Prologue: I’m a bit behind doing posting so the Cape Town posts were written a few days ago when we were in Capetown. I’m on the Zambezi River Cruise now sailing down the Chobe River, so the internet coverage is next to nil right now. I wrote the Capetown blogs already but can’t upload many photos now so will do that when I get to Victoria Falls in a few days. This trip has been AWESOME so far!
After a good night’s sleep, Steve (DOS) and I had a nice breakfast at our Cape Grace Hotel. We arrived yesterday morning from our overnight London flight, and had the day free. We met our fellow travelers the first evening with a nice cocktail reception in the Library room of the hotel. This hotel is truly a 5 star hotel, and the staff are so friendly and accommodating with every detail.
Here is the view from our marina view room by day. Further down in the post I have a photo of the same view with the sunset after we came back from touring.
For breakfast, we had a combination of the buffet and menu items, which made for a full breakfast. Like everything so far, the service was outstanding! After finishing breakfast, we hurried down to the lobby for our 8am sightseeing departure.
This is our 4th trip on AMA Waterways Cruise and Tours, and they are top notch in our opinion. They really go the extra mile in everything they do, be it hotel accommodations, meals, or even just arranging for a wake-up call for everyone for the morning tours. They also deliberately don’t overfill their tour buses, basically half-filling them so people have a chance to spread out. This AMA Waterways tour is a bit different as it’s a smaller group due to the ship size limitation of 14 cabins, (i.e. 28 people maximum) vs a more typical water cruise of 100 – 150 people, which is still minuscule compared to the mega ocean liners of today.
As we headed out of the hotel, our guide Dalia kept us up to date on our daily agenda, as well as pointing out sites and providing history and South Africa facts along the way. South Africa as a country has a population of around 55 million, with some 10 per cent living in the metro Cape Town area. There are 11 official languages in South Africa, though most people speak English. In total, there are 53 countries on the continent of Africa. Dalia spoke a bit about the history of Apartheid and the effects it still has on the people today, regarding housing, education, and poverty. It’s very thought provoking and like I felt in Vietnam/Cambodia last year while on holiday, it’s really hard to believe giving home much freedom and inclusiveness that we have in the U.S. today.
As we toured along, we took in the sites along the way, as well as the constantly changing scenery. We first stopped at a protected park area inhabited by African Penguins. We waddled down the path to see them, and were rewarded with unclose views of the penguins in various shapes, sizes, and activities. (Close your eyes – we even saw a couple penguins making whoopee!) We enjoyed our nature walk along the shore as we watched the penguins waddle along.
After the penguin encounter (no wait – that’s a Sea World Orlando term!) we headed along toward Cape Hope, making a few scenic photo stops along the way. We drove thru the Cape Hope park entranceway, while Deiala paid the toll for the group. We stopped next at the lighthouse, and DOS and I climbed up the umpteen stairs to the top.
Cape Hope is the southernmost tip of Africa we’re told, although a quick search on Wikipedia says that Cape Agulhas (90 miles to the east) is actually the southernmost point. Forgiving the slight deviation, everyone gladly had their photo taken at this ‘southernmost’ point.
We were even surprised to have a couple Baboons drop in on the photo op! Our guide Dalia, had warned us of the Baboons, as they can be quite aggressive because people feed them and they ‘expect’ some food from them. We watched a Baboon actually steal a water from a tourist, and then proceed to open the bottle of water with it’s hands, then gently pouring it on the ground before lapping it up!
We then saw the same Baboon hop on top of a van, and also down by the photo-op sign of the southernmost point of Africa – truly hamming it up!
As we left the Cape of Good Hope, we had a scenic and curvy drive thru the rural forest lands of South Africa. We made a couple stops on the way, before arriving for our afternoon lunch at 1:30pm at the original Harbor House restaurant in Kaulk Bay. We had a wonderful multi-course lunch there, including two glasses of wine, all compliments of AMA Waterways.
The lunch was delicious with prawns for appetizer, followed by a salad, and our choice of beef oil locally caught fish. We chose the fish, which was quite tasty and filling.
After having a filling lunch with both food and drink, we headed onward, back to our hotel, arriving around 4:30pm.
While I was tempted to nap, I stayed up reviewing photos of the day and updating this blog a bit. We walked over to the nearby market square, which had the feeling of the Disney World Boardwalk area with it’s waterfront location, sidewalk cafes, shops, mall, and even a gigantic Ferris Wheel!