Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Wide Open Spaces

Boulders Beach (Penguin Colony) in Simon's Town, Glencairn in the distance

The crowded beaches at the Kaap dei Goeie Hoop.  Yes, Ostriches.  At the beach.  Who would have guessed.

Crowds, crowds, everywhere, we could hardly see a thing for all the people.  That's Hugh, by the way....if you can see him in the crowd there trying to get a glimpse of the lighthouse (there's one up top and one at 87 meters above sea level, no one could ever see the one up top for all the fog.  And the crowds.

At Oliphants Beach in the Table Mountain National Park at the Kaap dei Goeie Hoop (see? isn't it funnier than just saying the "Cape of Good Hope?"), hiking for miles to try to find some bling-blang privacy and a spot for a quiet picnic, geeze.  Owen in the distance, on his way to a shipwreck and some whale bones).  really, we saw a family of baboons along our hours-long hike and the park rangers who waited for us before closing the gates.

The chilly Atlantic at Nordhoek Beach

Finn, braving the winds along Chapman's Peak Drive overlooking Hout Bay - or is it Camps Bay?  This Drive (capital D) is along the back side of Table Mountain and was our primary route into and out of the city.  It was either this curvy cliff-hugging 30 Rand toll road (about $4) or double-the-time on the N2 (highway) in traffic.  Being both afraid of heights and mildly claustrophobic, and driving a tiny Kia Picanto stick shift while trying to keep up to Todd in his equally tiny rental car...the Chapman's Peak route was a challenge, but a spectacular one.  This is the spot where one year during the Cape Argus Cycle tour (more on that in a bit) a block of thankfully empty honey pots went OVER the edge.  At one point along the route, they ran out of buildable cliff for the road, so they dug into the side but not a tunnel, it's only in the cliff on three sides, open to the sea on the other.  yowsa.  The cyclists this year reached speeds of 80 km/hr on this road.  The speed limit (which I don't think I came close to) is 60.

Overlooking the Cape Town Victoria & Albert Waterfront from the Table Mountain Gondola. Robben Island on the left, in the distance, is famously the site where many now-famous leaders were held as political prisoners (three past SA presidents, including the current president, Jacob Zuma, and former presidents Kgalema Motlanthe and Nelson Mandela, aka Madiba)

The 'table cloth' of clouds moved in to cover Table Mountain while were up top.  At it's highest point, Table Mountain is 1, 085M above sea level.

From Table Mountain Base Camp....you can barely see the gondolas in the middle....and you can obviously see the reasons we declined taking in the sights on the hiking trail up to the top!

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