CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA
Cape Town sits on the southern most tip of Africa. It is the place where the cold currents coming down from the Atlantic meet the warmer currents of the Indian ocean creating the weather patterns that travel around the world. For hundreds of years it has been a meeting place and refuge for world explorers, merchants and journeymen. It is a melting pot of cultures. Zulu, Tswana, Xhosa, British, French, Dutch, German, Khoi San, Malaysian, Portuguese, and Indian create a unique expression of the human diversity and man against the elements in this rugged landscape.
Roaming the streets of this first world city with its unique British Colonial, Cape Dutch and modern architecture, it is apparent that this gateway to Africa is an interesting blend of traditional and modern. Set amongst the magnificent natural landscape of buttressed mountains flowing steeply down to the sea, this charming city offers many wonders to discover.
When we first think of Africa, we’re picturing wild life roaming on the plains, but our first encounter was a bustling harbour at Cape Town’s Victoria and Alfred Waterfront where we enjoyed the most exquisite seafood overlooking the ships at dock with majestic Table Mountain towering in the background with its head lost in the clouds. We enjoyed a delicious local harvest from these waters; sea prawns, mussels, Cape white salmon, oysters, calamari and a delicious glass of Sauvignon Blanc from the Constantia foothills.
We journeyed over to the majestic Hout Bay. In the morning we drove up along the narrow cliffs of Chapman’s Peak photographing the Cape Town region’s rugged coastline, which offers terrific opportunities to photograph scenic coastal panoramas. The roaring waves met an afternoon wind coming in from the East creating what is known as the horse’s mane in sea spray dancing over the ocean. Continuing towards the region’s Eastern coast at Simons Town, which was one of the most important British naval bases in the 19th century, we arrived at Boulders Beach where we encountered and photographed an African penguin rookery.
Young adolescent penguins were huddled close by their parents moulting their downy brown newborn coats warming themselves on the white sand beach strewn with large gray boulders for which this beach was named. This was our first opportunity for wildlife photography. Walking along the boardwalk through this nature reserve we were able to observe and photograph the penguins from just a few feet away. Our favorite shot was two two young inquisitive penguins that seemed just as interested in observing us as we were to encounter them. Continuing our journey to the south western most tip of Africa, we encountered beautiful and coastal panoramas en route to Cape Point. We boarded the Flying Dutch funicular to the base of the lighthouse at Cape Point and got this beautiful shot where two oceans meet. We then journeyed to the Cape of Good Hope to catch the sunset and encountered a lone ostrich grazing along the shore.
We drove up to Table Mountain at sunrise and enjoyed the views it had to offer looking over the city and majestic Table Bay. Kirstenbosch Gardens, a national botanical garden, nestled at the foothills of Table Mountain is where we next journeyed on a skywalk through the tree canopy and visited the oldest natural spring in Cape Town. Our favorite image was a moment with a Southern double-collared sunbird feeding on a pincushion Protea flower. We also saw a tall waterfall cascading down the mountainside. We then visited the Groot Constantia vineyards and winery to photograph one of the grand examples of Cape Dutch architecture with its white washed edifaces and tightly thatched roofs. We sampled traditional Cape Malay food and some of the local vintages.
Cape Town is a magical city both timeless and contemporary and we were really moved by the warm hospitality that was shared with me by everyone we met. We could have easily spent another week here exploring the beautiful light, majestic landscapes and coastal panoramas but our travel itinerary and the South African veld beckons us to continue our journey into the wilds of Northern South Africa at Kruger National Park.
From our side of the world to yours,
Brian and Latai
Cape Town, South Africa