Nov 30 - A tour of Cape Town and the surrounding area

Dave & Mary Margaret graciously invited us to accompany them on a tour of Cape Town, being driven around by their friend Johan, who picked the four of us up at the False Bay Yacht Club at 1000. The coastal highway that winds around from Simon's Town before splitting to go to Cape Town is really beautiful. The local passenger train also follows this road, its tracks right next to the ocean, and passes thru Glen Cairn, Fish Hoek and Kalk Bay before it turns towards Cape Town. Communities dot the landscape, and we passed thru the Flatlands just outside of CT, then diverted into a quick, scenic drive thru the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens; it would take a full day to see the Gardens. Our next stop was the Rhodes Memorial, built to honor Cecil Rhodes of the Rhodes Scholarship and De Beers Mining fame. Again, beautiful views from the the Memorial greeted us. We drove thru parts of the city of Cape Town on the way to Signal Hill. From the old Dutch Fort to the museums, from the mix of parks, office buildings, hotels and shops, we saw an eclectic mix of old and new which was quite beautiful. At Signal Hill, we met Johan's partner, Christy, a delightful, vivacious woman with a ready smile. She showed us around Signal Hill, eventually taking off to reserve us a table for lunch elsewhere. We stayed a bit longer to see the paragliders, who were taking off in droves; the weather was perfect and there were no clouds at all over Table Mountain. There was a great view of Lion's Head Peak and the Twelve Apostles Mountains. The recently unveiled Sun Star Sculpture is also found here, made from metal taken from the nearby offshore Robben Island Prison, where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated during the apartheid years. After lots of picture taking and gawking at the scenery, we then drove to Hout Bay to see the small harbor and handicrafts there. A bit further, we stopped at the Chapman's Peak Hotel where we met up with Christy for a late lunch and enjoyed the pan-fried calamari; this turned out to be one of the best meals we've experienced here in SA. After, we drove thru Witsand on the way back to Simon's Town, following the coastline back. We returned to the YC after 1800; what a great day! Johan & Christy, thank you so much for taking your Sunday and showing us this part of your beautiful country! We had a great time and look forward to seeing more!
Pic: The view of Table Mountain from Signal Hill.

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