Cape Town

January 2007




Is this a lion's profile or a face of a man gazing at the sky? 




On the way into Cape Town you see the back of Table Mountain miles away.


For 20 minutes on the drive into Cape Town, Jean, Zoe, Ouma and I debated if we saw a lion's profile or a face of a man gazing into the sky. Evidentally it is called the Lion's head so it must be, but we also could see the man.  Do you?


The Waterfront







The Cape Town waterfront has been restored with beautiful shops, walkways, restaurants, old ships, an aquarium and entertainment.


Historically Cape Town has known life over 750,000 years ago when Homo Erectus wandered the planet. The earliest human communities living in this area date back to 27,000 years ago as seen in their rock art. This was followed by a domination of Portuguese and Spanish explorers in 1500. In 1602 The English East India Company was formed along with the Dutch Inda Company. These powerful companies discovered the trade winds and expanded trade to Asia using Cape Town as a base for replenishing their ships.


In 1652 the Dutch started to build a permanent settlement to service passing ships. Slowly the town grew as a beautiful Dutch-style town and an important reststop for sailors. Simultaneoulsy the Cape Winelands were settled by 1700 by the French Huegenots to provide wine for the traders. The streets of Cape Town in the 1700s filled with cultural diversity; the Dutch, French, British, and Portugeuse stayed to settle, slaves and former slaves from Asia and Africa moved into the community and a mixed race community developed forming the later group called colored.( a mixture of black, white, malay and asians.)


The British Arrived


The British forces took over Cape Town in 1795 and by 1814 the Cape formally became part of the British Empire and brought much liberalism to Cape Town. Meanwhile the new Afrikaaners reacted by moving north to establish farms and settlements in the Transvaal forming the Dutch Reform Church and their own conservative lifestyle.


Cape Town developed with a growing infrastructure of railways and a harbor just in time to benefit from the discovery aof diamonds and gold in Johannesburg. With the growing immigration, townships were developed to manage the immigrating populations.


In the first half of the 20th century Cape Town continued to grow but the influence of new laws and old prejudices led to discrimination along racial lines. Increasing migration and an economic depression led to poverty for many people with the building of shanty towns on the outskirts. Cape Town however racially mixed in 1948 and race relations relatively harmonious, was swept up in the enforced apartheid regime.


By the end of the 1980s active opposition to aparheid was widespread across Cape Town. Over the next 10-15 years protests, International sanctions, a rise in crime, and the establishment and power of the ANC.


President FW de Klerk announced in Feb 1990 the unbanning of the ANC and other parties and the release of political prisioners including Nelson Mandela. He had come to realize that it was necessaryto stop the violence and begin a process to negoitate a "New South Africa." This was the beginning of the dismantling of Apartheid.


Five years later in 1995, Cape Town began to see tourists coming back with the development of the Waterfront, a convention center, new hotels and great restaurants. Coming into Cape Town you can see some remnants of the shanty towns but also many small new homes built by the government all equiped with electricity, water and satellite TV.




















We were lucky enough to head up to Table Mountain on a clear evening to see the sunset. If only we had brought a bottle of wine and a picnic dinner like other Capetonians it would have been perfect!





















The Boulders at Simon's Town - Happy Feet at the Sea







Nestled in a sheltered cove between Sion's Town and Cape POint, Boulders is a world famous thriving colony of AFrican Penguins. The penguin colony somtimes called the donkey penguin because of it's braying sounds has rown to 3,000 penguins.


We stayed to watch these marvelous creatures play, swim and be amoreuse. Some prefered the shade hanging out alone, others loved to dive in the water with their friends.


A few were sitting on the side as it was moltening season in which they fast for 20 days and can't go in the water as their feathers can't get wet.




























Cape Point where The Indian meets the Atlantic






At the end of Cape Point the Indian ocean meets the Atlantic. All of a suddent a cold swim becomes a pleasant dive in the surf. At this end of the earth you stare out into nowhere hoping to get a glimpse of Antartica.























The restaurant Moyo at Spier Winery was a "must do " experience. Sitting under the grand oak tree, being sprayed with a fine mist, a pampered wash of the hands, and phenomenal food.



Zoe with her Ostrich feathered hat.




Cheetah Park

At the Spier Winery they have a Cheetah park to protect the endangered species. At 20 dollars a tour we decided to let Zoe-Pascale go alone (with a guide of course). The little Cheetah's were as tame as kittys and just wanted to lie in the sun to tan.


















Franschhoek, Valley of the Huguenots, one of the premier destinations in the World of Wine.


Not surprising when one considers that this fertile ground is where the French first made wine in South Africa 300 years ago. Today, that noble tradition is carried forward by the members of the Vignerons de Franschhoek.


Thirty wine farms, including some of South Africa's most respected names, who produce many of South Africa's top wines.


Driving from Cape Town on the Wine Route to Oudshoorn was a trip through heaven. Unlike the Garden Route on the coast, the Wine Route is a trail of vineyards, wine farms and stunning small mountains. Being close to Cape Town we went in for the day to shop in the quaint towns of Stellenbosch and Franschoek and to eat a fabulous lunch in their outdoor cafes. We felt right at home in a little piece of France far far away.














Jean was determined to drive up the west coast to see the town of Pasternook, a village built of traditional Cape Dutch homes. A long white beach surrounded the bay asking you to swim in it's icy Atlantic Ocean water. The locals asserted that no one swam in the summer as it was too cold but sometimes took a dip in the winter when the water warmed up.






Running into a Fish Shack on the beach we were tempted to join them in a  ten fish course Braii. Sitting under tents on low chairs the guests were served wine and bread followed by ten different courses of fish. Now we love fish, but ten courses seemed over the top. So we resigned to go somewhere else for one course of fish and a salad.












Did you know you can stand on a full ostrich egg and it won't crack. Evidentally it is made of tiny little triangles that interlock and push against each other making it a durable egg. One ostrich egg serves about 15 people.

























Leaving Cape Town we drove back through the Wine Route to Outshoorn where the biggest art and music festival is held every Spring in South Africa. The town itself was lovely and we ate a fabulous meal of Ostrich, of course - that tastes like a great steak. It was probably the best meal I had except for Ouma's homemade cooking.


Leaving Outshoorn we drove back along the coast to East London spending our last couple of days with his sister and her family.