Ending with Good Hope

It took some effort, but we managed to pry ourselves away from the gluttonous bacchanalia of Franschhoek. Our destination was Simon’s Town on the Cape Peninsula, a convenient access point to the area’s top attractions including the Cape of Good Hope and Boulders Beach Penguin Colony. Yay more cute penguins!! This was also our last stop in our six week journey through Southern Africa. Boo going home!!

Driving R310 west from Franschhoek, we hit the coast east of Simon’s Town and came upon an endless stretch of beautiful beach. Practically no-one was on it except for a few lone figures foraging on the beach, maybe for some wayward mussels that have washed up?

The rest of the drive was in heavy traffic through crowded beach towns squeezed between the steep mountains and the ocean. We reached Simon’s Town, a major working port and naval station that still manages to be picturesque. Unfortunately our room at the Quayside Lodge was above a fried fish restaurant and smelled like a greasy spoon diner. We thought turning on the AC full blast would get rid of the smell but no amount of airing out made a difference. We tried to change rooms but they were completely booked up. It was a good thing we were only staying here one night. This is what happens when you go for the cheapest room.

March of the Penguins

After dreams that involved fish and chips (easy to imagine why), we got up early to beat the crowds and headed to Boulders Beach to see more cute jackass penguins. The beach, with sea stacks and huge boulders strewn on the sand in interesting configurations, provides a gorgeous setting to see these waddling cuties.

South Africa Cape Peninsula

South Africa Cape Peninsula

South Africa Cape Peninsula

South Africa Cape Peninsula

The area is protected as a nature park with boardwalks that wind around the beach and the surrounding forest where the penguins nest and take shelter on windy days like this one.

South Africa Cape Peninsula

South Africa Cape Peninsula

South Africa Cape Peninsula

One penguin chick in particular looked at us as though it was trying really hard to figure out what we were. It kept cocking its head in a very human expression of curiosity and confusion.

Then There Is Hope

After overdosing on penguin cuteness, we drove to Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope. The southern cape was like a huge garden in bloom with some of the coolest looking flowers we’ve ever seen. Seriously it was like wildflower carpet.

South Africa Cape Peninsula

South Africa Cape Peninsula

The coast itself was a series of headlands with hiking trails leading to the best view points. Cape of Good Hope was a bit less crowded as most of the tourists coming off the buses preferred not to hike up to the promontories. We went up the main trail for great views of the rugged coast.

South Africa Cape Peninsula

Cape Point was a different story. It has a tram that most people take up to the lighthouse and the cape’s high point and then walk back down the paved trails. Not surprisingly, there were few people braving the steep paved trail up.

Both the wild terrain and human-made structures were picture-worthy in ways that are probably more reminiscent of the Mediterranean coast. It’s not hard to imagine old trading vessels sailing past loaded with spice and tea.

South Africa Cape Peninsula

On our way to the airport we got a great overhead view of Simon’s Town that showed just how picturesque it really is.

South Africa Cape Peninsula
View of Simon’s Town

We never did enter Cape Town proper but as we flew over it we kind of regretted not checking it out. Next time, perhaps. We left South Africa with a definite feeling that we short-changed ourselves by not spending at least one more week in this incredibly beautiful country.

Accommodation:

Quayside Lodge
Room 309
Simon’s Town, South Africa
http://aha.co.za/quayside/

Quayside Lodge in the center of town right, off the ocean side of the highway is conveniently located next to Jubilee Square, restaurants and shops. Only 4 km to Boulders Beach. Limited onsite parking in front of the hotel right by Jubilee Square parking lot.  Breakfast is included. Our room 309 overlooking the street was on top of a restaurant and stunk of fried fish. I would avoid the rooms surrounding  room 309. Other than our room the hotel was pleasant enough just not in room 309.

Eats:

The Salty Sea Dog
Simon’s Town, South Africa
http://saltyseadog.co.za

Yes another fish and chips place. Popular with tourist based on the number of people crowded inside.  Decent food.

Mangata Restaurant
http://www.mangatarestaurant.co.za
Simon’s Town, South Africa

Right across the street from the hotel this was a relatively new restaurant serving good international cuisine.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s