Monday, August 27, 2012

Bethany and Mom’s Whirlwind Tour of Southern Africa Chapter One: Cape Town

July 25th – 30th, 2012

Mom and I landed in Cape Town in July 25th coming from different directions and reuniting in the international arrivals section of the airport.  It was 8:30pm, the airport was closed and deserted, but quickly came back to life as the last flight from Amsterdam arrived.  I anticipated the scene from “Love Actually” at the beginning and the end, but that’s not exactly how the reconnection happened.  However, it was still good to see a familiar face for the first time in almost 14 months.

Mom and I spent 4 days in Cape Town exploring everything.  The fast paced modern life was a bit overwhelming for me at first, but I quickly got used to hot showers and good food that I didn’t have to cook.  Seriously, I attacked the breakfast buffet like a lioness taking down an impala.

Day One we explored the Waterfront, touristy but great.  More things to buy then the Grandstand at the State Fair, street music, outdoor restaurants, and fishing boats coming and going doing their daily business.  Its cold in Cape Town!  Mom thought it was great coming from the unusually hot MN summer, but I was freezing.  It was probably around 65-70 degrees F but my body had acclimated to the African bushveld and it wasn’t used to having to heat itself up.  I may just die when I get back to Minnesota.

Day Two we went on an all day tour of the wine country.  MN entrepreneurs lets get on this wine tour bandwagon, it’s so great.  We got picked up at our hotel in a van with 9 others and spent a whole day visiting wine estates sampling their products.  Wine and cheeses, wine and pastries, wine and chocolate; does life get any better?  I also had a Kudu burger for lunch – Kudu is a type of antelope – tastes like venison. 

Day Three we went down the coast to Cape Point.  This is the Cape of Good Hope and the most South-western tip of Africa.  It was a beautiful drive, however I may have slept through part of it (I was up way to late watching the opening ceremony of the Olympics – I love TV!).  When I woke up we were stopping to look at ostriches.  We saw a lot of wildlife on this day.  We took a boat ride out to seal island on Hout Bay, so many seals, all sunbathing, on one large rock.  I already mentioned the ostriches; also baboons appeared along the road.  We even stopped to watch a colony of African penguins (called Jack Ass Penguins for the sound they make) that call the beaches of Simons Town South Africa their home.

One adult and two teen penguins
Mom and I at the Cape of Good Hope
Seals basking!

Day Four we went back to the waterfront.  However this time we took a ferry ride out to Robbin Island.  This island is where Nelson Mandela was held as a political prisoner for 18 of his 27-year sentence.  He was held in the solitary cell section, where he slept on a thin mattress on the ground, along with other political activist that seemed dangerously influential.  The prison is no longer in use, all prisoners were released in 1991 and now you can have a guided tour of the place by one of the former prisoners.  Our guide was held in the group cells with up to 50 other men.  Very educational and the view of Cape Town from the island is amazing. 

Mandela's Prison Cell
This was our last day in Cape Town and we celebrated with a fantastic meal at the hotel restaurant and I think I hit up the dessert table like three times.  We left Cape Town at 4:30am the next morning to begin chapter two of our adventure.

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