When we woke up, it was crystal clear that Table Mountain would be closed once again. It was very windy, which was very fortunate for us as we had booked Cape Peninsula full-day tour with a company called African Eagle. I understand that this is a pretty big tourist company in South Africa and we saw their vans everywhere. Overall we were pretty happy with the tour, but it took us some time to get used to our guide’s accent. Another thing is that it seemed that he avoided giving his opinion on any topic and stayed in the “I don’t want to offend anyone, so I don’t really have an opinion on anything” -territory, which made anything he said seem like he was reading a textbook on the topic instead of spicing it up with a personal touch. But all in all, the Cape Peninsula was so amazing that we focused on the scenery.
First we drove out of Cape Town using partially the same route as Hop On Hop Off bus and the things guide told us were really similar, but after that we headed towards Hout Bay.
We stopped for some beautiful scenery and then there was an opportunity to either go for a ride on a boat to see the Seal Island for additional cost or hang out in Hout Bay. We wanted to go to see the Seal Island, but if you want to opt out, there is really not much to do during that time. There are mainly people selling souvenirs, ticket booths for Seal Island tours and maybe a place or two where you can get something to eat. But definitely there isn’t enough entertainment to last you an hour, which is how long everyone else is spending on the boat. The boat trip costs approx. 5€ per person, so I suggest you spend that money. 😉
It was a windy day and it gets cold on the boat (note that this was July and thus winter in South Africa), so I recommend taking a coat with you to be able to enjoy the boat trip. The Seal Island is a few rocks on which the seals enjoy the sun. I took my small camera with me, which didn’t have zoom, but I still managed to take some good photos because we were pretty close.
We stayed first on one side of the island and then went around it and boy, you could really smell the seals! It was nice that the boat stayed on the other side longer and I really hope that they design the route depending on from which side the wind is blowing. 🙂
After that we continued driving past the Chapmans Peak Drive and Noordhoek finally taking a break at an ostrich farm, where we saw a few ostriches and there was a shop where they sold different kind of things made from ostrich leather or eggs.
After this we headed towards the Cape of Good Hope, which is the most South-Western point of the African continent, where it was so windy, that you really needed to make some effort to stay on your feet and not loose your hat or scarf.
Our next stop was at Cape Point, where we saw our first eland, enjoyed the scenery, and had lunch.
For lunch there are two options. One was a pizza and hamburgers restaurant, which seemed to be popular with families with children and young people on a budget. Another is the Two Oceans restaurant, which seemed nicer and had a huge line of people waiting to be seated. We chose the second one and weren’t disappointed. The food was really good especially if you consider that they get so many tourist that they could sell food half as good and still make a profit. But we enjoyed their dishes very much and they were served efficiently, so we managed to eat in the 45 min we had left. The lunch cost about 25€ per person, that is two courses with a glass of wine and a Coke.
After this we headed towards Boulder Penguin Colony. There is a walkway, where you can spot penguins for free, but to get an access to the prettier side, you have to buy a ticket, which was approx. 4€ per person. We decided that we didn’t come this far to save 4€, so we bought the tickets after first walking the free side. This was a mistake as on the free side, you can spot individual penguins in the bushes (yes, I never realized that (at least some) penguins like to hide under shrubbery), but on the other side you get to see them walking around on a beach.
We also saw some dassies (rock hyraxes) enjoying the sun, which was another animal I have never seen nor heard of.
After this we headed back to Cape Town with one final stop left in Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. We were a bit behind schedule as some people were never on time when we needed to leave, so the last stop was a somewhat rushed experience. Hop On Hop Off bus stops at Kirstenbosch as well, so it’s another option to visit the gardens. I really liked them in the winter time, so I can only imagine how great everything looks in the summer. Here is where the guide proved helpful as he quickly showed us around the gardens and pointed out the best spots. The gardens were closing at 18:00, so we only had about half an hour to spend there.
We were returned to the hotel after seven and we were quite tired after spending the entire day outside and climbing a mountain as the cableway was closed due to the wind (it of course opened when were already going down). It was my birthday and we were planning on going somewhere nice to eat, but decided to postpone it as we just wanted to get some food. The easiest way to get food is to order it at the hotel restaurant Eighty Ate. Yes, it was convenient, but unfortunately it wasn’t very good. The dishes look pretty good, but nope, not a great result. In addition to this when we ordered cocktails first and then wanted a glass of wine and a Coke with food, the server actually laughed at us and said “More?” Not sure what she meant, but the remark wasn’t appreciated. So not the greatest place ever…