Friday, February 5, 2016

South Africa - Peninsula Tour

I was unprepared for the searing beauty of the coastline on the south western tip of the African continent. The wild blue sea thundering in to soft white sandy beaches, the greenery and red soil around the roads, the rugged cliffs behind. It's dramatic and breathtaking and there's no better way to see it than a tour around the Peninsula. Thanks to Stephanie M for going back and forth with me via email and sharing her experiences with the trip she took last year and this drive in particular. That put it on my radar and I knew it was a must do. Not only do you see the sights, but you get a feel for all of the neighborhoods around Cape Town.

We were picked up at our hotel at 9:30 and set off. Our first stop was a little dock in Kalk Bay. We saw some lazy seals and MFD talked fishing with the fishermen. 
We spent an inordinate amount of time at Mineral World outside of Simonstown in response to me telling the driver I liked to browse on vacation. Great prices and some really cool stuff like this enormous pink quartz outside the entrance. You could also see them work with the stones in the factory. Good coffee too. There's not a ton of coffee to go in South Africa. They serve it in a cup and saucer and want you to sit down with it. 
The infamous Boulders Beach with the penguins was next. I have eleventy billion photos of these penguins. The winds were so high here that tears were running down my face and my dress blew up to display my underwear (I was not the only one, LOL), but I was lucky to see the amazing views from this area regardless of the snafus. The penguins were SO CUTE I wanted to take them all home. 
On the way to Cape Point Nature Reserve, we passed some baboons on the road. Like hello...something I never thought I'd say to my fellow passengers - oh look, baboons.
We got to Cape Point at around lunch time. Cape Point is known as Cape of Storms as many ships have wrecked around these waters through the centuries. We took the flying dutchman funicular up to the original lighthouse, built in 1859. We had great views of the treacherous coastline and Diaz Beach near the Cape of Good Hope.
Remember me mentioning the crazy winds? Look at my hair here:
We had lunch at the restaurant at the base of Cape Point, Two Oceans. The views were spectacular and so was the food and service. Top notch meal for like $30 USD. Here is where I tell you that the African sun is a very cruel mistress. My back got lit up in the 45 minutes it took to eat lunch, even with sunblock on.
Just down the road is the Cape of Good Hope, the most South Western point of the African continent. I love shit like this, especially signs. The wind was whipping and the American / other people disconnect on the concept of what a line is were both in full force here but there was no way I was skipping this photo op because I am a touron (tourist + moron) and tourons don't back down from these things even though I can tell I'm gritting my teeth in this photo. The bottom right photo is a lone ostrich meandering along the coast. Oh, Africa. I like your animals.
On the way out of the Cape of Good Hope, we stopped a few times to take photos and walk down to a beach. I really have no words to describe this scenery but I will never forget what it feels like to stand on boulders honed by the winds and water over millions of years, to feel the hot sun on my face and the punishing wind whipping around me while I'm gazing out on an ocean so energetic and blue that it seemed to pulse in time with my heart. To look down the coast onto an empty beach and see my husband contemplating the ocean, no one else around, like we were at the ends of the earth. To glance behind me and see green and rocks and earth that has seen so much through the passage of time. It was pretty fucking cool. I could wax poetic about it but pretty fucking cool sums it up.
LOL @ this video, in which I forget I'm taking video and try to restrain my panic at the prospect of MFD making his way down to the wet rocks. 

The last stop on our tour was the scenic overlook for Hout Bay on Chapman's Peak Drive. It was incredible but so windy that I didn't want to walk that close to the railing - I seriously almost fell down a few times. 


We were deposited back at our hotel at 5:30. It was a stellar day, and we felt like we had a really good grasp of the layout of the Cape at our own pace with some fabulous guidance, and we saw that we'd like to see more of Camps Bay, which we ended up doing the next day when we found out the shark excursion was cancelled. 

Private Driver
I was trolling the Trip Advisor forums as I am wont to do, and hooked up with Kestrel Services. John is the owner and answered my email promptly. He was unavailable for the day, but his partner Deanne was open and able to take us out. Private driver and Mercedes for an eight hour tour of the peninsula cost us $150USD. Deanne was funny, friendly, and knowledgeable. No contract or advance payment is required, and Deanne was there promptly at the agreed upon time.


Previous post on Cape Town: click here

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28 comments:

  1. The penguins would have been the highlight for me - like i probably could have gone home after that LOL! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

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  2. I can't get over how gorgeous it is there! I can only imagine how breathtaking it must be in real life.

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  3. baboons! isn't it weird how other countries have certain animals just roaming the streets? we see a lot of goats just chilling by the road at the caribbean islands or monkeys just hanging off the trees.

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  4. I can't decide if this trip or the Yellowstone one is better to read about. I'd die at the baboons! I loved this recap - looks like such an amazing experience!

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  5. I love the windy hair picture and I sure hope you were wearing your good undies. LOL

    Penguins! I would look at all the pictures of the penguins.

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  6. What beautiful pictures!! I would have been so excited to see the penguins, I love them!

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  7. So cool. Seals and penguins, I die! I would have probably tried to steal a penguin, I won't lie. LOOK HOW CUTE, how can you resist? They have monkeys in India like that, like our driver would just casually swerve around the monkey family in the middle of the road. I was always like DUDE MONKEYS I must stop and see them! but I guess that's just normal there!

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  8. Oh all the animals!!! I'm so jealous. And your photos are absolutely gorgeous!

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  9. These blogs are awesome. Will need to play the videos later as LJ is sleeping , exhausted post-shots from her dr visit yesterday. I love everything about this. The 8 hr private tour was well worth the $ I am sure. Continuing to love traveling vicariously and beautifully through you. Love. Your. Momma.

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  10. ostriches, baboons & penguins? Its like a fairy-tale land!!!
    I actually like the idea of coffee in cups forcing you to slow down & enjoy it for a minute... we need more of that here.

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  11. I would have loved the penguins! They are just so cute!
    That is come crazy wind! It looks absolutely beautiful though!

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  12. The winds sound insane! I love reading your travel adventures and watching the videos. LOL @ the photo with your hair flying in the wind. So many cute animals you got to see too!

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  13. Between the penguins and the seals, I would have died of happiness. The coastline is just a beautiful bonus. ;) Love the pictures of you and MFD - and I love your dress too! SO cute! I'm so excited to see all the pictures (and videos!) from your trip. Thanks for letting me follow along!

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  14. Bahahahahah at your dress getting blown up... where's the footage of THAT?! ;P
    It's so weird hearing you say "Mike." It's MFD. lol

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  15. I want to go here because PENGUINS. ALL THE PENGUINS.

    And the other amazing, beautiful stuff, too.

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  16. This one was even better - these days sound amazing. The animals are my favorite . . . it's so crazy how different it is from here to there with the wildlife. Love all the pictures and detailed info. I'm saving these posts for a future trip! Hands down, I would have waited for a picture with the sign.

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  17. I love the animals, especially the penguins!

    The picture with your hair flapping in the wind is awesome! Though I do feel bad that your dress also whipped up and flashed your underwear. That's just another reason why I rarely wear dresses. Haha.

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  18. The pictures of the baboons look Straight Outta Pride Rock. Minus the car

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  19. My friend that lives in Italy said that it's the same there about not having to go coffee. They serve your coffee in real china and expect you to stay and drink it. All of the scenery in Africa is so incredibly beautiful! I can't believe that y'all got to see all those animals, but especially the penguins in real life!

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  20. Again such beautiful photos. I think your posts have cemented that I needdd to visit!

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  21. Spectacular! What a great trip. Thanks for the travel porn; loving it on this soon-to-be-snowy snow-day morning.

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  22. seriously. pretty fucking cool is right! oh wow. these pictures are gorgeous. seriously. penguins! baboons! ostriches! i like africa's animals as well. what an amazing visit, and the private driver sounds also amazing and well worth the cost. something i never thought of, but if it's on TA that's great. i will definitely keep that in mind. can't believe the wind! i am always afraid of wearing dresses when travelling for that reason. and i love your touron term, every time you say it it makes me laugh and nod my head because yes, me too. why not!

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  23. Penguins!!!!!!!!! I would have HAD to take at least two home with me. I like my animals in pairs like Noah haha. It just looks so amazing there. I love the windy pictures, you can just see the wind and feel it when you are looking at them!

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  24. these pictures are gorgeous! This sounds like such an amazing day of sightseeing, but i love even more that you are sharing your feelings - poetic or not :)

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  25. Really with the Gary Busey Pic with the wind... UGH! LOL

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  26. wow, this looks so pretty! And reminds me of the East Coast. Lol to your hair, ha! Looks awesome. the food looks great and that ostrich!!! All these animals are killing me.

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  27. What a great idea to take a private tour! I love the penguin pictures. I would have taken a ton too. Now that I'm seeing all of your food pictures, I wonder if I could eat there at all since I don't eat seafood. Ha!

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  28. THE PENGUINS!!! I would have died. Were they noisey?? Is it always that windy? That sounds like a dumb question now that I typed it out, but you know what I mean. Pretty fucking cool though, indeed.

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