Penguins on the Beach
The number one thing to do on Sarah’s list was to see the Penguins of South Africa. We signed up to a tour through our hostel which took us via Cape Point to Boulder’s Beach. It was an early start, but it was easy as we were picked up from the hostel. We piled onto our mini bus for the day and met our driver. After picking up the others in our tour we set off towards Cape Point, the most south western point of Africa.
On our way, Nikki nonchalantly pointed out a zebra. Unlike her, the others on the minibus hadn’t spent two weeks on safari in Kenya and were all very excited to see two beautiful brownish black mountain zebra!
Then we drove to Cape Point, via a few stops a stunning viewpoints, and were told repeatedly to beware of baboons. We started to stroll up the mountain to view The Place Where Two Oceans Meet. We could see a slight change in colour where the cool Atlantic joins the warmer Indian Ocean. We climbed for about half an hour before we decided the views we had were spectacular enough, browsed in the shop at this half-way point then headed back down to the bottom.
Our next stop was the most South-Westerly Point of Africa: The Cape of Good Hope. It was an extremely windy, but very powerful looking beach, with its high cliffs, page rocks and epic waves.
After stopping for some fish and chips, it was finally time to go to Boulder’s Beach to see the Penguins! We passed several market stalls with the usual trinkets (which I am a total sucker for!) and walked to the entrance of the beach. The entry price was included in our tour. We stepped out onto the boardwalk and I was very excited to see a dassie, one of South Africa’s national animals.
Suddenly we noticed a few penguins sleeping up in the sandy bushes.
Eventually we got to the main beach where we saw hundreds more penguins waddling, sleeping, foraging or inspecting the tourists above them. It was very surreal seeing them wandering around on the sand, knowing that this is their natural habitat. They were very sweet and some were quite curious, but mostly they are just a joy to watch for the simple reason, that they make everyone who watches them laugh!
One other penguin highlight that must get a mention is this. I spotted a grey mongoose lurking in the bushes. As he crept closer one very brave penguin who was not having any nonsense waddled straight over to him. I waited for some action, but they just glared at each other. Neither moved nor blinked. They just waited. After what felt like an age, the mongoose slunk off away from the nesting penguins…
After this we had a wine tasting session in Groot Constantia. We were in South Africa – how could we not?! Finally, to end the tour we took a walk through Bo Kaap to admire the colourful houses which were painted brightly and as a reaction to the end of Apartheid when the residents were finally permitted to buy their own homes.
Our last day in Cape Town was Sarah’s birthday. We had our first lie in of our three week holiday (until 9am!) wrapped her gift of a new top and fresh undies in whatever wrapping we could find and then spent the day shopping at the waterfront, eating in the food court and exploring Green Market Square. There was also a great shop in the airport called Out Of Africa where you can top up on your souvenir shopping. There weren’t many food restaurants to choose from, so we went for Wimpy. It was so slow that we almost had to leave Sarah’s food behind. She ended up eating her birthday meal out of a take away box on a bus on the apron of Cape Town airport. Once on the plane she had a can of cider and the birthday girl was good again
The next stop was Johannesburg. To visit my friend Lizzie and to finally do my South African safari…