Cape Town is the second-most populated city in South Africa after Johannesburg, and the provincial capital andprimate city of the Western Cape. It is also the legislative capital of the country. It forms part of the City of Cape Town metropolitan municipality. The city is famous for its harbour as well as its natural setting in the Cape floral kingdom, as well as for such well-known landmarks as Table Mountain and Cape Point. Cape Town is also Africa's most popular tourist destination.
Located on the shore of Table Bay, Cape Town was originally developed by the Dutch East India Company as a supply station for Dutch ships sailing to Eastern Africa, India, and the Far East. Cape Town quickly outgrew its original purpose as the first European outpost at the Castle of Good Hope, becoming the economic and cultural hub of the Cape Colony. Until the Witwatersrand Gold Rush and the development of Johannesburg, Cape Town was the largest city in South Africa. Today it is one of the most multicultural cities in the world, reflecting its role as a major destination for immigrants and expatriates to South Africa. As of 2011 the metropolitan region had an estimated population of 3.74 million.
The city was named the World Design Capital for 2014 by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design.
We arrived in Cape Town along with Cassie and her sister with any drama! The weather a little cooler than Johannesburg but still in low twenties - considering it is winter here the weather is not too bad. Cassie has booked the accommodation which was 90 km outside of Cape Town (not what we expected but not much we could do), in a lovely seaside town of Hermanus. We spent three nights at this location and unfortunately it entailed a lot of driving back and for to Cape Town.
On our second day we drove along the shore and visit the African penguins at Betty's Bay. For the first time since our arrival in Africa, the weather is overcast, cool and rain is expected later in the day.
The African Penguin, also known as the Black-footed Penguin is a species of penguin, confined to southern African waters. It is also widely known as the "Jackass" Penguin for its donkey-like bray, although several related species of South American penguins produce the same sound. Like all penguins it is flightless, with a streamlined body, and wings stiffened and flattened into flippers for a marine habitat. Adults weigh on average 2.2–3.5 kg (4.9–7.7 lb) and are 60–70 cm (24–28 in) tall. It has distinctive pink patches of skin above the eyes and a black facial mask; the body upperparts are black and sharply delineated from the white underparts, which are spotted and marked with a black band.
The African Penguin is a pursuit diver and feeds primarily on fish and squid. Once extremely numerous, the African Penguin is declining due to a combination of threats and is classified as endangered. It is a charismatic species and is popular with tourists in the region.
When you are around rocky areas in South Africa, you will most likely see a few dassies running around. I myself find them too cute with their pointy nose and those button ears.
Dassies live in groups of 10 – 80 animals, they are generally most active in the mornings and evenings and their most striking behaviour is the use of sentries. One or more animals take up position on a vantage point and issue alarm calls on the approach of predators, making it hard to get close to them to take attractive dassie portrait shots.
As so many other animals though, dassies are quite used to being around humans in touristy areas, which has the advantage of making it easier to take a dassie photograph ; )
Would you have guessed that the closest living relatives to the dassie are the elephant and the manatee?
Off to Cape Town and the waterfront area with many restaurants, bars and shopping to explore.
Table Mountain is a flat-topped mountain forming a prominent landmark overlooking the city of Cape Town in South Africa, and is featured in the Flag of Cape Town and other local government insignia. It is a significant tourist attraction, with many visitors using the cableway or hiking to the top. The mountain forms part of the Table Mountain National Park. The view from the top of Table Mountain has been described as one of the most epic views in Africa and this is no exaggeration.
The main feature of Table Mountain is the level plateau approximately 3 kilometres (2 mi) from side to side, edged by impressive cliffs. The plateau, flanked by Devil's Peak to the east and by Lion's Head to the west, forms a dramatic backdrop to Cape Town. This broad sweep of mountainous heights, together with Signal Hill, forms the natural amphitheatreof the City Bowl and Table Bay harbour. The highest point is 1,086 metres (3,563 ft) above sea level, about 19 metres (62 ft) higher than the cable station at the western end of the plateau.
It costs 205 rand (approx $25) to go up in the cable car or in my case it was 255 rand. I had just got 15 one Hundred rand notes from the bank machine and gave the cashier 3 one hundred notes for my fare but she only gave me change for 250 rand saying I gave her two one hundreds and a 50 ( even though Mag also assured her she saw me give the 3 one hundred notes). I spoke with a supervisor and they said they would count her cash - of course her cash was correct and I was wrong. When I asked for someone to look at the security camera I was told this could not happen as there was no management available but I could put in a comment card and they would look into the situation. There is little to no customer service in South Africa and you must always check your change - but since table mountain cable car company as advertises they are a world class tourist attraction I would have expected more! I know it is only $5 but this was not my first encounter of this sort and I guess I am becoming a bit frustrated!
On to nicer things - what a fabulous view!
Robben Island is an island in Table Bay, 6.9 km west of the coast of Bloubergstrand, Cape Town, South Africa. The name is Dutch for "seal island". Robben Island is roughly oval in shape, 3.3 km long north-south, and 1.9 km wide. It is flat and only a few metres above sea level, as a result of an ancient erosion event. Nelson Mandela was imprisoned on Robben Island for 18 of the 27 years he served behind bars before the fall of apartheid. Kgalema Motlanthe, who also served as President of South Africa, spent 10 years on Robben Island as a political prisoner, as did current president Jacob Zuma.