bay.
Back on to the bus
we slowed down past another troop of baboons. This one had a large male
and many babies
on their mothers backs.
The baboons were drinking the water that had leaked from vehicles air conditioning, on to the road. South Africa's drought has probably bought about this behaviour.
One of the nice things about our guide, Renier, is that he will change the itinerary on the fly. He decided that rather than rush us at the penguin beach we would eat lunch a little earlier.
Salad, grilled sea bass and a local pudding with custard.
Kristin and Tessa. We had a brief opportunity to "paddle" in the ocean at the busy public beach next to the restaurant.
Noah and Jason opted to swim.
A short walk took us to the Boulders Penguin Colony at Foxy Beach.
These were the "greeters", the first 2 we saw as we walked down the boardwalk.
I will apologize at this point. You may want to skip on as I took tons of penguin pictures
They were just so appealing
2 breeding pairs of African Penguins were moved to this location in 1982 and the colony has thrived.
They moult during December and mate and begin nesting from |January on.
Part of the beach appeared to have nests but I saw no indication of eggs yet.
There were some young, brown and fuzzy, birds in evidence.
but most were in their distinctive

black and white plummage
just going about their daily business
while we, up on the boardwalk,
clicked away like crazy.
Most were on the beach or on the rocks
but some were in the water.
where they fish for squid, pilchards and anchovies, swimming at an average speed of 7km/hr.
Goodbye to the greeters
and back to the bus
The original plan had been to take the cable car up Table Mountain in the morning but clouds at the top had dictated that we try later in the day. The whole point is the view! On our way to the base we had to turn back as the road was closed due to a fire (the area was being evacuated). We were just not meant to do it today!
We did get some spectacular view of the mountain from Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, our next stop.
All native plants

We were back at the hotel by 5:30 and had time for a quick lounge by the pool and swim before our welcome dinner. It was a very busy first day, even without Table Mountain. Hopefully we will get to do it tomorrow.

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