09th May, 2017
Three days of super duper fun in Cape Town and with each passing day we were falling more and more in love with this city. Today (24th February, 2017) was our last day in Cape Town. We were both sad and excited today! Sad because it was our last day in Cape town and excited because we had planned a date with the African Penguins at Boulders beach!!! Both of us were super excited to see the Penguins in the wild for the first time.
It was going to be a long road trip for us as we wanted to cover the entire Southern Peninsula. Further, the sun gets very very hot in the afternoon (we had learned from our experience at the table mountain the previous day), so we wanted to start as early as possible.
Early morning, we packed our car with sun screen lotion, hats, snacks, cold fluids and an extra pair of clothes and shoes. Post a quick breakfast, we left for the first destination on the road trip – The Boulders Bay located approx. 60 kms South from Gardens, Cape Town. Despite it being a 1.5 hour drive, time passed in a rush thanks to the majestic landscapes and the beautiful town houses. The drive passed through small towns and large open farms giving it a breezy countryside feel. As for the infrastructure, I was in complete awe with the quality of roads and the disciple of traffic. Clear signages, no pot-holes, visible directions, strict adherence to the rules – and all this coupled with the abundant natural beauty made driving a super cool affair.
MIRINDA suggests! – We recommend doing the Southern Peninsula in the morning as it being a completely outdoor event, the strong heat in late afternoon can play spoil sport. Also, starting early helps in reaching back to Cape Town before sunset thereby avoiding the risk of driving at night on the highway.
We started at 8 am from our hotel and reached Boulders Bay at 9:30 am. Volunteers there made sure that the parking was well organized and safe. Just when we were looking for a parking spot in the shade, we saw a small black and white animal walking up the road. It was our first penguin sighting ever. It was so cute and cuddly, like we see in the movies, that all I wanted to do was to hug it and do the penguin dance with it!! Thankfully, better sense prevailed as we left the penguin alone and walked towards the Boulders Bay.
MIRINDA suggests! – It is a common sighting to see Penguins walking up & down the public roads. So don’t be scared or surprised if you find a penguin strolling on the road all by its own. Just slow down your car and enjoy the sight!!
The name originated with a sheltered beach made up of inlets between granite boulders. It is located in the Cape Peninsula, near Simon’s Town towards Cape Point and forms a part of The Table Mountain Reserve. It is commonly known as “Boulders Bay”. This place is famous amongst the tourists for the African Penguins colony which has settled here in the late 90’s.
As we walked on the beach, our eyes were glued to the penguins in the water. There were a number of them, with each one behaving in a unique way. Some swimming, some walking on the rocks, some lying around and some feeding.
African Penguins – A very charismatic species, is also known as the “jackass” penguins (for its donkey-like bray) or “black-footed” penguins. They are wonderful divers and feed primarily on fish and squid.
We observed them for a considerable time and ended up clicking a lot of photographs. I also did a small penguin dance (with penguins in the background) for a friend who’s favourite step is the penguin dance!!!! We were totally amazed being surrounded by these unique creatures. The thing that amazed us the most was how slow they were on the rocks and how agile they became once they entered the water. It truly was a delightful sight to see the penguins for the first time and that too in their natural habitat.
MIRINDA fun facts! – Even though penguins look super cute, they do bite if they feel threatened and hence it not recommended being ultra-close to them.
Apart from exploring the penguins, there are also some water sports activities on the beach. We rented a kayak and went out to sail in the Ocean. As it was our first time, we were quite scared and decided to stay in the shallow waters around the penguins – a couple of them actually swam under our kayak. After a good one hour which involved some struggling with the navigation and oars (thanks to my wife!!), we headed back to the beach.
MIRINDA suggests! A lot of people like to take a dip in the ocean. So taking an extra pair of clothes and flip flops might be a good idea.
Just as we were leaving, we spotted a few street vendors outside the Bay selling local handcrafted wooden spoons, penguin souvenirs, etc. We bought some small penguin souvenirs and scarves with animals of South Africa. To beat the heat, we tried the fresh coconut water – I must say it was yummy! So after a great time with the penguins, we embarked on our next stop along the Southern Peninsula – Cape Point.
MIRINDA suggests! If you are interested in buying local souvenirs, we suggest you consider the street vendors who offer the same products as the airport souvenir shops but at a far cheaper price.
The Cape Peninsula – The Cape Point
The Cape Peninsula is a rocky peninsula that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean at the south-western extreme of the African continent. At the southern end of the peninsula are Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope. The towns and villages of the Cape Peninsula and Cape Flats now form part of Cape Town.
Cape Point is located a distance of 15 kms from Boulders Bay and is approx. 30 min. drive. The awesome landscapes and natural beauty continue throughout the drive. The drive also goes through the hills and at one point we could see the mountains on one side and the Ocean on the other – it was surreal.
MIRINDA fun facts! – Some areas between Boulders Bay and Cape Point are home to African Baboons. So keep an eye out for them – if you are lucky, you might be able to spot a few enroute Cape Point.
After a beautiful drive, we reached the entrance of the Southern Cape Peninsula at around 1:00 pm. There was a huge queue of cars to get in. We waited about 30 mins in the queue, paid the mandatory entrance fee of 105 ZAR and drove to the parking spot near Cape Point. There are a lot of scenic spots along the way to Cape Point such as Devils Peak, Buffels bay beach, etc. but we were quite hungry and didn’t want to miss out on the lunch at the restaurant which boasts of having the best view in the entire continent – “Two Oceans Restaurant”.
MIRINDA fun facts! – The nature reserve provides accommodations for overnight trails which is very famous amongst tourists. One can save an uphill walk from the Cape Point car park by using the Flying Dutchman funicular ride to see the old lighthouse and enjoy the panoramic views.
The Two Oceans Restaurant – Cape Point
The Two Oceans Restaurant occupies an enviable position above False Bay at the southwestern tip of Africa. With a huge deck (and huge views) and a menu that includes spectacular seafood, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean created a perfect set up for a beautiful afternoon.
Being the only restaurant in the National Park one would not expect much, but they really go the extra mile even when they are extremely busy with individual travelers and bus loads of tourists. The prices were a tad higher than the other places in Africa but dining at the edge of the ocean with the unobstructed “Stunner of a View” was totally worth it!
We ordered the Saffron ravioli, baby chicken with salad and some lovely dessert; everything was presented in a beautiful manner which justified the taste completely.
MIRINDA suggests! – We strongly recommend visiting Boulders Bay in the morning and making it to Two Oceans restaurant around lunch time. The view is to die for!! Order a nice chilled beer with some specials and get lost in the view!!
After a satisfying lunch, we headed for some shopping at the souvenir shops. One thing which caught my eye was the a bottle of “Two Shores sea water” which contained water from the meeting point of the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian Ocean.
Now it was time for The Cape of Good Hope !
The Cape of Good Hope
The Cape of Good Hope is commonly misconceived as the Southern most tip of Africa. and the meeting point of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. However, according to the studies the southern most tip of Africa & meeting point of two Oceans is at Cape Agulhas located about 200 km to the southeast of Cape Point.
The water at the Cape of Good Hope was so clear & blue that it stood apart from the rest of the Ocean. There were flocks of tourists, clicking photographs at every possible angle to capture the perfect ocean view. We even saw a bunch of baboons sitting on tourist cars, hoping to be fed!
As a wise man once said, “There is some comfort in the emptiness of the sea, no past, no future.” This quote echoed in my mind as we drove past the Cape of Good Hope.
MIRINDA suggests! – A lot of people do hiking up to the Cape Point and down to The Cape of good hope… We strongly suggest you carry an SLR Camera as you would not want to leave any moments uncaptured..
The Roundhouse at Signal Hill
After resting at our hotel for a while, we decided to go to Roundhouse at Signal Hill to enjoy the sunset. Roundhouse– is an upscale fine dining restaurant which offers 5/7 course meals. We had heard a lot good reviews about the fine dining restaurant, but we opted to sit at the “The Rumbullion” – an outdoor garden restaurant as it offered a tapas-style menu with a clear view of the sunset. The beautiful setting with picnic tables, picnic baskets & huge umbrellas was the perfect blend for a memorable evening. We reached there just before sunset and order a pitcher of Mojito with a large pizza. The backdrop of The Table Mountain on one side and the sun setting over the Atlantic Ocean on the other, – Such a mesmerizing view, was the perfect ending to our last day in Cape Town!
MIRINDA fun facts!- Roundhouse is very popular for its cocktails. Sangria & Mojito are the two house favorites.
After spending our last day at Cape Town – driving through the surreal landscape & clear blue waters, we slept thinking, “What will South Africa show us next?”
With that thought lingering in our minds, we packed our bags for the next stop….KNYSNA.
MIRINDA suggestions & fun facts about Cape Town coming up next…..
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